Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Time I Can't Get Back

So often along this road of infertility, we find ourselves lost in regret, don't we?  Thoughts occupy our mind and our time, of dreams slipped away, hopes unrealized, and the litany of coulda, woulda, and shouldas.
But after the pensive pity party of one, we always feel better, don't we?  Ummmm, not so much.

So, why do we do it?

We do it because it's EASY.  It is so easy to be hard on ourselves, and yes, by regretting the things we had no control over, but like to pretend we did, we are being unreasonably hard on ourselves.  Even if we do not place the blame on ourselves, by envisioning all of these so-called missed opportunities and lost aspirations in time gone by, what we are really doing is failing to accept our reality.

It took me a long time to admit that.  A long time.  I fought tooth-to-nail that my reality was, in fact, one of sorrow, suffering, and being stuck in place, only aging along with my peers as their lives moved along effortlessly.  The comparisons ran rampant, as I found it much easier to look outside of my own life at others', and avoid confronting my inner torment.  My reality, if you had asked me a year ago, WAS shattered dreams, broken expectations, and withering hope.  And I would defend that truth vehemently.

Only, it wasn't truth.  Nor was its opposite - that my present life was picture perfect, full of sunshine and void of tears, with no cares in the world.  And more importantly for me to realize - neither was the life of anyone around me either completely hopeless or completely fulfilled.

In coming to accept our reality, we need to first understand that regret for days gone by is harmful; it is a waste of our energy, and can take its toll on our mental, spiritual, and physical well-being.
Then, we need to begin finding areas in our lives where we can honestly and without reserve find gratitude - not with the rose-colored glasses of denial or naivete, but rather with the Truth in our hearts, changing our perception of how we view our reality.

Our reality is simple:  we have infertility.  For some of us that means we have no children.  For others, it may mean we only have adopted children.  For still others, no living children on earth.  Only one biological child.  A mix of biological and adopted children.  Foster children.  The list goes on, but the one main undertone of our reality is - we do not have control over our family size, our family planning, and when and how children will enter our lives, if ever.  This is our reality.

And reading that may seem like a trigger to a pity party of regret.  It certainly used to be, for me.  But not anymore.

Because by accepting our reality, that we have NO CONTROL, we are suddenly free - free from trying to control what we never could!  Suddenly, the blessings we've never before realized are brought to the forefront as we begin to live each day for that day alone.  (I can sleep in, today!  I can go on an impromptu vacation this weekend with my husband!  I can go out for drinks with an old friend after work!  I can play with my pets outside while gardening!  I can make plans on a whim, and then change my mind just as quickly if something better pops up!)

Above all, we have the power to change one vital point of perception when it comes to our infertility.  We have often lamented the time we can't get back, thinking of all of the cycles, months, years in which we never conceived, never gave birth, never adopted.  Instead, we need to direct that energy to TODAY.  Today is the time we can't get back!  We only have one chance at today- we can choose to spend it regretting yesterday, but that will only add more yesterdays of regret - or we can choose to spend it by living it, by accepting our reality and moving on from the past.

Whether or not we go on to have children, more children, or children we lost count of, this is time we can't get back - and one day, believe it or not, we may all find ourselves regretting that we lived these days in regret.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. Just last night my husband and I were talking, and I told him that I don't let myself think about it much, but I do feel regret for spending so many years pursuing surgeries and treatments that all came to nothing. It's tempting to think of what could have been if we had adopted or just embraced infertility sooner or or or any number of other things. But that's not what we did, and we did the best that we could at the time, and I don't want to live in regret any more. Cheers to embracing reality. Because it really is beautiful.

MamaHoli said...

Beautiful and encouraging post. Prayers for you.

Blessed Wife said...

Thank you so much Amy for sharing this. I really needed to read this today.

prayerfuljourney said...

I am very thankful that I went back to school and got my degree while we were TTC'ing (some of the years)...and now when I look back I know I did something good with that time. I don't feel like I wasted it. I do however remember all the tears and all the times we didn't do fun vacations, etc since we "might" be pg....now we don't do that...we just live. I enjoyed your post..made me think.

JellyBelly said...

I was thinking of all that I have accomplished during our IF journey, and it seems like my life has been pretty fruitful. I also wouldn't have made amazing friends like you!

Rebecca said...

This is my fear, almost more than not having children, is looking back and seeing wasted years. Thank-you for this reminder that today is the day in front of me and that it is all that really matters.

Anonymous said...

this really did come at the right time for me to read, when i was about to go all pity party and bam, it woke me up. thank you!

Mike Brummond said...

perfect! & I needed it. I have been struggling with something other than infertility lately, but this really hit home. "Today is the time we can't get back! We only have one chance at today- we can choose to spend it regretting yesterday, but that will only add more yesterdays of regret - or we can choose to spend it by living it, by accepting our reality and moving on from the past." Wow.

the misfit said...

I used to have an unconscious calendar of how old my kids SHOULD be compared to those of others, who had started ttc when (or after!) I did. I have been not-TTC for a while now, and it has been amazingly freeing. "Isn't it interesting how time flies - I remember when she had her first kid!" She now has eight (yes, that's a real, and recent, example). And that sort of thing. But it's not about how I should have had six in that time. I shouldn't. I didn't. I won't. But I've done lots of other things in that time. God willing, they were worthwhile. If they weren't, that's on me. If I look back on the NEXT ten years and see wasted time, that will really be on me. I intend to see that that doesn't happen.

All in His Perfect Timing said...

I am beginning to realize this... and enjoy the Today. Before, and sometimes still, I put life on hold for the perfect time / combo of things, but it never happens.
Thanks for a swift kick in the rear! :-D