Monday, November 19, 2012

"Stop trying and it will happen"

So.  I'm trying to have a baby... and having difficulties.

My difficulties stem from losing a tube to an ectopic pregnancy, and having some hormonal issues following an extended period of breastfeeding and chronic nightwaking with my child.

People genuinely don't know what to say when you are trying to get pregnant and its not happening.  Mostly they want to be the one to say something to make you feel better.  However some things, although said out of love, can be hurtful to someone with fertility issues.

Today I had someone literally berate me for "trying" to get pregnant!  It was someone I barely knew, who knew nothing about my story, and who already had two children of her own.  She kept saying how you "can't" try for a baby, that you have to relax and just let it happen.  It wasn't just that she said it, either.  She was very condescending, and went on and on and on.  And later on in the day she brought up the subject again to emphasize to me how important it is that I stop trying.

I could barely get a word in to defend myself.

I understand this way of thinking.  My two pregnancies both happened when I had booked overseas trips!  I understand the mind/body connection.  However, it is not fair to tell someone to "stop trying to get pregnant".  I want to be pregnant.  I want to have another baby.  And I have the right to go after what I want.  I could have just "stopped trying"... but then I would never have gone to Sharkey's  Healing Centre and would never have made the progress I've made.  I can see and feel the improvements to my health and wellbeing since I went.  I'm no longer tired or cranky in the afternoons.  I no longer crave sugar, or have trouble falling asleep.  It has given me hope that my fertility is improving and when I get a negative pregnancy test I think, "oh well, things are improving, maybe next month is it".

Instead of telling someone to "stop trying", maybe ask them how they are coping with it all?  Just because someone is actively trying to get pregnant, doesn't mean they cry like a dying wolf every time they get their period, or a negative pregnancy test.  It IS possible to work on your emotions without stopping the "trying" process.  Don't get me wrong, I do have times when I get sad, and frustrated, and it sucks.  But mostly, I am OK.  Sharkeys encourages you to work on how you feel emotionally, not just physically.  I used to get very upset thinking that Butterfly was getting older and, at 3, there was already an age gap too large for my liking even if I gave birth today!  I have gradually let that go, as something I cannot control.  People telling me to let it go didn't help, I had to do it myself.

Maybe what someone needs is some support.  If they ARE having a bad time emotionally, there is some reading on the Sharkey's website about it... hang on lemme find it... HERE.  Try listening to them, being there for them, and try not to offer advice unless you have been in their situation.  If you know that taking one's mind off the process can help, why not organise something to do together?  Girls weekend?  Spa pampering trip? (Don't any of my friends try that on me, I'm too much of a tomboy to enjoy that shit!) Lunch date?  You don't have to mention that its a "forget your fertility woes" thing, probably best you don't.  Just be a good friend.

I don't think I could "stop trying" even if I wanted to.  I am in tune with my body, I know when I am ovulating and therefore the best time to try to have another child.  I always said before I had kids that I would never "try", I would just go off the pill and see what happened.  What happened was I started to try!  How could I not, when I wanted a baby in my life?  And I want another baby now.  The only way I could ever "stop trying" was if I decided to give up on my desire to have another child, and its not something I can turn off.

Everyone is different, and what can hurt someone might not affect another.  And some things upset me some days and other days it rolls off my back!  In my experience, there are some things you should never say to someone trying for a baby, whether its been a month or four years (and I apologise to everyone that I myself said these things to along the way!)

*  "I know it will happen for you"  Actually, you don't.  It sounds like a comforting thing to say, but since I know you don't have a crystal ball, it isn't all that comforting.

*  "Maybe we can be pregnant together!" This is another reminder that you can get pregnant any time you want and I can't

*  "Just stop trying!" as above :)

*  "Try waiting for (insert more time than you have been currently trying)!" Any woman knows that every negative test sucks, whether it is your first or your 45746th!  It amazes me that people can say this when they have obviously been through the same thing. 

*  "you have plenty of time to have more kids" True.  But we all have a plan for our lives and it sucks when you have an idea of how you wanted your family to be and can't make it happen.  I don't just want one more, I want lots more.  And my husband is 10 years older than I am.  Time is a factor.

I have others but I won't list them, because I know my friends would be horrified to know things they said had me in tears (yes, catch me in a hormonal moment and it will happen!).  I also realise that no one ever says anything intentionally hurtful.  I don't even consider these things to be insensetive or thoughtless.  Because on paper these things don't seem at all offensive!  Its just things you can't understand until it happens to you.

Its funny, I can't speak for everyone who is trying, but pregnancy news doesn't affect me.  I can be happy for my friends around me who are falling pregnant. 

It may not be rational that the things above can create a pang in my heart.  Emotions are rarely rational.  Like I said, I have said most of these things to people myself!  I think that the best thing to do is listen, and try not to "fix it" or "empathise" if you have never been in the same situation.  We all want to make people feel better, but as a parent I have learnt that sometimes you have to let the people you love hurt so they can begin to heal.  Giving advice can sometimes make people feel misunderstood or unheard. 

I would like to finish by thanking all of my friends for their support and friendship, for putting up with my texts about how "I really feel pregnant this month!" and never are!  And for saying the above things and trying to make me feel better, even if you suck at it ;)

Bahaha who could not want another one of these?  I love you Butterfly!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Unschooling is the choice for us!

Right now I am sitting here with so much passion in mah belly that I can physically feel it!  I haven't felt this way since I discovered Attachment Parenting!

So this is it, my family have made the decision, we are unschooling! And I am SO damn excited!  I can't wait to get started... oh wait, thats the whole point of unschooling, we HAVE started!

Recently I came back to facebook (for a while there I deleted all friends except immediate family).  I joined up with an unschooling group on facebook, and felt what it is like to actually have some support on the issue.  Because, lets face it, support is hard to come by for homeschooling.  I am pretty open about my choice, yet mostly refer to it as "homeschooling" because "unschooling" comes with a million more questions (and homeschooling arouses enough, dammit!).  I've had people say to me outright "oh, I don't agree with that at ALL.  I'm a teacher and have found that kids that go to school take direction from other adults much better than homeschooled kids" and have not really spoken to me since.  Its interesting, but "ability to take direction from adults" is not high on my priority list... I'd rather have a free thinking individual who is confident enough to ignore a direction if they disagree with it!

The questions surrounding homeschooling can be really rude, and irritating.  It depends who is asking, and their reasons for asking. Some are truly curious, and I don't mind expanding a few minds.  Others just grind my gears. 

What about socialisation? How will they get into uni?  Won't they get bored?  How will they function in the "real world" (is school really the "real world?")

I'm writing this knowing full well many of my audience will be sending their kids to school.  Most people do.  How would you feel if an unschooler grilled you on your decision to send your kids to school?  How would you answer?  The same questions apply... What about socialisation? How will they get into uni? Won't they get bored? How will they function in the "real world". 

But, for the most part, people who choose to school aren't required to answer for their choice.  After all, the majority of the world have made the same decision as them.

So before you shoot off questions, remember that unschooling is not a default choice.  Its a parenting philosophy that has developed over time, and much research has been put into the decision (books, blogs, the experience of parents on both sides of the fence).  So do what an unschooler does, and TRUST. Trust that the parent is making the best decision they can for their child.  Trust that the parent has, at one time, had all the same questions and gone seeking the answers.  And still, they chose to unschool.  Trust them.

I have been through periods of doubt, of questioning, of reflection.  I've done a lot of thinking about my own schooling.  I kicked the school systems ass, I got an OP of 1, with A's in almost every subject.  Plonk a bunch of grade 12 exam papers in front of me today... and I would probably fail the lot of them.  Truth be told... I would probably not pass them if they were grade 8 papers!  That is the school system, to me, in a nutshell.  On paper I am Smarty McSmartpants.  In reality, the knowledge I have actually retained is the few small units within subjects that interested me.  Or on weekends or school holidays, when I learnt by doing something.  I used to be able to solve differential equations.  Ask me to do it today?  I'd have to google that shit.  The only head start I would get is knowing they were called "differential equations"

So I don't worry about what Butterfly will learn.  I trust that what she does learn will be relevant to her and therefore she is more likely to retain that information.  I will foster and encourage her passions, and if she needs to attend university to make her dreams come true, I trust that she will work to make it happen.  Now that I have finally "unschooled" myself, I can relax and trust the process of life!  And I am SO excited!

Something that is said often about homeschooling "oh you are brave, I could NEVER do that!" 
A very wise, unschooling owl said to me today, "they send their kids to school? They are so brave, I could NEVER do that!"

Every parent has the right to choose what they believe to be the best for their child.  Are you sure school can provide your child with as much as you can?  If you have doubts, then unschooling might be for you :) I welcome questions from people who are seeking information to make a choice for their own family.  I do not welcome questions from people who are intimidated by my choice and seek to trip me up.  So if  you have love in your heart, ask away :)