How Sweet It Is.
Lately, all I can think about is cheesecake. I think about how much I want it, how much I shouldn't have it, and how much being an adult sucks sometimes because we have to forgo the things we want most. When the hankering hits, it takes a heck of a lot of willpower to beat the cravings.
My cheesecake cravings are certainly first world, seriously inconsequential problems, but they've reminded me of other times when I have had to - or tried to - overcome an insatiable desire for one thing or another. Obviously, I'm not talking about food.
Infertility literally hijacked my brain and all I could think about was how much I wanted to be pregnant, how much I wanted to have babies, and how much I was willing to go through, sacrifice, and fight for what I wanted. There are many, many people who read comments like that and immediately want to challenge my thought process because they don't feel the same way. They *think* they'd choose adoption if they couldn't have biological children, or they'd start fostering so their house wouldn't feel so lonely. They would move on to a surrogate. They would pray more, give it up to God, or try a different sex position. They'd stop trying (because then it would just happen) or they'd find a way to live life without kids because - maybe - that's just the way it is supposed to be.
Seemingly, outsiders who aren't dealing with infertility have a lot of opinions on what your options are (or should be), and if you've set a boundary for yourself on what you're willing to explore - at least for the foreseeable future - they don't understand that. It sounds like you aren't truly going after what you want: building a family. So my, "We're doing two rounds of IVF and then we'll explore other options" either becomes selfish or short-sighted in their eyes, because I'm not willing to look at anything else while in the throes of a hellish cycle.
It's easy for those of us inside of infertility to assume these people need to pick up five or six clues and a big dose of empathy and, really, I don't think we are too far off in that assumption. They are privileged to never know what it's like to be us, the ones who have to fight like hell just for a chance to become mommas. But last weekend at Justine Froelker's Rising Ever Upward Event, I was reminded that - for the most part - the people who hurt us are likely not trying to. In fact, they are doing - just like us - the best they can.
Can you imagine what it would be like if everyone gave one another the benefit of the doubt? That, instead of being guarded and defensive, we all talk to one another under the assumption that our hearts are in the right place? This would obviously change the way I react to people who ask those incredibly hurtful statements, but it would also likely change the frequency of those questions...because if people knew those of us going through infertility were actually trying our very best, they may not be so quick to make a hurtful, ridiculous suggestion.
I think the reason people get stuck on this issue is because it's hard to assume the best in someone who punches you in the gut. We are human and we feel, and we are wired to internalize hard feelings without processing them all that well. Instead, we are taught to do. Be a doer, work harder, give more, but don't you dare stop and process the emotion you're feeling. We don't have time for that shit. Right?
Anyway, for those of you who haven't dealt with infertility, I'm sure you can relate to this. I don't know a single person who has gone through life without one of their decisions being challenged by someone else, in turn catapulting them toward shame, regret, frustration, or guilt. I don't know anyone like this, because we're all built with similar wiring. And that wiring sometimes sucks.
My goal for next week is to get beyond the cravings I'm battling, no matter how minuscule, and remember there are people outside of my experiences who are doing the best they can with their own battles. This does not mean, however, if someone judges me or questions my choices I will just blow it off without providing understanding. Contrary to that, I think it's important to educate those who really don't understand, but if I really want them to hear me I must do it from a heart-centered place of understanding, not from a hey, dumbo, thanks for frustrating me one.
I'm giving myself permission to feel - really, really feel - the frustration coming from these interactions. But I will not take it to the next level and internalize shitty stories about them, whether that be they're jerks, stupid, ignorant, or hateful, because I think that's where we start doing each other a disservice.
Truth bomb? This is hard for me. I tend to puff up and get defensive when someone challenges my beliefs or choices, and so it's a goal of mine to work on because - honestly - I don't want to pass this quality down to my kiddos and I don't like the way I feel after tossing passive aggressive defense at someone else.
***This is only the beginning of this process. It's much more complicated than what I'm making it sound in terms of big abuse or discrimination. There are times when someone's best will not be good enough for you, and you will have to set a boundary to protect your own truth.***
For next week, I will leave it at the surface and start learning the little interactions probably mean less than what I make them out to be, because living as if people are out to get me and/or hurt others is unbearable and it never really made any of the hurt/frustration easier to deal with either.
But how sweet it is to believe we're all doing the best we can, even when we fail (because, if we could do better in that moment, we really would have).
Open heart, open mind, open book.
That's the goal.
Does this resonate with you? What goal are you setting this week for yourself? How do you feel about the (controversial) idea that people are really doing the best they can? Tell me in the comments.