When you see this picture, what comes to mind? Happy couple? Cute dog? Probably not infertility. But in fact this picture was taken circa 2011, right in the midst of our struggle to conceive. We had been married for three years and the questions were starting to come like rapid fire from every direction. "When are you guys going to have kids?" "You guys want kids, right?" "What are you waiting for?" I had a well-practiced answer for each of these questions, but every time it was like a knife. A knife I saw coming a mile away.
Nobody knew that we were trying and had been trying for more than a year at that point. I was already scheduled for a laparoscopy to confirm, diagnose, and remove suspected endometriosis. It felt like infertility was starting to take over our lives. It began to affect every aspect of our lives and honestly, the hardest part was keeping the "secret" and hiding our pain from friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and family.
Fast forward to June, 2013 when my sister (and hero) was 3 months pregnant with our child... Only then did we finally realize that it was time to face the music. We had to open up about our struggle because there was no explaining away the fact that my sister was pregnant with our baby. I dreaded it and agonized over it. It was the most vulnerable I've ever felt in my life, especially because it was my "fault." I was the problem. My body simply could not carry a child. I felt...somehow inferior. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Like less of a woman. I dreaded telling my husband's parents because I actually thought they would feel sorry for their son for ending up with such a defective woman. I cried so many tears y'all, I could have cried Justin Timberlake his river.
I focused on the good, which was the fact that our child was in fact on her way and healthy- FINALLY. But still, I considered deleting my Facebook and Instagram account, changing my name (kidding). I would have preferred anything to "going public." But then it kind of hit me. 1 in 8 couples suffer from infertility and why not be a voice? Why not be a face? Why not let one more couple know they are not alone-like we felt for years? Why did I care so much what others thought of me? The bottom line was that if I could help even one person. One couple. To navigate through the mess of infertility, I could honestly say, it would be worth it.
At this time, one of my most favorite quotes was this one.
So, I let go and I let it fly. At first, I was so timid. I gave very little information and I prepared for backlash and strong opinions from uniformed naysayers that have never walked a mile. But, I was ready for that and I decided that I would just do my best to not surround myself with people like that. This is my life and I'm the one who has to live with it.
Much to my surprise, people were loving, accepting, kind, and supportive of our journey. They embraced us with open arms and while sometimes they asked funny questions or were curious about specifics, it never bothered us. We were just so thrilled to be accepted. It was honestly like a ton of bricks had been taken off my back. I wished I hadn't waited so long to finally open up.
Of course, not everyone was 100% supportive of our choices. I did have a few people question our choice and suggest that we should have adopted. That it was perhaps a more "moral" way of handling our "situation." But, I tried not to let those judgments eat away at me. I reminded myself that until you walk a mile, you just do not get it. I knew I had to give them a break, but that didn't mean I needed to spend my time with people like that,
Suffice it to say, that I never thought I would have a blog and I never ever thought I would be blogging about my infertility. But life is funny sometimes and I would not have it any other way.
I have shared my story several times on my blog, but I thought it was important to do it again in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week. It's time for couples to #startasking. When 1 in 8 couples suffer from infertility, why do most companies not offer insurance coverage for treatment? Why does the media still shy away from covering topics dealing with infertility? And why haven't legislators worked to update laws on surrogacy (did you know that in many states, the woman carrying the child is defined as the "mother" by law- so, families working with a surrogate have to have their child declared to be their own before a judge)? It's time to make some changes out there and I'm glad I can be a voice in the silent struggle. Join me and let's #startasking.
As for me, the birth of my daughter via gestational carrier was simply the greatest gift I have ever experienced. There are. no. words. None.
Our longing to expand our family continues and we recently attempted two more rounds of ivf with me- just to try some new protocols. Unfortunately, neither were successful. IVF and infertility are not pretty and not fun to talk about (warning, images are graphic-taken during a second round of ivf) , but they are real and real people experience this every day.
The bottom line is that we have to start somewhere. I didn't want to be a "face" of infertility, But here I am. It's raw and it's real. I'm not ashamed of my journey and I will continue speaking out and speaking up for those whom have not yet found their voice.
As always, if you are struggling to conceive please consider joining me on the first Sunday of each month at 5pm for a peer support group at Kingswood United Methodist Church in Dunwoody, GA or join our private Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1707417859495046/ or website at https://www.facebook.com/infertilityatlanta/
I'm sure you have been wondering... where the heck did Moderation Mama go? Well, life has been super busy and I had some computer/life issues. I'm using a computer that I purchased 8 years ago and suffice it to say, it's been on the fritz- as in, I could not even connect to our new high speed internet because my old junker could not handle it. I wish I could tell you that I'm now typing on a sparkly new laptop, however my thrifty husband was able to rig something up that has me back online-for now. Still on the ole junker. So bear with me.
So what's new with you readers? I have a few updates and random fragments of thoughts to share, so read on.
1. I accepted a new job! I will be a pre-k teacher at a local church preschool starting in August. I'm excited to get to be creative in the classroom again and work with the little ones and I love the flexibility that it brings- I will get off work by 1:30pm every day and can spend the rest of the day with my daughter. Plus, I get a paycheck- Yassssss! And my thrifty husband be like Yas Yasssssss!
2. During and after my most recent two rounds of ivf, I took some time off from my fitness goals. Mostly because I was afraid to "shake" things up, and then later because I was just feeling bummed and preferred ice cream cones to my usual group fitness classes. All those shots, meds, and hormones really mess with your head and waistline. So once I was finally in a place where I was ready to get back to my fitness goals, it was a sobering experience. The scale was not my friend, my skinny jeans were literally biting back, and swimsuit shopping... Well, yikes.
But, the good news is that I'm really happy and in a great place. I'm back at the gym and trying some new things. I'm getting stronger and I finally feel dedicated to work towards my fitness goals again. I'm also realistic and my goals are less about being the beach bombshell and more about my health and feeling good in my own skin, holla if you hear me?
3. I'm looking up and looking forward. I'm making an effort every day to be present and to be grateful for my precious gifts. I've had disappointments, but I've learned valuable lessons and I'm thankful for my journey. We don't know what the future holds for our little family, but we have faith and we will continue to take one day at a time because I have no doubt that there is more to this story. Stay tuned.
4. I want to say something about friendships and swimsuits (I told you I had some random thoughts to share). During this phase of life, friendships need to be convenient. I mean that plainly. As a parent of a two-year-old, convenience is up there on the requirement list for friendships. Once you become a parent, you do some life-house keeping. Like sweeping away the noise in your life. Some friendships are healthy and convenient (like neighbors and nearby friends with kids), others just add noise to your already stressful and busy #momlife. For example, you know the friends that are flaky? Like canceling non-stop or the ones that are constant drama? Even the ones that are too needy and want to get together on the daily? It's just too much noise. Momlife is honestly busy enough and crazy enough. Let's be honest, it's definitely loud enough. The last thing you need is friendships that only add to that noise. It's time to focus on friends that are dependable, respectful, and let's be real, convenient. It doesn't mean you can't have friends that live 30 minutes away, but getting together will just likely be less frequent. Fair to say?
This was a hard reality to come by for me, but it's been important for me to surround myself with positive friendships that are healthy, easy, and supportive. It doesn't mean you cut people out of your life, but a friendship may need to be re-defined to better fit into your life. I just think this is a natural part of this phase of life.
5. And lastly, swimsuits. I just want to say that how I pick a swimsuit these days has drastically changed since 2001. Well, a lot has changed since then, but mostly, becoming a mom of a two-year old has definitely posed some issues in the swimsuit department. Like the quick dive-in and exit-out of the pool to chase said toddler. Not to mention the lovely way that toddler hoist themselves up using your swimsuit top creating a major wardrobe malfunction for all the neighborhood to see.
So, my mind says comfort, durability, coverage, and practicality. And then my heart be like, "oh but that bandeau top is sooooo cute! Plus I'm only 33. And I'm a moderation mama, not a moderation marm." So where is the middle ground?
My goal is to try to update weekly- assuming my junk laptop holds up. I have a new banana bread recipe to share- crazy easy, self tanners to test, and an arm challenge to check out! Stay tuned-let's do this! Look up. Every day. Look. up.