8.07.2013

My take on "So...When you gonna have kids?"

I can't get this article out of my head. I think I have read it ten times already wondering if there is anything I can add to it. So I thought I would share my thoughts and story.

Brad and I got married when I was 19 and he was almost 24. I think this is pretty typical in Utah. After 6 months I decided my body was done gaining weight and being an emotional wreck due to birth control so I stopped taking it. I thought for sure I would become pregnant in a few short months. So naive... Or hopeful?

After a year of nothing, at my "yearly" I asked my doctor if I should be concerned and if there was anything I could do to better prepare my body for pregnancy and any preliminary tests that could be done. He told me "you are twenty years old. Why are you worrying about getting pregnant?" STOP right there! Obviously I knew something wasn't right, and maybe if he would have listened to my concerns and not taken them so lightly I would have started testing a little earlier and avoided years of emotional pain. But I didn't. I went on with my life thinking maybe it really just isn't time...

Shortly after that I got a phone call from my younger sister who was in tears and terrified and slowly broke the news to me that she was pregnant. We both were bawling over the phone especially when she said, "I'm sorry I did this to you. I know being pregnant is what you have wanted for a long time." I tried to help her as much as I could. In short, I tried to understand.   I was very bitter towards her (even though I tried to hide it as best I could). I haven't even told her this and really need to ask her forgiveness! (Sorry for keeping this from you Ness! ... Love you!!!) So I tried my best to support her and to love my soon to be nephew. I focused my energy into throwing her a baby shower. I felt like serving her was the best way for me to show my love and support and think of her pregnancy in a positive way. And it helped. And so was the story for each person that got pregnant after her.

We moved to Arizona that fall and in our new ward everyone we hung out with had experienced fertility problems. I am so grateful for the comfort I received from those who had gone through what I was going through. This was a pretty emotional time in my life anyways, being away from the life I had known, but every time I found out someone was pregnant I would have an emotional breakdown. I couldn't help it but to think why them and not me?

I hated meeting new people and going to gatherings because without fail I would be asked, "so how long have you guys been married?" Followed by... "That's a long time... When are you going to have kids?" OR a conversation with newlyweds... "I'm going to go off birth control in {fill in the month} and hope to be pregnant by {fill in the next month}. BAH! If only it was that easy...

I felt left out. I couldn't go to play dates, exercise groups, trips to Phoenix, lunches, etc. that all the moms get to do together. I've seriously considered blocking people from my social media accounts who are pregnant or have babies because the ten million pictures of your child and your pregnant belly and your status' that start with "to all the moms out there..." - really don't make me feel all that great. But I haven't. So if one day I start posting constant belly pictures and a constant feed of photos of my child on anything BUT my personal blog CALL ME OUT on it. I don't wanna become a hypocrite.

At church there are like 4 nurseries so babies are always present. Babies are always the topic of conversation. And at least 5 people are always pregnant (you may think I'm joking, but I'm not). Talk about a constant reminder. Mother's Day has never been so hard for me. Especially being called a "wanna-be" mom. OUCH. It's ok I'm over it.. Kind of...

And one day this year brad was finally asked The Question. Finally He could understand how awkward it is to try to answer and how absolutely terrible it makes you feel. How not a part of the culture we are to have been married for 5 years with no children. He came home that night and as we were talking he came up with THE best answer to The Question....

"We are actually looking for a surrogate would you be willing?"

Of course I never actually respond that way but it would be hilarious to do it sometime... I don't know that men understand how much it hurts to experience infertility as much as women do. I know that times are changing, and some may disagree with me on this, but it's culture. They aren't taught since they are 3 how to hold a baby, how to be a good mommy, etc. They don't go to church and have a lesson on anything and have it turn into a lesson on being a better mother.

I HATE The Question more than anything. I hate being reminded that I am different. I hate being reminded that I don't have to wake up in the middle of the night to a crying child, that I don't have to lose baby weight, that I don't have to change diapers or get spit up on my clothes. I want to do all of that! I welcome it with open arms!

I HATE hearing people who pop kids out like its nothing tell me that "my time will come". Seriously I would rather you not say anything at all and change the subject than to tell me "my time will come". Because I can assure you that 250% of the time tears follow those 4 words (along with a complete breakdown once I get home). I know you are trying to comfort me, but really just DO NOT say that to me!!!

Now I hope I'm not coming off bitter because I'm truly not...anymore. I used to be, but I like to think I have changed. The Question still hurts though and I hope you can see why. I hope that the article floating around Facebook has given you a new perspective and that next time you want to ask The Question you won't. You will wait for the other person to start talking about having children before you ask a completely inappropriate question. That you remember that WHEN a couple is going to have children is their business. NOT anyone else's. That if someone trusts you enough and considers you a friend they will invite you into their world of hurt and share their concerns and their feelings with you. They will look to you for comfort and sometimes even for help. Let them know that you are there for them (not that you know how they feel... Unless you actually do know). Invite them to as many activities as possible so that they don't feel even more left out than they already are. Get to know them and try to escape your home and children every once in a while for a date night or a girls night... Girls nights are amazing... In case you have forgotten...

I have learned that I need to love this time that I get with my husband because I know I will be a mom one day. I don't want to look back and remember the "non-parenting" years of my life as sad, terrible and bitter days. I want to look back at them and see how much fun we have had just the two of us together. How much fun we have spoiling our sweet Rox (who is just as much a child to me as your non-furry child is to you). How I was able to support our family throughout college and grad school. How much prep time I have gotten to be able to be the best mother I can be once our sweet children join our family. We have a lot of heart ache and unanswered questions ahead of us, so please make it easier on us and those around you who you may not know are struggling with infertility... And Don't ask The Question!

4.05.2013

5 years ago..


I cannot believe it has been five years since the man of my dreams asked me to marry him.  Where has the time gone?  What a fun and amazing night that was... April 5, 2008.  It was General Conference weekend and the men were all at the priesthood meeting.  Tiffany, Lacey and I planned to go shopping and then we were meeting a HUGE group at Applebees for dinner.  Tiff, Lacey and I went to Hobby Lobby - probably when my addiction started and we all decided to get a big letter of our last name -- Tiff got a B, Lacey got and H and I... well I didn't know what to get.  They talked me into getting a T for my "soon to be" last name.  I thought Brad is for sure going to think I am crazy.  He hasn't even proposed and I'm buying the letter of his last name to hang in a home that we don't even live in... Little did I know Tiff and Lacey were probably dying inside because they knew what was going to happen that night.

We met everyone at Applebees - Bradley, my sister, Hicks, Mills, Darren, Tiff and Ryan, Nate and Nikki, Lacey and Jason.  We ate dinner and everyone - especially Brad was very anxious to get out of there and go to my house and watch a movie.  Brad suggested that we watch the Notebook or a scary movie. One of Brad's friends, trying to make things difficult for him, tried to talk everyone into watching a scary movie... I was all for it. I love scary movies!

Well dinner was over and we all headed back to my parents house to watch this movie.  My first hint should have been that my parents, nor my siblings would leave the basement.  I remember I kept complaining that there were married people in the room and we were all grown ups... They wouldn't listen and we got the movie started - The Notebook.  We were all snuggled up when all of a sudden - and all at the same time - Brad's parents walk in, my sister whips out the video camera, and Brad and Hicks pop onto the screen!  The on-screen Brad tells me why he loves me and that the Brad in real life has something he wanted to ask me... and before I know it there are a dozen roses, a ring and Brad is on one knee proposing to me.

I had dreamed of this day since I was a little girl and it was completely perfect.  We were surrounded by family and friends who supported and loved us and we had each other.  We would soon be married for time and all eternity.  Nothing else in the world mattered. Or so we thought... oh the joys of planning a wedding :)

It's funny how while you are dating you can't wait to be engaged.  And when you are engaged you can't wait to be married. And when you're married for almost 5 years you look back and think about how amazing it was dating and getting to know your spouse and having to say good night at the end of the night and wishing so badly that you could spend the night with them.  How amazing the anticipation was of your futures together, the great things that would come, the struggles you would have to work through and all of the time you would get to spend together.  I think that sometimes life becomes so mundane - especially when you spend more time away from home than you do at home that these special things are forgotten.  There's probably no better feeling than being together.  I still LOVE cuddling with my Bradley, but I need to do better at remembering how special our relationship is.  I wouldn't trade it for the world.  After 5 years of it being just us, I've really gotten to know and depend on that amazing man of mine.

I think the best feeling came the next day when I was snuggling up to Brad while we watched conference.  He was holding my hand and couldn't stop playing with the ring on my finger.  Neither of us could believe it was real and here we are 5 years later.

3.11.2013

YW March: Atonement - What is Grace?

WHAT IS GRACE?



You might ask yourself what brownies and pennies have to do with grace.  They don't have much to do with it actually, unless they are put into context.  I began my lesson handing out the paper envelopes with different amounts of pennies in them to each girl and leader.  They ranged from 2-9 pennies.  I told the girls that the brownies cost 10 cents and if any of them had 10 cents they could buy a brownie.  To their disappointment no one had 10 cents.  :( They could not pool together money and they could not earn money.  I told them we would see at the end of the lesson if there was any way that they could buy a brownie.  I got that idea from sugardoodle here.

We then looked up Grace in the Bible Dictionary.  I had the girls read this outloud and we wrote down what Grace is defined as. 

I wanted the girls to read and study and ponder about what grace means to them. I didn't want to just read to them quotes and stories I wanted them to read them and to search the scriptures. So after the introduction to Grace I started a "Silent Lesson".  I set up different stations around the room based on  a talk called "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox found here.  I thought it was much more age appropriate and the girls could better relate to it.  I also used the scriptures from the lesson found here.  They did this individually and I made enough copies of each station so that they could write on it/keep it/do whatever they wanted. We also have journals that we keep at the church for each girl so they carried those with them and wrote their answers and thoughts in those as well.

1st Station:  how does god's grace really work?  They read the section from the talk and wrote down their thoughts. 

2nd Station: Grace Helps us.  They read the section from the talk and Philippians 4:13 and Jacob 4:6-7.  I asked them to write how Grace can help them in their lives. I really liked this quote from this part of the talk:


"There should never be just two options: perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives. When we understand grace, we understand that the blessings of Christ’s Atonement are continuous and His strength is perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). When we understand grace, we can, as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, 'continue in patience until [we] are perfected' (D&C 67:13)."

3rd Station: Grace transforms us.  They read the section from the talk and read Moroni 10: 32-33.  I asked them to think and write about How are we perfected? How can Grace transform your life?

My favorite quote from this part of the talk was:

"The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can live after we die but that we can live more abundantly (see John 10:10). The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed (see Romans 8). Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God (see Alma 40:26), but no unchanged thing will even want to.
The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there. If Heavenly Father and His Son did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change."


The 4th station: How Are We Saved?

They read from "True to the Faith" on Grace and Ephesians 2:8-9 and 2 Nephi 25:23. 

5th station:  they read the second part of "true to the faith" about receiving grace throughout their lives and why that would be important for them. 

I gave them 5-7 minutes at each station and then concluded to wrap up the penny object lesson.  I asked them to share what they had learned or any quotes that they liked.  I also asked them if they had thought of a way to get the extra money to buy a brownie.  After letting them think I asked them what happens when we make a mistake and have short comings?  Christ has already paid for the price for us to be able to be perfected.  Christ makes up for our short comings.  Even when its only 1 penny or as many as 8.  He is there for us and wants us to make it back to his presence.  But, we have to do our part.  Your part today was learning about grace.  Now all you have to do is ask for help.  I showed them the jar of extra pennies that I had and asked if they had thought to ask me for help.  Of course they all started asking for me to make up the difference and they were all able to buy a brownie.  The important part to stress in this object lesson is that we can't just be given grace.  We need to do our part and after we have done all that we can do, then christ will make up the difference and we will be perfected through him. 

I thought this was the easiest way to give this lesson on a somewhat deep topic relating to the atonement.  I think that through a silent lesson the girls were more keen to the spirit and what grace means and can do for them in their lives. If you would like a copy of the station hand outs email me here instead of posting a comment. That way I can be sure to see your request! 

3.06.2013

Life... as it was and as it is...

It's one of those nights where I'm supposed to be writing a 1600 word research paper on the constitution, but I've got way too much on my mind and must unload before I can load more into it!!!  Thank heavens my online 8 week political science crash course is done this Saturday at midnight.  I don't think I've ever had a more demanding class... intellectually and time-wise.  Holy Moly... this paper is going to be the death of me... Anyways here goes with the unloading...It seems like its been forever since I've blogged... partially because I could not remember what new email I created for it ha.. not good.  But at last I have found it and here I am.

Earlier this week I had the most random thing happen to me.  One of my old neighbors that I haven't heard from since I was in 9th grade.. so literally 10 years... contacted me on Facebook.  It's so strange what things start popping into your head when you think about what your life was like 10 years ago.  I started thinking about the late nights the kids in our neighborhood would spend at the park behind my house.  I started thinking about what SUMMER used to feel like.  What an amazing, magical time it was.  A complete break from everything.  You could be whoever you wanted to be, spend time with whoever and whenever.  Again.. . how magical were summer nights in middle school and high school???

I remember always cuddling up in a sweatshirt, but wearing short shorts and flip flops.  I remember talking so deeply and loving so freely.  I remember the best of times with my best friends, the Pink Pythongs and the B-52's.  I remember drive in movies, I remember back tickles, I remember jeep rides and fighting over driving Ian's Jetta, I remember movies on the side of houses, I remember dance offs to Black Eyed Peas, I remember high school dances, I remember the fourth of July, I remember the 24th of July, I remember meeting the most random people and forming friendships/relationships, I remember being boy crazy and fearless, I remember sneaking out, I remember Studio 600, I remember kill-bang-marry, I remember hot tubs and pools, I remember not having a care in the world.

Looking back, I don't think I would trade much.  I look back at the fun that I had and think about the person I am today because of the people I have met along the way.  I look back and think what decisions I could have made that would have prevented me from meeting and marrying my amazing husband.  I look back and think about how different my life would be and how I wouldn't want my life any other way than what it is right now.  As busy as I am.  As busy as Brad is.  As far away from home we are. From Friends. From Family. From our pasts and our future.  We are soooo happy and more importantly in love.  I know the decisions we made in our pasts may not have been perfect, but some of them couldn't have been more perfect in leading us to each other.  It's crazy how many different paths your decisions could take you down.  It's also crazy looking back that the decisions you made that put you on the right path to the greatest joy you could ever imagine.

Here's to good memories of love, friendship and magical summers! Here's to my old friends - Trista, Vannessa, Jessica, Ashlee, Jill, Celeste, and the B-52's... Just a little blast from the past. Miss you guys..