Perfect Moment Monday: Opening Day

Over the last 15 months there have been few things that have made me happy in my life.  Trying to find positives in a shitty situation has been near impossible.  What’s helped me get through it obviously are my wife and support system.  That support system includes other family and friends, my therapist who I saw for 7 months in 2013 and the many wonderful people I’ve met online.  One of those many wonderful people is Lori Holden, who is an Adoptive Mom and infertility survivor.  I’ve mentioned her in a number of blog posts.  I can’t say enough nice things about her and the type of person she is.  Her book “The Open-Hearted way to Open Adoption” is a must read for anyone considering pursuing adoption or who is an Adoptive Parent.

One of the many wonderful things Lori does through her blog is post a column the last Monday of every month called “Perfect Moment Monday”.  Lori describes what “The Perfect Moment” as being:

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

For months I had gone by and not participated in describing a Perfect Moment that I’ve had because I had been so down.  But recently I realized that I do have Perfect Moments, I just was too depressed to realize it.

I’ve described before on this blog that I am a huge sports fan especially when it comes to my teams (Mets, NY Giants and NY Rangers).  One of my favorite annual sporting events is Opening Day in baseball.  My first Mets Opening Day was on March 31, 1998 at Shea Stadium.  It was my Senior Year of High School and took the day off.  It was also the only Opening Day I’ve been too that I’ve been able to wear shorts and a T-Shirt too.  Every other Opening Day I’ve been too (6 others) it’s been frigid as it usually is in April in Queens.

Today will mark my 8th Opening Day I’ve been too.  For me as a Met fan they are my Perfect Moments.  It’s the start of the baseball season and a new beginning for the Metsies.  It’s a day that I take off from work to celebrate my love for baseball and the Mets.  It’s the first day to “Meet the Mets” for that season.  The Mets are 0-0 with a 162 games left that leave a world of possibilities.  And the Mets have the best record on Opening Day (34-18) of any team in baseball history, so you are almost sure to see them win.  Even though typically in my lifetime the Mets have been pretty bad outside of the mid to late 80′s, late 90′s and 2005-2008.  It’s not about that for me.  It’s about having fun and celebrating something I love to do and that is go to the ballpark to see a game.

Every Opening Day is a Perfect Moment for me that I am sure to experience today……………..even though I may not notice it at the time.

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One year Blogiversary

It was one year ago today that I made my first blog post. Though I didn’t start blogging that much until around Father’s Day last year when I began writing blog posts on a regular basis. I think about where I was at when I wrote that post and how much I hurt and how ignorant I was. I think about how hard it was for me to cope and how dark things were. It was a scary place, a place that I don’t wish anyone should have to go through.

One year later I wouldn’t say I’ve done a 180 but I’m in a much better place than I was one year ago both personally and in my marriage. Though our situation regarding having children has not changed, I’ve learned to cope with things better. It’s interesting right now I’m at a work conference where I’m meeting new people getting the do you have kids questions and whereas last year I would have said no and had it trigger me, I’m now saying “We aren’t able to have kids”. Those questions aren’t as triggering but they still leave me left out of conversations making it hard to engage in those discussions. The point is my perspective has changed but to a certain extent I recognize that I’ll always hurt no matter how K and I proceed.

I’m not sure where we are heading. Because of everything we have going on in our lives it’s not the right time to make that decision. Though with my 34 birthday less than 3 months away (entering my mid 30′s), I know that we’ll have to make a decision about whether to adopt in the next 2-3 years before we get too old. I can’t see us raising an infant in our early 40′s.

In the meantime, I have my Big Brother training in less than three weeks which will open a new door to hopefully help someone else. I don’t know whether I will be accepted into the program but won’t know unless I try. I’m exciting and nervous as to the opportunity it will bring.

I would like to thank you all for reading and providing me with great feedback over the last year. I hope that you enjoy and continue to provide great feedback and that I’m able to provide you with interesting content to read. I also hope that I’ve been able to provide you some perspective of what a man going through infertility is feeling and going through.

Best wishes to all of you on your journeys.

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Role Reversal

For the past 14 months my wife has been there for me as best as she can. She has listen to me open up as to how I am hurting. She has been there to comfort me. She has been there to let me know she’ll be there for me no matter what. It has not been easy for her putting up with me while at the same time dealing with her own grief from our infertility and what will never be.

But now there are more pressing issues in our life and especially her life. Over the Thanksgiving holiday my MIL was diagnosed with cancer. She had it removed but now is beginning Chemo. The prognosis is good but the chemo treatments are not going to be pleasant. My wife is very close to my MIL. This woman is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. She is the typical Italian mother who is sweet and with a great heart. Needless to stay my wife is struggling with the situation. Anyone in her position would.

What our roles were the last 14 months have now switched. As my wife was there for me, I need to be there for her. That’s the way it’s always been for us. One of us has always been there for the other in our times of need. Be it her being there for me when I had a dead end job or me being there for her when we found out her father had cancer it’s helped us navigate through the tough times in our lives.

It’s a weird place to be in right now. With the exception of this situation I’m in a good place and pursuing adoption and remaining childless forever is the last thing on my mind. But make no mistake about it this is a very serious matter that brings us down. The only thing to do is be there for my family because that’s what families do. They’re there for one another on their time of need whether there is a biological connection or not.

It does get easier

After a rough few weeks……….I take that back, after a rough 14 months I think I might be turning the corner. First an update off of my last post, I got my four references needed to apply for my local Big Brother program. Earlier today I submitted my application and signed up for a training in early April. It’s a bit of a wait so I am disappointed on that end but I’ll be traveling for work when their March training is. The important thing though is I’m moving in a direction and I’m excited about the prospect of making a difference.

Last night I went to a Happy Hour with some old co workers that I haven’t seen in two years. It was great to see them as they were a fun group to work with. All of them have children included one friend who went through infertility from my understanding and her and her husband recently adopted her grandniece. I had reached out to her last year for some advice on adoption. I didn’t divulge many details back then just said K and I may not be able to have children. The topic of children was being talked after this friend had left. That was when I opened up and told the group that K and I were unable to have children with ease.

For the first time opening up about what we’ve been through I didn’t get upset or reflect. It was a smooth conversation. Though they did turn the conversation to adoption. But they weren’t annoying about it. Overall I handled it well not really getting upset or emotional during it all.

Maybe I am turning the corner. Maybe this does get easier with time. Maybe I can do this and make it out better than when I was when I started……

Coming to terms with being Childless before moving on

Those of you who follow me on twitter know I’ve been in a bitchy mood lately. I’ve snapped at a number of people for being happy about their pregnancy (LOL, yeah that petty). I’ve been going at it at home with my wife sleeping in the Guest Room a number of nights. The weird thing is I’m not sure why.

I’ve been exercising more than I have in the last two years. I’ve dropped more than 10 lbs since Christmas losing the weight I put in on 2013. Not that I was fat because I’ve never been fat. I was chunky and my clothes were starting to get tight. I set a goal of getting down from 165 to 145 by mid May. As of last Saturday I’m down to 152. So that’s a good thing. But why have I been acting like a bitch if I at least have this?

The reason is that over a year later my wife and I still have yet to make a decision as to whether we will pursue adoption. I am itching for us to move in some type of direction even if it just means beginning to look at adoption agencies w/out making a decision. I’m tired of putting my life on hold waiting for us to do something.

Which brings me to an email exchange I had with someone I met on another blog that I comment on. For those of you who’ve interacted with me on these you know it brings out the worst in myself. I’ve said a lot of things I regret saying. One of these things led me to emailing this person about it.

She is a woman who recently gave birth to a child but though she hasn’t admitted it I am guessing that she went through some type of infertility. I’m not sure as to what though and I didn’t think it would be polite to ask. In her reply back to me she offered this piece of advice that really stuck with me:

My feeling was that the best course of action for me would be to learn how to come to terms with being childless and that if I could do that, and if i eventually did become a parent, I’d actually be a better parent if it was not a choice made by desperation.

She went onto say that this is something she struggled with and was never able to do. But it hit home for me. If we pursued adoption now it would be out of my desperate desire to parent not because it was a decision for us. I need to accept being childless and be ok with it before we moved onto adoption.

To do this I need to stop putting my life on hold and do something of meaning. I thought about what I could do. I never saw myself leading a ChildFree life that didn’t involve any children in my life. So I have decided to look into my local Big Brother program. I submitted an application earlier this week and hope to hear back from them soon to get involved.

If I can’t make a difference in a child I parent’s life, I hope I can make a difference in a child that I mentor. I don’t know if I’ll be good at it but I don’t know if I don’t at least try. I need to come to terms with being childless before we make any decision as to whether to pursue adoption. Who knows maybe this will be something I love to do and that it does fill the void in my life and whether we pursue adoption becomes a choice rather than an act of desperation. I’ll have to wait and see.

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Tips for Husbands with Infertile Wives by Baby Hopeful

Back in December I did a piece “Tips for Wives with Infertile Husbands“, it was one of my better pieces that I am hopeful people found beneficial.  As a follow up I thought it would be great to do a follow up piece on the other side of things, what can a husband do to help his infertile wife.  Unfortunately I don’t have the biological make up to do a piece like that so I had to seek out help.

One of the many great people I’ve connected with over the last year in the infertility community is a woman who runs a website called Baby Hopeful.  She and her husband have been going through infertility for over three years.  They’ve dealt with miscarriages, treatments and a whole lot of heart ache.  It’s a truly heartbreaking story to follow.  But they are people the infertility community looks up to for their courage, resolve and sharing so that other couples going through similar experiences can understand that they aren’t alone.  It’s a great website and blog that I highly recommend people check out as well as follow her on twitter at @babyhopeful.

It is with great pleasure that I present to you her piece geared towards Husbands who have infertile wives and what they can do to be there for their wives as they navigate their infertility journey.  I hope that those men who have infertile wives find this piece helpful and hope that infertile wives can share this piece with their husbands.  I can’t thank her enough for her putting this AWESOME piece together and for all of the work she does through her website.

Tips for Husbands with Infertile Wives

As an infertile wife I am often so self consumed with my own woes, that everything is about me.  I admit, there have been times when it hasn’t even cross my mind how hard it is for a husband to deal with an infertile wife.  So I have put together a few tips based on my experiences for husbands who have infertile wives.

1.) Put yourself in their shoes

Try to imagine how you would feel if you were the reason you and your wife couldn’t have a baby.  Would that make you feel like a failure?  Make you feel like you were letting her down?  Make you wonder if they even want to stay married to you (after all they might be able to have children with someone else)?  Well, imagine that for a moment… That is exactly how she is feeling.

You need to reassure your wife that she isn’t a failure and she isn’t letting you down.  Most importantly, reassure her that you will not leave her because she can’t have your children.  This has crossed my mind more than once, and my husband always tells me that “he wants children with me, not anyone else.  He doesn’t want to be married to someone else and that if we never have children, he will still have me and that’s the most important thing.”  This is the right thing to say!

 2.) Recognize the emotional and physical effects

I have had test after test; blood tests, surgery and internal investigations that have inflicted pain and have taken away my dignity.  In comparison, my husband has had two blood tests and two sperm tests.  I have had three miscarriages which have been painful and left me run down, tired with messed up hormones to boot. If your wife is dealing with all this, accept that she will be emotionally and physically tired.  What should you do?  Ask her if she is ok (often), spoil her (surprise her with flowers or a get well card, take her shopping), look after her (breakfast in bed), make her feel loved (hug her and tell her you love her… a lot).  She will be feeling pretty pathetic and will need it.

2.) Think about the biological differences 

I know how much men want children and I don’t want to offend men reading this (I apologize if I do), but don’t underestimate a woman’s internal desire to carry a baby; to give birth and to nurture a baby as a mother.  It is the strongest, most overpowering, consuming feeling I have ever known.  My biological clock (which I never knew I had until 3 years ago) has been ticking louder and louder over the last few years and I have become desperate to become a mother.  I think the key for the husband is to try and understand that the desire for a child is not a completely conscious decision; it is coming from the “mother within”.  There is not a lot you will be able to say to make this ok.  But you need to say that you understand (even if you don’t), reassure her that you still have lots of time, but also make sure she knows you are on her side and want this baby as soon as possible too.

3.) Patience

There have been times when I have cried my heart out literally every day; when I have been so angry I have slammed doors, stormed out of the house and thrown out insults like an obnoxious ungrateful teenager; when I haven’t laughed or smiled for weeks; when I have been a shadow of the woman my husband married.  Allow your wife to let these feelings out.  Be there for her, hug her, let her cry, be patient.  The wife you know and love will return, even if only for brief moments at first.

4.) Don’t take it personally

Know that it’s not you your wife is angry at, it’s infertility.  Anything your wife throws at you, don’t take it personally.  The harsh comments aren’t directed at you (even though it will often sound like they are).  We all take things out on those closest to us and in this instance the poor husband gets the short straw.  The only advice I can give on this one is don’t fight back with insults or harsher comments.  Bite your tongue, try to ignore what has been said, and know that your wife doesn’t mean it.  I know it’s hard and it’s allowing her to take no responsibility for her words or actions.  But don’t worry, she will realize this for herself and will usually apologize when she has calmed down.  Deep down she will know she was wrong to act like that/say those things.

5.) Talk, but get the balance right

Women (in general) talk more than men, it’s the way they rationalize thoughts and deal with problems.  An infertile wife will go over and over the same problems with her husband, trying to come up with a solution.  However, with infertility the conversation may never end because there’s no quick fix.  Of course a husband must listen and talk, but get the balance right and know when to have a break.  On more than one occasion my husband has said to me “We’re on holiday, let’s not talk about babies for now.” Or “Let’s enjoy our meal and talk about that tomorrow”.  At first this used to annoy me (because I wanted to talk about it there and then), but I soon realized that this was the best thing he could say.  It meant my brain was having a rest, that we could go back to just being a normal man and wife for a while (not “man and infertile wife”).  Arrange to do things you enjoy and don’t talk about babies/infertility while you do it.  Believe me, distraction is a good thing, even if only temporary.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope it helps any men out there dealing with infertile wives.  You could even ask your wives to read it too, see if they agree.  They might have some more advice of their own to add.

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Never Forget Where You Came From

I’ve stuck to being non controversial on this blog but I think the time has come for me to write a piece that I know will upset some people. I apologize up front but I think they need to be open to what I’m saying. Hopefully they are able to understand that I am not trying to offend them but to enlighten them to help all of us.

I’ve been in the infertility community long enough where I’ve connected with people who were going through treatments at the time I first connected with them who are now either pregnant or have had their babies. I’m very happy for them. To go through what they did to get the result they did is very well deserved. But some of these people who have graduated to the next step in their lives, forget where they came from. This doesn’t mean I think all people who go through infertility who go onto have children are like this, only some of them. Getting pregnant and having a child has made them forget where they came from. They forget that while they have graduated, a lot of us will never graduate. A lot of us will never have something to show for all of our suffering and pain.

Last week I had to unfollow someone on twitter who went through infertility who gave birth to their baby recently. The reason I did it was because she went from being an infertility advocate to someone who does nothing but talk about her baby. What’s even worse is that she is now one of those people that instead of being empathetic to those going through infertility to someone who is an unrealistic cheerleader. By that I mean that she is tweeting like everyone will end up being able to have a baby like she was able to. She has become what a lot of people in the infertility community can’t stand and that’s someone who had children thinking that it will eventually happen for that person. What she doesn’t realize is that she got lucky and that she could just as easily still be childless. Please don’t get me wrong I’m very happy for her, I just think that she shouldn’t forget where she came from.

My point is this if you are someone who is going through infertility, if you do go on to experience a pregnancy and have a baby don’t forget where you came from. If you have a twitter feed or a blog, you may want to stop your blog or just keep it strictly about infertility. It’s likely that those who follow are going through infertility and some of your talking about your child maybe triggering for others who are reading your work. You may want to create a new twitter handle or blog to discuss your experiences as a parent.

If you are someone who went through infertility who is a parent now, don’t forget where you came from. Recognize the fact that you were lucky. Recognize the fact that there are others out there who will not be as lucky. Be aware of that in your interacting with those going through infertility. Put yourself in their shoes and remember what they went through. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be happy about being a parent, it means you shouldn’t be the fertile friend you disliked when you were going through infertility. You shouldn’t have the “you’ll have a baby eventually” attitude. You should have the “I’m here for you always and forever”.

Not all infertility is created equal. What worked for one couple isn’t going to work for another couple. Everyone who goes through infertility will have different outcomes. Some will end with a biological child of both parents, others will become parents through third party reproduction or adoption and others will remain childless forever. We all need to recognize that and stick together and not change just because our outcomes are different.

If K and I do decide to pursue adoption and are lucky enough to be selected to become parents, I’ll likely just keep this blog about topics concerning infertility and start up a new blog. If I happen to become one of this annoying parents, I ask that you remind me to remember where I came from. You have my permission to tell me to STFU stop being an annoying dick and remember where I came from :-).