I began this blog when I was 23 years old and my husband, Jesse was only 21. That was in December of 2007 when we decided that we wanted to bring a baby into our family. We had no idea all that decision entailed. Back then I had a false assumption that I was super-fertile and would get pregnant even while on birth control. Well, I was off of birth control for over a year, went through all of the fertility testing, and then was diagnosed with "unexplained infertility".

This past year has been one of the most difficult I have ever been through. I ran the emotional gauntlet on this issue, ranging from intense sadness and heartache to anger towards God to total peace about what He is doing. God began to show me how He was using my infertility as a ministry. It is my hope to share my testimony with others so that they may either be encouraged as they face their own infertility or educated as they learn what infertility entails. More than that, though, I hope that the things I share point others to God regardless of what they are going through.

When I first began this blog, the entries were kept private. But I have decided to open everything up in order to let people see the raw truth of the struggle. I strive to find the fine line between sharing the truth and sharing too much information. However, it is my desire to share my heart, regardless. And I have learned that there is never "too much information" in the world of infertility.

After being diagnosed with unexplained infertility on November 17, 2008, I was put on a round of 50mg of Clomid to strengthen the quality and quantity of my eggs. I suppose it was how God chose to work because I became pregnant that very cycle.

In order to be sensitive to those who are still going through infertility, I have opened up a new blog about my pregnancy. I am maintaining this one, though, hoping that it serves as a testimony to anyone who may be going through infertility at the time they come across my site. If you want to follow my life's journey, check out my other blogs. And if you would like, please don't hesitate to email me:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I didn’t remember until today, but this week is

"The problem with infertility is that I am mourning children that do not exist and I'm the only one who misses them." -Unknown

In light of this week, I thought I’d spend some time today, shedding some light on the subject. In the introduction of this site, I explained that many people don’t know how to react towards someone dealing with infertility. I understand. Why would you? Unfortunately, though, the ignorance can sometimes come across in very hurtful ways. And while I know that your intentions are to try to be helpful, the wounds can scar really deeply.

So, these are ways that family members and friends can reach out to those who are hurting. The full article is found here. I don’t find myself in every single category, but do relate to quite a bit.

I highly recommend going through and reading the ways that infertility emotionally impacts those going through it. But, more importantly, I wanted to share things that friends and family members can do to be more supportive. These are also described more in depth in the article, but I’ll just touch the points that I feel the most strongly about:

Admit there’s a problem. Pretending that I’m not experiencing any difficulty getting pregnant or avoiding the issue is not helpful. It’s something that affects me on so many levels. Of course, I go about my daily job and I enjoy my time with my husband and I have fun as much as I can, but interspersed in those events is an ongoing process surrounding infertility. I live my life in daily and weekly increments. 5 days of a period. 5 days until I’m fertile again. 3 days of peak fertility. Two weeks until I know if I’m pregnant or not. Then I start all over. Each period isn’t just filled with cramps and uncomfortability and PMS, but at my most emotionally irrational time of the entire month, I also have to deal with the disappointment of not being pregnant again, when the majority of people my age have gotten pregnant many months before. Every day for the past 7 months, roughly 235 times, I have waited in bed without moving, no matter how badly I have to pee, and waited an excruciating 2 minutes for the thermometer to read my temperature, so that I track my cycles and keep it for my record. I cannot even tell you the amount of times I’ve had to pee in a cup or on a stick just waiting for the line to get dark enough to mean that I’m fertile again. Every plan we make for our house and future is made with having kids in mind. We bought a 2 bedroom house to allow room for our family to grow. The closet in that bedroom is filled from one end to the other with infant clothes. I won’t even paint that room without knowing if we’re having a boy or girl first despite the fact that it’s main usage is an office right now. I’ve considered writing down each time I think about having a baby or am reminded of my infertility throughout the day. But I think that doing so would make me think about it even more, and the thoughts are so instinctive that I think I’d miss it most of the time. For they arise with every commercial about baby products or life insurance or birth control pills, etc. I have huge hopes and dreams for my future family full of kids. I have all of their names picked out, down to the middle names as well. I know how many I want to have and what genders I hope they will be. I know how I want to decorate their nurseries and what kind of schools I want them to go to. Asking me where I’m at in my process to conceive makes me feel that all of the idiosyncrasies that I have to go through daily aren’t for naught. Asking me what I want to name my kids or something like that makes me feel as if you are optimistic about my future as well. Don’t be afraid of bringing an emotionally difficult issue. I’ll share as much as I feel comfortable sharing. Just asking shows me that you are interested and allows me the chance to confide in you if I choose.

Become informed. Some comments like “You shouldn't feel that way when you have so much to be grateful for;” “Just relax;” “Quit trying and you'll get pregnant;” reveal some serious misunderstandings about infertility and make me feel worse about where I’m at. Recognizing the causes of infertility, the statistics (I’ve already shared before), and what all goes into the treatments validates what I’m going through. I don’t expect you to be an expert or even to do a ton of research. But asking questions about some treatment you’ve heard on the news or asking me what all I have to go through in my testing or in simply trying to have a baby, will show me that you are taking the issue seriously and care enough to ask. It’ll also prevent you from saying those comments which only tear me down in their inaccuracies.

Be realistic. There is no way that you can take this whole problem away and fix it for me, no matter how much you may want to. I understand that and don’t expect you to. Share your concern that you may unintentionally say or do hurtful things, and then ask for understanding, patience, and guidance. If you feel overwhelmed, say so. Don’t be afraid of gentle humor. I’ve always been one to believe that leaving things unsaid opens up the doors for misunderstandings, hurt, and bitterness to take root. Be honest with me about how you may not know what to say or may not be able to handle the burden of my situations on your shoulders. I don’t expect you to be able to do these things and can help encourage you in what I do need from you.

Listen. Bear in mind that people experiencing infertility want a sounding board more often than an opinion. I don’t know that I can say it in any better way. I want to add to it, though, respond with encouragement. This doesn’t mean to say, “I’m sure it’ll happen for you. Don’t worry.” I mean, tell me that you are praying for me and that you are excited to see God answer that prayer. I think that praying for someone is the most loving thing you can do for them. It says to me that you care enough about the person to lift them up before their maker and ask for something on their behalf. And, as a side note, commenting on my blogs lets me know that someone out there is listening, even if all you say is, “I love you and I’m praying for you through this.”

Accept different ways of coping. For myself, I need to be able to talk about it. I need to know that someone is listening and cares enough to pray for me. I need to be able to prepare just as if I were going to have a baby, collecting clothes and picking out names and planning for my future. Without being told that I will never have a baby, I am left having to believe that it will eventually happen. And, in the midst of talking about it all, I often cry. I’m just an emotional person. It doesn’t mean you’ve said something wrong. It means that I’m sharing something with you that touches a deep part of my heart. So, allow me to talk. Allow me to cry. Allow me to pick out my baby clothes and hang them in my closet and discuss the baby names I’ve chosen. I don’t cope the same way you might expect someone else to. So, let me express it my way. As a side note, Jesse copes with it completely differently. He doesn’t talk about it at all, unless in response to something I’ve already brought up. He isn’t able to chime in with the baby names as readily as I can because it’s not realistic to him yet. Without me being pregnant yet, he doesn’t think about baby things as often. And, in our deepest of discussions, he’s shared with me his fears of feeling as if it may be his fault (which I’m sure hurts his masculinity) or of the questions he asks God about why He would allow me to hurt in such a way. So, if you ask him about things, he probably won’t be as quick to open up about it, but I suppose that simply asking will allow him to share as much as he wants.

Make the invitation. I think I would change this to say, “Allow me to deal with the event in my own way.” Baby showers are especially difficult times. Inviting me lets me know that I am thought of and wanted. And, most likely, I’ll not only feel a slight obligation to join, but REALLY want to go as well. I want to celebrate the life of a newborn baby, as infertility has given me an awakening to the miracle that life really is. But watching someone open all of their gifts in preparation for the baby to come in only a matter of weeks, as everyone dotes over them and discusses their own pregnancies and children takes a toll on me. One time I was at my boss’s baby shower surrounded by about 8 coworkers who had all just had babies. They talked of other coworkers who had also just given birth but couldn’t be there. And they said things like, “Yeah, no one else is pregnant at Willamalane right now.” I sat there alone, after spending the whole day planning baby showers for my 2 best friends, knowing that I had just found out that day that I wasn’t pregnant again. I cried all of the way home. Also, hanging out with my friends who have kids can take a toll on me as well. Months after the shower, I sat among those 2 same friends, as each fed her newborn baby. My arms were empty. When we took off for lunch, I was the only one not toting a diaper bag and carseat. One of my friends did ask if it was hard for me to be there with both of them, which showed me that she cared, but it was a situation that I felt I had to simply endure until I could leave. I decided after that day that I couldn’t hang out with both friends at the same time. The conversations were dominated by newborn baby behaviors and past pregnancy symptoms while I wanted to talk about anything but that. Having out with them individually still allowed me to spend time with my friends, but made room for us to do other things and talk about other topics. I also love to babysit their little kids. I enjoy feeling like a mom as I feed them and dress them and take them to the park. But I need the times to bow out of babysitting and be home in the arms of my husband, just the two of us. This isn’t because I can’t handle the stress of kids, but because the kids are not mine and that brings up a lot of additional baggage.

Finally, respond to the need for dignity and respect. I think this most applies to me by recognizing that my feelings about infertility are not irrational. I have spent countless hours in research. I’ve done a lot of soul-searching to find the answers I so desperately seek about myself and about God. Trust me that I know what I’m talking about, and show respect towards the decisions I make concerning testing and treatment.

More than anything, I know that I have a whole slew of people out there who care about how I feel and what I am going through. I know that people are rooting for Jesse and I to become parents. Expressing your love for us is more important than anything else. Knowing that any response you give is rooted in love helps us to get through this process. Please remember that I’m not the only one out there going through this, and take some time this week to lift up those needs to God. Thanks again for your love, your support, and your prayers.

No comments: