Truth be told, it feels a bit surreal to be sitting down writing this post. I really didn’t think I’d ever have a reason to do this but as month after month go by, we believe there is purpose behind this pain and sharing about this has been weighing heavily on my heart. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do but I’m sharing this because I know that inevitably, all of us go through tough seasons in life, some that last for substantial amounts of time, and I’ve learned it’s possible to find joy in the midst of those times. I also know that there are quite a few people out there that struggle with infertility so I want you to know that you are not alone on that journey and I’m sharing our story to open up that dialogue between us.
Since I was five years old I knew I wanted to be a mom. I also made it clear from a young age that I didn’t want to grow up or leave home. Oh the irony… It has always been so strong on my heart to have kids though. I’ve always loved them and have always been a “real natural” around them. When Stephen and I got married, we knew we wanted kids eventually but we wanted to spend time together with just the two of us before adding Baby T’s into the picture. I was a nanny for 8+ years and am not ignorant when it comes to the amount of work, money, and love (of course!!) kids require. I’m well aware. Considering Stephen dated me through most of those years and would hear all of my stories after a long day watching the kids, he was pretty much on the same page as me too.
Months went by after our wedding and we were having the BEST time together! It sounds cliché but we really do just love spending time with each other. Even if it’s not necessarily the typical way people soak up the “child free” phase like traveling all over the world, for instance. We find so much joy in working together around our house, going on runs together, trying new donut shops, whatever we want. It just makes us happy to be together. Not too long after though, the topic of kids naturally started to come up in conversation. Like I said… It’s always been on my heart and as one of five children, it was on Stephen’s too. Needless to say, we decided to start trying a few months later.
That was 16 months ago and I can tell you for certain, it’s actually officially 17 months now. It has been tough. At the beginning it’s just like, “Oh… It’ll just take a few months…” but as month after month after month went by, it started to take an emotional toll on me which is the whole reason I feel called to share this with you all. After talking about it with Stephen quite a bit, we believe we’re going through this for a reason(s). Maybe God has even more in store beyond this, but to start, we feel really called to share our story and bring hope to others going through the lows of the lows right now. We want you to know that you are not alone in your pain and as crazy as it might sound, it’s possible to find joy in the hurt.
Maybe I’m mistaken but I don’t believe it’s very common to hear stories like this, in the midst of the struggle, and that was tough for me. I felt like I always heard of people battling infertility AFTER they had a baby. It gave me hope that they made it to that point but it also made me sad. Please don’t get me wrong. I understand that not everyone feels they should share this piece of their life, I really understand. But a part of me just wanted to know that I wasn’t the only one that couldn’t stop thinking about it or that wanted to cry after every two week waiting period when I realized my body had once again “failed me”. OH and on top of that, had to keep it together to show up to work (hard) every day like nothing was wrong. I wanted to feel like I wasn’t alone in my feelings (I want to make this clear – I know I’m not alone in this, whatsoever, but Stephen isn’t the initial person to find out we’re not pregnant every month, you get what I mean?).
To provide some clarity – we have never been pregnant. I mourn and grieve for the many, many women out there who have experienced a miscarriage. I really can’t imagine the hurt. This might not be understandable but I’ve been even upset that I haven’t been able to imagine that hurt. My body hasn’t proven to me that it can even get to that point. I don’t expect for you to understand those feelings because I know it sounds crazy and IT IS but that’s what my brain started to tell me as more and more time passed and I still never had the chance to see that positive line. To provide even more clarity – Stephen and I have both been poked and prodded in more ways than we would ever prefer but we can both say with certainty that according to multiple doctors, we are both very healthy individuals.
I used the past tense when describing the lows of the lows for me on purpose. Looking back on the beginning of this year when we were heading into our one year mark of trying, I realized I was pretty depressed. I knew I was sad at the time but I didn’t realize how sad until I came out on the other side of things and started to see clearly again. I thought I was fine. I believed I was happy when in reality, I was full of an underlying sadness and grief. During that “dark time”, my brain automatically was changing every positive and good thing in my life into something negative. It makes me a bit queasy in the stomach to even think about it. I hit a point where I said, “I’m going to start finding one thing that brings me joy today and focus on that.” A lot of the time it was Stephen or working on growing my blog/Instagram etc. I can’t begin to tell you how much joy this growing community brought me. I’d focus on whatever it was, keep myself very busy, and then do the same thing the next day. Eventually I bumped it up to two things a day and then eventually I bumped it up to three things a day until I got to the point where my day was joyful again. Don’t be fooled, this process was extremely difficult for me and it’s something I work on to this day.
I believe that for most of us, when we’re going through really tough times our brain is trained to think that we can only dwell in those painful feelings. We’re not allowed to be happy while we’re hurting. That’s bogus! For some reason it’s the natural response so I’ve intentionally trained my brain how to fight that by seeking joy each and every day. Don’t get me wrong, I still hurt. Stephen does too. But we’ve decided to rely on those joyful moments and our faith to get us through.
During that time I had to separate myself a little bit from friends so that I could really focus on myself. Maybe that sounds selfish but I think it was necessary and I don’t regret it because here’s the thing – not everyone is going to understand what I’m feeling and I certainly don’t expect them to. Before I went through this I would’ve read this blog post and not understood what I’m saying at all. My reaction honestly probably would’ve been, “Eh… This is a bit dramatic. It’s only been 17 months!” I get it. I know some people fight this battle for much longer but the fact of the matter is, that doesn’t make it any easier for us. I think a lot of women that go through this share the same feelings.
Focusing on the joyful moments and taking time to focus on myself was/is important but what really gets me through is my faith. I know God is in control. When I was at my worst though, I let that fact slip through the cracks. I was mad at the world and mad at myself for things that ultimately aren’t in my control to begin with. I pray a lot. At the beginning I prayed for a baby and I still do that, but the biggest shift in my life happened when I started praying for peace and joy in my heart. I’d say, “Lord, I’m struggling. I am not myself, this is not who I am. Lord, bring me peace and fill my heart with joy. Amen.” It was nothing complicated but over time that quick prayer transformed me into a fighter, ready to take on this infertility battle. Along with that, if I ever find myself getting upset, I’ll just pray about it. It’s nothing formal. It’s just a little conversation I have with Jesus. I’ve learned through this that I need to let Him take the burden of my pain so that’s what I’m doing.
All of these methods combined have completely changed me as a person. Even compared to the person I was BEFORE battling infertility, which leads me to believe that’s another reason we’re going through this. We are still praying and trying for Baby T but we also know that we’re going through this for a reason and are determined to live with that purpose at the forefront and to continue to search deeper into what God has planned for us, our family, and our growing community. Since changing my mindset, I am filled with joy. I have so much faith in our God and this process. It will all happen some way or another in His time. Until then, I’ll continue diving into this baby blog of mine and serving this community.
For a while now, Stephen and I have been trying to navigate if and how we wanted to share this. At the beginning I had no intention of talking about it but after a while, I just couldn’t get it off my mind no matter how much I tried to talk myself out of it. I firmly believe that through our story, we have the potential to encourage others going through difficult seasons. Like I said, I don’t know if that’s exactly what God has in mind but I do know He placed that thought on my heart and just wouldn’t let it leave me. When we were debating back and forth, I asked Stephen, “Why don’t you think people share about this during their infertility journey and they only share once they get pregnant?” Stephen responded, “Because it’s extremely emotional.” He is so right. It also hit me hard in that moment… I didn’t realize how much he was hurting too. Not only is he a man of few words but I think when going through this its easy to selfishly get caught up in your own feelings. Since his comment, I’ve tried to be really cognizant of how he’s feeling too and always remind myself that I’m certainly not alone in this.
Another scary part of sharing this is the flip side of opening up this dialogue with you all – the negative side. I’m going to say this in the most clear way possible. I’m sorry if it sounds harsh but it’s something I’m going to stand my ground on and will not tolerate – we please ask that you respect our decision to share this and our desire to have kids and remember like Stephen said, it’s extremely emotional. We don’t need your opinion or your advice. We just don’t need it (if this comes as a surprise with you, we’ve received comments and opinions from people close to us and we know those were from a place of love! So imagine a person that barely knows us sharing their voice behind a screen…). Stephen and I are very capable of making our own decisions and we have amazing doctors to give us all of the advice we need. You do you and we’ll do us.
We will never EVER discourage encouragement and prayer and we can’t begin to tell you all how much we would appreciate that. If you are struggling, I want to remind you that you’re not alone, by any means and if you need someone to talk to, I’m just a message away! That’s exactly why I feel convicted to share this intimate piece of our lives with you all. You can reach me through Instagram or email. Whatever you prefer. I promise I will respond to everyone eventually! It just might take me some time.
Photos were taken by our dear friend, Meg Luck, of Luck + Love Photography. Thank you so much for capturing these memories at the start of 2018, Meg, despite the 20 F temps. We love them and you!