Bad Habits Are Hard To Break

Research shows that it takes 30 days to form a pattern and about 90 days to form a habit. I’ve been trying to find research on how long it takes to break a habit, because I developed a habit almost 10 years ago and I’ve been most unsuccessful in trying to break that habit for 14 months now without success!

The habit in question is the unconscious way in which I brace myself for pregnancy announcements, pregnancy conversations, pregnant bellies and all things pregnancy related. I find myself drawing in my breath and bracing for the pain and when it doesn’t come I’m almost confused and it takes me a moment to realize that its not painful anymore, it doesn’t need to be painful anymore, that I’m no longer held back by the pain of pregnancy. That Ava-Grace in all her glory, has set me free from that.

I’ve asked this over and over and over in the past 14 months, but I wonder when I’ll ever, if ever, get used to the idea that I am a mother, I have a child and potentially could have another one on the way. Walter is a father. We are a family of 3, we are parents, experiencing all the up’s and down’s and trials and tribulations that come with parenting.

Being a mother to Ava-Grace has come naturally to me. Mothering her is easy, I’ve never felt awkward or anxious in my one on one dealings with her, I’ve trusted my instincts and have mothered well. But for some reason, the idea that I am a mother has not settled in my thick skull.

I wonder if it ever will. I’d always heard and always believed that once infertile, always infertile. That we never truly overcome infertility but rather like drug addicts or alcoholics, we go into recovery but we never return to who or what we were prior to having our worlds rocked by infertility. I know this is not reserved exclusively for Mom’s through adoption as all my “mom’s post infertility” friends seem to struggle with similar issues.

Its rather odd. There’s this sense of disbelief and relief and gratitude that seems to be magnified by the years of struggle.

I think I’ve just answered the question I started out asking. I guess the answer is that I will probably never break the habit of my infertility completely because I’ll never be who I was 10 years ago.

So I guess this is me, warts and all, in “recovery”.

February 23, 2011
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9 Comments

  • Reply zamom

    This is in no way meant to be hurtful and it is only my opinion, of which I have no experience, so more than likely I am completely wrong. I know you said that moms post infertility experience the same feeling as moms through adoption but I think there is one slight difference. My experience of adoption (which is only based on what you, other blogs of moms that have adopted and friends that have adopted have said and written) is that it never quite leaves you. It is the most special process to experience but it’s a lifelong process between you (Ava-Grace’s parents), Ava-Grace and her BM. I am sure than 99% of the experiences associated with that will be positive but there may still be a few bumps in the road (not that we don’t all have bumps in the road ahead of us as parents in this day and age). Maybe that’s why it takes a bit longer to believe that your dream is a reality, not forgetting you didn’t have a very long “pregnancy” to prepare yourself for motherhood.
    I think we all still believe we’re about 20 years old. I look at my girls sometimes and can’t quite believe I am a wife and mom of an almost 4 year old and a 20 month old with 2 dogs, a house, a DW, gardener, etc. When did I get so old and grown-up, I feel like I should still be just out of Varsity, but that’s now 13 years ago already. Scary.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:57 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Katherine, what I’m referring to above has very little to do with adoption and everything to do with facing years of pain, heartache and disappointment and finding others pregnancy announcements painful. I have many friends who are Mom’s post infertility who relate to what I’m referring to because even now as mothers post IVF they find themselves bracing themselves for the assault of pain when hearing a pregnancy announcement, only like me, the pain doesn’t come.
      For some reason my subconscious mind seems to revert back to my years of infertility each time I’m involved in any kind of pregnancy related conversation but my heart does not hold that pain anymore and I find myself confused. Its odd, the expectation of pain, which doesn’t come is almost worse than the pain itself. I catch myself holding my breath and then slowly exhaling when I realize its simply not painful anymore.
      Not sure if that’s making sense but I know most, if not all of the Mom friends I have who battled infertility, some for a year or two and some for many years, have the same experience as me.

      February 23, 2011 at 9:06 am
  • Reply waiting4amiracle

    I stumbled over this quote on ‘exhale’ yesterday. Your post brought me back to it ……

    “It seems that the longer we’re here experiencing the ride of life, the more life gives and takes from us. In this journey, our souls, like tattooed bodies, hold the patterns of brightly blooming, colorful pain that burns and slowly heals over time until it fades into the outline of our memory – still there, always there, but never quite the same.”

    Here’s the full article http://www.exhalezine.com/magazine/?page_id=656

    February 23, 2011 at 8:52 am
    • Reply Sharon

      That is so so so true!

      February 23, 2011 at 9:07 am
  • Reply darylfaure

    I found that for the first year or so after Dylan’s birth, I was quite happy to hear other’s pregnancy announcements, and even found myself getting excited for them. AS my longing for a second child increased, I find myself becoming slightly bitter again, and experiencing that feeling of bracing myself again whenever I hear the news of someone elses pregnancy. I hate myself for feeling this way, and know it is very selfish, but it’s hard to let go.

    February 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm
  • Reply Mash

    In my experience, the only way to break a habit is to replace it with a new one. Not quite sure how that would work in this scenario…

    February 23, 2011 at 1:11 pm
  • Reply zamom

    Sorry for the misunderstanding. I was a bit more like Daryl. As soon as we started TTC again all the old feelings came flooding back even worse than the first time around. Only now that we are finished with TTC do I not get bothered in the least by pregnancy announcements. I was chatting to my SIL last night and she has a 4 week old and an almost 3 year old (and my brother is permanently working) and I was just so unbelievably grateful that it wasn’t me in her position. Their 1st was an “accident” and the 2nd conceived after 1 month of TTC so in the past that may have irked me somewhat but not anymore.

    February 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm
  • Reply pandoragelb

    I think you did answer the question. You may not feel the pain anymore, but ten years of it is still there, it is part of you. You felt it once, so it can’t go away in the past, if that make sense. I am sure over time you may become more ‘conditioned’ to not brace yourself, but 14 months compared to 10 years is a huge difference. It was extremely traumatic, and as you said before, it is a kind of post traumatic stress disorder.
    Being infertile is part of us. Some may be so temporarily, others forever, but in both cases, it was there, and it will leave its mark.

    February 23, 2011 at 8:14 pm
  • Reply To Love Bella

    Shazz – I know that my IF will never leave me. It has made me who I am today – I know that I sound like a stuck record on that, but I was a real t1t before all this. I’ve grown and grown UP so much. What I have felt about it is that it’s getting easier for me to pack it away over the last few months. I almost ‘reminisce’ now. Remember what it was like having the shots and scans.. and being so very thankful that, that is now gone and done for us; and that I have my little dream.
    Having Bella and becoming a mommy certainly hasn’t removed the IF and all its baggage, but it has put a shroud over it. A mesh shroud – so that while it is not completely covered, gone away, forgotten; it is still there to remind me daily of so many things that I have overcome. That my marriage has overcome.
    As soon as I started reading this post of yours, I had an inner smile, because in the beginning, I started to wonder about the same things! Braced myself. I’m fortunate in that all my friends, family and colleagues are not expanding their families, so I don’t have those announcements to face. I also don’t read up on FC all that much anymore – one of the main reasons is because it’s a reminder of my own pain. Selfish? Possibly.
    I have also resigned myself to the fact that I will never ever be pregnant. And I can’t believe how totally OKAY I am with that!
    All these little things have helped me out a heck of a lot.
    I hope that you do find peace with this, Shazzie.
    xxxxxxxxxxxx

    February 24, 2011 at 9:53 am
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