This is something I have been struggling to write. What do I do outside of the office? Honestly, the same things a lot of other people do. . . work to maintain that work/life balance. If I am being really real - it’s hard! I am a people pleaser by nature. Disappointing someone, anyone, is triggering. I want to be the best wife, mother, daughter, employee. . . the list goes on and on. So, I decided that if I wanted to do this right, I had to do another hard thing, be authentic. If you know me, like really know me, you know I am careful to share my stories. I guard them closely, because opening yourself up to someone comes with a risk. A risk of being judged or misunderstood. While I pride myself on being authentic, I would rather hear someone else’s story and be their support person than share my own, but I can do hard things. I also really value authenticity and vulnerability. In a time where mental health is still undervalued, it’s imperative to shine a light on the good times and bad, to reminder others that hope is never lost, and there is always light in the darkness. So, let’s start in the darkness:
September 29, 2019 - A year ago, I was drowning. Not in a literal sense, but in a metaphoric body flailing, can’t keep your head above water, soul crushing sense of the word. Life wasn’t working out the way I planned. I was stalled. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the future I imagined was no longer clear. I sat looking at a husband that completes me, that knows me better than I know myself at times, who lifts me up and has given me the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful little boy’s life: Preston, a kid that’s mine in every sense of the word, except one. In my mind, I was failing them both. I couldn’t give my husband a baby or Preston a sibling. Month after month you lose a part of yourself until you don’t know who you are if you can’t have a baby. There’s an overwhelming sense of being less than. It hits you in the moments you least expect, and there are constant reminders around you that you can’t do something most women can. As women, that’s how we define ourselves. It’s how we compare ourselves to others.
So, I overcompensate. I become unbearable to live with, because in my desperation I seek to become the best wife and mother possible - and I lose myself.
Then I see a post about a job I’m not remotely qualified for, but I decide it’s worth a conversation. I learn a little more and I’m in. I’ll be honest, it sounds crazy! Leave the job you’re great at, go do something you know nothing about, for someone you met just a year ago that has these wild plans that sound too good to be true! I needed a little crazy, and more importantly, I needed something for myself that I could feel good about and excel at.
My job has given me everything I never knew I needed: time alone to heal and just be, new experiences that give me the chance to find myself, and a purpose. My inability to “have a baby” doesn’t define my worth. Does it make it easier to imagine my life without a baby? Absolutely not. Are there still moments where I feel like I’m drowning? 100%, but it reminds me that I can do hard things and for now that’s enough.
P.S. You can do hard things too!
Now a little light, because we all need a little love and hope.
November 11, 2020 - Nine years ago I met you, a squishy faced boy who loved superheroes, snacks, and had a dad as a best friend. It took time for us to figure out how we fit in each other’s lives, and it wasn’t an easy road. With guarded hearts, we navigated the rocky waters. I never saw you take your first steps or say your first word, but I watched you confidently head into your first day of kindergarten, shared in the joy of your first touchdown, and comforted you during your first experience with death. With disappearing cheeks and a deeper voice, I’ve watched you become a teenager who’s wise beyond his years. Yesterday, in a courtroom, with a judge and your dad, I watched you become mine! After nice years, some tears, and a lot of love I can officially say that I became your mom!
Words can’t truly express how I feel. Eternally grateful. Thank you to your dad for trusting me, for bringing me into your lives, and allowing me to love you both. To your birth mom, thank you for creating a boy that’s changed our lives forever. For loving him and making the hardest choice possible for him. For putting him first. To you, my not so squishy faced boy, thank you for making me a mama. For teaching me so much about life. For making me a better person and for allowing me to be a part of your life.
August 13, 2021 - Today I am here. I am surviving. Surviving a pandemic, surviving a son entering high school, and surviving a baby that still isn’t here. All of that is what makes life beautiful. It’s messy, and complicated, and happy, and sad. I hope that if you’re reading this you know that you’re not alone, that there is beauty in the mess and that you can do ALL the hard things!