2016 Reflections

For those who know me on a personal level, they understand that 2016 has been a rough year. With a job change (a good one), continued fertility struggles and a miscarriage, this year has been anything but a walk in the park. This year has been eye-opening, and I’ve learned much more that I could ever have imagined. I’ve learned that life isn’t always fair, and that there will be hard times, tears, arguments and chaos. But, you will make beautiful memories, miracles will happen, you’ll experience so much laughter, hugs and calmness.

2016 started like any other year. A clean slate, hopes, ambitions and dreams of better days ahead. There were a lot of fantastic things that happened in 2016! My older sister and her family moved back to Michigan, Mom beat cancer again, we welcome two new nephews into our family, Braxton celebrated his second birthday, I took a leap of faith and started my own business, Jason and I celebrated FIVE years of marriage, and there were a lot of other little things that happened throughout the year that overshadowed the bad. In July, Jason and I underwent our first round of IVF. It failed, and we were devastated. That was a huge financial blow and it shattered our hearts. Then in November, we did a round of FET which lead to a pregnancy, but we soon miscarried. Again, crushed, devastation, anger, extreme sadness and hopelessness ensued. For the years of infertility we have encountered, nothing can explain the excitement we had when the pregnancy tests started coming back positive. We were absolutely elated, and then just as suddenly as we found out we were expecting, we weren’t. It’s the worst feeling in the world.

As I reflect on this past year, it was easily one of the hardest years for me-if not the hardest. It was an emotional rollercoaster. I won’t completely say that the year was a bust, because it wasn’t, but I will say that I won’t miss it much. I’ll forever be grateful for each year I’m Braxton’s mommy. He is my world. He is Jason’s world also. Jason and I have begun to accept that he might be our only child as we are undecided on further fertility treatment.

Personally, I’m ready for 2017. I’m ready to thrive. I’m ready to have multiple books published, grow my business, explore and try new things, laugh more, fear less, relax, continue working out and eating healthy, work on being a better wife and mother and so much more! I’m more determined this year to accomplish the goals I have set forth for me, and can’t wait to check them off my goal list!

 

There is no denying that 2016 was better to some than for others (including myself), but 2016 did not define me. The terrible things that transpired in 2016 won’t make me lose hope. It hasn’t made me lose my faith. I won’t live in the past, but move forward positively and full of hope.

I pray that for those who struggled in 2016 that you know that God never gives you more than you can handle. If God brings you to it, He will most certainly lead you through it. I pray that 2017 is a year of growth, extreme happiness, lessons, love and laughter.

 

Wishing you and your family the very best for 2017, and thanks for following my blog and my crazy life.

 

God Bless,

Danielle

 

 

Being Thankful through Infertility

(Original Post on: When Infertility Happens)

I never thought I’d say this, but a part of me is thankful for my infertility.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Seems hard to believe, right? It’s not something you’d expect to hear from someone on Thanksgiving who has been battling infertility the past 5 years, went through several failed fertility treatments and procedures as well experiencing a recent miscarriage (last week).

I wouldn’t take back all the pain I’ve experienced or the mental and physical anguish that comes with it. Why? Because my life has been changed in ways I never thought possible. Without our infertility battle, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. Over the past five years, I have been inspired, I’ve grown as a mother, a wife and friend. I have made friends with others also traveling down a similar road, and for all of that, I am grateful.

My husband and I are even more grateful for the miracle son that we do have. He might be our only child, and we are so thankful for have him. He is our light through our darkest hours.

Would our lives be easier without our infertility? Absolutely! Would we have more money? Yes! Would there be less heartache and tears? You bet! Without our infertility, Jason and I wouldn’t have a story to share with others. We wouldn’t be helping all those who we’re helping. We wouldn’t inspire others to keep pushing on even when times are hard. More importantly, infertility has shaped our marriage. It’s made us stronger, it’s made us more close and there is a love there that I cannot even adequately describe how powerful it is.

Fortunately for us, we have amazing family and friends who are encouraging and supportive, and we’ll forever be thankful for them. We are thankful for each other. We have never pushed blame, passed judgement or let our infertility ruin our relationship with each other. Sure, we’ve had arguments and voiced frustrations, but we stand hand-in-hand walking on this journey together.

Trust me when I say that being thankful when you’re hurting all the time is hard-it’s damn near impossible. Life can be so unfair. The holidays can be so tough for those experiencing infertility and child loss. My heart breaks for all those on a similar path. What’s important is that we all understand that we have our significant other, our family and friends and God who is all continuing to root, encourage and support us.

I’m grateful that infertility has introduced me to something I’m so incredibly passionate about. I have a passion to share our story with others in hopes of helping others. I have found my purpose, my spiritual gifts handed to me by the big man upstairs. I hope through our heartache, I’m able to comfort and help others.

80e97a2c4065403b703081c6b76ab0ff

Here are a few other specific things I’m thankful for:

Thankful for Jason:

I am so incredibly thankful for my husband. We have been through absolute hell and back, and instead of our misfortunes breaking our marriage apart, it’s brought us closer. We are stronger because of all that we have been through. We still bicker and have our moments, but we will always have each other’s backs. We will always be there for each other. These past few weeks and months have been the worst of our lives–with a failed IVF followed by a miscarriage–but I am so fortunate that he has been there through it all. I’m not sure I could go through it all without him.

15181666_10100504949735589_4769512821455334750_n.jpg

Thankful for Braxton:

I am so thankful for our miracle son, Braxton. We tried for two years with this guy and he was so worth it. He is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me–to my husband and I. He is so funny, so smart and such an adventurous kid. I seriously had no idea how motherhood would change me, and I’ll be forever grateful to be his momma.

46.jpg

Thankful for family and friends:

I’m thankful for my family who has been there for Jason and I as we battle infertility. They’ve been there to encourage us through treatment and comfort us when we experience heartache. They’ve been there for us when we needed them most.
The same thing goes out to our friends. I cannot even begin to describe the support system we have through our friends. They’ve been there to encourage us and they’ve been there with us to mourn. They care, and we are so fortunate for all the text messages and phone calls we’ve received the past few weeks.

Thankful for Jesus:

Lastly, I am thankful for Jesus. There have been times when it’s been difficult to not question my faith only because of all the heartache my husband and I have experienced the past five years. He has picked me up when I have fallen to my knees. He has listened to my broken heart, my tears and my prayers and even though my prayers haven’t been answered yet as far as having another child, I have faith that he will heal my womb and give us another child in His time. I was lost before I truly dove into my faith, and He has filled a gap that had lied dormant for so long. He will not fail me.

**

I am thankful this Thanksgiving because of what I DO have. I have an incredible husband and amazing son. We have supportive family and friends, our health (overall), careers and a house over our head.

I hope that we can all keep those struggling with infertility in our thoughts and prayers this Thanksgiving. Infertility is always painful but it can be amplified around the holiday season. Let’s be mindful and caring towards them, and continue to keep them in our prayers. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! May you have a blessed day with those that mean the most!

7574c57ecf87c42be45243e386484b89.jpg

On Mother’s Day: An Open Letter to Women of Infertility Everywhere

photo-1429277005502-eed8e872fe52.jpg

Dear Infertile You,

I’m writing this because I understand that you’re hurting. I understand that it’s not easy being you and going through what you’re going through. I know that you feel insignificant and wounded. The journey you’re experiencing is less than appealing, and you find yourself getting lost-often.

I understand that you’re struggling to understand why you’re being excluded from experiencing motherhood. Understand that you’re not alone.

You’re feeling immeasurable desperation, and I know that you feel powerless. You may even hate your body because it has betrayed you. Keeping from you what you so desperately want.

You recall the pregnancy scares and use of contraceptives when you were younger, but now you’re married and you’re trying to start a family. You know understand, unwilling, that your body isn’t able to do what it was created to do.

Defeat and resentment are a few words you find yourself feeling. You did everything right to your body when preparing to start a family. You worked out, ate right and took prenatal vitamins. You continue doing these things month after month, just in case this is the month you really are pregnant.

You religiously track your periods and sex, and you get a glimpse of hope when you’re a few days late only to start your period a day or so later. Tears. Lots and lots of tears. Month after month you try every single trick in the book to try to conceive. You eat certain foods, schedule sex, avoid certain foods, exercise, lay with your feet up in the air after sex and everything else that says it might aid in conceiving.

You’re sick and tired of trying. Sex is no longer fun. It turns into more of a chore than anything pleasurable because it reminds you of your situation. Seeing doctors often is also overwhelming. You nearly choke on the amount of pills you have to take. Being poked and prodded gets old. You have test after test done and tons of blood work. Procedures after procedures. Each time you’re praying for a different result, one favorable to your desires.

Giving yourself shots is painful and tedious, but so is tracking your cycles and when you ovulate. Rounds of IUI and IVF take a toll on you both physically and emotionally. Your marriage and relationship easily tested.  You don’t sleep for a solid two weeks after your procedure.You pray without ceasing. Asking God to bless you with a child.

You monitor every symptom and feeling you experience hoping it means pregnancy. You check to see if your breasts are tender. When you wipe you look for any indication of a period. When you see small amounts of pink or red, you pray to God it indicates implantation and not your period.

Every month when your period comes, I know you secretly fall apart more. You cry out of anger, frustration, desperation and sorrow because yet again, you mourn the loss of a baby that never was. Your grief you feel for a shatter dream is increasingly overwhelming, month after month.

You question how much longer you and your partner can go through this journey. This torture. Your marriage might be strained, your savings dwindling and your sanity slowly drifting away. Infertility has taken over your life. It’s become an obsession and a full-time job.

You start resenting those announcing their pregnancies. Your guilt for feeling resentment and jealously is there, but having such feelings are the only way you can cope with your misery. Receiving invites to baby showers also hit a nerve. You find yourself questioning if you’re emotionally strong enough to endure such an event. Most times opting out of it entirely. The thought of venturing into Babies R Us is enough to nauseate you.

Sometimes you find yourself throwing away birth announcements or un-following friend’s posts of their babies because seeing them hurts you so much. Even seeing a baby smile at you is a knife to the heart as you wait to check out at the grocery store or drive by a park that is full of happy toddlers running around laughing. You know how petty and silly that all sounds, yet you don’t care.

You are often envious of a pregnant woman as you try to understand the amount of injustice you feel for what you cannot have. Maybe you find yourself wondering if she had struggled with infertility. But then you silence your thoughts, because in that moment the answer to your question is irrelevant, because she is pregnant now.

Your life is partially put on hold. You start planning events around the idea of being pregnant. You buy a bridesmaid dress a couple sizes too big in the hopes that you’re pregnant by the time the wedding comes, but you’re prepared for that. Hoping for that.

Holidays are never easy, especially Mother’s Day. It’s like a slap to the face every damn year. You prepare yourself for Halloween each year and seeing all of the children dressed in their costumes. You avoid opening Christmas cards because you’re 99% sure that when you open it, you’ll be greeted with a happy family picture staring back at you.

No matter what, you can’t escape this hell on Earth you’re living.

You have pinned every unique way to tell your spouse that you’re pregnant and have already planned how you’ll reveal the news to family and friends. It’s all planned out.

I understand that you might question your relationship. How can your spouse remain with you knowing they may never have a child? You feel like a failure. A disappointment. You feel inadequate and you feel pity for your spouse. You find yourself apologizing month after month, and you fear they they may run.

The immense amount of sorrow you feel when you see children being mistreated or read stories about babies found dead is overbearing. You wonder how any parent can harm such a miracle. Why had God blessed those women with motherhood only to see them take it for granted and hurt the child or mistreat them? This infuriates you.

“I just look at my wife and she gets pregnant.”

You despise hearing such insensitive jokes referring to how fertile someone is. In your mind, there is no “oops” baby. Furthermore, you  are frustrated when you hear a woman complain about pregnancy or the lack of sleep they’re receiving because of having children. They lack appreciation, and you’d do anything to be in their shoes.

I understand that you avoid answering questions regarding when you’re planning on starting a family. They don’t understand how long you’ve been trying and what your body has been through month after month, year after year. Your resent when people comment on the fact that all the sex you’re having is at least good practice. Your sex life is no longer fun, spontaneous or romantic. It’s scheduled.

You’re scared that you will never become a parent. You’re scared that you will live a child-free life. You’re afraid that it’s never going to happen and that you’re going to live out your days unfulfilled, bitter and inadequate.

You can’t just walk away and let go, and I understand why.

Your desire to become pregnant, to have your miracle baby and to be a mother has officially become your life’s mission. I understand that you fall asleep every night and wake up every single morning thinking about pregnancy.

You yearn for uncomfortable pregnancy pains and morning sickness. You yearn for those two pink lines instead of the one you’ve grown so accustomed to seeing. You want to feel your baby kick. You want to experience a baby shower. You even find yourself looking forward to labor and delivery.

You have wanted nothing more than to hold your baby and gaze into their face, tears streaming down your face, because in the moment you realize that God hasn’t forgotten about you. He was with you the entire time. Hearing your prayers, unknowingly wiping away your tears and holding your hand on your journey.

I understand what you’re going through or have been through. I have gone through it. I’ve been in your shoes. After two years of trying to conceive, we finally did, but not without heartache, tears, sorrow and pain. Now we are struggling with secondary infertility. As we prepare ourselves for IVF, I have some words to share with all of those struggling with infertility.

You are not broken. You are not insignificant and useless.You are worthy of so much love. Incredible, powerful love. Forgive yourself because you have not done anything wrong. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Love yourself and all of your flaws. You are enough and you always have been. You matter so much more than you can imagine. You are so loved. And mostly importantly, you are not alone. You will never ever be alone.

All my love and prayers,
Danielle

photo-1457932155913-ac4695f3edd1.jpg

 

Pictures: Sarah Greybeal, Julia Ceasar

The April Fools’ Day Prank to Avoid Doing this Year

Your “Surprise, I’m Pregnant!” April Fools’ Day Prank Broke My Heart!

547765_875261299289_855965665_n.jpg

I can take a joke. In fact, I like to consider myself someone who likes to joke with the best of them, but if your BIG prank for April Fools’ Day this year is announcing a fake pregnancy, I won’t be laughing. It’s also safe to say that thousands of additional people experiencing infertility will also not be laughing, and here is why.

Everyone these days post their pregnancy announcements on social media, so I understand how easy this prank might seem, but for some of us..the ones who are coping with infertility, that prank tugs on our heart strings. It reminds us of something we want so badly, but are unable to have. Sure, some of those people may eventually have children, but it comes after thousands of dollars, treatments, false hopes, tears, heartache and ONE hell of a fight!  Though this seemingly harmless prank may catch the attention from some and even fool them, it’ll also break those who want so badly to announce such exciting news.

For someone who struggled to conceive for nearly two years, I started turning into that person that secretly despised all those who announced their pregnancies. I envied them.I loathed them. I avoided them. I wanted so badly to experience the joy they had in that moment.

NOTE: My husband and I were finally able to conceive (without fertility treatment) to the surprise of our fertility doctors. Our son is now two, and as we begin the process of growing our family once more, we understand that with the prognosis we have received and our circumstances, IVF will really be our only feasible option if we want to grow our family.

I used to not talk about the infertility battles my husband and I had went through and are currently, again, going through. But now that I have, we are stronger and more educated on infertility.  I share our story because I’ve been able to help offer support to others who find themselves in similar circumstances.

With that said, every year on April 1st at least a handful of my friends will announce that they’re pregnant. Now, keep in mind before my husband and I conceived, I was more envious than suspicious when those announcements showed up on my social media feed. Because of what we have gone through and continue to go through, I suspect everyone who announces their pregnancy on April 1st as being anything but true.

 

 

I was that person who would close herself in her bedroom and sob, praying that God would help my husband and I conceive. I prayed for a miracle. I was jealous. I had self-pity and self-loathing over the fact that we were unable to grow our family.  I simply wanted what I couldn’t have.

 

 

Today, when I see such posts about pregnancy announcements on April Fools Day, I am outraged. I cannot relate to those insensitive people posting such lies. I know that some of those pranksters don’t intentionally try to hurt others, but I can only hope that they consider the possibility. I can only hope that they understand how many couples out there pray every night for a miracle. I can only hope that they realize that the hurt they will cause will affect thousands of people struggling with infertility.

1238881_875261473939_1549078908_n.jpg

That said, I’d like to remind all of those trying to come up with a clever and funny April Fools’ Day prank to avoid the (fake) pregnancy announcement. Those that are struggling to conceive don’t need to be reminded more of what they don’t have, so don’t rub your phantom April Fools’ Day baby in their faces.

The Impact of Infertility on a Relationship

photo-1445098516063-9b0b2e4206e9.jpg

Post originally posted on When Infertility Happens-also a blog owned by Danielle Jones.

Infertility can be a real test of a couple’s relationship, and it can shake the very foundation of marriage. It has the ability to turn even the most solid of relationships into a weak and troubled one.  A survey conducted by GfK Roper on behalf of Schering-Plough says that 71% of women said infertility makes them feel flawed, whereas; 50% of men said that infertility made them feel inadequate. Infertility also has a huge impact on a couple’s relationship and 53% of couples try and hide their true feelings from their partner.

For couples who have to unfortunately deal with infertility, it’s no doubt it’s an emotional roller coaster. As individuals who desire to start a family and then are told that it won’t come easy and that we will have infertility issues, it can change the entire dynamics  of a relationship. It impacts both the male and female differently, the interactions with those who have no issues conceiving change and virtually every relationship changes.

The stress of infertility can lead to isolation, anger, depression and envy. Most couples tend to hide their infertility issues from friends and family, so they rarely discuss it, therefore bottling up the stress that comes with it. Some couples will resort on telling their friends and family that they’re simply waiting to have children or that they don’t want children rather than share with them the struggles that they’re dealing with.

It is no doubt that most couples never imagined that they would experience infertility and many individuals also might have believed that they would have no issue getting pregnant when they wanted to get pregnant. For someone who has seen multiple family members have zero issues conceiving, I thought I would experience the same, but that was not destined to be.

Some couples blame each other for their unfortunate situation. Sometimes infertility may be caused by one person within a relationship, and the other partner who isn’t experiencing infertility issues may secretly resent them. They might not mean to, but the entire situation is so upsetting that their mind may have resorted to those thoughts once or twice. Some couples choose to let their unfortunate situation destroy their relationship, and it may cause the two individuals to part ways. Other couples may become closer and more united when going through a situation such as infertility. 

For a marriage to survive the crisis of infertility, couples must learn new coping mechanisms and must provide adequate support, encouragement and love throughout the process. Because most couples aren’t equipped to handle such situations as infertility with poise, it’s important that both individuals put towards effort to put positive energy towards the marriage even more so during this challenging time. 

If you are a couple who are are experiencing infertility, there are steps you can take to enhance your relationship to ensure that it thrives and continues to grow.  Here are eight suggestions on how to do so:

photo-1423754789617-eb7ad233da43.jpg

ALWAYS WORK AS A TEAM

You know the age-old saying, “there is no ‘I’ in team!” Well, there is a lot of truth in this statement because when one person chooses isolation as their coping mechanism instead of addressing the issue as a team, it has negative impacts on the overall relationship. Rather, working together with your partner and brainstorm ways on how to share the responsibilities regarding treatment is the best route to take.

SEPARATE “BABY-MAKING SEX” FROM “LOVE-MAKING SEX”

When you’re going through infertility treatments, your sex becomes very scheduled and tends to become less emotional. When it becomes more of a “must-do” instead of spontaneous, it’s hard to enjoy it. Separating baby-making sex from engaging in pleasurable and fun love-making is imperative to maintaining a healthy sex life during infertility.

TAKE TIME OFF TO HAVE FUN

Because infertility requires so much of your time and energy, it’s important to set time aside to take off from everything infertility-related and make time for each other to go out, enjoy each other’s company and have fun! Make your partner a priority by nurturing positive energies in the relationships and planning little get-aways here and there.

HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM

Couples can have an unrealistic and unconscious expectation that their spouse will be able to take care of all of their emotional needs in times of crisis.  It’s a daunting task during infertility, so it’s important to not isolate yourselves from everyone else willing to listen or help in some way. Seeking support from others can help strengthen your relationship with your spouse, and it can also help to attend support groups with those also dealing with infertility. I will say that one of my biggest support system is a close couple who we have been friends with for years. They went through a lot of what we went through but for longer and on a larger scale, but they have two beautiful babies to show for it today. I rely on them and ask lots of questions, and it really helps me cope with it all.

UNDERSTANDING STYLES FOR DEALING WITH STRESS

Both you and your partner may have very different ways to handle stress during difficult situations, so it’s important to accept the differences in a way that can help lessen conflicts and create more of a unity. Men and women feel and deal with infertility very different, which is important to understand.

KEEP A SENSE OF HUMOR

It’s important to realize that no matter how hard things get, being able to find something humorous about the situation can really help to relieve tension and stress within the relationship. Laughing together is good for the health of your relationship.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Pray together. Praying together can help you both talk through what you’re feeling and give you the opportunity to get a sense of how you might be both coping with the difficult situation. Understanding that a higher power is at work is also crucial to understand. He works on his timing, not yours, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to tell Him the pain you both are experiencing because of infertility. Couples who pray together, stay together.

SEEK HELP

If you find that infertility is really seriously straining your relationship, it’s important to seek out and consider counseling as a resource of support. If you find that your usual coping mechanisms aren’t effective anymore or that your relationship has taken a real hit, seek help before things get too critical.

photo-1452457807411-4979b707c5be.jpg

Your relationship doesn’t have to suffer because of infertility. There will be hard times and tears, but if you’re able to be supportive and strong for each other, then you’ll be able to take on infertility head on and also come out of it much stronger of a couple.

Photo Credits: Ian Schneider , Joshua Earle, Crew

Source: Merck & Co., Inc.

6 Reasons Why God Makes you Wait

We’ve all been there.

That feeling of waiting as your phone charges because you’ve fully exhausted the battery. All you can do is sit and wait until it’s charged. Sometimes it might take only a few minutes to charge, but nonetheless you grow anxious and find yourself growing increasingly impatient the longer it takes.

If you’re like me, you don’t like to wait. Waiting is infuriating. I’m that person who is stuck in traffic yelling at the cars around me even though it may not be their fault. We, collectively as a society, are always in a rush to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

This mentality or mindset tends to carry over into our spiritual relationship with God.

While we are always in a hurry, what we fail to recognize or accept is that God works by his watch, not yours. He doesn’t work with great urgency and although we expect him too, it’s not how he works.

He truly has a plan and a purpose for everything.

Yet, we still expect God to work with us according to our expectations and our timing.

Realistically, we understand that God’s reasoning behind making us wait for the things we want most is because it’s his way of developing us. He is providing us with a lesson, and that lesson may take time for us to fully grasp and understand.

We must be careful, because when we get discouraged, we tend to push God away. We get angry. We start resenting him.

And although we can’t understand in that moment of need why he may not answer our prayers immediately, we must understand and accept that God always has good reasons for making us wait.

Here are 6 Reasons why God Makes You Wait:

Continue reading

I have a Voice. I’ll speak out about Infertility.

12517019_10100354845321039_454469894_o

I hang up the phone trying to hold back the flood of tears wanting to start flowing down my flushed and noticeably red cheeks.

The words I have just heard echo through my head as I repeat them over and over again. I try to comprehend if what I just heard was real.

I’m devastated. It was real.

My heart sinks.

It fucking sinks to the point that I lose my breath for a moment.

Then another moment.

I know that my face is beginning to make that ugly “cry” face but I’m driving, and I don’t want anyone to see my visible devastation when those warm tears start running down my cheeks.

Maybe it’s embarrassment. Maybe it’s my pride. I don’t really know why the hell I even care.

But I do, and that’s a whole other story.

I hold my composure because I know that when I walk into daycare, my happy and bouncy little miracle boy will come running like a freight train for a hug as soon as he lays eyes on me.

I have to be strong. For him. For me. For your husband.

How can this be happening? How can what I just heard be true? Why us? Why now? Why why why.

The tears are there again now knocking at the door so I grab my sunglasses to mask the inevitable.

I cry. I punch the steering wheel. I scream. And cry some more.

“IVF may be your best shot at getting pregnant. I’d recommend having sperm frozen immediately before it’s too late..”

All the hopes we had of this time being different..this time hoping, praying that the numbers would increase.

They decreased by MORE than half. They’re going away. Soon there will be no more.

All gone.

Zero.

Nada.

Gone.

photo-1445575722865-82118e5084ff.jpg

It’s so hard to accept that becoming a parent can be so difficult for some while others go through hell to become a parent to one or more.

It’s also hard understanding why we can suddenly get pregnant after two years of trying, in the midst of fertility treatment only to get pregnant naturally, to try again two years later and receive more devastating news.

News worse than the last deliverance of news. Some may argue that secondary infertility isn’t as big of a deal.

I fucking beg to differ. It’s harder. Sooooo much harder.

My head is throbbing. Dreading having the conversation that will be sure to crush my husband’s heart. Crush his hopes..his dreams.

ae2e3000

He will fight back tears. He will blame himself and push all blame from me. He’ll be devastated and wish he could give me what I so desperately want

It’s not his fault.

I’ll cry because I know he’ll feel terrible. I’ll cry because there’s nothing I can say or do to minimize the blow he’ll take.

There will never be a day that infertility will become bearable.

There will never be a day that passes that the thought of not being able to have a child without help doesn’t crush me.

And don’t think about throwing out there, “but you have one healthy amazing son. Maybe that’s all that was supposed to happen”..BS

That’s not what I want. That’s never what I wanted. What we wanted.

I want more. I need more. We need more.

Is that selfish? How can that be selfish? How can that be too much to ask?

I will never happily accept the idea of having one child. Never.

I’m blessed to have my son, but I know that he deserves a sibling (or two) to grow up with.

To bond with. To fight and argue with. To share in adventures. To share in failure and triumph.

He deserves that.

I cannot give him that now. I may not ever be able to give him that. We may never be able to give him that.

That breaks my fucking heart.

Crushes it into a million little pieces.

There is nothing I can do..nothing we can do but Pray.

Pray that this is not our destiny. Pray that He has bigger plans for us that include another child.

Pray.

Pray without ceasing.

photo-1447619297994-b829cc1ab44a.jpg

Picture Source: Daria Nepriakhina, Dustin Scarpitti, Milada Vigerova, Anneliese Phillips

 

 

 

 

 

Why I’m Speaking Out About My Struggle with Infertility

IMG_3142

I’m the 1/8. One in eight individuals and couples experience infertility.

Over the last few years I have become more candid about my infertility struggle. My husband and I struggled with infertility for over two years before we conceived our first child.

Trying for our second child is turning out to be just as challenging. Just as heart-breaking, frustrating, discouraging and trying as the last time. IF not more challenging.

We’re the lucky ones. Kind of.

I say that only because there are hundreds and thousands of other couples experiencing infertility. Some wait years or decades before finally being to conceive, while others aren’t able to conceive naturally.

My husband and I both are the cause of our infertility. We are both at fault, which makes it more bearable.

fc072c94ccef44614294ae9a04942b34

That’s a joke. It’s never really bearable. Like ever.

Initially our doctors told us I was to blame. For months, I went through grueling and painful treatments when suddenly a test came back on my husband that also pin-pointed some issues with him.

I cried. I bawled my fucking eyes out.

d0943456944522be369cbb5ee9b3d384

My heart-broke knowing that we now both bore this burden of infertility.

That’s what it is.

A Burden.

And I’ll be the first to admit that our infertility battle has tested our relationship, it’s tested our marriage and it’s tested each other on an individual level.

Infertility is a nasty nasty thing, and it’s not for the light-hearted.

Fortunately- we aren’t alone in our journey.

We have some friends who struggled with infertility before they were successful in conceiving. We kind of latched onto them. We asked them questions, leaned on them for support and held onto hope because of them.

There were times that we resented others who had no issues conceiving.

4910daac1e01e7ab4cada189822b9a97

I still do. I try not to be resentful, but it’s a challenge. Every single day, it’s a challenge.

I often pray about it. Cry about it. Scream about it.

And pray some more.

I have sought Jesus out more as of late. I find myself asking him WHY? Why US? I find myself getting angry. 

Angry. 

Why am I angry at Him? He didn’t do it..but he isn’t helping (I hear myself whispering). Then there are times that I’m mad at myself.

I know I shouldn’t think like that. I try not too. Lately, I’ve sought Him out even more for added support. I’ve sought Him for guidance. I’ve asked for Him to clothe me in strength, understanding and love especially during that challenging time each month.

I’ve asked Him to look over my husband. I pray for him every night.

My husband puts up a wall.

A really big wall.

Sometimes I think he is ashamed. Ashamed and embarrassed that he has fertility issues. Ashamed to admit it. Ashamed to own it. Ashamed of me and my contribution to our battle. Ashamed to let anyone know of his battle. OUR battle.

I get it. I do.  And it honestly makes me so sad.

Infertility is a disease. Some people judge. Some people act like it’s no big deal. Then there are those that say stupid shit about infertility to those experiencing it.

Stupid Shit.

“Just relax…then it’ll happen..”

“It’ll happen when you least expect it..”

“As soon as you stop ‘trying’ it’ll happen..”

Bullshit.

Unless you’re experiencing infertility, you don’t get it. You can’t get it.

e206c32e372b21c80a025669f51f39d7

The advice I offer up to those who have friends or family members experiencing infertility is to keep your damn mouth shut.

Just listen. Be supportive. Be understanding.

Don’t offer up advice.

None.

I’m not speaking for all those who have experienced infertility. Some may seek advice.

I’m not one of those people.

I just want people to be educated on infertility. I want people to understand infertility is a disease . I want people to understand how painful it is and how it affects those that are experiencing it.

To all those individuals or couples experiencing infertility, I want you to know that you’re not alone.

You’re not alone. 

I’m sorry that you’re going through this unfortunate battle. I’m sorry that people are going to say things to you that upset or piss you off.

Keep your Faith. Don’t push that aside.

Pull it closer to you.

Pray.

edf7e80d59911ae2a38e7e6cf689738b

I pray for all those who are experiencing infertility or have in the past.

You are so strong. So loved. So inspiring.

The reason I am candid and open about my infertility battle is because I was that individual who didn’t speak of it. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I acted like everything was fine, but then behind closed doors I was broken. I was defeated.

I put on a smile and went about my day as if it didn’t cause me great pain.I acted as though it didn’t break my heart or keep me up at night.

It did. It still does. All the time.

All the damn time.

I’m not here to tell you that it’s going to get easier. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to be patient and not be upset about the journey you’re on.

You’re allowed to be upset about. It won’t get easier. 

It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be really fucking hard. It’s going to test you. It’s going to test your marriage. Challenge it. Challenge you. It’s going to make you cry, scream and want to hit something.

What I will say..what I will always say to those experiencing infertility.. is that when it happens..when you become a parent (whether through fertility treatment, adoption, or other..) you’ll be so much more appreciative of this shitty journey you had to embark on.

As a mom to an almost 2 year old now, I have a different appreciation of parenthood, as does my husband. Our son is our miracle. He both broke us and made us who we are today. We are stronger because of him. Our marriage is stronger because of him. We have a a greater appreciation for life because of him.

We are who we are because of him.

Hold onto your Faith. Pray. Lean on your partner. Don’t let it break you. Don’t let it define you. 

Choose to have a voice. That’s why I’m choosing to speak out about my infertility battle. I have a voice. I’ll speak for those that won’t.

I want to help others. I want to make people aware of infertility. I want to inspire, encourage and pray with you and for you.

#infertilityawareness

411b668d166974c960a1c007a185f0e3

31 Days of Prayer During Infertility is a cool resource to have.

I’d love to hear from you. If you experienced infertility and would like to share your story, let me know!

Stay strong my friends.

 

 

 

 

Secondary Infertility-What Does it Mean?

Picture Source: https://unsplash.com/yaoqiqiqilai

NOTE from the Author: As someone who has experienced both primary and secondary infertility, I will be the first to admit that dealing with infertility is no walk in the park. There are frequent tears shed, visits to the fertility doctors and new procedures and medications prescribed to help increase the odds of conception. It’s not easy. It’s one of the most challenging battles I have ever encountered. It’s just as challenging for my husband. One thing that I will say is that the experience has brought my husband and I closer, and the appreciation we have for each other is indescribable. We were blessed with one little boy 17 1/2 months ago, and we know that we will be blessed with another miracle baby sometime in the future. Never give up faith. Always be there for each other, and though the journey may be hard, the end result will be worth it.

Continue reading

20 Things to Start Doing in Your Relationship

Relationships are hard. They are by no means easy and require compromises, un-wavered love, understanding and forgiveness. Relationships will be challenged with hard times and rewarded with great times, but in order for a relationship to truly thrive and grow continuously year after year, there are things that you need to be doing now to ensure that the relationship will continue to prosper and grow well into the future.

  1. Stop associating with negative people-they can be toxic to your relationship
  2. Forget those who were in your past-they’re there for a reason
  3. Treat your spouse with kindness and respect, even when you don’t want too
  4. Accept them for who they are-don’t try to change them
  5. Always encourage your spouse instead of tearing them down
  6. Always be yourself and don’t try to be someone who isn’t you. You’re imperfectly perfect, and your spouse likes the version of YOU
  7. Choose to forgive and move forward instead of holding grudges and ill-feelings towards your spouse
  8. Give them a fair chance and hear them out open-mindedly
  9. Do little things every day for your spouse
  10. Be loyal
  11. Never stop dating your spouse
  12. Keep your promises and always tell the truth even if you know it may hurt your spouse
  13. Listen more, talk less- communicate often and openly
  14. Leave petty arguments alone
  15. Pay attention to your relationship-notice when things are stagnant and fix them
  16. Pay attention to who your real friends are- if there is someone who may be threatening to your relationship, cut ties with them immediately
  17. Choose to ignore un-constructive and hurtful commentary from others
  18. Fight daily for your relationship
  19. Love fearlessly
  20. Never ever give up. Your relationship is worth fighting for.

There will always be some unfortunate situations where a relationship is beyond repair. In instances like that, apply this list to your other relationships with friends and family members. Strengthen those relationships that matter.


Photo credits: Jens Mayer, Gerard Moonen & Scott Webb