Saturday, March 25, 2017

So Hard

Robbie is an angel.

He is seriously just about the easiest kid I could have been blessed with. He doesn't complain when we're cooped up indoors and I'm working on my computer for days on end, nor does he protest being carted all over the place or dropped off for babysitting quickly and randomly.

Being his mom has been easy.

Being a divorcing mom has been hard as hell. Gerund emphasized. As, it seems, it shall stretch on and on and on...

It pains me that I can't fix this problem. No, it more than pains me. It plagues me. It horrifies me. And whenever I think about the future, Robbie's future, knowing no matter which direction I go, he will suffer? I swell with such anxiety I can barely breathe.

And I keep it bottled inside, until my 50 minute therapy session once per week. Then, I let it out some more on the drive back to my parents' house, where I'm asked if I'm ok, if I've been crying. And I want to keep it from my mother, my pain. I don't want anyone to see it, especially her. She's a cancer survivor who just this month had major surgery again to repair a hernia from the first surgery. She doesn't need my suffering, she has her own. And when she tells me to imagine Robbie is in pain, that I would want to know as his mother... I answer back, "And so by telling you I've been crying, and I'm not ok - that will help me feel better, because now I've made YOU feel more pain and sorrow?"

So that's where I am. I am filled with such sorrow. Such deep, deep sorrow, that I just cannot fix things. And I never could.

As this all swells up and I sink into my own sorrow in the silence and loneliness of the only place I feel I can truly let it out, I'm reminded that I'm not alone - because I'm reminded what Feast it is:


This is probably my favorite painting of the Annunciation - because I love finding little hidden meanings in things that are already beautiful, and this painting has so many of them. Yes, my favorite is the tiny flying Holy Spirit, headed straight for Mary's womb from the window above, carrying a tiny cross and all. I mean, how all-at-once poignant, hysterical, and beautiful is that? :)

And just like that, I am calmed. Alright, after 20 minutes of sobbing texts with Sew. See, she's my tiny little Holy Spirit carrier.

When I think I have problems - today of all days - it helps to focus on what is truly important. And when Mary said the following words 2017 years ago, she wasn't just thinking of an "inconvenient pregnancy." She knew her yes was the first of many, she knew the cross of being the object of public scandal was only the beginning. She knew. And she hesitated not in accepting it all - accepting the entire future.

"May it be done to me according to your word."



Monday, March 13, 2017

FAQ

Something doesn't feel right. Well, duh. There's nothing *right* about divorce. It is devastating. It is painful. It is a truly humbling experience in accepting the things I cannot change.

But, there was something not right about the blog. This blog. Being here again, oh wow, it feels like an old, familiar home - full of sorrow, pain, joy, FRIENDSHIP and sisterhood, and everything that shaped me over the past 9 years.  Something was missing. Something is missing.

Being open and honest is kinda my thing in this space. At least, as it pertained to infertility. And every single personal detail of my journey through it.

Of course, there was always an element of secrecy when it came to information that didn't *only* concern me, and would have invaded my husband's privacy. There was always this idea, in my head, that someday, he would guest blog or even write a book surrounding that untold story. It wasn't meant to be.

That part was always unspoken. Not just here, but even in my own private life. There were glimpses of it at various times throughout my spoken story here, but always under the surface. And, it didn't necessarily feel like it was secretive, but so often, I thought it was better, getting better, or long behind us. It didn't seem to affect the story that was being told on TCIE of Catholic infertility. But, it was always there, even when I was unaware of its existence.

Now? It's different. Because it's out there - but only generally. As I've said, there is just too much at stake for my son, and I also want to protect my husband's and my privacy. However it does make blogging a little weird for me.

So I thought maybe I could address some Frequently Asked Questions that have been rolling in, in various forms. And I'll do this periodically as things progress.

FAQ:

1) What happened??

This is perhaps the biggest question to those who read and were shocked at what they read. I can say, "what happened" was not a recent incident, or even a series of incidents, but a much bigger underlying issue. Quite similar to the NaPro and FertilityCare explanations for infertility and miscarriage, I think the underlying issue was there all along, leading to many of these other issues and incidents through the years.  The underlying problem in the relationship was by far the heaviest cross, and despite 10 years of trying to get through it, it only got progressively worse.

To keep the NaPro analogy going, there were times when I thought we had addressed the underlying cause of, say, endometriosis, with a laparoscopic surgery with a NaPro-trained Fellow, only to discover that the surgery was done haphazardly, or was never done at all, or the post-op requirements to ensure regrowth of endometriosis was kept to a minimum were ignored. And where I had become very well-versed in NaPro and FertilityCare through my infertility journey, I never felt like I was getting any better in my navigation through the issue in the relationship.

For those truly concerned friends (even if we've never met IRL), I do have a private blog and am willing to share that part of my life if you are interested. The private blog was only started in 2013 when things truly were out of control. You can feel very free to reach out to me via FB or my email. Again I just ask that privacy is respected on this blog, but do not feel awkward approaching me if you care to learn more.

2)  But you two always seemed to come out of difficult situations stronger on the other side...

Yes, it did seem that way. And there were even more difficult times in the recent years, including losing our home, bankruptcy, and welfare. (I am climbing back from all of this, now.)  Keep in mind, you were reading only my words, and so you accepted (because you had to accept) the light in which I presented my husband. Fundamentally, however, while it looked like we were surviving as a team, on the surface, what it felt like was that the underlying issue was grabbing ahold of both of my feet, bearing the weight of 2 anchors, while I tried to keep him afloat and myself. For over a decade.

3) Where are you living now? Are you near family?

We moved when Robbie was 4 months old, as we were about to lose the house. We have the most perfect little 1-bedroom cottage in my hometown, and are surrounded by family and the best friends anyone could ask for.  It was a year later, this past August, that my husband moved out. I have an incredible support system that I have to learn to utilize more because I truly cannot keep up at the pace I'm going, currently...

4) Are you seeking annulment?

I'll write more about this as time goes on. Right now, I'm taking a day at a time while also planning in a way I could never plan my life in the past. I'm taking the steps necessary to ensure first and foremost that Robbie is as protected as possible from the issue, and while I hope and pray every single day that God will work miracles and heal the family unit, I am also approaching this much more realistically than I ever have (now with 6 months distance and lots of therapy and spiritual direction, all of which I never had all at once).
I may indeed approach the Church Tribunal to gain a deeper understanding and a Wisdom about what in the heck was going on at the time we took vows. And that is exactly how I look at it. I will not, in my mind or motivation, be "seeking annulment" (if you ask me, that whole term is stupid and a misnomer, anyway). I don't want a certain outcome. I want Truth. I have always been after Truth, and now is no different. But with so much deception clouding a lot of my judgement and choices through the years, I do feel that this step will help me gain a clarity direct from Church authority, so that I can begin to take the appropriate next steps, whatever they may be.

5) What is this new business you're doing?

I actually started my business last April - and wasn't really sure what direction it would take. (At the time, I had hoped it would be a business my husband would take an active role in.) Finally, towards the end of summer, it was morphing into something that wasn't yet cohesive but was at least earning income. Now? Well, I am probably less than a month from launching and marketing it in a big way. It will feature what has become my main area of expertise through the past 11 years, mainly, Fertility, and add in some new skills and training I've acquired in eCommerce. I'll also discuss this more as time goes on but it is both at once exhilarating and absolutely TERRIFYING.


My anxiety has been through the roof in all of this - the business, the single motherhood, the divorce, the cleaning up and making amends for all of the casualties of the underlying issue in the relationship... it has been exhausting beyond compare. I feel like a failure pretty much every moment of every day, and even when I do have amazing news or close an unbelievable deal with the business, I am immediately met with a fear that the other shoe is about to drop. (You remember the whole inadoption thing, classic example, but this kind of thing was ALWAYS happening.) I haven't yet made peace with my own strength and ability to handle setbacks now that the major issue is not a part of my life, anymore. It is going to take a lot of time and re-training of the brain, I suppose. But man, this anxiety. From what I'm hearing, it is fairly common at this time in life, as other single moms have commiserated.  In any event, I am trying to find my peace with everything that is being demanded of me now (by myself) to be the best mother but also the best provider I can be. And I fail. Daily. But I continue to pick myself up, brush myself off, and start all over again. With Him, In Him, and Through Him.

What a glorious Lent it will be. Much needed for my soul.


Friday, March 3, 2017

The People on the Bus

There is so much to do, in so little time, to make this business what I want it to be:  to help others on a much larger scale than I ever have, before, while helping me to be with my son, and building our future... the stress is tremendous, because each time I want to just call it quits, I realize, it's just not a choice I have right now.

And yet, it is exciting work and I am so blessed to have all of the major pieces in place for the big launch in late March/early April - SO so so blessed!! God is good, all the time. The problem is me, and my inability to seemingly get my act together to just GET IT DONE. Yeah, ok, so I have a toddler I'm also taking care of, and stuff. But, then I'm humbled to see women just like me, single not by choice, with more than 1 child, building their own businesses, raising and homeschooling their kids, doing AMAZING things, and I am just blown away. Howwwwwww?????? They are goddesses, no doubt. Me? I'm more like a garden gnome.

I'm also teetering on the edge of nervous breakdown. The problem is, I'm not the nervous breakdown type. I'm the type that eschews nervous breakdowns. I'm Ms. "My Word is My Bond" Reliable, who gets deeply involved in commitments and feels an intense obligation to those in my life, personal and professional. I told me therapist (yes, I'm in therapy, don't worry) that "I don't have the luxury of having a nervous breakdown!" (Yes, I called it a luxury. And yes, I sounded EXACTLY like my mother.)

But, nonetheless, I have felt like the past 15 years of my life have been accumulating while boiling just under the surface, ready to erupt at my first sign of "weakness" or slack in vigilance or distraction. I'm working on this, I truly am. And I think it comes down to looking forward, and not backward.

I hold a lot of pain, anger, hurt, resentment, guilt, confusion, and feelings of failure over the past. It has been particularly difficult for me to move past these things and onto today, and tomorrow instead. My emotions are mostly targeted at myself, too - I feel like I could have, should have done a lot of things differently. Better. Just - I don't know, more aware. And logically I can explain it all away ad nauseum. But the feelings remain.

I actually started writing this post a few days ago, and tonight as a I finish it, I feel better. And that has been my life, as of late. Up, and Down. Up, and Down. Up.

And Down.

Luckily I am very well-versed in this, my son's favorite verse of The Wheels on the Bus. I have lived it for a long-ass time.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sad and Hopeful

It only just dawned on me that the mix of emotions I go through on a daily basis are so similar to what I experienced through infertility.

A constant swooping in and out of a million various feelings, all under the umbrella of sadness and hope.

I am so very thankful for your prayers, not just for me and my son, but also for my (still) husband. We all need them, very much.

I am working on something that brings me a lot of hope for the future, these days. It is taking so much of my time, energy, and focus, but its potential is limitless. To build this business from the ground up, drawing upon the experience from the cross I showed to the world, is all at once scary and exciting. I will be sure to keep you updated as things progress.

But I do feel sad that my little boy doesn't have me as a "SAHM" - at least, not as I envisioned.
Often, at the end of the day, I feel like I have failed at being both his mother and his father, individually. I pass him off to family for a few hours in the morning, and not accomplish what I thought I would be able to in that short a period of time, or I keep him home and end up not tending to really important and time-sensitive business matters. It is frustrating to feel like a failure all over again, at the end of each day, when I already feel like a Big, Fat, General Failure in life and marriage.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that what I'm doing isn't normal... I mean, working from home on my own start-up business while also having my toddler son home with me for the majority, or the whole day. I work best with a chunk of time, uninterrupted. That simply does not exist, anymore! So, I've been trying to adjust. It is DIFFICULT, and so often I want to give up, until I realize, I don't have that option. Sure, I guess I could just go get a "real job" somewhere, and put Robbie in daycare... but that would feel too much like a punishment to me and for Robbie. (Please don't misinterpret that, if you are a working mom whose children are in daycare. In many ways, I think Robbie would do incredibly well at daycare! The way I mean that sentence has more to do with the circumstances surrounding the divorce and how, through no fault of mine or Robbie's, I watched all of our hopes and dreams quickly, one-by-one, slip away. I'm just unwilling to give up hope that I can somehow, against all odds, make this last one come true - to be here, at home, with Robbie, AND support us both financially.)

What keeps coming to mind, lately, when I have these really rough days (more and more, lately), is a passage from The Consecration to Mary by Louis de Montfort. In the passage, a man throws himself prostrate before the altar of the Lord and says, "Oh, Lord, if only I knew how to persevere!" The Lord answers, "And if you did know? Do now what you would do."

When I hear myself saying out loud "I can't do this!!!" I think of that passage. And I realize, what a good friend told me - I am doing it. Maybe not well, maybe not the way I thought I would be, and maybe not with grace, but I'm surviving, Robbie's surviving, and we get through yet another day, every day.

The struggle will continue to be finding that umbrella of hope above the umbrella of sadness. Because it is just so easy to drown in the sorrow.