Things to Not Say to People With No Kids

Hi all! Lemme jump right in to this one.
Firstly, trust me, people are fully aware if they don’t have children. They didn’t forget. It is not your duty to point it out.

They are inundated with baby this and baby that on a daily basis. (I mean, Instagram + Facebook alone is a cuteness overload. Then include baby announcements, showers, birth stories, advertisements/commercials/even Pandora ads, pregnant bellies everywhere, friends with kids, a lifetime of expectations being unmet, pressures from society/family/friends/neighbors, that cursed biological clock. BABIES!) And mostly they love seeing your cute kids. It is most likely the case that they haven’t just pushed it to the bottom of the priority list.

In fact, it may just be a very painful trial that they are facing in their life. There are a myriad of reasons someone may not have children yet. I’ve heard different statistics, like 1 out of every 10 people has infertility issues, or 1 in 6 couples. Additionally, some have medical problems, some have strained financial situations, some have marital or family strife, some have other big unknown trials that you don’t see on the surface, some are just not ready or some don’t plan to have them at all.

Yet somehow, as a society, we think it’s cool to ask people about it like we were asking about their new shirt.

I have now been married a little over 2 years. (I know. What?) I can’t tell you how many times in that time frame I’ve been asked about having children. 
Like, “…No, I’m not pregnant yet… Well, we’ll have them when they come, I guess. Yes, we’d love to have kids. Yes I do know how it happens. Yes, (not that it’s any of your business) we have been trying for a long time. Yes I know our beige/caramel babies will be beautiful. Yep… I think about it all the time. Can’t wait. Oh, you got pregnant right away, did you? An accident, was it? Congratulations. Yes, I know my little brother is having one before me. No, I’m actually really happy for him. Ha ha, so you’ve got jokes. Hilarious. Yeah… I know, I’m 29. I know, many of my friends have 3-4 kids by now. Yeah, I know the risks go up after 35. Yep, I know my parents want grandkids. Yeah I know it’ll happen when it happens. Yep. I know it will be on God’s timing. Yeah, everyone says I still have time. Yes I have been to see a doctor. Yeah, it’s been very difficult and thanks for delving into such a painful subject. Yep. I’ve thought of that. Yes, we’ve tried that. Yeah, I’ll keep having faith. I know. Yep, we have thought of that. Yes, that’s what everyone says. Okay, thanks for the recommendation. Yep, we’ll just keep enjoying our time together before kids… like I was trying to do before this interrogation started. Yyyyep.Thanks for judging.”

I’m sure you can imagine or have experienced the questions that fly at you about an intensely personal subject from barely-acquaintances. And then, for lack of something to say, they turn to their cliche condolences that make you want to scream.
“It will all work out for the best. All in the Lord’s timing! Just have faith! Don’t give up hope. So-and-so that I know had that problem and now they have 5 kids – anything can happen. You never know!” 
Or they suddenly become a renowned expert in the field and dole out advice and/or people to see. “Well have you tried this? What about this? I know someone who did this… I know this great healer who can work wonders for that condition, etc.”

*Note, this does not apply to family and friends with whom you open up and share because a relationship of love and trust has been established and they already understand the situation. This generally applies to acquaintances, strangers, or less close friends. 

But my favorite hilarious moment came from the mouth of one of my very favorite 3 year-old boys:

*grabs my collar and peeks down my shirt* “I see yo boobs!”
*snatching my shirt back closed* “Haha! Yep, there they are.”
“How come you have boobs if there aren’t any babies at yo house?”
*me laughing,with no idea how to respond*
*he checks my stomach just to make sure* “Nope, no babies in there!”
*me laughing to keep from crying because he was so right, no babies in there.*

(Not actually because I love him.) 

Now, just to be clear, there is an important difference between insensitivity and furthering the conversation about infertility, because the latter desperately needs to be done. A large portion of the population struggles with this issue and more education should take place so there are less assumptions, judgments, and incorrect ideas circulating. People in this situation want you to understand. It’s unfortunate that it’s something of a taboo subject – like an invisible curse. People who have never dealt with it don’t even remember that it’s an issue. This is understandable, but raising awareness can help prevent a lot of ignorantly hurtful conversations. A good place to start is a website like this: http://www.infertilityeducation.org/factsheets.php or a pamphlet like this: http://www.infertilityeducation.org/pdf/Infertililtyfeelslike.pdf.

Basically it comes down to this: if you know too little, don’t say too much. Don’t fall back on cliche phrases, just be kind and understanding and loving, unless you’re a hilarious 3 year-old, in which case you are free to say whatever you’d like.🙂

A November Letter

Dear friend,

There is something about the fall that makes everything seem deeper, isn’t there? Maybe it’s the cool air dancing on your skin or the urgent knowledge that you have to hold onto this perfect in-between time before the frost and ice come and overstay. It could be those spicy, pumpkin-y, rainy, baked sugary smells that make you take notice. Maybe it’s just the feeling of change that can’t be dodged as it envelopes the air. Maybe it’s the holidays that make you remember what really counts. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I know it happens to me every year.

Things with me are fine. I’m learning how to be a wife and also a human. I know I’ve been away a long time and haven’t written to you. I think there’s a period of time when you start a new life that requires you to cocoon yourself in it until you know what it is. That’s what I feel like, anyway… like a new world has started. I still don’t know how to balance things yet. I’m learning slowly. But it does make sense as to why my friends would marry and disappear from my life before. Going from a “me” to an “us” is tricky. It’s especially complex when you dive into another culture outside of your own. You are jolted with shocks from all unexpected angles regularly. It can be quite invigorating and quite terrifying all at once. And sometimes you forget entirely because it doesn’t matter at all. Isn’t it beautiful how two worlds can collide and create something confusing and fresh? I really do love change. Sometimes it racks me with anxiety, but it always erodes at least one of my rough edges a little.

I have come to the conclusion that I don’t think I would be good at being famous. I always thought I was very confident. This is actually untrue. I am fueled by praise. When I am boiled down to only my own self-love, without external influence, I nearly drown in insecurity sometimes. And as extroverted as I can be, I am always shocked when I learn someone is thinking or talking about me when I’m not there. The thought shakes me to the core because I’m genuinely baffled I would be important enough to discuss. And it especially causes me fear that it might be uncomplimentary . Does this ever happen to you? I think this is one of my great follies because I also often don’t realize that I can actually affect others with what I say or do – I don’t process that it would be important enough to cause offense. I accidentally offend often. And if I think too hard about it, I am afraid to speak at all for fear of being an inconvenience. I laugh at myself now, even writing it. How foolish and hilarious it sounds.

My husband is not like that. He doesn’t move out of anyone’s way when he’s walking. He doesn’t bother trying to impress or befriend anyone who isn’t friendly. He doesn’t feel pressured to small talk if he doesn’t have something to say. I admire this about him. He has the most deeply reserved, abiding, internal confidence in himself, and people love him for it. You’d love him too.

That’s what I’m thinking about this fall. I want to get to a place of self-worth where it doesn’t even matter who does or doesn’t think well of me, because I know in my deep heart that I’m all right.

The sun is setting as I am riding the train home now. The flares are coming through the window and warming my cheek. I’m going to walk home toward the sunset and smile into the increasingly chilly orangey-pink air and love myself today. And I will love you, dear friend. It makes me smile to think you can see the sunset, wherever you are, too.

xo,
Aubrey

The Freshness

Well hello dear friends. I have successfully maintained, yet again, my totally unreliable posting habits for another year. Guess I achieved my resolution. Jk. You’re welcome.

But as 2012 has drawn to a close, I can’t help but reflect.
I think this is happening with bloggers and humans (two different things) all over the globe as we speak.. so I’m cliche and it’s whatever. But I would be sad to look back if I didn’t at least document some of the feelings washing over me currently. So, I guess what I’m saying is.. deal with it.

I’ll sum up last year with: 2012 was really hard.

But now come the miracles. You know what I’ve been waiting for for the past 7-8 months. Well, we finally got our wish granted and got an immigration interview appointment for husband. Now we’re just hoping the immigration gods smile upon us and allow him to pass. If he does pass, he’ll be rolling into town on January 29th. (In case you need a recap.. that’s literally in 26 days.) We bought his ticket on faith in advance cuz it would be more than double the price to wait till last minute. We weren’t down for that.
So errbody pray for the consular officer on January 23rd in the Suva Fiji Consulate who is interviewing him.
There are 4 ideal outcomes here:
1. He/she loves Mote instantly and they are able to bond and establish trust while confirming the validity of our relationship and they approve him, give him his visa, and send him on through.
2. He/she pretty much doesn’t give a flying fart and just conducts a quickie 5-minute interview and gives him the visa.
3. He/she is having the BEST day and is in the most giving, happy chipper morning mood and just feels like Mote deserves a good deed and gives him a visa.
4. He/she comes to work drunk that day. Visas all around!

Anyway, regardless of what happens, we’ll be taken care of and we’ll make it.
I just can’t tell you how happy I am to be facing a new year with a new life ahead. The limbo period is finally drawing to a close and I feel like I can wrap up the world and put it in my pocket this year. Kind of.
So.. somewhere in that convoluted thought is the point that with Mote finally here and no more long distance marriage, I feel like I can take anything that comes at me and I’ll be okay.
It seems risky to say, but I almost feel like 2013 will be a payoff year for a long struggle of trying to have faith that it will all be okay.
Obviously it’s not going to be perfect.. but we’ll finally be together, so we’ll figure it out.

I just love the feeling of new beginnings all around this year. Everything feels fresh and surmountable.

I’m dubbing 2013 “The Freshness.”

Hello LIFE.

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Jesus wept.

This weekend, I needed some things to happen — some spiritual things.

I won’t pretend I’m not struggling really hard right now… as are many people in the world.
I know there are many who have trials that are as insurmountable and consuming as mine.. there have to be, because we are all imperfect humans in an imperfect world, where we are sent to learn and grow through adversity and prove ourselves. And hard things happen to us; we are not that different, and nobody is immune.
But in my own little insignificant world, as one lowly person, things have never been this hard before.. as in.. literally everything is hard. And I was feeling it heavily this past week, hitting a low point.

But Heavenly Father loves his children. And Christ, my Savior, loves me too.

I heard just what I needed to hear this weekend.. answers to prayers, and reminders about what I seem to forget.

I attended the Relief Society General Broadcast at the Conference Center, and I’m pretty sure it was catered to me. As I listened, I felt like they were speaking based on my life and just letting everyone else listen to be nice. That sounds self-centered, but it truly struck a chord in my soul.

The words that were spoken about the Savior’s Atonement and the way he takes our burdens if we will give them to him.. if we will place everything in his hands, were like water to my thirsty spirit. These are principles I’ve always known, but somehow in the midst of huge trial… it doesn’t seem so easy to do.

But what really hit home, for me, were the words spoken about the love of our Savior. Especially the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus… about how much Jesus loved this family, and when he came to them after Lazarus had passed away, and saw and felt the sorrow of the sisters… he didn’t just bring down the power of God and fix it all right away..
first, he wept with them. He felt their pain and mourning to the point where he wept. And that tiny verse of scripture, “Jesus wept,” suddenly took on a new meaning in my life that I’ve never considered before. Like maybe the other night when I knelt down to him in mighty prayer… with a broken spirit and an overwhelmed heart and a sobbing voice… he wept with me too.

He’s not just an all-powerful perfect being… He is personally my loving elder brother. He’s my Savior because he truly loves me more than anyone else does. He saved me in a way nobody else could… because he loves me in a way nobody else could. That’s what his Atonement is.

I don’t know why it’s never clicked like that for me before.

And today in my church meetings, this quote was shared. It was perfectly profound for me.

“Consider, for example, the Savior’s benediction upon his disciples even as he moved toward the pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary. On that very night, the night of the greatest suffering the world has ever known or ever will know, he said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. . . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

I submit to you that may be one of the Savior’s commandments that is, even in the hearts of otherwise faithful Latter-day Saints, almost universally disobeyed; and yet I wonder whether our resistance to this invitation could be any more grievous to the Lord’s merciful heart. I can tell you this as a parent: As concerned as I would be if somewhere in their lives one of my children were seriously troubled or unhappy or disobedient, nevertheless I would be infinitely more devastated if I felt that at such a time that child could not trust me to help, or should feel his or her interest were unimportant to me or unsafe in my care. In that same spirit, I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands or trust in his commandments.”

-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Come Unto Me,” March 1997

This is my goal in my current crazy mess of a life. I will trust that if I place it in God’s hands, it’s all gonna work out. It really is going to be ok.

And I just need to do my best… and then laugh my way through the rest.

So if you’re going through a hard time, maybe you can do the same.
And just so you know, you’re not the only one.

P.S. I seriously cannot wait for General Conference next weekend. My spirit is starving for more. Make sure you check it out. www.lds.org

xo.

the best news of post-wedding life so far.

hi friends.

this is a little video I created to show little snippets of videos my parents took of husband and me on our wedding day in Tonga.. plus photos.

enjoy some more wedding.

5.17.12

song: “Arrivals” by Aqualung.

 

also. so sue me, I changed my blog name again. I know, you guys..

but it turns out I didn’t like the other one so much. I’m in a transitional phase, ok?

BUT..

here’s the awesome news you’ve been reading for..

which is part of the reason I wanted to wet your appetite with the wedding vid.

I got word from U.S. Immigration last night that the thing I’ve been waiting for since.. um.. last April, when I started a long-distance relationship with the man who would become my husband.. has happened.

well.. I guess it hasn’t COMPLETELY happened. but the first, hopefully most time-consuming, step in the process is over. MY PETITION HAS BEEN APPROVED. officially. and it only took just over 3 months instead of 5 months. basically, last night consisted of a lot of screaming, hyperventilating, pacing, frantically reading instructions and going through paperwork, yelling at the crappy phone and internet service in Tonga that messed up convos with husband, and staying up talking to him till 4am in happiness.

so now we are moving into the process of getting the paperwork ready for his immigrant visa application, and when they get back to us, then comes the interview in Fiji at the U.S. Consulate.. and then he COMES. TO THE UNITED STATES. TO LIVE WITH ME.
THIS IS A BIG FREAKIN MIRACLE DEAL, YOU GUYS.

now.. Heaven help me in figuring out how to pay for all this and get ready for a life together here..
how to stretch my salary into extra money as the sole breadwinner, dealing with insurance from my car accident from this week, immigration application fees, paperwork times 5 million, proving our love/marriage to an interviewer, plane tickets, regular bills, finding a new apartment, paying for adult life, finishing training at my new job, transitioning to a new team at work, getting husband admitted to school, financial aid, and learning how to be an in-person wife, among other things..

anyway. enough about my my messy little life.. obviously with this happy news comes a new tidal wave of stress.. but when it’s all over, it will SO be worth it.

can 2012 be done already?

cuz in my world.. the Mayans have totally been right about this year. the Apocalypse of Aubrey 2012.

I’m over it.

next please!

kthanksbye!

xoxo

<3

I did this to my nails last night.

I thought it was creative.

but I sent this pic to husband and he didn’t get it. I had to explain it to him. and then he gave me a, “yes I’m proud of you, babe, good job on your nails,” but he was laughing.
pff. I think he had his nail haterade this morning.
please say somebody gets this besides me.. (hint: look for the shape in the middle of my 3 nails that are touching. toooooo easy.)

anyway. maybe someone in cyber world will appreciate my nail artistry. feast your eyes:

ok, I know.. not actually THAT impressive, but at least it’s cute, right?
and when I make the “rock on” sign.. people will feel extra special and loved.
so.. BAM. a rockstar AND a lover.

eat your heart out, um.. (who’s a good iconic female rocker to reference? Joan Jett? Hayley Williams?) let’s just say eat your heart out, rockstars.

love love.

Sincerely,

Aubrey