The CAN Principle

The post was reprinted with permission from Our Misconception

Anybody else still doing some holiday shopping? No … well you are all much better than we are. A while ago, we were in Hallmark looking for some Christmas gifts. Invariably, we were drawn to all of the “First Christmas” and “My First Christmas” ornaments. Maybe we are just sadists and love torturing ourselves, but for some reason, we are instinctively drawn to them in the hopes that some day, we will have them on our Christmas tree. When I picked one up, I was surprised by all of the different emotions that went crazy through my mind. Have you experienced something similar or are you afraid to even approach things like the “First Christmas” ornaments or the infants section at Target? It was until later that I pieced my reactions together into what I have deemed the C.A.N. principle. (Should I trademark that or something?) So, without further adieu here it is:

C: Cry

When I grabbed that ornament, I realized how sad I felt that for the last 6 Christmases, I had no reason to put that on my tree. The very next feeling I had, shame. I was standing in Hallmark thinking, what the hell man, Why are you being such a baby? Sure, it has been tough, but you can’t be showing any emotions. That is a surefire way to get your man card taken! You know what though, I think I can own my sorrow. I think I am allowed to CRY! I think after almost seven years of trying to start our family, I can look at that little glass ornament, recognize all of the hardship and pain that our infertility has brought into our lives and allow myself to really FEEL sad. In that moment, I was accepting the fact that I wished I had been able to buy that ornament so many years ago.

A: Acknowledge.

As we were standing in the store, with ornament in hand, I ACKNOWLEDGED the fact that Candace and I where in full control of how we were going to work towards having a family. I truly believe that it is in God’s will for us to have a family and that is what I pray for. Although I cannot control when we will have a family, I can control the path that we pursue to have that family. By acknowledging that this decision is in our control, it was empowering. Finally! Something that I do have control over. This was especially poignant in our current situation with our hopes of starting a family fully invested in surrogacy. We have pursued nearly all avenues and the beauty of this is … there is no wrong answer. Whether you are thinking of talking to your OB-GYN for the first time about starting your family, getting ready for your umpteenth IVF attempt, planning to adopt, or even making the decision to pursue a child-free lifestyle, the decision is absolutely fine so long as it is truly what is in your heart and your significant other feels the same.

N: Now.

As in Now keep moving forward. Now realize all that you do have. Now get ready to take that next brave step. I put the ornament back on the rack with a bit of sorrow but also a bit of hope. I knew that one day, I would be back. I would buy that Damn ornament. I would put that on my tree and turn around and see Candace’s smile and probably a drooling, I could care less baby. What a tremendous moment that will be. Although I do not know when that day will come, I know that I C.A.N. keep walking towards my family until it does.

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