Taking Stock of the Holidays

I've always had a love/hate relationship with this time of year.  For many years, the ache of infertility cast a shadow on the festivities.  I overcompensated by filling my time with decorating the perfect tree, buying gifts and wrapping them with elaborate bows, and planning a fabulous feast. When the kids came along, I transferred my attention to them, and to making all the memories that I had long wanted to pass down. This year is different.  This year, I'm navigating our first Christmas as a divorced family, unencumbered by the expectations of others.  I get to call the shots, which means that I've spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about what this holiday means to me, and what I want it to mean to the boys. As a secular humanist, Christmas for me isn't about religious rituals or a deeper spiritual meaning.  It's simply about the people I love, and celebrating them in a fun and festive way.  It's about tradition, about passing on pieces of my chil

Breaking the Silence: Why I Stayed

It's a fair question, one that doesn't have a simple answer.  If my marriage was so awful, and my ex-husband abusive, why on earth did I stay?  I stayed for lots of reasons.  I stayed because I was afraid - of the unknown, of starting over, of being alone. I stayed because I wanted children. I stayed because I didn't want to admit failure. I stayed because "God hates divorce." I stayed because I made my bed, and now I had to lie in it. I stayed because everyone has problems, and no one's marriage is perfect. I stayed because I am stubborn. I stayed because relationships take work. I stayed because I thought I could save him. I stayed because I couldn't imagine my life any differently. I stayed because my children deserved to know their father. I stayed because I was scared of supporting them on my own. I stayed for a thousand reasons, but most of all I stayed because I believed him.  I believed him when he told me that no one el

Living With Fear

Fear. That feeling, deep in the pit of your stomach, that something isn’t right. It’s a survival mechanism, an evolutionary trait meant to keep us safe and to spur us into action when necessary. Sometimes, though, fear can be paralyzing. Instead of fight or flight, fear can keep us stuck, trapped in the situation that makes us feel unsafe. I’m well versed in fear. If I’m honest with myself, fear has motivated many of my adult life decisions. Fear of the unknown, fear of starting over, fear of never having children, and then fear of being the sole caregiver for said children, all kept me in a marriage that made me miserable for far too long. Lately, though, my fear has shifted. I’ve conquered many of the fears that kept me immobile for so long. I’ve opened up about my journey, and my shame. Because I AM ashamed. I am angry, at myself, that I let fears of possibilities (never certainties) control my decisions for so long. Now, though, I’m living with a different fear - a very real on

Breaking the Silence: I am a Survivor of Domestic Abuse

Those who know me even a little know that “silent” is not a word often used to describe me. I am passionate, outspoken, and even a bit argumentative. I have opinions and I’m not often afraid to share them, sometimes to my own detriment. If you’ve followed my journey the last ten years, you know that I’ve channeled this personality trait into becoming an advocate of breaking the silence that surrounds infertility, miscarriage, and repeated pregnancy loss. I’ve been very open with my own struggles to conceive, the heartbreak I faced losing multiple pregnancies, and the roller-coaster of emotions that accompanies IVF and ART. I am passionate about speaking up against social injustice and inequality. I will proudly stand up for others, to proclaim that something isn’t right, that we must be the change we wish to see in the world. What I’ve never said, out loud, to anyone is that I am also a victim of domestic abuse. For over fifteen years, my husband used fear, guilt, manipulation and i

I Am a Writer

I am a writer. It's taken me 36 years to say that. Before, I've always equivocated. "I like to write," I've said. "I blog sometimes." "I enjoy writing." But to actually call myself a writer? Isn't that for people who do it so much better than I do? For people whose imaginary stories spill out of their fingertips and onto the page, creating magic in their wake? For those lucky souls who possess the ability to create alternate realities, to transport others to places unseen and yet just as real in the imagination as the page on which its written? Surely it's not for a person like me, a person who struggles to find the right words and put them in the right order, who deletes and rewrites and still isn't satisfied. It cannot refer to someone who writes about the mundane in spurts and starts and wouldn't know author's craft if it bit her in the face. A writer is someone polished, someone smart and creative, someone who knows

Dear Husband

I've been struggling lately with what to say to you. There's so much left unspoken, given the way that things ended. There's so many explanations I want you to hear, so many wrongs I'd like you to acknowledge. But then I stop myself. And one word comes to mind. A word you have never been good at understanding: no. No. No, I am not going to let you dominate this space. No. No, I am not going to use this forum to list the many (MANY!) reasons I'm still angry. No. No, I am not going to give you any more control - over me, over my life, over the choices I make. No. (It's a complete sentence, or so I've heard). I'm not exactly sure what I have to say - my voice has been silenced for so long that I wonder which musings are worthy of sharing, and which are best kept to myself. But I do not wonder about what I envision for this space - a place that I can use to re-discover who *I* am, a place in which I once again can find my voice. Dear

How A Birthboard Ended My Marriage...and Ultimately Saved My Life

My first pregnancy in 2009 brought with it all the inevitable excitement that most first-time moms experience. After 8 years of infertility, I was thrilled to be able to finally do all the mommy things I had been anticipating for what seemed like forever. One of the first things I did was join a popular parenting website, signing up for weekly emails that would update me as to the fruit-sized dimensions of my growing fetus. Unfortunately, that pregnancy ended shortly after it began. I was devastated, and I quickly unsubscribed from what was a painful reminder of what I had lost. It wasn't until five years later, nearing the end of my fourth (and first successful) pregnancy that I ventured back into that intimidating space, filled with fertile women and discussions of all things baby-related. I dipped my toes in tentatively at first, but as my baby grew, so did my comfort levels with sharing this new experience with others. I found friends I hadn't expected to find, from all o