August 12, 2013

I Haven't Forgotten.

My name is Brittany.

I am an egg donor. I helped a couple bring two gorgeous twin girls into this world. All those extra embryos? (Seventeen to be exact) They were donated to science, and I hope that they helped figure out better ways to help infertility patients and couples trying to have children.

I am an infertile myself. Unexplained infertility. On paper, everything should work, but it doesn't, and I know many of you understand why this is beyond frustrating. It was almost four years of trying, tears & heartache before we welcome baby Lucas into our arms.

I am a miscarriage survivor. I went to the hospital one Friday night because of some bleeding, even though the nurses told me everything was fine. At 3am that Friday night/Saturday morning, all alone, with nobody with me (my husband was deployed) I found out I had lost the baby. I drove myself home. It took two days before I could get a hold of my husband to inform him. I also drove myself to the hospital for my D&C. My boss picked me up afterwards.

I have fought depression because of my infertility. My miscarriage threw me into a nasty downward spiral. One that I will never forget & one that I never want to see again.

A couple of Christmases ago, I drank a bottle & a half of wine because my best friend -- MY BEST FRIEND -- called me and told me that she was pregnant after her first month of trying. I cried -- sobbed -- for two days straight afterwards because I was incapable of being happy for her at that moment. To this day, I get angry when it is so easy for some, and yet still so hard for others. Life is not fair.

After all of this, and ONLY after this? I am a mother. Every day that I look at my son & think about the one on the way, I remember the road it took to get here. It may not have been as lengthy or as complicated, but it was messy and painful. I don't talk about it as often, because it brings back extremely bad memories, especially the year following my miscarriage. That time was one of the darkest times of my life, and not one that I like to bring to the surface.

But it doesn't mean I don't remember. Every day, I think about our struggle. Just because I have a child, doesn't mean I have forgotten. It doesn't mean that my heart doesn't hurt for those still trying, or that I don't feel the pain that others feel when bad things happen in their journey. I do my best to reach out to as many as I can, but sometimes I miss things.

So if you are in need of an ear, or feeling lost, lonely & without support, please know I am here. Whether I know you or not.

Because I promise. I may not talk about it every single day, but the memories are still very much alive.

August 9, 2013

Vocalizing Frustrations

Earlier this week, I stumbled upon this post over at the Renegade Mothering blog, titled "You Blissed Out Moms are Ruining Futures" by way of PAIL Bloggers. It was a post that struck a deep chord with me. I thought it was truthful, well-written and well, funny! I like funny. (Side note: I WILL be going back to her blog frequently because seriously. I love her writing!)

(Another side note: I had never seen this blog before, but a quick search through her site determined that she suffered from postpartum depression. Another connection, having been through it myself.)

The issue that she discusses in this blog post is harsh; the idea that talking about the struggles of motherhood, issues with your children, the BAD days, should be in fact discussed. Instead, many women out there are blissfully going about their ways, pretending that life is perfect while hiding the struggles that many of us -- MOST of us -- most likely are going through.

This was me after Lucas was born. Feeling alone. Far away from friends & family. Not knowing what the hell I was doing and wondering, constantly, how I was going to make this work. So I kept all my fears and my worries to myself because I didn't want to be deemed "ungrateful" for what I had. I WASN'T. Not even close. But all that bottling up did was make me feel even MORE alone and sent me into an awful bout with PPD. To this day, even with the hard days and nights -- the ones that make me want to crawl up into a ball in the corner of the room and burst into tears; the days where I want to run away and just have 24 hours alone, with my own thoughts, a shower and a fresh comfortable bed; the days where I think twice about leaving work on time because I know my toddler didn't sleep last night and I know that he's been fighting eating, which means tonight is going to be another frustrating struggle -- I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. ANYTHING. I love my kid more than life itself, and most days that love completely overwhelms me to a point of knocking me off my feet.

He is amazing. And awesome. And man, we tell ourselves every day, out loud, how blessed we are to have such an amazing kid in our life. How LUCKY we are to have this experience. This is not a lie. This conversation actually happens between me & my husband every. single. day.

But it doesn't change the fact that sometimes it's just really fucking hard. But for many, they are shamed into keeping these struggles to themselves. Talking about it is not OK. Renegade Mothering says otherwise, and this is why I was drawn to this post so much. That we should talk about these things, out loud, even if it means that someday our children might know how much of a pain in the ass they were at times:

I’m doing my kids a FAVOR by telling them the truth. That way, when my girl has her first baby and feels that death of self, maybe she won’t suffer quite like I did. Maybe she’ll know she can call her mom and talk to her about the real, the grit, the nasty, raw ugly truth.

And maybe I can help her with the truth of my own life.

Maybe my son will give me a call in 15 years and say “Mom, I think my wife is going through what you did. She won’t get out of bed and it’s scaring me. She says she doesn’t want the baby. Mom, what should I do? How did you get through this? I want to help her.”

And he’ll have the power and courage and knowledge to face the nasty, raw, ugly, life-saving gorgeous truth. That’s what I want to give.

My mom didn't talk to me about her struggles raising four kids practically solo. My dad worked -- a lot -- and was rarely around. It was just my mom for most of the time, and to be honest, I don't really have many memories of my dad around when I was little. It was college before they were divorced, but growing up there would be weeks before I would see him because he was always at work. Home after I went to bed. Back to work before I woke up. I KNOW this was not easy on my mom. How could it have been? But she never talked about it.

And not talking about it is what makes you feel alone. Lost. Depressed. Angry because you don't know what you are doing. I didn't feel like I could talk to my mom and because so many of my friends were going through infertility treatment, I didn't feel like I could talk to them, either. But I don't think that bottling anything up makes anything go away. Like RM said:

It may be harder, but it’s right. And it’s the only way to become free. Why waste our time devoted to a fantasy? Why waste our lives perpetuating lies, even though we have daily evidence of reality, of the truth? Why do we justify a constant disconnect between what we’re experiencing and what we portray to the world?

Is there a faster track to insanity?

I don't think that this necessarily related to just letting your children know how hard it is. I think it's important for other mom's as well, whether you are a foster mom, adopted mom, gave birth to your own or are actively trying to be a mother in many forms. Nobody writes honest books about the ups and down. Nobody tells you how hard this can truly be. BUT WE SHOULD. It's why I'm quick to offer my experiences when I see a friend struggling. It's why I don't feel bad complaining about the lack of sleep that I have gotten because my toddler wakes up screaming in the middle of the night (thank you, molars). It's why I vocalize my frustrations with Lucas throwing entire meals onto the floor without taking a bite. It's why I wrote about how sad & angry I was after having a baby. It's all so that maybe someone out there will feel less alone. Maybe they will feel like they have someone to relate to. Somebody who understands EXACTLY what they are going through at that moment. Shaming somebody for being vocal is the quickest way to make them push their feelings & sadness farther down, closer to the brink of crazy.

That's wrong.

Everybody is different. We all are at very different parts in our journey. But if I can find closeness with a few people who are in the same boat as myself every once in a while, then I'll continue to do it. A friend on facebook said it best the other day; I shouldn't need to qualify how much I love my child and how grateful I am for this experience every time we have a bad day. Bad day's happen.

You don't have to like it, or understand it. You can unfollow, or stop reading without hurting my feelings, or most likely anyone else in that situation. But if you're going stick around, then let's all be understanding. If someone is going to speak out, don't make them feel bad for doing so. Sure, there are those out there that ARE ungrateful. But think twice about if that is really the case before telling a mother who hasn't slept in three days to be thankful for what she has. Most likely, deep down, you know that she really is. You may not know how she is feeling, however, or if she is on the brink of something dangerous to herself.

Let's just lift each other up and leave the shaming elsewhere, mmkay?

August 7, 2013

July Adventures

It wasn't until I was going through some photos I recently uploaded for friends & family that I realized how jam packed our month of July was! It seemed that every weekend we were off doing something, and most of the time as a family! These past few months have just been so awful, so it's nice to look back at these past few weeks & see that even amidst the shit storm, we still made time together as a family (most of the time) to do something.

It's been great and so much fun. Part of me is sort of glad we aren't moving in a few weeks, so we can enjoy the weather here a little longer and do a few more things. There are a couple of places we still want to visit, and the beach is perfect this time of year.

The first weekend of July, Lucas and I headed North to Charlottesville, VA, to visit one of my dearest and greatest friends, Lauren. It was a weekend filled with orchards, vineyards (including Dave Matthew's personal vineyard ... Swoon!), a fantastic farmer's market, gorgeous scenery, too much humidity and hanging out and just enjoying time with a friend that I miss dearly! Lucas and I both had a blast, and while it was the farthest I had traveled with Lucas by car by myself (five hours total with stops) we had a blast. I LOVE that area. I had been once before when my best friend came out and we made the trek to see a Dave Matthews Band concert (die hards, I tell you), so I was happy to get back. Simply gorgeous & hopefully we as a family can make it up there again to see Lauren and her husband before we move/they take off to their next location!

The husband and I also decided one Saturday that we needed to get out of town, so we made the drive up to Raleigh (about an hour and a half drive for us) to visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science. We didn't really know what to expect but were pleasantly surprised by how wonderful this museum was! Completely kid friendly and Lucas LOVED every bit of it. It was so fun to see him run around and get excited about fish in tanks, live butterflies and all the other things he could get his hands on! We will definitely be heading back there soon.

Then, of course, since it's blistering hot here (well, not as bad as it COULD be. It's been a pretty mild summer in our neck of the woods) we've spent lots of time in various friends' pools as well as visiting the beach. Lucas loves the water and loved digging in the sand last weekend when we headed out to the Wilmington area. If I can convince the husband to do so, I want to go back out there this weekend! It's a bit of a drive, and parking is a bitch, but it was worth it for the time we were able to spend out there.

What about you? What have you done this summer? What are your favorite things to do in your area? I can't wait for August and September, and all the things we have planned!

August 5, 2013

Taking Advantage of an Opportunity

I just wanted to say thanks to those who reached out after my last blog post! Dang. It's honestly nice to not feel so alone -- I wish I could find more of you!

It seriously sucks balls when you don't really know where you belong. I had been trying to explain this to a couple of friends this week, but unless you're HERE, feeling lost and alone, words can't really explain it. The Infertility community is an amazing community, and when I needed it in the beginning, when we started our journey damn near six years ago, it was a life saver for me. I have met some amazing women who are working hard every day to fight for infertility rights & I applaud the efforts that they continue to do. But I get that feeling that I'm not wanted (or welcome?) anymore, and that's fine. I will always support when I can but I also need support, not radio silence. As I have mentioned before, it's a two way street. I have given a lot, and right now when my life is a huge clusterfuck of who knows what, I need a little in return. So onwards I move & new friends to be found, as well as clinging a little tighter to the good ones I have now.

It's been great talking to a few of you through comments, messages, emails, etc. And I hope those of you who feel the way I do know that there is a place for us, somewhere. But this is the last I'm going to mention of this, because, well, it just makes me sad. Being left out is a shitty feeling, and that's very much how I feel right now. But it is what it is, and I'm over it, focusing on new things. New people. New projects.

Speaking of new projects, I've kind of got one of my own. I mentioned previously (and am mentioning here!) that with my newfound unemployment (nine working days left, people. I am kind of freaking out!) I have to sort of figure out what I want to do. I feel like I am not quite in a mid-life crisis but close. While I am sad to be leaving the workforce, there is a lot of positives to this new abundance of time that I will have.

First and foremost is extra time with Lucas. This kid is a sponge & is growing/changing daily. I cannot keep up with how fast he is growing and I feel like I have missed so much working the past year. I cannot wait to spend some more time with him, especially before baby #2 comes in January. I know he won't remember it, the extra time together these next six months, but I most definitely will. I am looking forward to all the great things that we will get to do together (as well as the frustrating times that come as well!)

But I'm also going to take some time to focus on me. Figure out what I want out of life. Find a new passion or reignite an old one. I will be writing about it, but not here. If you would LIKE to follow along, please feel free (although don't feel obligated!). You can find the new blog here:

There isn't much there right now. Four posts to be exact, and nothing in the past couple of weeks. My timeline is sort of this; I've got less than two weeks of work left, followed immediately by two weeks in Seattle to visit family & a few friends. I fully plan on taking that time to recharge & reenergize myself. Man, I really need this trip. Unfortunately my husband won't be able to come with me (boo Army!) but it was important that Lucas & I got home for a little while before I can't fly anymore.

When we get back, then it's game on. We don't know where we will be, or what we are doing just yet, but hopefully by then we will have some answers and some new orders for a new duty station. I don't plan on being a stay at home mom forever. I like working. But until then, I am going to take full advantage of this opportunity. Spend more time with the kiddo, but also figure out what the hell I want out of my own life. And I plan on documenting all of it over there. Art projects. Cooking classes. Hiking adventures. Graphic design mishaps. ALL OF IT. So please feel free to join me.

Love you all. Happy Monday!

August 1, 2013

Now What?

So there we were. Waiting on orders for a military move that apparently are never going to come. Not for this assignment at least. It's nearly official, save for some paperwork from a Colonel up the chain. Fort Gordon & Georgia are not happening. Not for this assignment.

This whole process, the MONTHS it has taken us to get here, is beyond frustrating. If it wouldn't take me an entire day to sit here and detail the chain of events, I would. But trust me when I say it is ridiculous.

I could cry.

Instead I try to do the normal military spouse thing and be strong for my husband. This is his career, not mine, and I know his frustration levels are much higher than mine. While we wait, we need to also figure out our next move. Hopefully, once things are finalized, we can find a new job. Bottom line is we can't stay here at Bragg, so a move is inevitable. But will that be two months from now or next year? We don't know. All the meanwhile, I sit here wondering what's next for our life. Where will we go? What will we do? What will *I* do? I don't have a job as of two weeks from now, due to unfortunate circumstances with my current employer. A trip to Seattle will be happening a couple of weeks but once I'm back, then ... ??? I don't know.

I need ... something. Most of our close friends have moved away. The twitter community (where I have gone in the past for support when needed) I feel has turned into this high school clique where once again, I'm not cool enough to hang with the in-crowd. Instead, I just use it to bitch about my daily frustrations, while shared successes & happy moments are rarely celebrated with me. It's a place where I end up apologizing more often than I should or feeling bad for sharing what's happening/how I'm feeling when that should not at all the case. Regardless, I miss having friends nearby and with our always changing army situation, I'm just feeling a little lost as to where exactly I fit in these days. It seems to really be nowhere.

I know this all sounds entirely childish. My insecurities are running rampant these days, if you could not tell. Maybe it's the extra hormones that are making me more sensitive than usual, but there is just this feeling of "what next?" Aside from a small, tiny handful of individuals, it's hard to talk about all of this with anybody due to the complicated nature of how we got where we are. But it's really only those few individuals who are asking. I will admit that I am jealous of some of the friendships I have seen develop & wishful that I could find more people that understand. This bubble that I'm in is a complicated one. I relied on the infertility world for so long, but with sort of getting the boot from that group (with no blame on anyone) but not really fitting into a normal "mommy group" I sort of feel myself wandering, reaching out to people, testing the waters and so desperately wanting to ask "will you be my friend?" It's dumb. I realize this. My nonsensical fear of people not liking me, you would think, would be long gone by 32 years old. But alas, here it sits.

Lack of support seems to be a common theme with me. So maybe it's my fault? I think I need to step back for a while and stop putting what I need on others and just tackling the issue on my own. Point of all of this being (sorry it took so long to get there) that I need to stop expecting sympathy, and instead realize that with my upcoming unemployment, take the opportunity to figure my life out; find a new passion and run with it, whatever that passion might be. Be more selective about who I open my heart to because nine times out of ten, I don't really get anything back and that's not fair. I'll probably be stepping back from social media because really, what good is it? (don't answer that. I know there is lots of good to it!) But for me, it's not serving as the outlet that I need it to, that it once was. Those that care, they know where to find me. Those that don't care, well, that's fine, too.

So yeah. Mission. To better my life. To not feel like a wanderer who doesn't really get to wander. To cut out some more negative and find some more positive. We will see what happens.