Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Seeing the forest

First off, I want to take a moment to extend my thoughts and well-wishes to everyone located in or who has family/loved ones in the Boston area. Grey and I have spent the last 24 hrs connecting with people we care about there and the stories we've watched unfold have sickened both of us. To everyone living with this tragedy, you are in our hearts.

Since my last post, I've been taking some time to reflect on all the comments as well as the events in the aftermath. It's taken me a lot of time and energy to get to a place where I can reflect, as there's been a lot of anger over all the bad news. Through all of this, one message has been consistently clear: somehow we'll survive all of this. It may not be pretty nor will it be as planned, but there will be good things that will come. It's just a matter of seeing the forest for the trees. Problem is, I still can't see the forest.

It's probably no secret by now that I struggle to see the big picture in life. Too often, I find I get caught in the details, or at least the less than favorable ones.  This is actually one of the things that drives Dee crazy with me, as I'm quick to discount hard work towards goals or other good aspect in favor of focusing on failure and hardship. I can't begin to count the number of sessions where she's sat across from me, giving me a look of pure frustration when this happens. Still, old habits die hard, with me wanting to focus my time and attention on what's been lost, failing to see what can be gained.

Sunday night, after picking Grey up from the airport and spending a car-ride home in tears over being frustrated, I managed to calm myself long enough to remember a section of Patricia Irwin Johnston's book about crisis.

Currently there is some debate about this, but a popular interpretation of the Chinese symbol for "crisis" is derived of two characters: one that means "danger" and the other that means "opportunity." Ms. Johnston uses this interpretation in the beginning chapters of her book to make a case for how the crisis we face while dealing with infertility/loss can bring opportunity through resolution. The wisdom in all of this, though, is that these lessons are not limited to expanding one's family.

As I sat with these thoughts, I began to think about why recent events bothered me so much. After all, Grey and I are acutely familiar with failure and rejection, why is it that this time I wasn't getting so caught up in this news? And that's the moment I decided it was time to be brutally honest, revealing a part of me that I'm not very proud of.

What I'm about to write is surly going to anger many, as I'll seem greedy and ungrateful. I know for a fact that the me of a year ago would be slapping the me of today if she saw this. But in an effort towards mapping out my train of thought, here goes. Back in December, when David had me doing visualizations, I decided to take the exercise to a whole new level. Instead of simply focusing on the cycle working, focusing on the positive outcome, I also decided to visualize the life I wanted to have. So in addition to watching my future children playing, I also visualized them coming into work with Grey and I. I visualized them being a part of the culture we worked in, interacting with other children who had parents who were scientists. I visualized both of us being successful in our careers, easily making the transitions that were needed. So when the news came in January that this cycle had not only resulted in a BFP, but that both embryos had implanted, I began to hope that maybe all of it would come true. After all, we had suffered for so long that maybe, just maybe we would finally be able to move beyond it all.

Needless to say, getting my hopes up only to part of them come crashing down threw me. I truly thought that after all the writing, the scrambling, the hours of discussion and the plans that something would come through. After all, this arena is what I knew. Granted, I knew the risks, but I never expected the rug to be completely pulled out from underneath us. Hence, I've been focusing on the trees. The trees that once held promise that have been stripped, girdled and even uprooted. Those beautiful trees that I planted and tended to that are now gone.

My issue at the moment is that I'm failing to see the forest. Sure, I logically know that it's there and that with death there is the possibility of new life. But my heart still isn't in for letting go what was lost. Thankfully Grey has been the one taking charge of the situation, viewing the ending of this postdoc as an opportunity to move forward with new and exciting things. He's making plans, networking and viewing being kicked out of the nest as an opportunity for freedom and to soar. More than once he's admitted he's frightened for what will come, but he's also excited to finally be free of the obligations of training. It goes without saying that I envy his strength and wisdom. Especially since I feel like I'm failing my family as the one bit of stability I had been building is gone.


  1. I so wish that this would have turned out differently for you. I wish that your professional dreams were coming true right along with your dreams of having children. I am also glad though. I'm glad that this isn't the end of the story, and I hope that your professional life surprises you at some point with the direction it takes. Easy for me to say, I know. You're the one living a life that isn't what you'd imagined it was going to be. Abiding with you as you navigate this valley.

  2. Oh, Cristy, I can relate to so much of this, as you know. It's scary, but I think we could both benefit from a little bit of our husbands' optimism that it will all turn out okay. I hope a new opportunity is around the corner for you!

  3. I had a panic the other day about going back to work, not just about what that means for Cheeks (me being away from her for 8 hours a day), but also about what that means for my dream of writing. Obviously, if I am at work 40 hours a week and away from my daughter, I am going to have to let that dream go. I simply won't have the time to commit to continuing to pursue it. And coming to that realization, broke my heart. Still does if I'm being totally honest, even as I am trying to find ways around it. I felt so guilty though. Here I am, this girl who now has the one thing she wanted so desperately, and I am now lamenting how that will limit my ability to have the other dream. It just felt so... selfish. So unbelievably selfish. But it was how I felt, and I couldn't will that away either.

    Point being, you aren't the only one who sometimes has trouble seeing the forest through the trees. So don't be so hard on yourself friend. Getting on dream, doesn't mean you stop wanting the other. It maybe should, but... it just doesn't.

  4. Life is so damn unfair :( I wish that I had the strength to see an opportunity whenever life comes crashing down. I don't know about you, but I'm not one of those lucky people who has one part of my life in the toilet, but 2 or 3 other parts going great. If one part is down, the rest are too. I guess the flipside is that when things start to look up, they look up all at once. I hope that your upswing starts happening soon and that everything falls into place.

  5. It is possible that what actually happens will be better than what you visualized. I've been in a similar employment situation with both hubby & I out of workat the same time and it all worked out. I was just as freaked out as you are ! Too bad there is no crystal ball.

  6. We just have no control over what twists and turns life throws us. If infertility has taught us anything, it's that. A quote I keep close is "Everything will be alright in the end, if it's not alright, it's not the end". Don't worry about the forest or the trees, you'll see them when it's time. And keep working on the cognitive distortions -- recognizing them is half the battle. Lots of love and hugs as you weather this storm. xo

  7. Hugs to you, Cristy. You realize more than most do about your current state and the way you're seeing the world. I hope that you find your way through the forest and see what needs to be seen. Life is such a struggle sometimes.

  8. Hey - you're doing great and you just feel what you need to feel when you need to feel it. I'm glad Grey is pumped about what is to come - take the time you need to grieve your losses; with time, you will come through this with perspective and strength.

    You are a survivor - you will make it through this. Your babes are survivors. Grey is a survivor. You can do this. But don't worry when you feel like you can't - these moments are necessary for moving forward.

    The best is yet to come.


Design by Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved