empty arms syndrome

Once again, nature has confirmed that I’m not pregnant. Maybe we should buy stock in Kleenex, as I’m going through a couple of boxes a week these days. I know it’s not healthy to focus on the negative things, that I should be grateful for all of the blessings in my life, but I can’t stop crying today. Actually, just about every day I wind up in tears; there’s always something that reminds me of how empty my arms are.

With my 40th birthday right around the corner, I’m constantly fighting the panic rising in my throat and the voice in my head telling me that it’s too late for us. Right now we’re debating fertility testing. I’m not sure there’s much point, really, because we can’t afford any kind of assisted reproduction techniques. Our insurance doesn’t cover it and we can barely pay our medical bills as it is. Plus, I’m hesitant to try Clomid (should that be a viable option) because it could make my depression worse. We’d love to adopt, and are looking into it, but I don’t know how in hell we would pay for that, either.

I’m just so tired of dealing with infertility. First, after we got married, one of my doctors said I shouldn’t get pregnant because my antiseizure medication might be too dangerous for the baby. Then last summer we consulted a perinatologist, who thought that after some medication adjustments we could go ahead and try; I’d be a high-risk pregnancy, but we’d have a good shot at a healthy baby. Now I can’t even get pregnant. And one by one, my friends have been getting pregnant and having adorable, lovely babies.

It feels as though motherhood is happening for everyone around me, and I just want to scream “Why not me?!” Am I being punished for something? Am I just totally deficient as a woman? We are so lonely for a child of our own. I’m happy for my friends, I truly am. But why, God, can’t I have a baby too?

I apologize for the pity party, but I needed to vent.

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i survived boot camp

HOW did it get to be July 23 already? This summer is going by so fast–too fast! I spent the first part of the summer at Chronic Pain Boot Camp. Well, technically, the correct name is The Chronic Pain Program (through the MAPS Pain Clinics), but it certainly felt more like boot camp: four hours a day of intensive physical therapy, support group and education around living with chronic pain, and relaxation therapy. I haven’t moved so much in years, and everyday I came home and did nothing but veg out and sleep. Same thing on the weekends. Yet, to my surprise, I not only survived but am feeling and doing better than I have in years–a couple of weeks ago I actually went HIKING up at Gooseberry Falls, much to George’s (and my) amazement!

The Pain Program is offered for patients who suffer from chronic pain which can’t be cured, and the goal is to help patients learn to cope with their pain and return to living active, productive lives. I finally have tools to help me manage my fibromyalgia, back pain, migraines, etc., and, after so many years of feeling like pain victim, I feel as though I have my life back at long last. My only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner–I would have if I’d known about it! Apparently, this type of program is the recommended treatment for fibromyalgia. Grrr. Oh well, I’ve told all of my doctors to recommend this to their other patients with fibro, so I hope other folks won’t wind up going for years without any real help.

My goal now is to keep up with the gains I’ve made by keeping up with my exercise regimen, eating healthfully, getting enough sleep and practicing relaxation techniques. I’m also planning to do some volunteering at the Basilica and with the Obama campaign; I’m hoping I can parlay the latter into some kind of job doing grassroots organizing. Oh, and I also want to try my hand at doing some freelance writing.

I hope all of you will forgive me for being such a lousy friend over the last year or so. Looking back, I think my mom’s death triggered a fibromyalgia relapse, and I’ve really struggled with both terrible pain and, even more, the frustration, anger, loneliness and grief that accompanied it. Still, that’s an explanation, not an excuse. I hope my friends will, please, let me make it up to you in the future. 🙂

discernment

So here’s my prayer for the day:

Lord, teach me to be generous,
Teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not count the cost,
to fight and not heed the wounds,
to toil and not seek for rest,
to labor and not ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.
–St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuit order), The Spiritual Exercises

When someone is given a great deal, a great deal will be demanded of that person;
when someone is entrusted with a great deal, of that person even more will be expected.
(Luke 12:48)

Or to paraphrase, what Fr. Neenan (good Jesuit that he is) said to begin my Boston College orientation: “To whom much has been given, much is expected.” (The Jesuit mantra, at least the B.C. Jesuits!)

This has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve believed this for years. But belief is one thing, putting that belief into practice is another. Please pray for me as I struggle with the question of how. How do I use my gifts (for I know that I have been very, very blessed) in a responsible way, in spite of my physical, etc. limitations? How do I discern what God’s call is for me today?

“The greatest glory of God is the human person fully alive.”
–St Ignatius of Lyons (or Antioch? I don’t remember!)

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