Thursday, July 09, 2015


This is a long journey, and it is very difficult to get away from the feelings of discouragement.  When you are discouraged over a big thing, like wondering why your body can't conceive after losing a baby, then little discouragements - while they may seem insignificant in comparison - seem to build up, like piling extra pounds onto an already existing burden.

With what would have been my due date approaching in a few days and an empty womb, seeing other discouragements just leaves me feeling drained.

Little things... my tomato plants are getting yellow from the bottom up.  Not much on the Cherokee Purples or the Rutgers, but the Romas and the other variety we have planted are yellowing quickly.  There are over a hundred green tomatoes out there, but how many will make it before the plants die?  So many possible explanations found online for what causes this - too much water, too little water, blight, fungus... and all we can do is try something and hope it helps.  If it doesn't, then it is discouraging.  So it might be a bacterial thing or blight, and there are some sprays we can try on the plants.

Little things... my kids arguing with each other.  One pestering the other, one screaming at the other.  The thought that creeps in of how maybe you don't deserve to have more kids if the ones you have are acting like this... that you should take care of what you already have better somehow.

Little things... like trying to put forth an effort to keep groups going.  Our La Leche League meetings have low attendance, and interest from others in becoming Leaders along with me will crop up and then is gone.  I cannot even count how many people I have had who are interested in becoming a Leader and then aren't.  I have had one co-Leader in the seven and a half years I have been doing this, and she moved after a couple years.  Yet there are many nursing moms who will pay for a $150 breastfeeding photo shoot... but they won't come to free LLL meetings.  It is discouraging to run a group when there is little interest.  Larger towns don't have this problem - they have many Leaders and more moms coming to meetings.  The idea is to find a common ground with other moms, meet friends, get support in an area that often is saturated with formula-feeding and people who think breastfeeding is gross.  It is discouraging to try to get a group together and maintained on any topic.  My Little Flowers group looks like it has no interest this year.  My girls want to keep doing it; I want them to keep doing it for the virtues and Bible verses they learn, for the camaraderie with other Catholic girls, for growing in the virtues they are learning as stepping stones towards Heaven.  I do not have a leadership type personality (I am actually a phlegmatic/melancholic), so it takes inner determination to take on these kinds of things for me and carry them through.  So it is discouraging when they fall apart, or when plans are made and only one person shows up at a meeting... although I can't feel like my time has been wasted if that one mom who comes to a LLL meeting is helped in some way.  Those little here-and-there moments when a mom tells me she is so glad LLL was there so she had some support while nursing her baby... those counteract the discouragement.  It is still hard to keep trying and not just give up when there is very little interest or even negative responses to anything you are putting effort into.  I have been telling myself not to take it personally - that it is not necessarily me or my leading style that keeps our LLL meeting attendance low, for instance... because taking it personally would be that much more discouraging.  Trying to stay positive is hard, but it is what I have to do in order to keep moving forward.  And remembering that if something is helpful to just one other person besides myself, then it is worth it to keep going.

And as silly as this is, seeing other pregnant moms, or hearing people talking about how easily they get pregnant, is discouraging.  Inside, I am screaming, "It might not always be so easy - I always thought myself how easy it was for me, but it can change on a dime!  Don't take it for granted!"

And my dreams have been so vivid and intense lately... so detailed.  People and places from long ago playing into them.  Feeling like they really happened right after waking up.  I can recall all these little details in them immediately and then I forget everything.

I have to be encouraged by the doctor I am seeing who will look at things like hormone levels and not just brush off concerns.  One who knows the normal rhythms of the body and expects that her patients know their own bodies too.  I have known about this doctor for years (and went to high school with her daughter) as being one of the few in the state who is knowledgeable about natural family planning - rather than prescribing birth control as a band-aid fix to everything.  I am glad that a friend encouraged me to go ahead and see her when I was just considering it.  I am encouraged that I was able to say, "I think my progesterone might be low," have it tested and confirm my suspicion, and then have my body respond favorably to a natural progesterone supplement to support my hormones during the appropriate time.

But I still have to make myself focus on the encouragement rather than the discouragement - big and small.  It takes will to do this rather than to give up.  What happens when people can't make themselves find some encouragement?  It is hard to do when you're just not feeling it.  It is hard to try to stay happy and positive.  It is hard to even pray about it all - but I am thankful that I know that even when a prayer doesn't "feel" sincere or deeply moving or profoundly spiritual, that doesn't matter... it is not the feeling you get from it, or a happy feeling about God, but just plugging away even when you don't feel it... because a commitment in any relationship is more important than how it feels moment to moment.  So just trying - just doing things even when they feel pointless, like nobody cares, like they will bear no fruit, like they aren't working... just plugging away anyway.  It is hard... life is hard.  But it is all I can do, really.