Tumbling Through the Rabbit Hole...
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Belated Birthday Post and Other Musings

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 5 April 2014

I had a lovely birthday, I really did. Baby or no baby, I decided to enjoy my day. It was nothing grand, just a bit of chilling with the hubby, pancakes for breakfast, a nice meal in a restaurant, a lovely film at the local cinema (Wes Andersen's The Grand Budapest Hotel, I warmly recommend to anyone who liked The Royal Tenenbaums), cards, flowers and birthday wishes via text, just the way I like it.

And then to top it all, I got this:

(Please excuse the Lidl bag and other junk - this room is our work in progress)

I'd seen this little rug a few years back in the window of a local carpet shop (in different turquoise colour) and had loved it. Then it disappeared before I got a chance to enquire about it, so I started a hunt on the internet, but these little gems seemed to be hard to come by. But my darling hubby had made a mental note and hunted one down for me for my birthday, only to find out that the ebay seller had sent him the wrong colour. Hubby was heart broken and feared I wouldn't like it, but it was the last one in stock. Well, turns out I love it all the same. It doesn't quite match the colour scheme of where I'd planned it would go (near the front door), but it fits perfectly in what we call our 'baby room' and brightens it up a lot, making it look a lot more like a baby room and much less like the junk yards that it's become, housing all our unwanted furniture etc. Obviously we'll be buggered if we end up having a baby boy, or we'll just have a baby boy who will learn to love his pinks and russian dolls. Surely that's acceptable at this day and age..?

Anyway, that rug really brightens my day every time I see it and gives me a little bit more hope that one day the baby room will actually contain a real baby.

Overall, I've been feeling much happier and lighter of late. I think the approaching spring has had something to do with it; the increase in light and warmer weather. I did find this past winter particularly depressing and difficult and funnily enough I got into a real slump as soon as we were faced with starting the infertility treatments in Feb. It's funny how something that you have waited for so long can actually make you feel more scared and depressed. I think it just made me face the fact that we were nearing the end of the road, which was leading us closer to the possibility of finding out that we will never be able to have our own biological children.

I'm still not completely okay with that possibility, I mean, who would at this stage (and don't get me wrong, adoption is still very much on the cards if fertility treatments don't work, once we're done with mourning and working through all the heartache), but we had a really good, honest and much needed chat about it all with hubby (during my worst bout of PMS, may I add - go us!), which left me feeling much better about it, much clearer about my feelings, fears and hesitations.

What became clear during that chat was that there is a part of me that does not want to adopt, really doesn't. There are fears about 'what if I don't like the child or manage to bond with him/her' (I know, any adoption agencies, please look away now, because these are just fears that I need to talk through!), what if the child's difficult background (e.g. neglect and / or abuse) will manifest in behaviours that are really challenging to deal with, is that the kind of family life that I want? (I've mentioned this before, I work in the social care field, and I love it, but would I want that to sort of 'bleed into' my family life, which I consider my sanctuary from the chaotic and often very dysfunctional scenarios that I am faced with daily.)

And would I want to 'share' my children with the biological parents and grandparents? I've read a bit about open adoptions and the benefits that this more modern approach has on children, but there is a part of me that just screams 'no'. And maybe that is just a childish and selfish part of me, that hasn't quite learnt to share yet, that will just have to get over it. But I am quite a private person (yeah, I know, this blog kind of flies at the face of it, although I am trying to remain as anonymous as I can) and I choose my friends and those who I allow into my life quite carefully. And to have to open up that circle to people I don't know, people who have not been able to look after their children and then extend a welcome to them, too.. I fear I might not be able to do that..

It's funny because just this week in a small group that I attend monthly, we discussed the idea of mercy and I found the concept quite hard to grasp in the modern age (like, I can totally get the 'have mercy on me' cries of indebted people in the first century, for example, but nowadays - how would mercy manifest itself, was my question), but perhaps this would be one of those instance where mercy would be required, when 'sharing' children through open adoption (although the word mercy still leaves me feeling a bit, "oh, yes, I'll have mercy on you because I'm much better than you" - perhaps the mercy has to be mutual from both sides). But anyway, I just don't know if I'm there yet. I don't know if I'm big enough to not judge people who have had to give their children up for adoption for one reason or another and not feel bitter on behalf of my adopted child, etc. etc. Perhaps these issues are much more difficult to deal with in the abstract than they will be when it's real and when there are actually real people involved?

Or maybe it will be harder. I mean how do you deal with potential jealousies and potential pettiness? What if the people involved just aren't very nice, what if I don't entrust them to have access to 'my' child? What if the parent relationships (between biological and adoptive parents) go all wrong..? I don't know. I suppose these are the questions to discuss with adoption agencies. Or if anyone reading has any real life experiences, please chip in, because I just really don't have a clue..

I guess what I am trying to say is that when people say 'just adopt', they haven't got the foggiest on what is actually involved and at stake when it comes to the messiness of real-life adoptions (or maybe it is always neat and rosy-smelling, although I think not). And I just don't know whether I am ready or right for it. 

And yet this potential future looms large before me; a future that will not (in many ways) be of my own choosing, but just sort of thrust upon us. And yet the thought of a life without children is even more harrowing. I just wish I knew which future (the biological or the adopted) I should be preparing for. So I guess what I am trying to do, is to prepare myself a bit for both without getting myself too tied up in knots.. (yeah, not doing so well with that here..)

So there we go, I've managed to get myself all misty eyed again. But I guess that's what this blog was always meant to be about, a space for myself for honest reflection. Like a therapist's room without the therapist, or perhaps all you readers are my therapists of sort. I will entrust you with my feelings and have faith that you will have empathy for me. Because I don't think these feelings and thoughts make me a bad person, just human grappling with some pretty big issues. And if my grappling will help someone else in their grappling, then the better.

But as for now, I am aiming for happiness.

I cannot live my life, this precious and fairly fleeting life, feeling miserable just because I don't have everything I would like right now. So I leave you, dear readers, with this little poem that I found a few years back hanging up in my MIL's staircase, which I still love (the poem, not my MIL's staircase) to this day:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, 
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, 
even the dull and ignorant; for they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; 
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and 
disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
 But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
 Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. 
And whether or not it is clear to you, 
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life
 keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
 it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

(© Max Ehrmann 1927)



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