So remember how yesterday I was feeling hopeful and calm? Well, today I made a little mistake that torched those feelings rather quickly. Spencer and I were sitting on the couch trying to decide what movie to watch. I voted for Little Women seventeen times, while Spencer tried to come up with alternatives that would perhaps be a more enjoyable substitute (more enjoyable for him that is).
Well, we finally settled on Father of the Bride II, because it was one of the few movies in our collection that we haven't seen recently. Spencer is a good sport to watch so many chick flicks with me. He generally seems to enjoy them well enough. Anywhoo... as you probably guessed it was not the best flick for a menstruating, hormonal, mess, such as myself to watch.
I thought I could handle it. Yeah, I knew that the premise of the movie was that both mom and daughter are pregnant at the same time. But it's a silly movie and I thought I would enjoy a good laugh. I was surprised to feel drained after it was over. Drained and empty. I know these characters are fictional, but for some reason watching Annie share the exciting news with her family made me realize anew what I am missing. Her perfect life played out exactly as she had always planned and expected.
I felt so sad. Infertility is so much more than just wanting a baby. It's about mourning a loss that you aren't becoming the person you always dreamed you would be. Especially being a Mormon, we are taught from a young age that it is a woman's distinct responsibility to one day be a mother. We are taught that being a mother is the most important role we will ever fill or thing we will ever do. Rightfully so. It is and it is. That is part of what makes this so difficult.
I sometimes feel stuck on the path of life. I want to have a family. I want to fulfill my divinely ordained roll of becoming a mother and raising children to lead good lives. My desires are so much deeper than the selfish desire for some possession I lack. What is most difficult is the feeling that I am not who I was meant to be. I have to tell myself again and again that it is not my fault.
Lets recap the past several years of my life shall we? Up until I graduated from college, things always went according to plan. I always got good grades. I loved my friends and family. I was accepted to go to BYU, which is the only school I ever wanted to go to. I loved my college experience. Loved it. Loved every bit of it.
I had some difficulty in deciding what to major in, but finally settled on Marriage Family and Human Development. I put up with a lot of ridicule for choosing this field of study. There were many comments along the lines of, "Oh, do you get to take lots of cooking and sewing classes?" and, "I bet you're studying that becuase you just want to get married." Though many doubted the level of academics involved in my major, I loved what I studied. I loved learning about the pshychology behind family units and was excited to go on to get my master's in Marriage and Family Therapy. For me, it wasn't about taking easy classes in a short major, it was about studying something that would prepare me to one day make a difference in the world by making a difference in the lives of families. It may sound corny, but I have always loved to serve other people and felt I would have a gift for therapy.
Graduation came all to quickly. My junior year I began applying to graduate schools in California to get my license as a family therapist. I also applied to BYU's program which was the one I most desired to go to. I had grades in the top of my class, had done mentored research since I started as a freshman, had glowing letters of recommendation, and was a favorite of about every professor I had ever had. Immagine my shock at being admitted to every program I had applied to, except BYU's. I had never failed at anything before.
It was during this time that I met Spencer (a fellow BYU student with a couple years to go). I decided not to go to graduate school in California. I wanted to marry my sweetheart, even if it meant giving that up. We talked about me waiting a year and then re-applying to the graduate program. But the timing was not ideal. It would mean Spencer would have to wait to start his career, and we would have to wait to start a family.
For reasons that would probably seem inadequate to much of the world, I put the pursuit of my master's degree on hold. Since then I have tried this job and that job but haven't really found my place in the world yet. I would really love to live in California to help my dad, who is in failing health, but we were unable to find a job there. Instead, we got the job that was the absolute furthest away from home from any other job we applied to.
To add to my frustrations in shaping a career, shortly after getting married I began to have numerous health problems. I saw literally a dozen doctors, none of whom could tell me what was wrong. I began to worry that I was losing my mind. I was in constant pain, but no one could see it! Why is it that every problem I have is invisible? Pain. Infertility. Feelings of inadequacy. Finally in October 2009, my health totally collapsed making it impossible for me to work full-time. Diagnosis: Fibromyalgia. It just figures I would be labeled with a disease that half the people in this world (including doctors) don't even believe is real. I have felt such disappointment in myself at not being able to carry a full-time workload. I'm afraid that many people think I am making it up, and/or just lazy.
I don't mean this to be a woe is me post. I am trying to point out a pattern. Everything from applying to graduate school, to choosing a place to live after Spencer's graduation, to trying to start a family, to even finding meaningful work for me, has not gone according to plan. Thank goodness it is not really my plan that matters. What matters is that I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for me. I know it. I hope that as I keep trying, I will be able to figure out what I am supposed to be doing at this time in my life.
The past several years have been difficult. It's hard not to feel sick all the time. It's hard to be child-less. It's hard to be poor. It's hard to be all these things at the same time. But I still hope that someday I can help those who struggle as I do. Even if it's nothing more than giving them a hug and telling them I know EXACTLY what they are going through. Because, as I've said before, an empathetic heart means a lot! I guess my point is that even though I don't know the entirety of my purpose right now, I believe that Heavenly Father knows and He'll help me get there. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.