Sunday, February 26, 2012

How Scrapbooking has Helped me Cope

Once we really got head on into our battle with infertility, I remember a friend asking me to go on a scrapbooking retreat.  I was in a very bad place mentally....feeling very much like life was unfair, that no one understood me and overall felt completely helpless.  I went on the retreat knowing that all of the other women there have multiple children, most of them have three or more kids.  That used to be a tough spot for me to be in because I would always feel so out of place.  I'd listen to their stories of chaos at home and wish it was like that in my house....sometimes I'd want to scream "DO YOU KNOW HOW BLESSED YOU ARE?"  (As a side note, I am sure may people have this experience in life, just in other situations: Do you know how blessed you are that you married your soul mate?  Do you know how blessed you are that your husband helps around the house? Do you know how blessed you are that your family lives close to you?  Do you know how blessed you are that you are healthy?)

I went on the retreat and was surprised at the healing power of scrapbooking.  For two days, I stared at photos of the amazing life we have.  The miracle of being parents, the fun the three of us have together, the joy Griffin brings to our parents.  Photo after photo, page after page of blessings.  Instead of feeling bitter and jealous, I felt thankful for what I had.

The next retreat I went on with the same gals was different, and in a good way.  I was pregnant, and we already heard our baby's nice strong heartbeat.  It was fun to keep the pregnancy secret from everyone but my two good friends that knew almost immediately that our 2nd IVF worked.  One of my good friend was in charge of my nightly shots in my butt!  It was funny then and is funny now, but for a while I looked back on that weekend with sadness since we never got to meet our baby.

A few weekends ago, I went with two other good friends on a scrapbooking retreat in Maiden Rock, WI.  I wasn't nearly as organized as I usually am for scrapping, and knew that I wanted to do some other things while I was there.  I discovered my grandmother's family was from there, so I wanted to do a little exploring.  Most of all, I wanted to catch up with my friends.  I made plans to meet up with another friend prior to the retreat, so I had a lot to look forward to.

It was a great weekend.  Getting together with my friend prior to the retreat was wonderful.  She's a kindred spirit, always fun to be around sort of person.  We had a good talk about babies.  And, our mutual desire for more babies, but it turns our more babies won't come easy for either of us.  But, that won't stop us from trying.  I enjoyed scrapbooking and focusing on the good in our life, the many blessings we have.  Catching up with Tawnia and Molly was great.  Molly and I had a couple of fun excursions to the local establishments for beer.  I got plenty of scrapping done.  And, I achieved a goal that I didn't think was possible after how out of shape I let myself get last year....I ran 5 miles straight.  It was a tough run, but it was a gorgeous morning.  The sun was shining and the countryside was beautiful.  I was going uphill, so took my time.  I'd see a farm site in the distance and would decide to at least get that far, then I'd see a sign, then something else.  Finally I looked at my watch and decided I better get back. I tapped the sign that was my last goal to run to.  When I got back some of the gals asked how far I ran, but I wasn't sure.  I drove the route and right when I got to the sign I tapped, my odometer changed to 2.5!  I ran 5 miles!

On the way back I kept thinking about goals, this run, and infertility.  The run uphill was so slow and difficult, but the run back down hill was so fun--fast, liberating, exhilarating, enjoyable and REWARDING.  I'm hoping to be on the downhill run with our infertility battle soon.

Here are some photos of Maiden Rock:

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