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:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Me vs. You

I recently came across a new blog that I think is phenomenal in its beginning stages. It is called “Me vs. You”. It is about two sisters, Rachel and Melissa. Rachel has been dealing with infertility for years. Melissa is very fertile. Melissa had four children in 5 years while Rachel went through 30 months of infertility, two failed adoptions and IVF before finally getting pregnant and giving birth to a baby just last month. The two sisters now take questions from readers about dealing with infertility and both write their responses from their personal perspectives. They just began this blog in October, but the few entries they have written are filled with honesty, hope, and love.
This blog struck me particularly because I have been struggling with my own blog since discovering my own pregnancy after infertility. As thankful as I am for this gift from God, I instantly began to worry about how it may create a wall between myself and those who are still facing infertility. I know that I’m now “one of them”. Call if “survivor’s guilt” if you will, but it broke my heart to know that something that brings me so much joy- something we’re all trying to obtain anyways- would bring so much pain to someone else who was still going through it. I knew that as hard as that year was for me, many others had faced many more years and undergone much more invasive procedures than I had. I was lost at how to find the balance between sharing my joy and still connecting with those who were struggling. For me, this balance has been in rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep (Romans 12:15). I have witnessed 10 people celebrate the gift of a miracle life after infertility. Six of those within a month of my own, 2 enjoying their 2nd trimesters of pregnancy, and 2 adjusting to life with a new member of the family in their house. I am thrilled over every single one of these announcements and I look forward to sharing my journey with them. In the midst of that, though, I have 24 names on my list of people who are still walking day-by-day on the path of infertility, wondering how long God is going to lead them in that direction before they arrive at their destination. I’ve considered separating out the ones who have experienced losses as well in their journey, but it almost seems overwhelming to do so as I know so many of them have. And, when I read their accounts, the fears and grief that they express bring to the surface the emotions that I have felt not so long ago. I know how raw I felt this past year, how much my heart ached, and how many questions I asked. Just because I’m on the other side now doesn’t mean that all of that is forgotten. So, I weep with you because I know how you must be hurting. I do my best to respond to as many blogs as possible, sending encouraging words your way, and I strive to pray for everyone every single day. I have plans for ways to minister to you while you are still facing the infertility and plans for ways to celebrate with you when you receive your miracle (which I believe you will). So, back to my point, this blog offered me a way to reconcile the two worlds- to get a glimpse of the fertile and infertile perspective in one, and especially to see how Rachel (the infertile one) handles issues of infertility since becoming pregnant.

The first point that both of them make is that they both had to surrender their rights. Melissa had to surrender her rights to not feel bad about having a family, her rights to not have to walk on eggshells regularly, and her rights to be able to talk about her pregnancies or children whenever and however she wanted. She had to remember that if her sister hurt her, it was unintentional. And if it was intentional, then it did no good to be vengeful back. Rachel realized that she really had no rights either. She wasn’t entitled to a baby. She’s not even entitled to be saved by the grace of God nor entitled to the life she has. I think that remembering to surrender my rights will help me a bit to know how to write on my blog. I don’t want to just close it down and start a new one for pregnancy after infertility. So, instead, I just come at the issue cautiously, surrendering my right to blab to the world everything about it. I have not changed my layout to be all babies all the time nor have I added a bunch of blinking graphics to show off my bundle of joy on the way. I share the important pieces of news about landmarks I reach in my pregnancy, but refrain from writing each day of every symptom I feel or baby item I buy. I try to balance things out between my two blogs and use my family one to write about the more elaborate details of my pregnancy rather than just the medical milestones. Melissa adds,

“Being pregnant two times while Rachel was trying caused us to deal with this exact situation in great depth. As much as she had to battle her selfishness, I had to battle mine too. I, of course, had every “right” (there is that word again!) to talk about my baby, how I was feeling, what I was excited and anxious about. Rachel asked me very specifically to NOT talk about these things with her. Was this an easy request to hear? Absolutely not. It was not my fault, after all, that she could not have a baby. It was not my fault that I could. So, why should I have to be “punished” so to speak? Of course, these thoughts came into my head for about 5 minutes and then I started to attack them with prayer. I was NOT ok with staying there. I was not ok with putting my needs above Rachel’s. Were her needs ok to ask of me? I have no idea…but that wasn’t the point. As Rachel said, living and staying in selfishness is NOT ok. So….I turned to God for his strength. His healing. His grace.”

From there, the most helpful thing I have encountered in this blog is the idea that EVERYONE has their own battles. I wish I would’ve remembered this more when I was still going through my struggles. Melissa writes,

“...no matter how easy of a time one of your friends or family members had in getting pregnant….they have their struggles. So, as hard as it is for you to watch them get pregnant, it may be that hard for them watching you in a happy marriage. Or have, not only enough money to pay your bills, but also enough to go on vacations, or remodel your house. Or, they may see you with your parents or siblings and grieve to the core that yours are still alive. Or in your life. Or or or…..I obviously could go on and on. One thing I DID struggle with in this journey is feeling like to Rachel, NONE of these things compared to her struggle. For me personally, finances have been a veeerrryyy hard thing for my husband and I (some our own doing…most not). It was SO hard to watch Rachel and Joey go on vacation after vacation amongst other things, but I knew that they had every right to do so. But, it was so hard when Rachel would say things or insinuate things such as “well, at least you have kids”. Her hurt and my hurt were not comparable…but that didn’t mean they weren’t both real. And I wondered, if her hurt was so bad, why did it make her ANGRY that I did not have to endure that same hurt? Would it be easier on her if I had had to struggle for years to get pregnant? I pray that she NEVER knows financial struggles the way we have. I know full well that no matter what, you will hurt over the struggle to have a baby. I know full well that what I am about to suggest will NOT take that hurt away. However, the more you can look at other people, the less your hurt will consume you. So, my encouragement would be that you look at each of these friends and family members…I mean REALLY look…and see what is in their lives that is hurting them…possibly to the point of consuming them. And, in doing this, reach out to them. Walk through their pain with them. It will make them walking through your pain with you much easier.”

I have seen the truth of this recently when I saw how waiting on a pregnancy to occur can be easily related to waiting for marriage to come your way. I know the truth of this because long before I ever wanted a baby, I wanted to be a wife. I was tricked by all of the Disney movies and convinced that I needed to find my Prince Charming who would sweep me off of my feet and take me away so that we could live happily ever after. Most people thought I was utterly obsessed with love and boys and everything in between. I looked at every encounter with the male specimen as a possible opportunity for love to brew. I spent my days and nights dreaming of falling in love and getting married. I was certain that I would get married at a very young age and would’ve thought I was ready at even 17 years old (had the opportunity presented itself). But at 17 years old, God told me that I would not have a boyfriend until I was 20. Not an easy thing to hear as a teenager, and while it helped in many ways, I still couldn’t help desiring it with all of my heart. When 20 came around, I thought, “This is it!!!” And God did answer my prayers at that point and I fell for the man of my dreams. It wasn’t that easy, though, and after 5 months of being together, we broke up, leaving me absolutely devastated. I spent the next 16 months broken, lost, and struggling to see God at the end of my dark tunnel. I was now 21 years old and even further away from ever getting married. I told everyone that my biological clock was ticking, and I was convinced of it. In my head, I should’ve at least had a prospective mate at this age. At the end of that 16 months, God brought my love back to me and all of my wildest dreams came true. It’s a true story with a lot more details than just that. It was the hardest thing I ever went through. In all honesty, most of you may not understand this, but it was even harder than the infertility. The emotions were just as raw and the hurt just as heavy, but the reason it was harder was because I felt like I faced my singleness and heartbreak alone, at opposing ends of Jesse, whereas I had him by my side every step of the way through our infertility. The amount of support he gave me through the childlessness is more than I can describe. But my point remains the same that both were very similar hurts, and just as no one could promise me that God would bring me a child, so no one could promise me that He would bring me a husband. And just like I could do everything possible to conceive, but couldn’t fertilize the egg and produce a baby, so I could also do everything to increase my chances of finding Mr. Right, but I couldn’t make anyone fall in love with me.

Now, at 22 years old, my brother faces the same insecurity. He watches all those around him cuddle with their significant others, sneaking kisses and holding hands, while he sits alone. He probably, just like I did, gets sick of hearing the engagement announcements and dreads the holidays like Valentine’s Day or midnight on New Year’s Eve where his lack of a date seems more magnified. In all truth, my brother is an amazing guy. He’s got the best sense of humor and is really charming, but God is doing something in him right now, just as he is doing/has done in our infertility.

Likewise, the most fertile person I’ve probably ever been close to is also the most unhappy person I’ve ever met. She had 2 kids in 2 ½ years, the last conceived only 6 months after the first was born, without ever having to try. She’d probably be pregnant again if she wasn’t in the midst of a divorce at only 21 years old. Her marriage has been an awful one, full of deceit and bitterness and strife. Throw in a batch of crazy hormones and you’ve got a person who thrives on drama and finds negativity anywhere she can. She may have had kids like I wanted, but I could easily look at her and recognize that I would NEVER want them the way she’s had them. And, in the midst of sobbing over my empty womb, I could wrap my arms around my wonderful, loving husband, and be absolutely proud and honored to be able to be walking this path with him rather than in the marriage my brother-in-law and sister-in-law shared.

Everyone has their own issues. I don’t ever want to forget that. It’s not a matter of whose issues are more gut-wrenching. Some may not even compare. But the truth is that their pain is just as real to them as your’s is to you. If we can keep that mindset, I think it would change the way we look at those around us.

So, I encourage you to check out the few entries that are listed in this blog (linked at the beginning) and I hope it helps you on your journey no matter which side you are on.

Oh, and please check out my most recent entry on my family blog. I would appreciate prayers for my family.


Melanie said...

Mandy thank you so much for sharing this! I am now following that blog and it has came in real handy as I am struggling. I am hoping and trying to trust the Lord for a BFP. I will find out next week. Please keep me in your prayers!

I Believe in Miracles said...

What an awesome post! I've been feeling so many of these things too. I've noticed comments dwindle and I worry about leaving comments of friends blogs that are still trying - will they be envious or jealous or mad at me for my bfp?

It's hard to know.

I really like this blog reference. Wow. I'm so glad you pointed that out. I've been struggling a lot with being jealous of a friend who got pregnant her 2nd month trying. She seems like she's had things so easy. Her job, her house nice looking, running, etc. But you just reminded me her husband works all the time. And even though my pain is real and valid, she has pain too. Thank you for that. She's coming to visit soon (and will be close to 7 mo pregnant) and I've been struggling about wanting to see her.

I know God does have perfect timing. This is when he intended for us to get pregnant. He used our struggle so that we could see our own selfishness and rely on him more. It's so hard when our first thought is me and then to judge and not to love.

I'm going to keep thinking about this. Thanks for this post!!

Abe said...


Sorry for the long silence - I too have noticed a downturn in messages on my blog - but there are still the old faithfuls that regularly comment. I think that there's probably a number of reasons for it - the most obvious one has to be a factor - and I don't expect it not to be. We can only help people if they let us in, and I know from experience that there are times when hearing encouragement from someone who has broken the infertility barrier is a little bit like pouring salt into a wound. I always had to catch myself thinking it because fertiles/infertiles with a BFP are only saying or doing what they are with the best of intentions and very rarely does it mean they are trying to illicit a painful response on purpose - as you know.

But I think there are a number of reasons why comments have dropped off - especially in the last couple of months - the Christmas season has meant everyone is more busy - I know myself I've barely had time (or the head space) to write on my own blog let alone other people's. Then again I've also put it down to the fact that many people have gone on holidays/been away from their computers... I wouldn't be too discouraged at the downturn just recently.

Your Blog is very well thought out, it brings out a Christian perspective that I think is very sound, and I'm truly thankful that your interceeding heart has been praying for our little bundle of joy on a regular basis.

So thank you for your faithfulness as a fellow infertile that has been blessed by God with a BFP!


Faith said...

What a great post. We're all on our own journeys OUTSIDE of IF (even though it seems to be so very all-consuming when we're on that journey), and everyone has their own struggles. It's hard not to have a harsh reaction when my friends complain about their kids or being pregnant, but your post is a great reminder that someone may feel the same way when I am not totally thrilled with what they may see as enviable in my life. Thanks for the reminder. I needed it.

ambersunrise said...

Thank you for your blog! I used to visit it often, and then stopped for awhile (due to holiday stress). I found it again and am so thankful that I did! I just found out that I am pregnant after struggling with IF and am thankful to find a blog that puts into words what I am feeling (fear, guilt, excitement, astonishment and amazement). Even small posts, like reading about your fear after your first HCG test is something I relate to, as I am afraid every time I have to go in, as I am terrified that the numbers have not doubled.

Thank you!

I Believe in Miracles said...

Hi Mandy,

You left a response to this comment on my blog, and I want to challenge you a bit about it. I'm also going to reply to this in the comment section on my blog too.

"I also wanted to respond to the last comment you left on my blog. I, too, have noticed the comments dwindling on my blog. Most people who congratulated me on my BFP barely said more than just that one word, which made it sound a little less than sincere. Since then, I am only getting 1-2 comments on my blogs rather than the 6-14 I used to get. For instance when I posted my last beta results, I had 4 comments. 2 were from the same person and 1 was from you and 1 was from someone else. And 2/3 of those people are currently pregnant. The blog before that, I got 9 comments, but 5 of them were from pregnant women and the other 4 were from some really great people who have been supportive regardless of what they are going through.

I'm doing my best to be sensitive to where they are at- I know how hard it is. I try to regularly comment so that they know I'm still following their story and praying for them and try really hard not to mention my pregnancy when talking to them. I also try to be careful about how much I post about my pregnancy. But I also can't help but feel a little slighted that we were all in it together until I became "one of them". Now the people who should be the happiest for me are distant. I feel like my good news put up a wall between myself and people I really cared about.

But, then I'm taken back again to what they must be going through and I just pray for them once more.

I can't express how beyond thrilled I am to share this with other people who are also experiencing a miracle after infertility. It is such a blessing to me. So thank you for being one of those people."

You said you've noticed your comments dwindle and you felt like people are being insincere. I want to encourage you that is not the case at all. As you go along in this journey, you are extremely happy for people who have gotten a BFP who've struggled, but at the same time, it makes you more acutely aware of your own situation and the question of whether you will ever get the BFP too.

Having had many friends get a BFP here in the blogger world while I've been waiting, I've noticed that I comment less on their blogs because I have less in common with them. I don't have any of the same experience to empathize with them, just show support. It doesn't mean I care about them any less, it's just harder for me to read their blog.

Now that I've got a BFP, I will admit my "infertility" brain has not completely shut off. I still feel very infertile and feel jealous that other friends "got their first" even though it's not really a race at all. Try not to think of it as a wall. Some people can easily respond and care for people who've moved on, but others have a hard time. I've had trouble hanging out with friends that are pregnant or going to baby showers because I really wanted to be pregnant. I have trouble hanging out with friends that are parenting currently because they go to bed at different times, they have different activities during the day, a baby could be sleeping, sick, etc. It's just something that happens when you switch to a different stage of life.

Please know that many people still care for you, it's just they need to do what is best for them too.

Brooke said...

This is the first time I have read your blog but I feel so inspired by your story mainly because I to have been trying to get pg since december 07. We actually whent off bc in november. I have had a few tests but we need to have another sa done soon bc the first came back with abnormal morph. This will be my 14 cycle and I am due for my period on saturday. I was so pleased to hear you are pg! Congrats!