I think I did a good job of surviving Mother’s Day. I didn’t feel sorry for myself, but there were a few heart wrenching moments, like when my mom teared up over the card I gave her, and when my 7-year-old nephew asked if I was a mom. “I thought all married people were moms and dads,” he told me. Then he asked me if I wanted a baby. All I could do was nod in the affirmative. And drink a bottle of wine. I had fun most of the day, playing with my two nephews and making plans with my sisters. Once I got home, though, I started to feel the weight of infertility. Even though we’re getting closer to IUI and possibly IVF, the idea of our own baby is slipping farther and farther away.
To add insult to injury, I dreamed (again) of breastfeeding a baby last night. Then, this morning, one of the first things I saw was yet another cousin announcing her pregnancy on Facebook. That makes 3 (that I know of), 2 of whom are sisters. I wasn’t surprised; part of me expected this one to be next. I’m happy for her. I think they’ve been trying for a while, but with her husband overseas in the military for the last few years, it’s been difficult for them.
So, with one of the most difficult days of the year out of the way, I’m ready to refocus on taking care of me. In my last FLOW post, I talked about some of the broken connections in my life, primarily my husband and my mother. Today, the topic is Nourishment, both physical and spiritual. The first exercise asks me to think about my favorite flavors, which foods I usually eat to satisfy those cravings, and how I might more creatively and healthily enjoy those flavors.
I’ve always had a wicked sweet tooth. Most of my strongest cravings are for sweet things, primarily chocolate and rich things, like cheesecake and ice cream. I haven’t met a desert that is too sweet. But I also get some pretty intense cravings for savory flavors, like sushi (sweet-bitter of the rice) and Chinese food (sweet, tangy, salty sesame chicken). Now that I think about it, even my savory cravings have an element of sweet. I know I should choose fruit over candy and make my own healthy versions of Chinese take-out, but when I’m in the midst of an intense craving, it’s difficult to make good choices (as I’m sure you can all relate).
My cravings also have a textural element, which is sometimes more important than sweet vs savory. For instance, many times I crave something crunchy, in which case either Peanut M&Ms or barbecue potato chips will do. Years ago, I tried an experiment in which I would crunch on ice instead of food to satisfy my craving. It sort of worked, but the ice was too much for my sensitive teeth, plus it cut up the roof of my mouth.
Aside from food, nourishment also applies to the “soul” and sense of purpose. What “flavors” does my soul crave? The first thing that comes to mind is being by myself. I’ve never liked large groups of people, and even when I’m with just one or two close friends or family members, I can’t wait until I can be alone again. I think this is part of the reason I have such a hard time connecting with my husband. Not only have I always relied on myself for comfort, alone is my preferred state. I like to work through my feelings with myself, in my mind or on paper/screen, and I’ve done so for so long, that I don’t know how to involve others in that process. I love to be alone when I’m exploring nature or a museum. I don’t have to worry about whether the person I’m with is bored or wants to move on to the next thing, or if I change my mind and want to leave. I enjoy things like reading and knitting, because they are solitary activities, things I can do at my own pace, at the time and place of my choosing.
For my blueprint, I will promote nourishment in my life by paying closer attention to the root of my cravings and creating a list of healthy things to satisfy them. I want my body to be healthy for my future baby. A healthy body will help me cope better with the emotional turmoil of infertility, as well. I will promote nourishment by giving myself plenty of alone time to meditate, read, knit, or explore my world. I think it’s important for this to be a daily thing, but I acknowledge that it may take some time to make it routine. Making an effort to be alone seems counter to my goal to have a deeper connection with my husband, but if I don’t feed my own spirit with the things it craves, I’ll only resent spending time with him. Taking care of myself first will prepare me to focus on making us stronger. Whether or not our life together will include children of our own, we need to be a strong us.