Hello my dear friends! It’s been a while since I pulled out my laptop to write a blog post. I’ve barely had the energy to brush my teeth, so the thought of writing down my thoughts felt like a daunting task. I was hanging on by a thread for the last three months, but somehow I survived. Somehow we always survive, right? I am alive and I am grateful. My life has been what feels like an endless roller coaster ride, which may sound fun to some, but not when it entails an inconsolable screaming baby and crying yourself to sleep at night because you miss your mom. Months 0-3 felt like a total blur. Months that I most certainly do not want to relive. I surrender.
The lack of control you feel while dealing with infertility and IVF treatment is quite the mental challenge, and I wish I could tell you that ends once your baby comes, but unfortunately it does not. Trying to help your baby when they cannot communicate with you is a whole other animal. There is no control. There is only survival. Doing the best that you can and being ok with that. Ever heard of decision fatigue? Welcome to the first three months of parenthood with a colic & reflux baby. Where decision fatigue becomes a part of your everyday life. Should we switch formula? Which formula? Do we try different bottles? Should I switch to a bigger nipple? Do we try a different feeding position? Maybe he just needs more time to eat? I mean the decisions you need to make are endless!! The mental exhaustion you feel from needing to make even one decision to help your baby feel better is draining – especially when it’s not helping!! Welcome to my circus, friends. 🤡
Anyway, you’re probably wondering how this relates to the title of my post. Hang tight, I’m getting to that. I had so many ideas of how my life would turn out. None of them included infertility, surrogacy, the death of my mother and a colicky newborn. They all had one thing in common though. All of these experiences required me to ‘let go.’ Let go of control. Let go of anger. Let go of expectations. Letting go is HARD. How do you let go when you feel so attached to it/them? You know how they say that you will continue to repeat a lesson in this lifetime until you have learned it? Well, I feel that my lesson in this life has been to learn how to let go because it just keeps showing up. Every time I think I’ve learned how, a new test arises and I’m faced with the same challenge again. The ultimate test of letting go is losing a parent (or anyone). I recently started my yoga practice again in studio (can I get an hallelujah for my mental health?!) because I am fortunate enough to put my kid in a daycare program nearby (can I get another hallelujah for my mental health?!). When I start consistently practicing- and by consistently I mean an absolute minimum of three times a week- all the yogic principles I learned miraculously come to surface and I find myself reflecting a lot more. What I’ve been reflecting on lately has been the idea of ‘letting go,’ which goes hand-in- hand with ‘non-attachment’ – or what the yogi gurus call, ‘Aparigraha.’ Quick yoga lesson: Aparigraha is a part of the eight limbs of yoga. If you follow the eight limbed path, you ultimately reach enlightenment – the last limb- but to get there you need to master the preceding limbs. I find non-attachment to be incredibly challenging. Think about an object you love so much or has sentimental value (lets say your engagement ring if you’re married) and then suddenly losing it or it gets stolen. What is your reaction? We want to believe we are better than attachment to things, but are we really?! Now imagine people and pets. The attachment, I would assume for everyone, is even greater.
So far in my life I’ve had many experiences where I’ve had to ‘let go’. I’ve gotten things stolen from me, including items of sentimental value, and after having a melt down I had no choice but to learn to let it go. Life with infertility is one big lesson of letting go. I was robbed of so many things that ‘healthy couples’ get to experience. I couldn’t get pregnant the old fashioned way, instead I had to become a science experiment. I had to let that go. I no longer could surprise my spouse or family members with a pregnancy announcement. I had to let that go. After seven failed attempts at pregnancy and a decision to move forward with surrogacy, I was robbed of carrying my own baby. I had to let that go. I was robbed of a surrogacy journey & friendship that I had envisioned. I had to let that go. I was robbed of having my mom during this next phase of my life and my son was robbed of having his grandma to watch him grow up. I ‘have’ to let that go. My mom was robbed of being a grandma after waiting so long. I ‘have’ to let that go. Letting go sucks, but it’s also liberating. Holding on to the anger, the pain, and the sadness is actually easy. Letting it go is hard. But when you think about it, none of these things can change, so what good does it do to hold on? If you cannot change something then you have no choice but to let it go, right? It’s such a simple concept when it’s broken down like that, so why does it feel impossible to put into practice? Like when people use the phrase “get over it” and you get all mad. But sometimes we really do need to just get over it. Holding on or resisting is the root cause of all suffering. I think what holds us back from getting over things is victimhood. It’s easier to place blame on something or someone else than to take responsibility for our own happiness. No matter the severity of the circumstance (and I’d say losing a parent is severe) we ultimately have a choice in how we move forward. Getting over it does not mean that our feelings are invalid or that we suddenly do not care for what we have lost. It just means that we choose to let go and move forward because living in misery is not an option. Thats how I try to live my life. When I get sad or angry because I miss my mom, (which is basically every day) I allow myself five minutes of pity party time and while I lie on my tear soaked pillows I make sure to end my tantrums with a positive thought to remind myself that this feeling is temporary. Life goes on and it’s possible to find joy in new things while still honoring my past. We all deserve a pity party every now and then, but the key is to not stay in that down state and to remember that everything in life is temporary including life itself. Quick story… I was walking my dog today and and on my walk I noticed a young blind woman with – I assume- her mom. All I could think about was how blessed I am to have my eyesight. I was instantly filled with gratitude. I wake up every morning being able to breathe freely, to see, to hear, and to practice yoga. Things that I can so easily take for granted until I see someone who cannot do these things and I’m reminded that every single day that I wake up alive and healthy, is a gift. A gift that is not guaranteed. A gift that is temporary.
Next time you find yourself upset over something that in the moment feels like the end of the world, set your timer for five minutes and give yourself a pity party. When the timer is up, end your pity party with a positive thought around your situation. For a moment, choose a different perspective and then tell yourself “let it go.” Repeat as often as needed.