27 March, 2017

The gift of acceptance

I've spent the last week feeling rather sorry for myself - though I figure I've got some reason for that - though I'm also very thankful for your good wishes! But I know that it could be much worse (though almost every time I think that, it actually is!), and I'm accepting that I might need to learn to live with an underlying level of pain.

It's that Pain Olympics thing, but when Pain Olympics work in our favour, not against us. I am able to see how good I have it, and how much worse it could be (and has been), rather than comparing myself only against those who are in robust health and never have any issues.

I am also not under the illusion that life is fair - infertility and pregnancy loss taught me that - and yes, sometimes further injustice can feel like a slap in the face.

But infertility and pregnancy loss has also taught me to accept that life is not fair, and I've emerged from that stronger. I don't take it personally any more, and I don't feel as if my self-worth is threatened, knowing that I am who I am, not what my body will do for me. I am thankful for that, for infertility's gift to me, making it easier to deal with life's blows, and making the joys in life even sweeter, the gratitude easier to find.

24 March, 2017

Checking in

I had reason this week to be grateful I didn't have to look after children as well as cope with a TGN attack.

I was grateful too for the tui in my trees last night, chirping and clicking and clacking madly.

I was also grateful for my husband cooking and looking after me.

These are small things, but being able to feel gratitude in the midst of any painful (emotional or physical) time helps.

Hopefully I'll be back and posting again soon.

13 March, 2017

Three Steps to Banish Negative Thoughts

I found this list of suggestions in a draft email I wrote a long time ago to someone who was in a lot of pain, and now I can’t honestly remember if I sent this to them or if I decided they weren’t ready to hear it. I suspect though, that we all need these reminders from time to time:
  1. Every time you recognise a negative thought, first, consciously recognise that you're thinking it. Don’t let yourself reject any evidence or arguments that might contradict these negative thoughts.

  2. Next, challenge the thought, by saying one or all of the following:

  3. "well, I know that's rubbish"
    "Mali or <insert favourite blogger here> says that is rubbish"
    (and don't let yourself think "but I know better" because you don't)
    "the world doesn't work that way"
    "biology doesn't work that way."

    Or challenge it in a more detailed way:
    "that can't be true because there are people who murder/torture/neglect their children,
    and they are no more worthy than me."

  4.  Finally, simply say, "I can't think that way, I am a good person, I deserve better."  Because I know you deserve better, even if right now, you don't.

06 March, 2017

Being alone - or not - in our old age

This morning, I heard someone say that their only daughter had moved to Australia, and that if they did not do so too (which, for financial reasons, was a complicated decision), they would “be alone” for the rest of their life.

This person felt that not having their only child near them was a great tragedy, and that having to make this decision was a terrible injustice. Their perspective was clear – that their life was not worth living unless they were close to their child.

Needless to say, when I heard this I rolled my eyes a little, thinking not only of all of us who won’t have our own children near us when we are elderly, but of my great-uncle and great-aunt, whose children all lived overseas or in another island and had to rely on a paid housekeeper and my parents to help when they were aging, or of my in-laws, who – if something happened to my husband and I – would also be without children in New Zealand (despite having four of them, the nearest is more than an eight hour flight away), and of all the other people who are without family in their day-to-day lives.

I felt a little sympathy too, because it seemed that this person (I suspect it was a woman) had never prepared themselves for their retirement other than intending to rely on their child, and so felt alone and obviously a little angry and afraid.

That’s the advantage that I think we, the No Kidding, have over those who have focused their whole lives on their children. Instead of sitting back and looking at our old age with doom and gloom, we can consciously choose to make preparations, both practical and emotional. We can make friends (hopefully of all ages), and ensure we are in an environment that is suitable for our old age before we are too old to make the change (unlike my in-laws who live in a house with treacherous stairs – as I learned to my chagrin last year – and a garden that is too large for them to cope with, and on a hill they cannot now walk up and down to get to the convenient shops nearby).

But most importantly, we can prepare mentally for our old age, knowing that we won’t be relying on a child for our happiness, that we won’t take it as a personal betrayal or failing if we don’t have family around us in our later years, and that we will be better prepared to look elsewhere for support and companionship, appreciating those who are there – in whatever context – in our declining years.