Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Growing out of despair...

"My Heart’s Garden"
I liken my heart unto a garden. In my garden was planted a seed called Desire. As I continually worked on my Desire I watched for it to grow but nothing happened. Weeds called Pain & Frustration entered into my garden....I wondered why I was given desire if it was not to produce? Over time a bigger weed called Hopelessness began to take over my garden. I struggled to overcome the pain, frustration and hopelessness. I felt so alone in my garden! I cried out to the Master Gardner for help!
As I asked for help I began to see the soil of my garden was becoming increasingly soft. The Son was sharing its warmth and I started to feel a new seed being planted. This seed was very delicate and needed a soft place to grow....it is called Faith. My seed of Faith began to grow slowly and as it grew I began to feel hope for my garden. I still felt pain from my first seed but I began to have understanding. My Faith continued to grow as I looked at the Son.
After years of working and growing I look and see a beautiful garden.....my Heart’s Garden! I see now that the seed that caused so much pain in the beginning helped my soil become soft and it was the soft soil that gave my Faith a tender place to grow.
From my seed of Faith grew love, understanding, hope, more faith, knowledge, testimony, compassion, joy, happiness and charity! Maybe someday my other seed will begin to grow but regardless if it does or doesn’t my garden is a masterpiece, a blessing, a miracle and a gift! Through my Heart’s Garden I have come to understand more fully promises given to Abraham and his seed. I especially have a deeper understanding of my Gardner and what He did for me in His Garden......called Gethsemane!

Written by:
Brenda Horrocks

If you could see my feelings...

This is kind of hard to see. The bottom reads "These Words....discounted my pain as nothing, treated my journey as less than desirable, showed no compassion for my heartache and robbed me from having joy in the moment. I may add to them from time to time but here they are out in the open now... no longer to dwell on and circle about creating a hurtful web in my emotional mind."
I drew this out shortly after starting counseling. This is how I felt my thought process was when I finally understood I was stuck in my infertility grief. I am so grateful that my mind and my feelings are whole and at peace today. If these were said to me now I would have something to say back to help teach the person. But back then it went in like a knife and I didn't know what to say.

To be expected...but still hurt.

I remember feeling very relieved when I finally wrote these items out on paper. I am sure others could make their own lists. I am glad to be able to look back at this and know I don't feel the same pain from it today.
Things people do and say that is sometimes to be expected but still hurt!
- Grandparents showing me pictures of how much their other grandchildren look like them.
- Framing those "look alike" pictures and putting them out for all to see.
- Not acknowledging our Birth Parents and their selflessness and grief.
- Only acknowledging the Birth Families and forgetting that we have real feelings and pains we are trying to deal with as well.
- Treating giving birth as the most special way to receive children.
- Telling me how to deal with our Birth Families.
- Not acknowledging the role and hard work we endured to help bring our children home.
- Not acknowledging Heavenly Father in our miracles.
- Going on endlessly about how well so and so did during their labor and delivery, how well pain was tolerated, how "some women are made to give birth and others aren’t".
- Treating the issue of being very fertile as if it is as hard to deal with as being infertile.
- Treating me like I can’t handle any pregnancy news just because I am struggling with my own infertility.

Brenda S. Horrocks

Monday, May 26, 2008

Feeding my baby.

Bottle vs Breast
-A War Story-
I never realized that I would have to defend myself in a new battle when my battle to become a Mother had reached it’s glorious end. I thought I was finally part of the "Mommy group". Little did I know a whole new battle was awaiting me....at church....at the doctors office......with family and friends. This may not have been a war by others standards but I felt as if I were a prisoner....a prisoner held by other peoples views, beliefs and opinions and I felt I was being interrogated and beaten up ....only it wasn’t physical.
So many hurtful words.....and what do I say back? Nothing! I am, at the time, a loss for words....words to explain just how much all of these false beliefs hurt me. I am no longer speechless. As if they were a shield and sword I take my paper and pen in hand....here are my words!
"Bottle feeding Mom’s are lazy....well except for women like you"
-Said to me by family-
My Words: Have you ever been a bottle feeding Mom? It takes work to get up at 2AM, walk into the kitchen to warm water, add powder and shake. Then go to the (now screaming) baby, pick her up and feed. All a Breast feeding Mom has to do it pick up the fussy baby, open the nightshirt and express milk that is already to go. Who exerted more energy? Who has to worry and check to be sure she packed enough bottles, formula and fresh water ever time we leave the house? Bottle feeding Mom’s are FAR from lazy.....you are just too busy being judgmental to see OUR bodies work to produce nourishment for our child!
"Every Mother should try to Breast feed"
-Said to me by friends-
My Words: Really?? Hmmmm....what about Mom’s who have been sexually abused and are uncomfortable with Breast feeding? What about Mom’s who’s bodies just don’t produce milk? What about Mom’s who would need to take medicine to get milk production....only the meds would cause a side effect called depression? What about Mom’s who just don’t want to do it? Are they terrible mothers? Not real women? Who are you to judge them?
"What’s in the Bottle"
-A question posed to me by another new Mom while we waited with our babies at the doctors office-
My Words: I can’t believe you just asked me this! Is it really your business? And after I told you it was formula why do you become silent and act like I am a terrible mother? But then once I explain that I adopted my beautiful daughter you are again accepting of me......why should it matter why I am feeding MY baby formula.......isn’t it enough I am giving her love, care and nourishment? Apparently not!

"Breast is Best"
-Said to me by every parenting magazine, parenting book and by everyone around me who has ever breastfed-
My Words: Do you really know what this says to me? If breast is best for my baby than what am I? Am I a 2nd Best Mother? A breastfeeding Mother is better than a bottle feeding Mother? Do you realize who helped scientists create formula? Do you think it is an evil source of food? Sometimes I wonder. Formula is Heavenly Fathers way of helping us help our babies. Formula is a blessing to many mothers and babies. It allows women like me to nourish our little ones and allows us to see exactly how much milk our babies are drinking. We don’t have to guess. It is a gift and a blessing to those of us who are not able to give nourishment from our breasts. To us formula is fabulous!
"Breastfeeding Mom’s & Babies are more bonded to one another than Bottle feeding Mom’s & Babies"
-Said to me by family and friends-
My Words: Rubbish! Bonding is a learned behavior and it doesn’t come in a drink! A bottle feeding Mother who holds her baby, sings, cradle’s , kisses, hugs, loves and cares for all of their infants needs are just as bonded to their child and child to them as a breastfeeding Mom & baby. People who believe this incredible myth are narrow minded and not willing to look past their own beliefs.

I am a bottle feeding Mom who takes the time to love, care for, nourish, teach and bond with my baby.....who are you to say I am anything but the BEST in any respect? Would I try to breastfeed if milk were flowing from my nipples? Yes. Do I believe breast milk has added health benefits? Yes, it probably does. But those benefits do not make for a better Mother.
Above all.....I know that Heavenly Father makes up for what I can’t do and formula is part of that!
Isn’t it time to start helping one another as women instead of hurting?
My response now ended,
Brenda Horrocks


I wanted to note: I am pro breastfeeding. I would do it if I gave birth to a child and I prepared myself for adoptive breastfeeding in the summer of 2005..but that baby didn't make it into my arms. I am also pro bottle feeding. To me there is no "one or the other" ...I believe deeply in the mothers right to feed her child as she feels best.

Words from Pain.

I start this post off by sharing one of my most favorite poems written by President Spencer W. Kimball. I do this to help anyone who reads the rest of the post understand that my writings were written during alot of pain. I hope by my sharing it helps another woman like me.

Pain stayed so long I said to him today,
"I will not have you with me any more."
I stamped my foot and said, "Be on your way."
And paused there, startled as the look he wore,
"I, who have been your friend," he said to me,
"I, who have been your teacher---all you know
Of understanding love, of sympathy,
And patience, I have taught you. Shall I go?"
He spoke the truth, this strange unwelcome guest;
I watched him leave, and knew that he was wise,
He left a heart grown tender in my breast,
He left a far, clear vision in my eyes.
I dried my tears, and lifted up a song---
Even for one who'd tortured me so long.
Written By,
Spencer W. Kimball


A Letter to All Fertile Women

I have a few thoughts to share with you that come from deep inside my heart. These feelings come from years of heartache and pain.....a grief or feeling of loss that I never knew could hurt so much. These feelings are not easy for me to deal with so I imagine they won’t be easy for you to read. As you read these words just remember they don’t come from a hateful place. I am so happy for you....that you do not have infertility as your trial in life and I realize you have your own burdens to bear. My reason for writing this letter is to help clear my mind and heart of some grief and in the process I hope it helps you, the reader, have some understanding of an infertile woman’s experience.

Dear Fertile Friend,
Did you know how wonderful it is to be able to be pregnant? What an exciting time.... to discover you have a precious life growing inside of you! Sometimes as I listen to you talk about your first weeks of pregnancy I wonder if you realize how wonderful pregnancy is. Did you know how wonderful it is to be able to be sick for 3 months?? Did you know that women like me would love to experience your illness??

Did you pay extra close attention to the first wiggles of your baby? Did it imprint upon your mind as a lasting precious memory? Did you know that women like me long to feel that tiny ripple?

As your body changes and your tummy gets bigger are you complaining about getting fat, feeling uncomfortable and ready to get it over with? Are you so busy comparing size of bellies with your “friends” that you don’t notice how fast your baby is growing? Did you know that women like me look at your pronounced belly and dream of what it would be like? Did you know that your belly becomes a reminder of what cannot be for us? As you work for attention by complaining about all your woes did you know our hearts are aching and when you aren’t looking we are wiping tears from our cheeks and trying to understand why?

As you are cheered on through delivery and as everyone is at awe of your birthing skills did you know we put on a happy face to wish you well and congratulate you? Did you know that it takes all our courage plus help from above to not run from your hospital room in tears? And yet as we are concentrating on being courageous and trying to just get through the moment we are looking all around us and seeing you experience something that we never can. We feel empty and sad as we see the babies in the nursery and see your little wrist bands that have matching information so all will know that your baby is just that....Yours....the emptiness grows and the longing to have the experience increases.

As you hold your baby for the first time and kiss her do you truly know how blessed you are? Women like me know! We long and ache to have what you have just experienced! You know you are expecting when you get a “+” sign. You know your baby is alive as you feel movement. You are the first to feel, smell, love, hold and kiss your infant and you are able to nourish her from your own body! No one questions you on your motherhood....they saw your physical experience therefore you are deemed a “Real Mother”. Family and friends anxiously ask you how you are doing and are there to celebrate in your “announcement of gender”. At Christmas time your unborn gift is given their own stocking to be hung up with the rest of the family’s. You are treated gently by your husband who is eager to rub your feet or bring dinner to you. You are given a tender “Thank you” after you delivered your precious baby.....and your loving husband gets to brag about his strong and valiant wife.

Women like me don’t get to have any of these experiences....so next time you feel like telling us we have it the “easy way” remember....You don’t know women like me!

Written from the heart,
Brenda S. Horrocks

Understanding...a progression.

Someday I might add on to this. After each of our first two adoptions we went back to treatment. Each time no pregnancy occurred and with the very last cycle I could have died. I learned a great deal during that last cycle...I think I will add to this but for now here it is.

A Worry:
No period again this month. Nothing to show I am a woman. I worry about the future. Will someone want to marry me if I can’t have children? My Mom tries to comfort my fears by saying "You can always adopt!"
A Glimpse:
Dr. Langeland gave me my exam and we talked about my fertility. "Can I get pregnant?" The answer gave some relief....but also a glimpse of what was ahead. "I think you can get pregnant....but you will need some help doing it."
Dr. Langeland raised my dose of clomid to quadruple. A little help is turning into a lot of help. My emotions are spent...my body is gaining weight by the day and I am feeling lost and alone. We make an appointment with Dr. Hatasaka an R.E. We take time to regroup. We hope this doctor can help us. Hope is rekindled!
A Diagnosis:
We are adding a steriod to our quadruple dose of clomid. Dr. Hatasaka thinks that will help. We have finally received a diagnosis....PCOS. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I finally have a name for my lack of being a woman! I finally have something to blame other than myself! That brings some peace. We move forward with temperature charts, ovulation kits and sex on demand. It just has to work!
The day I saw my ovaries...

Brenda S. Horrocks

The day I saw my ovaries.....
All 50 cysts cemented on each ovary like a brick wall! A wall that had no door, no window, no escape!
My eggs...my hopes & dreams are all held prisoner...why have they been given this sentence? Was it something I did? Was it something I said? I pondered over and over again.
My whole lower abdomen was so painful every move was felt but nothing...nothing could compare to the pain in my heart...the pain in my mind....it felt so sad......so sad!
When I saw my ovaries I cried...tears streaming down my cheeks. "Is this a hopeless cause?" I felt myself coming to the realization of infertility.
I knew Brad felt sad for me and probably for him too. He told me that I didn’t have to do this anymore. I felt so ready to break...but I fought it. I have to be a mother....somehow!
Something happened in my heart that day.....something wonderful started brewing only I didn’t know it then. The feeling, the desire....the dream began to change....a new hope started to swell. Although the dream was in it’s infancy...my longing to be a mother was overriding my desire to be pregnant!

Brenda S. Horrocks

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Giving Up?

I wrote this to express my feelings about our journey to adoption. So often people believe Adoption is only a "plan b" and by stopping treatment we are "giving up". We were directed to adoption....the proof is in the picture.
Adoption is where our dreams came true!
My Dreams.....
So many people think that when an infertile couple stops treatment and looks to adoption to create their family they have given up their dreams and are moving on. I didn’t give up my dream...I did all I could do to make my dream a reality then I took it to my Heavenly Father who showed me more options. I knew He loved me and wanted me to have joy and happiness so I gave my dream to Him and asked for Him to help me.

My loving Father took my dream and worked it, molded it and blessed it as it grew into the most beautiful loving reality I could never have dreamt of on my own! Many parts of my dream are still coming true and as each piece fits neatly into it’s place I am forever thankful I trusted my Father enough to place my dreams with Him!

I have struggled with much pain and grief as my heart was being worked on and molded. I felt many painful feelings....until I thought I would break! But my Heavenly Father was there the entire time....blessing me with strength and helping me endure, increasing my knowledge of His love for me...of Charity and all the while my heart was growing.

My dream...my reality...my heart loves more because I trusted Him! I didn’t give my dream up....I placed it in the loving hands of my Father and He did more with my dream and more with me than I could ever have done myself!

Brenda S. Horrocks
Written: 2003/2004