It’s National Infertility Awareness Week, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to open up a little bit more about my experience with infertility and IVF. I know this blog of mine is geared more towards home decor, but I love mixing in some of my personal life as well when I feel it could be beneficial to others. As most of you know, this topic has become so near and dear to my heart, and I still feel like I have so much more to share in regards to it.
I’ll never forget the day we learned that having a baby wouldn’t come as easy for us, as we were told we basically had a two percent chance of getting pregnant naturally. IVF would be our only option to conceive. So after nearly five years, three infertility specialists, and two full rounds of IVF, we got our miracle and I am now six months pregnant.
The road to motherhood has been by far the hardest chapter of my life, but I honestly appreciate the struggle for so many reasons. This season of life has taught me so many things about myself and life in general, that I couldn’t look back and picture it going any other way.
So during this special week, I wanted to share a few of the life lessons infertility and IVF has personally taught me over the years. I know for those of you that are in the thick of it, it is nearly impossible to see any of the good, but I promise you this, eventually the clouds will part, and you will.
SOMETIMES LIFE DOESN’T GO BY YOUR TIMELINE
The younger version of me thought I would have been married with kids a lot sooner than it happened. Yes, I was one of those people who had a timeline set for all those big life milestones. You know, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage, hopefully all while still in my twenties.
I watched all my friends tie the knot, one after the other, while I was still single. Then I watched all my friends have babies, one after the other, while we were still trying. I felt like time was slipping away and I was way behind schedule. Not to mention that biological time clock that apparently keep on ticking when you just want to hit pause.
Now that I am thirty-three years old and pregnant, I look back and I have to laugh a little. We seem to have this image in our mind of how our life should go, but we don’t plan for how it really could go. I think it’s so important to have goals in life. However, we have to always remember that unexpected things can happen that might throw off our timeline a little bit. But guess what, that’s okay. Life doesn’t always go as we plan it, but things always seem to work themselves out how they were meant in the end.
PATIENCE REALLY IS A VIRTUE
I remember early on how quickly I became frustrated while trying to get pregnant naturally. I have always been such an impatient person, so this whole process really tested that even more. I believe I was just three months into it and was already in tears about how long it was taking. Gosh, if I knew then what I know now!
Infertility and IVF come with a lot of doctor appointments, a lot of paperwork, a lot of prep work, a lot of hurry up and wait. It is long, time consuming, and can really take its toll mentally and physically on a person. I really had no other option but to learn how to be patient, otherwise I would have driven myself crazy. I just had to keep reminding myself how lucky we were that IVF was even a possibility for us. The wait would be worth it. And it most certainly was.
BEING OPEN AND VULNERABLE CAN BE A GAME-CHANGER
I feel like even though infertility can be a private matter for those who experience it, more and more people are starting to have open conversations about it. One in eight couples are effected. I can almost guarantee you that someone you know had trouble getting pregnant, or is currently seeking infertility treatment. It is so much more common than you think.
This part is why I have become so passionate about this topic. It took me three years of suffering in silence before I decided to start telling people about our struggle. I went through some deep, dark depression that I hope to never face again. All because I kept my feelings bottled up and to myself, because I thought nobody understood what my husband and I were going through.
This journey is isolating. It’s lonely. It feels like everyone is invited to some party of the century, except you. It’s not exactly the most comfortable topic to bring up, but once I did, everything changed. All of our family, friends, co-workers, and blog readers who found out became our biggest support system and cheerleading squad. It still gives me goosebumps to know that so many people cared and kept us going day in and day out with their prayers and encouragement. We didn’t feel alone anymore.
STOP ASKING PEOPLE IF OR WHEN THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE KIDS
I hope that if you take anything away from this entire blog post, it is this. Please, please stop asking people if they are going to have kids. Stop asking them when they plan to have to kids. Stop asking them when they are going to have their second kid. Or third, fourth, fifth. Just stop asking.
This is the biggest lesson I have learned from my entire experience. I know that these questions seem harmless, and are just run of the mill conversation starters. I know that people mean well and don’t ask out of malice. Trust me, I know. But when you are going through infertility, or secondary infertility, these questions hurt. They are uncomfortable to answer. They are a constant reminder of what you don’t have, but so desperately want.
I used to always ask couples when they were going to have all the babies, because I just love babies. I never really knew that so many people have issues trying to conceive. Now, that conversation has been completely taken off the table unless they bring it up.
YOUR BODY IS A LOT STRONGER THAN YOU THINK
I have never loved my body. Not for a really long time. And going into IVF knowing I wasn’t in the best shape, or the healthiest I could be, was very scary. I did all the research about each medicine I was going to have to take and what the possible side effects were. I knew it was going to be exhausting and hard on my body, physically and emotionally.
I ended up having to do two cycles of IVF from start to finish, meaning two full rounds of injections, two egg retrieval surgeries, two embryo transfers, etc. It was challenging, I’m not gonna to lie, but my body was a champ through it all. I was so impressed that after all the meds I was pumping into it, all the long days during monitoring, and all the stress that it never let me down, it just kept going.
I gained thirty pounds in just over a year of doing IVF. I thought I would be devestated if I gained any more weight, especially if I did end up getting pregnant and would gain even more then. But you know what, I wasn’t. I know I will get back to a place I want to be eventually. Until then, I am loving my body for doing all that it has done to get me to this place. I have a whole new appreciation for it because frankly, it’s just a badass, and I love it.
GODS TIMING IS EVERYTHING
I think I could write an entire blog post just on this lesson alone. If you are going through infertility right now, and you feel absolutely hopeless, as I did many times, please hear me on this one.
It is next to impossible sometimes during this journey to see the silver lining at the end, because you don’t really know if infertility treatments will even work for you. It is this fear of the unknown that sits in your mind, and makes you think, what if this doesn’t work. Well, it didn’t work for us our first round of IVF. We ended up with a negative pregnancy test and no extra embryos to try again, so we had to start over from the very beginning. The process can really take you to dark places and make you feel utterly hopeless. Don’t let it.
Listen to me. God has a plan. He has from the beginning. You most likely will not understand why He has taken you down this heartbreaking path that you are on, and you may even question your faith. But I have got to tell you, looking back on my entire five year journey, I understand now. I get it. I see all the ways He was working His magic to get me to the place I am today. His timing was absolutely perfect. And I wholeheartedly believe if He had led me down a different path, eventually He would reveal His plan and reasoning for that too.
Everyone was put on this earth for a reason, and most times we don’t know what God’s plan for us is. Maybe it is to become a mother naturally, maybe it’s through infertility treatment, maybe adoption, or fostering, or being an incredible pet mom, a step mom, or second mom to your nieces and nephews, or the kid next door who doesn’t have a mom.
Please just don’t ever lose your hope and your faith that things will work out according to His plan. You will eventually understand it, regardless of the outcome. It will all make sense, and the struggles you go through to get to that peace in your life will all be worth it. I promise you, it will. I also came across one article about Model Josephine Skriver who was born via IVF. Read Here