The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The First Day of the Rest of My Break

This is how the story goes. A farmer is fed up with his house. His wife whines, his kids yell, the dog barks and the cat meows. He goes to the rabbi and he asks him how he can get some peace and space to think and the rabbi says, "bring your cow inside."

So he brings the cow inside the house and now the cow lows, the wife whines, his kids yell, the dog barks and the cat meows. He goes back to the rabbi and he explains that he can't even breathe because he's so stressed in his house. The rabbi thinks and finally answers, "bring your horse inside."

So he brings in the horse and now the horse neighs, the cow lows, the wife whines, his kids yell, the dog barks and the cat meows. He makes many visits back to the rabbi, each time begging for a solution and each time being told to bring another animal in the house.

On his final visit to the rabbi, as he is on the brink of emotionally drowning, the rabbi tells him to go home and take all the animals back outside. He does and suddenly, the house is ten times more peaceful. He can still hear the voices of his wife and children as well as the dog and cat, but he sits down in his chair and finally gets back to his work, feeling a tremendous sense of stillness.

Nothing has been removed from our house. Everything is exactly the same way it was the day before--the same work needs to get done, the same children need to be raised, the same house needs to be cleaned, the same husband needs to be...entertained. And yet, once 8:30 a.m. passed and we entered a space where what was done was done, I felt an enormous stillness. I was in the car, driving the ChickieNob and Wolvog to an appointment I was scheduled to miss if I had gone ahead with my day 3 blood work and I noticed the clock said 8:50 a.m. My feet were supposed to be in the stirrups. Instead, they were on the gas pedal of my car.

I think the most telling moment was that I baked today. I had been wanting to bake for weeks, make cookies for Josh's workplace to celebrate his new position. I didn't have any more time today than I do on any other day. The difference was that my thoughts weren't racing and without my thoughts racing, there was a stillness within the house. I could easily see how to balance the day. It is the difference between trying to think within a house of noisy animals and trying to think in the stillness that comes after you've let them out of the house.

Thank you for responding to that last post. It was so incredibly helpful for me to write it down and see the situation in print and analyze it to pieces. Hitting publish felt like I was giving it away; letting go of those feelings. It was therapeutic to write it. It was therapeutic to receive support in turn. It was incredibly helpful for me to read how others approached a break or what they took away from it. I wrote it for myself and then considered setting it aside and publishing a simple entry: "We're stepping away from treatments for a few months. The reasons are too numerous to list. Thanks for all the fish." (There, Leah, is your reference to Hitchhikers). But that feel like a dick move. I don't owe you an explanation, per se, but you share your raw honesty with me therefore...I don't all goes back to the quote that lines the top of the Lost and Found. In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

If anyone else got anything out of it, it was worth hitting publish. If you didn't get anything out of it, then I apologize for having you sit through such a navel-gazingly long post.

There are more thoughts brewing in my head about this so I'm apologizing in advance (and feel free to skip) the enormously self-exploratory posts of my own psyche. I'm acting as if I'm the first person on earth to ever take a break. It's novel for me; the only breaks I took the first time were canceled cycles. Perhaps that's why I'm so high-strung.


ms. c said...

Sending you lots and lots of love.

Deb said...

You made the decision that was right for you at this time. No need to apologize. There are many of us that share those same thoughts.

Take care of you!

andrea_jennine said...

Glad you've found a little bit of stillness!

Kathy V said...

Even though there was a decision made, you will still think about the decision in retrospect. I am glad that there is a stillness. Besides you said your last post was therapeutic. Isn't that one of the reasons you started to blog in the first place. Sometimes even if the words don't make sense to anyone else but you just getting them out there makes it that much more peaceful to deal with. It is a way to sort things out inside your head. Thank you for continuing to post. The support and love goes round and round in this circle. When you need it we give it, when we need it, you give it. "The love you take IS equal to the love you make."

Julia said...

I love that story. In the Old Country it is told as "buy a goat," and "sell the goat." And of course, "sell the goat" became an idiom, a shorthand for many things. A motto, almost.

Anyway, I am glad there was a stillness and cookies. You rarely go wrong with cookies. :)

LJ said...

I have used that quote so many times in life, it isn't funny. It's totally true though, and maybe has to go back to my belief that things are supposed to be fair and even out in the end. One good thing is, you can live for right now...make sure to experience all you can with the twins and even yourself as you move towards being published. There's a lot of good to pay attention to RIGHT NOW without having to live from week to week by the orders of an RE. You have to do what is right for you and your family.

Dianne/Flutter said...

Glad you are feeling the freedom of the break. Hoping the freedom supresses any doubt. Because you only deserve good things.

Jess said...

I really think it sounds like you did make the right decision.

When we took our break last year, even though it was only a couple months to get my body back on track, it was the leading up to it that sucked, and the making the decision....once we took it, it was ok.

You'll be fine, Mel.

Thinking of you.

nancy said...

lol. "as if I'm the first person on earth to ever take a break." That made me laugh.

I'm off to find a cow and a horse and about 10 other animals to bring into my house.

alison said...

I've had that feeling before - the one where you feel like the weight of the world has been lifted, even though nothing has changed. It's like you can finally exhale. Mine came in college when I dropped a second major - Art - down to a minor. I just couldn't hack it. I'd been trying to keep pushing through because I thought was giving up on myself by quitting. In all actuality, it freed up my time to do the things I really needed and wanted to do. It was the best decision ever. I could breathe again.

SarahSews said...

I'm a huge huge fan of the break. Especially when your life, your real life, is calling out for it. Once we started our break from treatments (and all TTC things like OPKs, etc) I felt human again. Sure the grocery store reminders still sucked. But not having to face my failure to conceive every single waking moment of every day (appointments, worry, tests, etc) let me get back to the parts I loved about my life.

You have a lot to love about your life right now. When your life has a bit more openness than it has right now, you'll know it's time to go back.

sltbee69 said...

Enjoy that self-imposed stillness Mel. I hope it gives you much needed rest before and/or when you decide to add the whole farm again. ((HUGS))

VA Blondie said...

I know how you feel. When I put my bbt charts and thermometer away, I felt a lot better.

We have several issues to get straightened out before we start IVF. The break allows us to deal with these things without the stress of IVf and infertility treatment. For me, that is a bit of a gift. The infertility stuff is always in the back of my mind, but right now it is not a priority. I am hoping to bring it back to the front soon.

Barb said...

Thanks for the post! It was worth reading. :) As for the stillness... I'm glad it happened that way for you. On the breaks that *I* choose, that's usually how it happens for me. I'm agonized making the decision, but once it's done, I feel at peace for once. Now when it'd done for GOOD as it seems to be now... well that's a whole new ball of wax.

(and thanks for the Hitch hiker's reference. ;)

Nice plate body btw!

Celeste said...

Oh, Mel... reading your previous post was so heartbreaking. I could feel the weight and agony of the decision. As far as I'm concerned, your sharing of your process is one of the reasons for the intimacy we all experience here, so say it like it is, sistah! We love you!

Beyond that, it was also good to read about today's cookies... in one circle of friends, we call this process "taking the oars out of the water" - instead of trying to paddle desperately to a place upstream, you chose a path that has more flow... and that will only benefit you & your family.

I have so much respect for you and honor this place you're in. Much love.

Samantha said...

When I started my break in November, it felt really, well, odd. But I am glad to have had the break, it has been good to focus on a few other things. I hope your break will give you the same. Stillness can be hard to come by.

megan said...

i'm glad to hear there was some stillness. sometimes that can be priceless.
i hope you continue to ease into this break. thinking of you and sending many hugs.

Bea said...

Definitely the right choice.


Anonymous said...

Eh, your writing is not very original, quite contrived and self indulgent. You should stick with cycling, family planning and baking bread.