Have you ever considered how much we count? We’re either paying attention to how much time we have before needing to get to work or counting down to a much needed vacation or counting the hours until the work day is over or counting the time you have until some deadline. Our lives are inundated with numbers and timelines and countdowns and all these markers we place to make sense of our world… to make it feel meaningful. It’s a lot of pressure. If you think about it, counting, in whatever capacity, always keeps you mindful of an end. It always keeps you focused to some degree on when something will be over or achieved but it doesn’t really allow you to be in the moment.
Take a walk with me down this analogous road, shall we? It’s like a Friday afternoon. Go with me here; Friday afternoons are usually people’s favorite times. You’ve already counted down to the end of the week and now, thank the LAWD, you have made it! Monday seems far enough away that it’s not as much a consideration. You finally, though briefly, get that sense of freedom and enjoyment as you move through your Saturday without much care. Everything you didn’t get to do during the week, you cram into your Saturday and maybe even your Sunday morning until BOOM! It’s freaking SUNDAY!!!! Tomorrow is MONDAY AGAIN !! Then you’re back in this cycle of counting down until you’re closer to that Friday afternoon again.
We spend so much time in our ‘destination addictions’ that we can easily overwhelm ourselves with all there is to do and to accomplish in this little (or long depending on how you look at it) snippet of time we have called life. I gave that long-ish intro to frame a phenomenon that is super common amongst angel parents – our awareness of time. Below is a list of, you guessed it, 7 of the most common time or counting associations angel parents make that their loved ones should be aware of.
- Time since their little one passed. I don’t know exact stats on this but I’d bet money that at least 90-95% of angel parents can tell you quickly how long it’s been since their little one passed away. Whether it’s been a month or 10 years, they remember that day like it just happened in all it’s painful detail. Sometimes there are some positive memories sprinkled amongst the sad ones which helps to make the recall easier to revisit.
- Time until their little one’s birthday. For a lot of angel parents, the day their little one was born is also the day or close to the day they passed. We’re a little less than 6 months out from our girls’ birthday on 6/7. Though I try not to think about it like that, it’s a milestone that I’ll likely always remember. Many angel parents are planning what they will do for their llo’s (lost little one) birthday well in advance. Sometimes that’s a plan to honor them and do some kind of memorial. Other times it’s a day full of self-care to help combat or cope with feelings of sadness that may arise.
- Time it has taken them to conceive or conceive again. Listen, if you have or you know someone who has ever actually TRIED to conceive and/or has lost a child and wanted to try again, you know this is a thing. When you’re TTC there is a lot of planning (and counting) involved in terms of tracking cycles and ovulation and medication and doctors appoints, etc. The person who will actually be carrying may have more of an advantage here but angel parents in general are keenly aware of how long it’s taking to achieve their desired outcome. They (we) want to be parents (or be parents again) so badly and it just feels like it takes forever when you’re in this waiting process. My recent post about patience has a lot to do with how to navigate this space semi-successfully.
- Two Week Wait (2WW). Ugh this is the dreaded period that anyone who is trying to conceive or who thinks they may have gotten pregnant has to go through. It takes two weeks to find out if you’re pregnant after medically assisted insemination or transfer. It takes two weeks to find out results of genetic testing of yourself (at times) and your embryos. It takes roughly two weeks of medication to stimulate follicle growth for IVF. The 2ww is really some bs but it’s a necessary part of the conception process. It’s excruciating and the lengths you go to in order to distract yourself from that wait can be kind of nuts.
- Their age. “People are having babies well into their 40’s now. Don’t worry.” “I know someone who didn’t have their first child until they were 39.” There are so many things people say about age in effort to encourage you which is super sweet but it really doesn’t change the stuff running through your head. It’s kind of crazy because people with a uterus are often talked to about what birth control methods they’re using and sometimes even pressured into starting things they don’t want. Then when they have reached their 30’s, people start pressuring you to have kids because you’re at “advanced maternal age”. All sorts of stuff comes into play once you hit 34 including you being considered semi-high risk and REQUIRING genetic testing for things like Down’s Syndrome once you do become pregnant. It’s hard NOT to think about your age and how close (or over) you are to advanced maternal age. It’s hard NOT to think about how old you’ll be when your kid is in middle school. Couple that with how old you might be feeling currently and goodness! It’s like
- How many follicles and eggs are present. This mainly comes up for folx who are getting medically assisted to conceive because literally, they (docs, nurses and YOU) are counting these things while you’re in the office. If you’ve had multiple tries you’re pretty much an expert at counting those little (or large as you get closer to ovulation) black circles you see on the screen. Shoot you may even be able to tell the doc how many you see before they open their mouth! It’s easy in this circumstance to beat yourself up if the numbers are not what you want them to be. #5 starts creeping in and you find yourself doing all kinds of nonsensical calculations in your head about what should or shouldn’t be present in the numbers. It’s crazy-making.
- How many embryos are available. If you’re on the IVF train, which a lot of us are, you know just how random this can be sometimes. Docs as well as other patients will tell you that one month you may have made 10 eggs with none making it to embryo (or blastocyst stage) and the next month you may make 3 eggs and all make it to blastocyst stage. It’s kind of crazy and amazing how many can fertilize properly but then just stop growing. After a retrieval (egg retrieval), you are waiting with baited breath for that call to tell you just how many “made it”.
So, again, why am I telling you all this? Why is it important? First, it’s important for solidarity. I know some fellow angel mom’s in particular who will read this like “YAAASSSSSS!!!!!!!!” Knowing that someone else understands, sees you and validates your experience is the holy grail. Second, I hope that this gets shared with the people who love us angel parents. The people who support us and spend time with us. You don’t know what you don’t know so sharing information like this gives others a little peak into our world. It’s TOUGH!!! Geesh… It’s a really tough, stressful place to be at a time when they tell you, “don’t stress.” Sometimes there is this constant sense of pressure that is hella difficult to combat when we live in a world structured the way it is: with deadlines and timelines everywhere. Like I always suggest, be sensitive with us. Know that we’re dealing with a lot on a daily basis. For the angel parents, be sensitive and patient with yourself too. Try as hard as you can, as often as you can, to not focus on deadlines and just “be”. Just exist like it’s Friday afternoon. Sending ❤ ❤