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We all have 24 hours in a day, about 30 days in a month, usually 365 days in a year. But we’re supposed to live in today.

I remember when I first got clean, try as I might, living in the moment was nearly impossible. I lived by the month. Every day I was yearning to claim that next key tag. 30 days. 60 days. 90 days. 6 months. 9 months. 1 year. That was how I lived; achieving one milestone at a time and just waiting for the next one to roll around.

At some point, I settled in. I stopped looking so far forward and started looking at today. Not thinking about what will happen in the future and focused on what I can do today. And life was good. Living in the moment allows a whole new part of life to open up. I’m not fearful of the past and anxious about the future so I am able to enjoy what’s happening NOW.

Living this way is not natural to me. I am a list checker. I like creating a list and checking off items as I complete them. It feels good. It feels productive. It feels clean. But, this also creates a sense of urgency and the feeling of imperfection or inferiority when I don’t complete them as expected. I am extremely hard on myself and oftentimes don’t allow myself the grace that I so easily give to others.

Since my miscarriage in December, unfortunately, it’s only natural, but not justified, that I am living this way again. Back to telling time not by the moment, but by the cycle. Each day I wake up and obsessively check my fertility app - reading all the things I should be doing to increase my chances to conceive. I make my way downstairs, let the puppies out to potty, and force myself to have only one cup of coffee, you know, since caffeine affects fertility. I check my app again, maybe I missed something. I go to the message board that’s called “Faint Lines/No BFPs” - if you had to look up what BFP means, don’t worry, so did I. I scroll through the posts of women that uploaded photos of pregnancy tests asking for help determining if there’s a second line or not. I offer a second pair of eyes and vote on all the available posts - happy for the girls’ that most likely have two lines, and sad for the ones that don’t. My impatience is at an all time high. Why can’t I get two lines?

Taking ovulation tests stressed me out - I realized that immediately. So, I decided I would just chill and not try so hard to get pregnant. Little did I know that I didn’t truly give up control by not using the ovulation strips. I merely focused that control (or lack of it) in a different area. My fertility app tells me when I should be ovulating, so I make sure Jeffrey and I do our thing on the *important* days. If you know how babies are made - it takes some time to for the egg to get to the uterus, and that’s if the sperm even made it to the egg! The days following ovulation are extremely hard to not take a pregnancy test. I become a POAS addict. Don’t worry, I had to look that one up too.

I spend my days thinking about when I can test next. What’s the earliest a positive result could show up? Constantly reminding myself “no more coffee” and wondering “did you take a prenatal?” Hoping that maybe THIS test will come up with two lines. Waiting those three minutes after testing is torture. Then spending the next half an hour analyzing the stick - every angle, with a flashlight, natural light, taking photos and inverting it to see if there’s any hint of a possible faint line. I tell myself, "There's 5 left, NO more testing until you've missed your period." Somehow, it's three days later and what do you know, I've out of tests. But, not to worry, I’ve ordered in bulk off Amazon. I've checked tracking and they should be arriving by 4:45 PM. It's past 4, now where is it?! Each negative test brings me closer to the start of my next cycle - a dreaded period. Every day, I pray that this month it won’t come. And every month, after wasting countless tests, it still shows up.

The disappointment, sadness, anger, and resentment that come along with each period are easily recognized, for me at least. I don’t know that it shows so much on the outside, but I feel it on the inside. Having had a small, but short-lived, taste of the joy that a positive test brings, I long for that feeling again. And while intellectually I know that I’m not doing anything wrong, it’s hard not to question. What could I be doing differently? I checked off all the items on the to-do list. Why am I not getting the result I want? If only I didn’t drink that extra cup of coffee that one day. If only I didn’t play rough with the dogs. If only I ate healthier. If only…

After only three months of this, it’s exhausting. I decide that if I get to the next cycle, I will delete the fertility app. I will stop trying so hard. I will stop testing at every chance. I will stop letting it run my life. And while in this moment, I wholeheartedly mean it, just like any using addict - when the time comes to do something different, will I follow through? I always say that you can’t lose the desire to use until you quit using. Sure, a lot of us wanted to quit using LONG before we actually got clean, but the desire at the core of our being that drives us to seek out the next high, that doesn’t go away until after putting down the dope. The truth is, if I want something different today, I have to do something different TODAY. It can't be at some point in the future, when the "time is right," only after I've exhausted all my options. Apply that concept to any area of your life and ask yourself, what’s making you unmanageable today? I wanted to quit testing last month, yet here we are. Another 30 days has come and gone.

Just for today, I want to live in the moment again. I want to be free of the idea that if I achieve some certain thing - it can be anything, the perfect job, a house, a relationship - or in my case, getting pregnant, that I will be happy, I will be fulfilled, I will be complete. Just for today, I want to enjoy my life as it is, not as I think it should be. But now comes the hard part because Satan is alive and well, hard at work. It's 4:33 when the dogs start barking as that beautiful Amazon package is dropped off on my doorstep…


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