The Giant Elephant In My Room

Throughout my blogging journey, I have written a lot. I feel like I have covered so many different aspects of my journey. Along the way I have tried to be as open and honest about what and how I am dealing with my depression and anxiety. I have really enjoyed writing these blogs as it really does help me and I hope they can help you or at least give you hope and encouragement that you are not alone in your own journey. There has been times I have written about the bad and I have also written about the good. I have written about anything in-between the good in the bad, but I have to admit, I haven’t talked about the giant elephant sitting in my room. So here goes…

Christmas time is here. I love it. I really do. I like the feeling of it and I like the overall idea of it. I celebrate the birth of our Savior and I enjoy the traditional Christmas vibe and all the Santa stuff. Christmas is a time of family and it is a time for friends. I really enjoy watching my nieces and nephews rip open their gifts. The joy on their faces is unmatched by any other time of year. I am one who could care less if I get anything, as long as they get everything (well not everything) as the joy and excitement is a big part of Christmas for me. I enjoy looking at the houses that are decorated. Some really put on a Griswold-like display and it brings a smile to my face.

Christmas is a time for joy and happiness, but it isn’t the case for everyone. Christmas, for some, is a really rough time of the year. Some have lost a loved one and are still trying to pick up the pieces. Christmas is a financial holiday and not everyone has the means to make it happen the way they would want to if they could as some struggle with making ends meet. These things wear on a person. How could it not?

Some of us where not able to have kids and Christmas time is a reminder of the gaping hole which is present in our lives.

My wife and I are two of these people. We were not able to have kids of our own. I do love Christmas, but a part of me (a big part of me) dreads the holidays.

This blog post is going to get heavy. Maybe one of the reasons I haven’t written about it yet, but I feel I must write about it. I must talk about it. I haven’t just spilled my guts out on this topic in a long time. It is always present, but I avoid it as much as I can. Thinking about it brings about too much pain. I’m already having trouble typing this. Part of me doesn’t want to, but I know I need to. Again, I do this as much for me (if not more for me) as much as I do this for you.

There are a lot of people in this world that have struggled to have kids. I know the holidays can bring on some emotions that other times don’t. Christmas is a family holiday and when you feel like you have failed at the family thing, it hurts. It cuts. It cuts deep. I will get into the various ways I feel it cuts deep for me as I go.

There was a time in my life where I just expected to have a family. The idea of not having a family never even occurred to me. It wasn’t a matter of “if”, but more a matter of “when”. It is what we are supposed to do as humans. We make sure the human race goes on, but really we make sure our families go on and on for generations to come. This happens by having kids. Cool, I can play along with that. I basically waited for the time to be right for my wife and I.

Well, that time came. I remember it vividly. We were in our room in the center of Rome. I remember my wife and I having a conversation and it was about starting a family. We decided, while on this amazing trip to Rome, that we would start trying to get pregnant. I remember feeling so nervous, but so excited at the same time. I remember being scared as this whole thing fit well in the category “fear of the unknown”.

So we tried. We had no luck. Maybe we aren’t trying enough? We still had no luck.

We started looking into other ways to make this happen. Science has brought on some awesome options for people who are having trouble getting pregnant.

We decided to go down this road. My wife suffers from severe endometriosis. To the point the lesions on her uterus basically secreted a toxin that would not allow for a fertilized egg to implant on the uterine wall along with severe abdominal pain. OK, so she then had a procedure which helped to eliminate these lesions and hopefully increase our chances.

It didn’t work. But thankfully we weren’t out of options.

We attempted a couple different infertility procedures without any success.

We did do in-vitro. This procedure has historically had great success. Sometimes more success than people were planning for (twins, triplets, and so on). Regardless, it worked for a lot of people. This was the next step for us as we upped the ante. We absolutely wanted to do the procedure and I really felt this was going to work.

It didn’t work. Options became more limited.

This was a crushing blow to us. This was the first time we had to face the reality that children may not be in our future. How is this possible? I never in a million years thought we would be faced with this. I especially didn’t think it was a possibility during our decision we made in Rome.

My wife was questioning her woman-hood. This was and still is a major topic which comes up from time to time and it breaks my heart. This woman, my wife, someone who would be an excellent mother was now questioning her place as a woman in this society.

On top of it, money became a thing. At the time, I was working for the local catholic hospital. The sisters frown on anyone trying to play God and would not pay for our procedure. So we paid out of pocket with help from our families. It was incredibly expensive. So expensive that I didn’t know if we could afford to try it again. What?? Major anger on this one. How in the hell could an organization that prides itself on acting like Jesus did and then deny us of our right to be great parents? How in the hell is money going to be the decider in making our dreams come true. Major bullshit in my book.

Between the anger, the sadness, the confusion and the expense. We decided not to try this avenue again. It didn’t help that my wife, who has always been skeptical of the medical system, now had a huge psychological scar related to a “failed” medical procedure.

We have never been the same since the day we found out that the three fertilized eggs did not implant. We were so excited that we had 3 chances and were devastated that none of them stuck to her uterine lining. We really felt this was going to be the one. We tried to not get our hopes up too much, but it is practically impossible not to get your hopes up. Talk about a swing of the emotions. We felt every one of them and we felt them intensely.

Where do we go from there? I know I started drinking more at that moment. This moment in our lives started me on a journey I wouldn’t realize I was on until about 2 1/2 years ago when I admitted myself to the mental health floor at one of our local hospitals.

We basically hit “pause” on our lives at that moment we found out the procedure was not a success. To this day I fully believe we still live in somewhat of a “paused” life. Actually, it isn’t somewhat. It is more like we definitely are living in “pause”.

From then on, we talked about doing it again. We could spend a shit load of money, for me to poke my wife repeatedly with needles, and try the in-vitro procedure again as a lot of people do, but we didn’t. It wasn’t until recently that my wife went back to see an OB-GYN doctor. She has been that scarred. This all occurred a number of years ago. Do the math and maybe you can catch a glimpse of where my wife’s head was and is. And I couldn’t blame her for feeling the way she did. And I couldn’t push too hard either as it seemed to blow up in a huge argument every time. That sucks. I love her too much and we do not deserve to be in this situation. Or do we?

I can’t help but to feel that maybe we deserved to be where we were at. Maybe we hadn’t been living right. Maybe we weren’t fit to be parents. Maybe something else was in store for us. I was so confused.

We could still adopt. We absolutely talked about it, but never pursued it any further than doing research on it. I think we both still held out hope that a miracle would happen and this miracle never happened.

Now I was angry at God. How could I not be? I feel that my wife and I would be some of the best parents on the planet. I really did and do feel that way. We have so much love and knowledge to pass on to little us’s. We did not get the opportunity. I know I feel robbed of a huge portion of a life I once thought I would live.

But there are people in this world that have baby after baby and certainly do not deserve to be parents. Kids are born into losing situations everyday. Kids are born for the tax breaks and the money they can bring in everyday. Kids are brought into this world, sometimes, only to be basically forgotten about. People actually act like they don’t have a kid and don’t have any responsibility over a child who has no clue how to live life. It is the truth and it makes me boil.

How in the hell can those people be given the miracle of life and we can’t have it? Honestly, it still does not make sense to me. Assholes can procreate, but good people can’t? What? I became more angry with God.

Well, you could adopt? Yes we could have. You are right, but it isn’t what we wanted and I know I was beginning to live in a way that wasn’t the most conducive to raising a child. We looked into adoption, as I mentioned before, but we never pulled the trigger. We even talked about fostering, but never discussed it seriously.

Well it seems like you didn’t try hard enough? This question haunts me still to this very day. I think about this question more than you could ever know. Did we try everything? Could we have done more? Did we get lazy? I often think No, Yes, and Yes.

And I have to live with this. I have to live with the “lazy” aspect of it. I have to live with thinking we didn’t do everything we could have. You (well some people anyway) can judge us all you want, but remember…you are not walking in our shoes. I don’t want to hear it and quite frankly…I don’t care what you think about our efforts. I am dealing with enough pain as it is to worry about what you think about how I’ve gone about my life.

I really do believe it was at the moment we were told the fertilized eggs didn’t take that we hit the “pause” button. I feel like we are still waiting for something, a miracle, and we can’t fully move on and enjoy our lives. At least this is how I feel and I think my wife would agree.

I began to drink more. It was an easy escape for me. My drinking wasn’t at the level then, where it was 2 1/2 years ago, when I decided I can’t drink another drop. I would rather drink and hide than deal with it. I would rather drink and hide versus talking about adopting or fostering. It all hurt so much and the alcohol provided relief…at first.

So I tried to hide from it all. I still try and hide from it all, but it isn’t as easy when I don’t drown my thoughts in booze anymore. I now have to face it. I haven’t done anything in all those years to actually face this giant elephant in my room.

I wanted nothing more than to have kids. I would still drop everything today if it somehow happened. I really would, but at this point in our lives we just aren’t there anymore. We got to stuck in our ways. We got selfish. I liked not having any responsibilities that my other friends and family were faced with and dealing with. I wanted to be them, but I didn’t more and more. I could drink as much as I wanted whenever I wanted to. And this got to be very dangerous for me. It almost led me to ending my life…

I have had feelings of self doubt. I’ve had feeling of being overly self conscious. I have had feelings of inadequacy. I have questioned myself as a man. I have felt like I have no lasting legacy to pass on. I feel like I am just playing a game while everyone else lives this thing called life. I have felt that all of this and other things are reasons to not go on living any more. All of these feelings and more that I have had, and also have talked about here from time to time, stem from this incredibly painful experience we have had to deal with. Or not deal with or whatever. Whatever it is we are doing or weren’t doing. I don’t know anymore.

I tried to hide for so long from this huge thing, that my method of hiding (drinking a ton) began to spin out of control as the years went on. I have been severely depressed since the day we found out the eggs didn’t implant, but it wasn’t until 2 1/2 years ago that I realized how depressed and off the rails I really was.

Yes, we could have done more. I still don’t exactly know why we didn’t do more. We have huge scars. We still experience great pain. We do not take any of this lightly even though the appearance may be selfish and lazy. Life events affect people differently and this is very true here.

I’ve noticed a little change this holiday season. It remains to be a hard time of year for me as I see pictures of people and their kids all over social media doing the holiday things together. I want to be you so bad.

And no, I don’t want your kids for a day. Please stop with that response to people who don’t have kids. No I don’t want the kids I didn’t raise for a day to prove to me how great it seems I have it. This phrase makes absolutely no sense. It really is a slap in the face and it really is extremely offensive. Please stop…it’s not a good look and it helps nobody.

Back to it. This year I haven’t felt as much pain. I haven’t felt as much anger. I haven’t felt as much sadness. It still remains, but it has lessened slightly and any movement away from the negative feelings is amazing progress for me.

I do feel like, with all I am doing for myself now, I have realized I needed help and it is somehow filtering into these scars I carry. Maybe even healing them to some degree. This season is no different from the others. I love Christmas, but honestly I can’t wait for it to be over, but I don’t want it to be over as much as I did last year.

Does that make sense? I think it kind of does to me. It makes enough sense that I want to pursue it more.

I have thought about this feeling quite a bit lately. I believe a lot of who I am today was molded from what I have felt was a horrible and undeserved experience, but it is something I can learn from.

I have to live my life. I can’t be on “pause” any longer. I do not deserve to live a life on “pause”. I still have hopes and dreams and I need to allow myself to pursue these hopes and dreams. The desire to move away from “pause” is my Christmas gift to myself. This one is going to take a lot of unraveling, but I have to allow myself to do it. I deserve it. I have to take the first step.

A really crazy weird thought has crept into my head. Maybe all of this has happened for a reason. The reason isn’t for me to be miserable my whole life, but maybe I can turn this into a strength. Maybe all of this has happened to get me to where I am today. I really do believe this all has happened to help fuel my mental health awareness mission. I believe this all has happened so I can bring others along the path of living the best life we all can hope for ourselves.

I just have to embrace it or at least look towards it more. This will be hard, but I do now (and just now) believe it will be worth it and I can finally stop living a life on “pause” and press “play” again.

This was hard to write and maybe it was hard to read, but this had to be done for my continued growth.

I want you to know that it is never too late to start healing. Take the first step. Take it again and again. Some of us are holding onto some old baggage the size of an elephant and it is OK to “unpause” and press “play” again. You deserve it. We deserve it.

I Got This! You Got This! We Got This! Let’s keep walking this path together.

Have a great day and Merry Christmas!

Jason

Visit me at www.rockingmentalhealth.com. You will find blogs, videos, a podcast, music and more. All things I have made to help spread my mental health awareness message. It Is OK To Not Be OK!

Published by Jason Kehl

Nurse, artist, musician. One I have done professionally and two that I have not😉. I enjoy creating art and music as a hobby. I do it mostly because it helps me to feel better or express something that I feel inside. I am a believer in Mental Health Awareness. My goal is to throw myself out there in hopes that someone sees it and can gain the strength to seek help or keep working on themselves. We are an unfinished product! That's OK!

6 thoughts on “The Giant Elephant In My Room

  1. First of hugs! To you and your wife. Must be difficult for the both of you the topic about having kids in this season. Then I would like to say something to your wife specificly. As woman to woman. Even tho’ I am just’ 22. The fact that you struggle with concieving. DOESNT MAKE YOU ANY LESS OF A WOMAN. In my eyes only makes your more of a warrior.

    Also, I am deeply touched by your blog post. I myself struggle with anxiety (tho this isnt about me)
    I seriously want to hug you really tight! (I am a hugger) I do wish you the best in life. And hope you can find ways to cope with everything that isnt as selfdestructive as drinking. Because even tho I don’t know you. You deserve that! You deserve happiness in life.
    Sorry for my long comment. 🙈

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand. Also hello, my name is Rosa-Lynn. I am a very good listener if you ever just need someone to talk to. Im always available to talk and lighten the heart. Cause nobody should have to struggle alone.
        And wishing you an early happy new year. That it may be filled with all kinds of happy memories.

        Like

      2. Hi Rosa-Lynn! I’m Jason. Great meeting you and thank you very much for the offer to listen. It is so important to know someone is out there. I greatly appreciate it! Happy New Year!

        Liked by 1 person

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