I woke this morning, firstly at 1.10 am to kids playing knock and run on the cabin doors. Children need leashes. Parents should have licenses. Then at 4 am to go to the toilet. And lastly at 6 am. Tired. A little irritable. I am usually a morning person but today I found out what it was like to not be a morning person. Within an hour I was rebalanced. Gratefully.
At one of those times though, I knew I needed six months to really assess where I am in my life. I have been heading towards this decision for days but I was struggling to give myself permission to say this, out loud, for me. And really feel it. And mean it, wear it, own it.
Having digested so much Brene Brown in the last week, I know that the feeling of potentially ‘giving up’ has brought out a lot of shame type response from me. My internal dialogue has been a little chaotic and bouncy. I couldn’t have my own children, and the fostering process is long and hard, and so it is easier to just give up. People will think I am more of a failure. You’re being selfish if you don’t continue the process. How can you not know what you want. Or who you are.
You get the drift. And I have been wrestling with these absolutely unreasonable thoughts for days. But I had to own them first. I had to feel them. Explore them. Unpack them.
I am now in the process of releasing them.
But not before they have forced me to question my choices and myself. I have written before about how the process of IVF can completely erode your sense of self because you start living your life in terms of cycles and the two week wait, failure or success. IVF destroys your naiveté, steals your innocence and impacts your sense of hope.
When I chose to get off the roller coaster, I thought that because I owned that decision/choice, I was okay. But I think it was just a first step towards being okay. I think it is also so hard to really process the process because, like in my case, I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it who got it. That’s not to say people didn’t try, but unless you’ve struggled with it I think it is very hard to know what to say or what to do. I try to support others now so that they do not feel quite as alone, but I second guess myself too, all of the time. I know that no words take the pain away or minimise it but the acknowledgement that it exists helps. And the permission to make yourself and your healing the priority is vital.
There are still times that I struggle because I am childless but tried to have children. There are still some things that I can’t do. This year was my first Christmas with my nieces and nephews in years. The first Christmas I didn’t choose to be alone. So I am moving forward through the grief.
I think it is also important to give yourself an infinite time frame. Healing cannot be rushed. And I think that sometimes people don’t realise this. And how can they when we don’t stand up and say, “Hey, I’m still grieving. And that’s okay.”
By grieving too, I don’t mean that I am locked up in a room struggling with depression or bad thoughts. Ninety five percent of the time I am really happy (no real data to back that stat up hehe). And I am at peace in my life. There are just some days, or moments in days, when I am not okay. And it is healthy for me to acknowledge that, to own it.
As it is healthy for all of us to acknowledge, explore and own our emotions. We can not live a wholehearted life without being wholly present in our lives, and that means the bad moments as much as the good.
So, Tina has given herself permission to continue on her life quest and take six months off from the fostering process so that she can resolve who she is post IVF. This means that if fostering is in my future, I will be able to enter into the process without any doubt that my reasons are the right reasons. I will not think that maybe there is a small part of me who is fostering to create a surrogate family. There will be no doubt.
Thus far, just the length of the process, indicates it isn’t the right time. For me.
And that’s okay.