Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reinvention Convention Update

Well, have you been sitting there with baited breath waiting for my update?

Nah, didn't think so.

But do not dismay, despite radio silence the wheels of life have been turning.  

Most significantly we put our house on the market and sold it - whooo hoooo!!!!

A big deal on many levels....all the obvious ones like purging, staging, keeping your house in perfect order to that a viewing can happen at any time.  Offers that fell through, offers that felt like insults and finally the perfect (almost!) match.  A decent offer and a chance to start the next chapter of our lives.

The perhaps less obvious levels include yet another step in the 'letting go of the parenthood dream'.   No more extra rooms for kids and their stuff and their friends.  No more dreams of steps cluttered with books and socks and other kid related paraphernalia.  No more back yard for running around and digging in the garden.  No more 'kid friendly' street to learn to walk and bike and stroll.  No need for these things.  More than that, the need to move away from them.  

It's not like every day in our child-less house is torture -- far from it!  But as we imagine and create a beautiful, full life without children who live with us, a house does not seem necessary.  Let someone else raise a family here - use this space, inside and out, for plenty of kids and maybe some pets.  We don't need to take up all this space and in fact, in some ways, it's holding us back from the life we dream of living.

So we are moving into a 18 days!!!  

There, in a smaller space, with no outside maintenance and all the adult amenities at our fingertips, we carve out the next phase of Sariel and Shlomit's good life.  More time for cooking, playing music together, travel, walks, ice skating, backgammon and whatever else we feel like.

We leave behind the physical space that is our house, but take with us all the memories.   The many happy, peaceful, fun, amazing memories.  The many painful, gut wrenching, devastating ones too.  They are all part of us.

During this process, we've made a few concrete steps towards honouring and memorializing the seven little lost lives we carry around with us.

I had a beautiful bracelet designed that arrived just the other day.  On the outside of the bracelet the inscription reads:  

You never know how strong you are until 
being strong is the only choice you have.*

On the inside, the artist inscribed seven small hearts, 
one for each little life that never got to be.

It's not much maybe but it's a big step for try to somehow give words and images to all that I carry inside me.

We've also decided to observe the yarzheit for babies 6 and 7.  These were the two pregnancies which got the farthest and hurt the most.  We plan to place two special rocks beside Sariel's father's (z"l) stone, light a yarzheit candle out at the field and say kaddish.

In Judaism there are no traditional rituals for miscarriage - only once a baby has been 'born' - even still born.  But not before.  So we are reclaiming those rituals that make sense to us and honour the lives we loved and hoped for and dreamed about.

Well, I thought I'd write a whole lot more...there is certainly much swirling around inside.  I'll stop here...for now...and promise to visit again sooner!

For those who celebrate this New Year:  All the best to you and those you love!  May you be blessed with health, happiness and peace!


*I'm not certain who to credit for this, so if you know, please let me know!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reinvention Convention

I may have been 'silent' but wheels have been turning, thoughts have been churning and ideas brewing.

After 6+ years of having 'parenthood' as a goal, Sariel and I find ourselves in a vacuum of sorts.  It's one thing to begin to come to terms with childlessness.  One BIG thing.

But then what?  What now?  Who are we?  What are we doing?  Where are we going?  Do we need to go somewhere?  What is family now?  Do we need this house we bought to have kids in?  What's it all gonna look like?

It's both anxiety provoking and exciting...this 'reinvention convention'* 
This exploration is so individual and yet so entwined in our 'couplehood'. 

Our family. 

There, I said it. 

We are. 

A family. 

Me and Sariel and sometimes his daughter.

A real, true family.

And we are are taking better care of our bodies - eating better, hiking, playing sports, getting active.

I am getting reacquainted with my body.  Going through the process of embracing who I am, all that I am, inside and out.  Trying to re-vision this body.  This body that, for the last several years has been a disappointment, an enemy amost. 

This empty receptacle. 

This barren womb. 

This poor responder.

This producer of lousy eggs. 

This miscarrier of 7 babies.

This ridiculously slow healing foot fracture.

I am learning to nurture, to cherish, to embrace, coddle and care for myself.  To love myself and accept myself.  Oddly,  in some ways, to parent my self in a way I wanted to parent.  In a way I wasn't parented.

And it's a long journey but one I do revel in from time to time.  I am learning to listen when I need to stop.  Or go.  Or run.  Or jump.  Or lay down.  I'm learning to integrate mind, body and soul -- those elements that were at great odds with each other for many, too many, years.

Other stuff is happening too, but that's for another post.

Hope y'all are well and living life fully!


*full credit to a good friend of mine, going through her own turmoil and transition, who came up with this term!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why was last night different?

One of the questions we ask at our Passover Seder every year is:  

Why is this night different from other nights?

Why indeed!

Last night Sariel and I hosted our first Seder together.  Surrounded by family, friends: new and old, some who've been celebrating Passover their whole lives, some who are discovering their Jewish souls and, I believe, some who are re-discovering their Jewish souls.

Okay, that's not so different.  

Jews around the world gathered last night to tell the story of when we were slaves in Egypt and how we became free.  We eat bitter herbs and matzoh and then have a big feast.  Those who haven't snuck out early, share the symbolic dessert - the afikomen - drink at least two more glasses of wine and end the night with our wishes to be together in Jerusalem next year.  And we musn't forget the singing - sending our guests home with containers full of food, on a wave of song.

But here's the 'different' part.

This is the first Passover since Sariel and I have been together that we haven't been in our own 'mitzrayim'  (literally 'a narrow place'; Egypt, land of our slavery).  

The mitzrayim of infertility and pregnancy loss.  

At least one year, I'm sure, I was surreptitiously drinking grape juice, trying to hide the early stages of yet another pregnancy.  

One year, plans well underway for us to host the seder, we had to change the venue because of where we landed in our IVF cycle.  

Ugh.  That was not a pretty seder.  We found out the morning before the first seder that, despite daily injections of $1000 worth of medication, for days on end, I was, in fact, a 'poor responder'.  There would be no retrieval, no icsi, no transfer...probably no baby.

We have been graciously hosted by friends and family over the years - and experienced the whole gamut of Seders - from the sublime to the ridiculous.  

Yet, no matter how sublime (or, for that matter, how ridiculous!) there was an underlying thread of pain, yearning, envy.  Passover, like so many Jewish holidays, is a family holiday.  We are commanded to 'tell our children' the Passover story.  For those who are single, childless or otherwise not involved in a 'traditional' family, these holidays can be very painful. 

During a holiday celebrating our liberation, some of us find ourselves still in personal bondage.

So last night was a big deal.  Not just the cooking for 15 (thank you, my hero, Sariel!!) and preparing everything and finding a Haggadah that would have at least a little something for everyone -- Oh, don't get me wrong, that was a big deal too.  

But the really big deal was the joy in our hearts as we welcomed people into our home.  We made a place for them.  We invited them into the family that we are - Sariel and I.  

I looked around the room as the Seder began, everyone waiting expectantly for me to begin, to lead them - and I felt a sense of completion that I haven't felt for a long, long time.  

I do not have children to teach, to lead and to share my love of Judaism and all it entails.  I will never have my own children.  That is sad and I honour that grief and live with it.  I am coming to accept that I will always live with it.

I still have a passion and a love to share and the gift of having created a welcoming, inclusive home where people from diverse backgrounds, can share and learn and laugh and break matzoh together.

That is something.  That's not just a consolation prize.  That is something substantial.  Something that Sariel and I have constructed intentionally, something we have 'birthed'.

At the end of the Seder as people were chatting and patting their full, satisfied bellies, one of the guests asked if she could share a few words.  This was a woman, originally from Canada, who had spent many years in the States, married, had kids, divorced and is now back in Canada to make a life here again.  She very graciously thanked us for including her in our Passover Seder.  Then she went on to tell us that, at the age of 61, this was her first Passover Seder.  She discovered 6 years ago that her mother was Jewish and, since then, many things clicked into place for her.  As she shared her story, I was proud of our guests, who accepted and celebrated her and enveloped her with love.  A few of us around the room shared knowing smiles, having walked similar paths and felt that amazing sense of homecoming.  

Her story, her courage to share it with a room full of people who just hours before had been strangers - what an amazing gift she brought to our home.  My heart overflows with gratitude not only to her, but also to G-d, the Universe who has taken me on this strange journey of peaks and valleys and brought me to the place I am now.  I can think of no other word but beshert.  That this year, of all the years, we got our selves together enough and found ourselves in a place of strength and healing to be able to share our Passover Seder with so many and include this wonderful woman.

I could go on and on, and maybe some of this will come out in another post, but I'll stop here. 

Sit back with a cup of tea, continue tidying and allow this smile and abounding gratitude to flow out of me and through me.

Chag Sameach.


Monday, March 28, 2011


I'm not sure why I've not been blogging but life just seems SO BUSY!!  And every time I say that I'm learning not to criticize myself for 'not handling more, since I don't have any kids'.  If I had kids, I'd be busy in a different way, right?

One of the big (pardon the pun) by-products of infertility and multiple pregnancy loss has been, in addition to clinical depression, a lot of weight gained and a more sedentary lifestyle.

 This is not good people.

I am NOT a skinny girl!!!

So I may be turning to friends in the blog-o-sphere to get a little help with this.  

Y'all kept me sane while I walked through the darkest valley.  I'm hoping you might help me stay motivated while I climb the highest mountain!!!

Once I'm home I will be BRAVE and post a recent pic.  I will also post a pic from about 6 or 7 months before I started trying to get pregnant.

Here are the pics...I'm feeling scared and BRAVE....the 'fat' picture is definitely not flattering!!!

This is me in May 2004:

This is me in January 2011:

Somethings got to change.  I need your help. 

Are you with me? 

Hope so!


Monday, January 24, 2011

One of the crazy people

And I mean that in the best way, of course.

Cos, technically, I am a crazy person.  And proud of it.

But you know what I'm not so proud of?  

Being associated with this:  All childless people are potential criminals!!!   

None of us can know what made this woman take this child all those years ago.  But apparently the press knows.  She says she had several miscarriage.  Full stop.  End of sentence.

While I admit to experiencing stress, distress, mourning and, yes, depression as a result of my journey with infertility, I resent the implication that 'a few miscarriages' tells the whole story.

HELLO?!?!?!  Where is the rest of the story?  You accept that as fact???

Wait a minute. 

Instead of complaining maybe I need to recognize this as an opportunity!  

I mean, if people already think I'm crazy cos I had S.E.V.E.N. miscarriages, doesn't that give me carte blanche to go ahead and engage in criminal activity?  Insanity caused by multiple pregnancy loss, that could be my defense!! 

Maybe not so much, eh?



Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I have crafted 2 or 3 new posts...all about this new life.

Apparently I'm now slightly more of a perfectionist about blogging than I used to be.  I feel they all could use edits before publishing.

But now.


Now I've got a new problem.

Now I think I'm f***ing pregnant again.




And I say that without an iota of ambivalence.

I DO NOT want to be pregnant.

I am definitely not up for pregnancy.


Not me.

Not now.

Not ever.

How does a former infertility blogger get to the point where she is even contemplating terminating a pregnancy?  Is that sacrilege or what?  I can't imagine I'd ever do it, but the thought actually crossed my mind.

Yep.  That is where I am.  I am not up for this.  7 pregnancies.  7 miscarriages.  I'm 44.  And a half.  I don't want this.

Could it be peri-menopause?  I'm at that age, right?  Could be an irregular period?



I've been in denial for a few days.  But tonight the possible reality reared it's ugly head.

Too snowy and too many glasses of wine to go out and get a pregnancy test now.  But first thing in the morning I'm off to buy one...or two!  And first thing Monday morning, Sariel is gonna figure out the ins and outs of cutting off his seed!!

Ugh.  I don't expect you to understand.  Please just stand beside me.

And stay tuned.