Jana Says

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Tag Archive: personal life

On depression and infertility

So, you guys are probably expecting a recap of my Boston/Massachusetts trip because that’s what all good bloggers do when they get back from vacation. They share pictures of family and sights and food and give all kinds of tips for travelling to wherever just returned from. Unfortunately (fortunately?), I’m a shitty blogger and I have no recap for you. Instead, I want to address two topics close to my heart that of course popped up while I was away. Warning: this a long post, filled with two very emotional topics. I won’t be mad if you don’t read the whole thing. 

The first is Wentworth Miller’s post about the meme mocking him for his post-Prison Break weight gain. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can read Buzzfeed’s summary here (I realize it’s Buzzfeed but it’ll do to help me make my point). Make sure you watch the video. I’ve watched it about 6 times since 2013 and each time it gets more powerful. 

Now, it’s no secret around these parts how I feel about Wentworth Miller (I love him. LOVE. HIM. Seriously, if you go to the search bar and type in his name, about a dozen posts will come up. I think I’ve mentioned him more than Matt Damon). When he came out a few years ago and he talked about how he attempted suicide because of wrestling with who he is, it gutted me. To hear that someone so intelligent, talented, successful and let’s face it, hot, tried to kill himself because of a mental illness that he couldn’t control, circumstances he couldn’t control, and choices he felt he had to make to protect himself and his career, destroys me. And I’m glad his attempts failed because if he’d succeeded, the world would be worse off. (And so we’re clear, anytime I hear someone, not just a famous person, attempts or commits suicide, it guts me. But that’s a post for another time, and a topic that I once addressed).http---janasays.com

Because what he’s doing now, speaking out with his stories, sharing his tales of lows and survivals, is inspiring. Not just to people like me, who are suffering from depression, but to people who need to understand depression. To get a glimpse into what goes through the mind of someone living with it. To see it can happen to anyone regardless of looks, money, or fame. To realize depression isn’t just sadness but something so much bigger. To understand that surviving depression isn’t as easy as just “choosing happy” and that for many of us, surviving means assigning meaning to it by speaking out and sharing our stories and letting others enduring it know that they truly aren’t alone. 

But beyond that, what I love the most about what he said (and can we pause to say what a beautiful writer he is?) is that he was able to take what should have been a low point in his life and make it positive. That he sees beyond what the paparazzi wanted us to see. That he sees and feels absolute no shame in an unflattering picture because what it represents to him is so much more than what the rest of us see. That he’s using it as a source of strength and recovery and fortitude rather than a reason to hide. 

It’s something I know I need to work on. When I find a picture of myself smiling, really smiling, no matter how bad I look in the picture, rather than looking at how fat or ugly I look in the picture, I need to look at from a different lens. I need to see someone who’s survived a whole lot of shit over the last 5 years and the fact that I can still put a genuine smile on my face and enjoy life means more than the fact that I have weight to lose. I need to see those pictures as something to treasure rather than delete. It doesn’t mean forgetting everything; it just means accepting it as part of my story and moving on from it. 

 

Which is a semi-decent segway into the next topic. 

April 15 marks the one year anniversary of my miscarriage (you can read about that here if you’d like). I still can’t fully write about it without crying but I’m going to try because my friend Justine, an infertility blogger and amazing person, has launched a campaign, We are More Than 1 in 8, that I want to share with you guys (1 in 8 is the statistic for people suffering from infertility). The campaign is dedicated to sharing what life looks like as a result of infertility. To show that not every infertility story has a happy ending (the happy ending being the baby) but that you can redefine your happy ending. The campaign has a mission to bring faces to infertility and to bring together a community of people who, like those suffering from depression, need to feel less alone. 

Infertility is a very isolating thing. When you’re dealing with it, you feel like there’s something wrong with you, like you’re being punished for something you did or didn’t do and the punishment is no baby for you. You don’t want to bring it up because you feel like no one can relate and you don’t want to be the one to make someone feel awkward or uncomfortable, even though you know that talking about it is exactly what you need to do. 

And then there’s this. No one wants to talk about it because how do you talk about it? How do you explain to someone who has one or 5 or 10 kids that you just can’t have them? That when someone says to you “why didn’t you have more” or “why don’t you have any”, it’s hard not to punch them in the face or snap back with something expletive laden. How do you make someone who’s never had a miscarriage or experienced infertility just how much it hurts and that when you can’t be around a baby, they need to not take it personally? 

As for me, my story has a different turn. I had my daughter and then the infertility happened. It’s called secondary infertility and it hurts just as much. Having one child does not eliminate the pain of a miscarriage or seven years of trying for that second child or the failed infertility treatments. Secondary infertility means that my family will never feel complete and that something will always be missing. Adoption isn’t an option for my family for reasons we don’t need to talk about and also, the solution to infertility isn’t always adoption (like suicide, this another post for another time). 

This past year has been one of the worst of my life. Do I have a greater appreciation for what I’ve been given in the child department? Yes. Has it helped ease the unbearable pain of losing a pregnancy? No. Has it been the fight of my life to not sink into a paralyzing depression? You bet your ass it has. 

I still mark each day by where I would be if I’d had the baby. I still can’t walk down the baby aisles in stores, can’t hold babies, and still struggle with looking at pictures of healthy babies and pregnancies. I still can’t refer to the baby by the name he would have had (although we never got to find out the sex, we’re all confident it was a boy). I wrestle with the months my period is late because I still have hope yet I never want to experience the pain of a miscarriage ever again. 

But it’s easier today than it was yesterday. And each day it gets easier. It’s a heartbreak that will never go away but now it’s manageable. I’m learning to live my life with this as part of it, just like my depression. 

Depression will most likely be my most constant companion, like a long distance friend who I don’t hear from for awhile and then shows up on my doorstep. I don’t know when she’ll come calling again but I know I can’t run from her or hide from her. I won’t want to let her in but I know she’ll sneak in through a window or something because she’s an asshole like that. And I’ll deal with her in the best way I can or know how, whatever that looks like. And maybe she’ll win one battle and I’ll win the next, and I know it’ll always be a fight, but in the end, she won’t defeat me. 

Some days I wonder why I have to deal with so much fucking shit. It seems cruel and unfair. I’m sure there’s a purpose or reason for it and right now, I’m struggling to figure out what that is. But along with that struggle, I’m learning to appreciate all that is good because I’ve survived. I’m still here. 

I will continue to survive. 

That needs to mean something. 

 

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How am I turning into my mother? Let me count the ways.

Today’s my mom’s birthday. I don’t talk too much about my parents or siblings for various reasons but today I have a good one for breaking that general rule since today we’re going to discuss all the ways I’m actually turning into my mother. 

 To be clear, there are worse people I could turn into. My mom is a pretty great person so there’s nothing I’m necessarily ashamed of when I open my mouth and my mother comes out. It’s just fucking weird.

Let’s assess.

  • I burst into song in the middle of conversations. If I don’t do it out loud, you can bet there’s a concert going on in my head. My mom does this except  100% of the time she will sing, even if you’re still talking.
  • My mother will strike up conversations with anyone, anywhere. I do this, too.
  • You know those people who cropdust in stores? My mother is one of them. Also me now.
  • Getting teary eyed at the smallest, most mundane things. Mostly my heart and soul are black but if the right commercial or song or TV character death comes along, add instant tears.
  • When it comes to meal planning, I cook a shit ton of chicken. My mother made so much chicken when I was growing up, it prompted my father to tell her he was going to sprout feathers. I think the husband is one chicken parm away from this same comment.
  • Pregnancy brain. We’re both severely afflicted. Even if we’re not currently pregnant and, in my mom’s case, her youngest is 28.
  • A high level of yenta-ness. My mother loves town gossip and sticking her nose into other people’s business even from afar. I consider this my Jedi training and why I am amazing at clandestine viewing of the neighbors.
  • We’re both huge bookworms. I have nothing snarky to say about this because books.
  • Math. She can’t do it and neither can I. Especially when it comes to a checkbook. Why yes, 8 minus 6 does equal 3. It’s the new math.
  • I spend approximately 8 million hours complaining that laundry is my life. Guess where I learned that?  
  • And then there’s also this concern   

Happy birthday, Mom!! I’m so glad you weren’t born on a leap year because that would be confusing!

Are you guys turning into one of your parents? Is it just me?

On pregnancy loss

Seven.

That’s how many years it took to get pregnant again. 

Eleven. 

That’s how many days I got be pregnant again before I miscarried. 

Six.

That’s how many months have passed since my miscarriage.

Fifty.

That’s how many books I’ve read to keep my mind occupied during the empty spaces when my mind wanders to what could have been. 

Two. 

That’s how many failed infertility treatments I had over the summer. There would have been more except money ran out and emotions ran too high.

Countless.

That’s how many tears I’ve shed thinking about my child I’ll never get to meet.

Dozens.

That’s how many people I’ve talked to who’ve been through something similar (including my friend Jeff). Not surprising, though, because roughly 1 in 4 women experience miscarriage. 

Daily.

That’s how often I blame myself for what happen, even though in my head I know it’s not my fault. It typically difficult to pinpoint the cause for one and I know blaming myself doesn’t change or help anything but yet I do it.

The rest of my life.

That’s how long I’ll continue to mourn. I know over time, like any loss, it’ll get better but it’ll still be there.  

One. 

That’s how many children I have and will have. And I feel lucky and blessed that I got the one I did. For so many reasons.

I know my story isn’t unique. There are hundreds of thousands of women like me. And the fact that we’re still so afraid to talk about miscarriage frustrates me. Because it’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s something that happens. Instead of keeping it a dirty little secret, we need to be supporting each other, comforting each other, and being there to help one another through our grief. 

How to help is difficult. It’s hard to know what to say to someone. There are lots of things you shouldn’t say like “Everything happens for a reason” or “At least you know you can get pregnant!” or “You can always adopt”. Why these are wrong and completely unhelpful is a post unto itself. And if you say them to someone experiencing a miscarriage, know that we know you mean well. There’s no malicious intent. But those statements still hurt. What would be more helpful is “I’m so sorry” or “I’m here if you need to talk” or “Is there anything I can do?” or simply just bring us tissues and let us cry or talk about it, even if it might be uncomfortable to hear. 

That’s what we need.

What else do we need? 

We need people to stop asking “when are you having kids” or “why only the one” and my personal favorite, “you’re so lucky you only have one” (yes, I’ve had that said to me. Yes, I had to refrain from launching into a tirade). A) it’s none of your fucking business and B) if you need to make it your business, quit assuming it’s by choice. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But you don’t need to concern yourself with anyone else’s reproductive issues or choices. Even if you’re related. 

We need to destigmatize miscarriage and bring into discussion so we can get those dealing with it the help and support they need. Just like with mental health, keeping it secret because of shame or discomfort doesn’t make it go away. And I’m grateful to celebrities like Gabrielle Union and Mark Zuckerberg for openly discussing their fertility and miscarriage issues. For whatever reason, in this country, it takes celebrities to discuss issues to make the rest of us feel like it’s okay to talk about. But with this, if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes. 

We also need more stories like my friend Justine’s, who shares what it’s like to know you’ll never have a child and to learn to accept it. We’re saturated with stories of people who tried and tried and then, miraculously, they had a baby. And then another. And then another. We’re bombarded with the message that if you never give up hope, a baby is in your future. But that’s not always the case and women need to know that you can still live a full and happy life without children (Note: I’m only referencing the women who want to have kids and can’t. Those who choose to remain childfree have a different set of issues to contend with).

We need people to know it’s okay to grieve openly.  To talk about their losses. To know that “miscarriage” is not a dirty word.

If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, please know that you’re not alone. You don’t have to grieve in isolation. I’m here for you, even if we’ve never met.

And know that your baby, your pregnancy, no matter how brief, mattered. Just like mine did.

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Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. If you can, please light a candle at 7PM in your time zone (I think that’s how it works. I’m struggling with understanding) to create a wave of light for all the babies gone too soon.

 

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#confessions

It occurred to me that it’s been a while since I’ve done a confessions post so I decided to do one today. I know how much you all like when I bare my soul about all the little things that make me..well, me. 

Enjoy.

I have a soapbox post all planned but I’m publishing it on Monday instead because Mondays are good for ranting. #crypticbloggerinformation

My neighbors who I can’t stand are no longer living in their house. It’s up for sheriff’s sale. #ishouldfeelsorryforthembutidontSnl-so-freakin-excited

I went to Disney two weeks ago and have yet to blog about it or share pictures. I don’t think I will. But I will share that the most common thought that went through my mind the entire time we were there was “just how many people have my fat ass in the background of their pictures?” #imnotabackdrop #ormaybeiam

Speaking of Disney, I really need to upload and print pictures from our trip so I can redo the frames in our living room. There’s no real reason I haven’t done it yet except for the fact that I’m #lazy and I despise picking out which ones to buy. #whyisitsodifficult

Have I mentioned that I have an Amazon gift card and I can’t figure out what to buy? I keep changing the items in my cart because I’m afraid of buyer’s remorse. #thestruggleisrealmaking decisions

I’m tired of watching every penny that comes and goes. I know we’re doing it for a good reason but holy hell, enough is enough. I just want to splurge on some things. #budgetexhaustion

I’m not enjoying this season of Mad Men and I’m happy that it’s ending. #thereisaidit

School is over in 4 weeks. The last day of school is the day before my birthday. #worstbirthdaypresentever

On that subject, I know it’s customary to give end of year teacher gifts but honestly, I’m not a huge fan of my daughter’s teacher and I don’t really feel like doing anything for her. #butiwill #dowhatsright 

I’ll admit that I’m fascinated with the Duggars and while I don’t agree with their opinions on most social issues, I respect their right to do and say whatever they want. But the Kardashian-like coverage that a)they’ve been getting and b)bringing upon themselves is making me seriously question their motives. #hypocrisymuch

The Mets and Orioles are playing each other this week. I’m a Mets fan and my husband is an Orioles fan. I told him we’re not friends until Friday and my daughter said she’s ready to hear lots of smack talk and cursing. #werenotbadparents #really

I promised my daughter a week ago I’d make her brownie bites but I haven’t done it yet because I don’t feel like turning on the oven and also, I’m confident I’ll wind up eating more of the batter than making actual brownies. #thisiswhyimfatjoey

The other day, my husband said we need to buy a new hose attachment with a regulator on it. I told him I was naming it Warren G. #damnitfeelsgoodtobeagangsta

I totally sneak movie lines into conversations every single day. #ijustdidabove

Remember when I interviewed myself about my reading habits? I had planned to turn that into a series of interviews and then life shit all over me and it got derailed. But it’s back on track now so if you volunteered to be interviewed, check your email in the next week for a list of questions from me. If you didn’t volunteer but want to now, let me know so I can include you. #booknerdsunite

That’s all for now. What are you #confessing this week?

 

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Linking up for #hashtaghumpday

#Hashtaghumpday @ Life with Lolo

You like me! You really like me! At least I think you do…

If you’re not reading Ali’s blog, you need to get on that. Pronto. She’s hysterical, her observations are dead on balls accurate, and she’s from Long Island so that means she has a special place in my heart (although I live in Delaware, I was born and raised on Long Island). Also, for some reason, she likes this little blog here. In fact, she likes it so much she nominated me for one of those fun blogging awards that go around. 

 

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As part of it, she asked me (and other bloggers) 10 questions. I’m going to answer them because why not. I’m also going to post my 10 questions at the end and nominate everyone who has a blog and wants to to answer.

  1. What inspired you to start blogging? Believe it or not, this blog started out as a personal finance blog. I wanted to document our journey out of debt and how we were learning to manage our money and also, I love to write and needed an outlet for it. I eventually tired of writing about money all the time (and admittedly, I wasn’t very good at most of the time) and converted the blog to what you see now. Sorry.
  2. What song do you ABSOLUTELY hate? “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. That song makes me want to stick sharp objects in my ears. 
  3. Have you ever written a blog post that you regret posting? Absolutely, and I’ve since deleted them. There are a few more that need to go because they’re basically shit and not at all reflective of what I want here. But I haven’t done it yet because #lazyblogger
  4. Has your blog ever faced any negativity & if so how did you handle it? If my blog has faced negativity, it’s been behind my back. I’ve been fortunate so far that no one has been openly hostile to my face or in the comments or via hate mail, but I’ve also never had a post go viral so maybe my experience is skewed. I did have a couple of posts featured on The Consumerist which received a few not so nice comments but I just chalked that up to their readers not having a sense of humor. 
  5. Who inspires you? This is probably the most difficult question for me to answer. If I’m going the celebrity route, it’s Mindy Kaling, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler…all the ladies you’d expect to see on a list. If I’m going the people I know in real life, I’m going to say I’m inspired by anyone I know–specifically blogger friends–who manage to enjoy life and be all around awesome. Mostly, I’m inspired by people who live their lives for themselves and not for the purpose of impressing anyone else. 
  6. What’s in your purse right now? My wallet, phone, crayons and paper, pens, a nail file, few lip balms, hand lotion, my all purpose bag featuring band aids, ibuprofen, tweezers, gauze, etc., antibacterial hand soap, tissues, baby wipes, and my keys. I have a typical mom purse.
  7. What website are you DYING to get featured on or write for, if any? Book Riot, HuffPo, Hello Giggles, and Buzzfeed. Blogger standards, I suppose.
  8. What’s your favorite room in your house/apartment? I’d have to say my living room. It’s good for reading, Netflix binging, napping, and it’s next to the kitchen for convenient snacking.
  9. If there was a movie about your life, who would play you? I can’t think of any short, fat brown haired, brown eyed actresses except for fellow Long Islander Nikki Blonksy but I’m not sure she’s acting any more so maybe Ellen Page even though she’s not fat. I can lose weight. Or she can wear a fat suit. Definitely one of those. 
  10. What’s your most embarrassing moment? I don’t know that I have one that’s so mortifying it sticks out in any way. I did have an encounter once with the then-dean of my entire university and after he told me he worked for the school, I asked him what he did. Like I’m supposed to know what he looks like. The husband never lets me forget it and says I should be embarrassed by it. I’m really not but we’ll roll with that one. 

Now it’s your turn. Feel free to answer all or some or none of the questions below. 

  1. What websites or blog do you read every single day?
  2. If you could attend one awards show, which one would it be? 
  3. What is one thing you are deathly afraid of?
  4. What book do you always recommend to people?
  5. Open a playlist on any device you have. Hit shuffle. What are the first 5 songs that come up?
  6. When and where do you blog (as in, at what time of day and in what location)?
  7. What song is your personal anthem? 
  8. If you were selected to give a TED Talk, what would be your topic?
  9. What’s your favorite quote or saying?
  10. What is a song, movie, book, or TV show that always makes you cry?

Bonus question: Do you think Mighty Mouse could beat up Superman?

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