Punishing My Self

First off, thank you for the notes you have written, the positive energy you have sent, the prayers you have uttered; I have begun to sense in a very tangible way that my husband’s and my mission is surrounded by a circle of loving people, who expend their energy and time to wish us well. I even know one person who is putting in a prayer at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem this week, the very thought of which moves me to tears.

I haven’t been able to write anything since my “Failure” posting, just because I could not put pen to paper (for lack of a better phrase).  I have begun composing thoughts and we are diving into next steps, but it’s been important and valuable for me to sit with my thoughts, as opposed to immediately sharing them.

A few days ago I took a walk around our new neighborhood.  I just needed to breathe some fresh air and find my self in a space reserved for just me; that time of the day when the rings and buzzes and dings from all of my devices are not in hyper mode, and I invite nature in to soothe me.

I missed living a stone’s throw (if you have a great arm) from the sand of Venice Beach. We’ve moved only 2 miles inland, and it is definitely a move up, and I am in LOVE with the energy and space of our new home, but I am not able to immediately step into nature as my back yard, as I had with our previous home. (I can easily change that by hopping on my bike instead of going on foot, and that way I’ll be at the breakwaters of the Marina within minutes so that I can connect to nature, which allows me to just feel more, well, me.  We got a bike pump this weekend, so I will try that next time.)

More importantly, I saw something that both bothered me and resonated with me during this walk:  We now live near a hospital, and I saw someone’s hospital bracelet ID crumpled up next to a crushed pack of empty cigarettes with a few cigarette butts on the side, littering the grass less than a block away from the hospital – a few blocks away from our home.

I intuit this to mean that someone got discharged, and then immediately polluted his / her body with cigarettes, when it is possible that the reason they were hospitalized in the first place was related to their cigarette smoking.

I haven’t taken up smoking again (or any of my other previous unhealthy vices, which would come in awfully handy right now if I was my old self), since learning over two weeks ago that the Frozen Embryo Transfer didn’t work, even though in these past weeks I have had to work more than 80 hours per week, move into a new home, talk to my doctor about next steps, keep social obligations, and experience the deep sadness that this latest disappointing news (an understatement, obviously) has brought.

But I do notice a trend that I treat myself differently after a loss of the dream, after the crushing of the hope, after the vicious words “Not Pregnant” appear on the expensive digital pregnancy tests.  I almost punish myself: I ate McDonald’s, twice.  I haven’t taken my pre natal pills every day.  I allow myself to get stressed about work (a bit hard to avoid on this current project, anyway).

What I should be doing is wrapping myself up emotionally in my equivalent of a warm blanket or scarf and Ugg boots, those things that I equate with comfort.

I should be drinking soup and taking the vitamins which replenish my body.

Do you notice how I say my body, as opposed to me?  This is something that we really explored in my therapy sessions in ’11, the fact that I can not actually separate my self from my body, that I am one and the same, but that when I get the bad news, and I know full well that it is nothing that I did or didn’t do perfectly, I tend to want to blame someone.

Blaming G-d is no good for me; I can be mad at him or the universe or whatever my faith is, but that does not make me feel better, so that’s not really an option.

I can’t blame the doctor, as he is doing the very best any doctor could.

So I have a tendency to blame my body, which in turn means I try to punish my body.  And so I don’t eat very well and I don’t take all of those great vitamins to prepare for our next efforts, and somehow that little bit of withholding of love, as it were, gives me the control I need back.

I have had no control over the outcome of all of these fertility efforts –obviously – so punishing myself has become a habit, a very bad habit.  I am aware when I am doing it; I knew that I was running out of those pre natal pills, and yet I waited for days to re-order.  I know that getting stressed about work instead of relying on the meditation and spiritual calm is not good for me mentally or physically.

But this punishing of my self is a mechanism that is familiar; I am sure it is deeply rooted in my childhood and times when I felt like I was being punished.

(When I used to cry as a baby, around 2-years old, my parents would put me in the laundry room in my high chair and shut the door, so that I did not disturb them, their dinner; the family. I don’t know why I was crying so hard, but I can tell you with certainty that when my child has fits like that, I will pick him or her up and hold him or her; I will not put my baby in a small room, alone, and punish him/her for crying.  I was 2; I did not have the ability to communicate with words yet, and crying was my only way of telling them something was wrong.)

Of course this behavior of punishing myself for feelings I had, for inadequacies I suffered, for failure, has spanned my entire life; I was a drug addict for years, starting as a teenager and into my 30s; I took drugs, actual poison when taken to the level that I did, to make the feelings go away, because I had been taught by observation that having feelings was wrong or bad.

So it’s not surprising that I wanted to punish myself for learning that I was not pregnant, again, or still.  But I can tell you that I recovered from this behavior more quickly than last time, and the last time, more quickly than the time before.  That is due to lots of work in therapy, an unwavering faith, and a plan.

Yes, A PLAN.  We know what we’re doing next, efforts are underway, and there is a great comfort in knowing that.  We had made a long term plan last October, and now that we are where we are, we are at the point where the plan goes into effect.

While my goal in writing this blog is for others who are struggling to feel less alone, and get the love and positive energy and validation that so many of you have been generous to provide along the way, I am going to shelve what exactly we’re doing next, for the moment.  What could be so personal that I wouldn’t share with you now? – you must wonder, considering how much I have opened up thus far.  Well, you will understand better later.  But for now, I shall get back to work, and continue earning the money that allows us the luxury to chase our dreams.

My next posting will be returning back to the Fall of ’09, when I was in my second trimester, so that you can learn more about love affair I developed for my sweet Finley while he was in vitro, and how he metamorphosed into Craig’s and my own beautiful butterfly.

Until next time.

One thought on “Punishing My Self

  1. Oh honey, if eating McDonalds is punishing yourself then I am a very VERY bad girl. For unknown reasons this vile-worst of the worst-you can’t even call it food- was one of the few things I could stomach when I was pregnant and apparently I haven’t been able to kick the habit. You know how long this has been. Permission to judge me is granted.
    I can appreciate your privacy for “the plan.” And I’m glad you tangibly feel all our prayers and good wishes. Last thing I say at night, every night before I fall asleep. :)

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