I’ve been hesitant to continue writing on this topic after the break away from “it all” but knew I needed to continue to face things, to talk it through, to heal and to move forward in this journey.
Taking a Break
Our trip to Paris saw a lot of emotions bubbling to the surface. I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who’s pretty damn tough during a challenging process then collapses afterwards with all the stuff that accumulated along the way. Avoiding feeling it, walking through it when it arises? It never works. Stuff always comes up, and physically, I found that everything hurt more, literally from my headaches to foot pain. I was feeling tender on day one. Emotionally, the grief kicked in on multiple occasions, from grumpiness to sudden tears to cynicism.
Grief sucks. But it’s damn necessary.
“I close my eyes and I think of all the things that I want to see
‘Cause I know, now that I’ve opened up my heart I know that
Anything I want can be, so let it be, so let it be.
Strength, courage, and wisdom
It’s been inside of me all along.”
~ India Arie
Saying Goodbye to That Chapter
After writing that last paragraph, the sun started to peek out of the clouds. We’ve had almost three inches of rain since arriving back in Stumptown and that sunlight was yelling at my mind to just STFU for a spell and go take a ride. I pulled my bike out of the garage and rode a mile or so to go sit and write at a cafe, and realized I’d brought nothing with me. So I rode a bit more and curved back home, and rather than be frustrated at my forgetfulness, I began inhaling the clean Portland air and softly singing along to the tunes on my iPod as I realized what I wanted to do next.
I wanted to say goodbye.
Not saying goodbye to another chance with another of our embryos, but to trying in the way I had for the past 11 months. I needed to say goodbye to following all of the so-called rules and forgive myself for tiptoeing around sanity. What I wanted was to forgive myself for getting crazy, for thinking that a dietary misstep was why I have not gotten pregnant. Forgive myself for eating my emotions. Forgive myself for the self-sabotage I inflicted, rooted not only in the massive hormonal shifts my body has experienced, but also in the core of my being as I wondered out loud to my husband if I deserved to be a mother. When nothing in your life has followed societal norms, when everything has come to me in the most unusual ways, when you never feel you’ve fit in – well, you don’t expect to get what it seems like so many else have.
So to that I am saying goodbye. To the negative emotions I’ve carried in this grief and to the web-induced restrictions I allowed to haunt my every move, I say to them an ever so polite fuck-off and die.
And as I put my bike away, grabbed my spiral notebook and headed across the street to the local cafe, I told myself this here Aimee is going to have a fucking cappuccino with no remorse. This here Aimee is going to enjoy her simple life and if that embryo is meant to turn into an actual human, it will. But it will NOT be my fault if things don’t turn out that way. I will no longer allow myself to look at my belly and see it as a failure.
Reevaluating What Good Health Looks and Feels Like (thank you, France)
I’d forgotten what it felt like to feel good. Not like what the traditional American view is, where if you follow a set of dietary rules – modern, traditional, holistic, whatever – you can claim that you feel good. I’m talking about the deep down pleasure of eating real, unprocessed, full-fat, full-flavor foods.
When we flew to Paris, I remember as we got off the plane telling my husband how relieved I was that my ass bruises were almost faded from the zillions of injections I’d been subject too (let me tell you the bum pain would seriously have impacted 12 hours of flying in coach!). We laughed as we anticipated splitting our first bottle of wine since New Years Eve. I prayed my new boots from REI would handle the cobblestone streets and care for my sensitive soles. I hoped the year I’d spent re-acclimating my body to dairy would pay off as we entered The Land of Butter and Cheese.
For the most of this year I’ve been clear of alcohol and coffee, thinking I was somehow cleansing my body and creating a more fertile environment in this eggless body of mine. I tried minimizing my dairy and gluten in spells, thinking that was what was affecting me.
Yet we got to France and every day I had a croissant with an espresso to start the day, and a glass of wine at both lunch and dinner. We consumed more baguettes and quiches and eclairs and soft cheeses and meats and butter-laden foods in 10 days than we had in the past year. And not once did we feel sick or lethargic or “intestinally challenged”.
The day after we got home I had a spell of depression while my husband was at work and sprung for Hot Pockets. Yes, that crap we all ate in college, microwave pepperoni pizza pocket. And by the end of the evening I was sicker than I’ve been in eons. Processed foods, y’all. In a heartbeat my body went from happily regular to, well, shit (TMI! TMI!). I’d gone through a “cleanse” eating in France and didn’t know it. 🙂
So that’s it, y’all. Yes, duh I know that they are bad and they’ve never been more than 5-10% of my diet (emotional eating self-sabotage is to blame there) and my blood pressure is fantastic, but I’ve never gotten physically sick from it this dramatically. It was the good shake-up I needed.
And with that, I’ve made a decision. If I want an espresso, I’ll have one. If I want wine, I’ll have a glass. If I want cheese and a baguette, we’ll have it with that wine. Quality foods, quality life. I’m not going to look back at 2015 and see a year spent depriving then alternately binge-eating because of it. I’m not going to look back and say wow, after all that, where was the fun? I will look back and say I’ve learned some beautiful lessons about who I am and who I want to be.
And With All of That…Hope
I wrote that last section as I heard the mailman drop something in the box. And it was one envelope with “Department of Homeland Security” on the return address.
We. Are. Approved. To. Adopt.
Well – by the US at least 🙂 The federal preapproval is now in, and now the next check gets written and the 2nd dossier is sent to Ethiopia for their approval. This is the LONG stage – waiting for them to go through everything and at the end of it, approve us and match us with a little girl. Our little girl. It could take a year, it could take longer, it could take less, we don’t know. Once that happens and we approve the referral, that’s not it. Then, because Ethiopia is non-Hague, the US does ANOTHER check to make sure our child is a legitimate orphan, and everything Ethiopia’s side is on the up and up. Then, and only then, can we go bring our kiddo home.
But it’s another step, and with another hoop successfully jumped through? HOPE.
“My life has been shaped by the decision two people made over 24 years ago. They decided to adopt a child. They got me, and I got a chance at the kind of life all children deserve.”
~ Karen Fowler