Hey everyone! I didn’t post last week because starting a couple of Saturdays ago I started feeling sick (I finally caught what had been going around) and I also started waking up with really bad heartburn for five days in a row. That was extremely strange for me because I never get heartburn. I feel so much better this week. I’ve been making sure to take my vitamins and a packet of super-foods every day with my smoothies.
I wanted to keep trying to write three posts every week, and this week I wanted to start the week off with the subject of infertility.
Over the course of three years, there have been moments that I feel like time has just wasted away and there are other times where I can see small improvements in the person I was when I first (unknowingly) embarked upon this journey. I’m sure I have more learning to do, but I wanted to share this with anyone who may be going through the same thing.
- A family doesn’t begin when you have a child. You are already part of a family.
There are times where I see a couple with cute kids and I think, aw that’s such a cute little family. Especially with the holidays behind us, we received so many cute cards that it became ingrained in my mind that a family is a cute little group of humans who can send out cute Christmas cards. But that’s not true. Yes, they are all families, but just because my husband and I have only each other (and Max) doesn’t mean we aren’t a family. The day our family officially started was the day we got married. Something I learned early on in this journey was “don’t neglect the family you have now for the family you want to have”. Take time to appreciate your spouse, or for those that are dealing with secondary infertility, appreciate the age your little ones are at now without getting too stressed out on the future family you see yourself having. Easier said than done, I know. 🙂
- Learn to truly treat your body as a temple.
Some but not all infertility can be improved with diet and proper nutrition. I’m not talking about fad diets, I’m talking what we eat on a daily basis. Taking certain supplements and refraining from junk food can help us conceive. Also, it’s safe to say that not eating healthy can contribute to some infertility situations. I don’t think God was joking when He said to treat our body like a temple. There are chemicals that can inhibit pregnancy from happening that can be found in hardwood floors, paint, plastics, receipt papers, etc, but we are responsible for what we put into our bodies. Last week while I was sick I binge-watched documentaries about GMO’s, eating meat and the chemicals in the environment. Some I had watched before like Food, Inc and others it was my first time watching. It’s crazy how much our food is manipulated. Even some “health” foods aren’t healthy. That is one thing that my mother instilled in me is to check labels and read about what is actually going into your body. Just because a certain company makes it, or people are losing weight by using it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. I personally have been trying to eliminate meats, non-GMO foods, and anything that has protein from soy (since 90% of soy is genetically modified). I always thought that I took fairly good care of my body, but I knew that deep down I wasn’t getting nearly as many fruits and veggies every day and when we first started trying I was actually on the high-end of being underweight for my height. Ryan and I are trying to focus on giving our bodies what they need and to limit what isn’t good for them. We are renting out a plot of land this year and I am so excited to start planting our own fruits and vegetables. We shouldn’t have an excuse come summer as to why we aren’t eating our fruits and veggies. 🙂
- Because of Jesus, my life is already complete. Regardless of what happens next.
How many times in our lives do we think, “if I only had this, I’d be happier” or “once I have this my life will be complete”. It can be the degree, the dream job, the fancy car, the dream house, your dream spouse, your dream body, success, fame, or however many kids you want. This is such a tempting trap to fall into. Once you trick yourself into believing that this is true, you can’t truly enjoy the season you’re living in. And better yet, if you call yourself a Christian, you are missing the whole point. Jesus and his disciples didn’t hang out and spread the gospel while living the American dream. They didn’t hang out together after going to the gym and then later come home to their wives, children and mansions. I get that they weren’t American, so my analogy isn’t perfect. But the point is that they didn’t live a life of luxury or a life of getting what they all had wanted. They lived a life opposite of that. They left their ‘dreams’ to follow Christ. And ultimately that led some of them to be crucified later in their lives just like Jesus. The point I am trying to make is that we need to get it out of our heads that our goal in life is to be perfectly happy and that everything that we say and do is only going to stem from the fact that we want to be happy. I’m not saying our goal in life should be that we are miserable all of the time. Our goal as Christians should be that we imitate Christ and live a life pleasing to him. He is our example. He suffered much in this life and He was still spotless. Another huge goal in the life of a Christian should be to go and make disciples. How can we go and make disciples when our main goal in life is to make ourselves happy? How can we mentor and be there for others when we are only fixed on our wants? If I don’t get another thing in my life, it’s okay. Because of Jesus.
- Be open about your struggle, in your own time.
This was something that was very challenging for us at first. It took us almost three full years to start telling everyone but a few family members and few close friends. Once we had started being more open about our struggle, it felt like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders. We didn’t want any pity. We felt like we needed to bring awareness and help other couples who were going through the same thing. We also felt like we weren’t being completely transparent about our lives. Yes, infertility is a very personal matter, but you don’t know what other people may be going through, and your strength and faith through your situation may help someone else.
- Connect with others in the infertility community.
I had known of one person on my Facebook that had struggled with infertility, and that’s because she decided to share her struggle openly. I reached out to her and she gave me great advice on where we were at in our journey and suggested books for me to read, which I did end up buying and they have been helpful! When we finally came out via a blog post, I had received so many messages, and phone calls from women in my life that I had never known went through infertility. That one person on Facebook suddenly grew to at least five women. It’s been on my heart lately that we shouldn’t stop there. I totally understand that some couples are not as comfortable sharing something so personal, but I think it could be beneficial to start a support group. I just reached out to two women: one on YouTube and another blogger, who are both currently going through infertility and they shockingly wanted to know more about our story so they can pray with us. I have never met these women in person, but a community of believers sharing and praying through what they are going through is amazing and inspiring to me.
- The process of conception, implantation, pregnancy and childbirth is truly a miracle.
If you don’t know the extensive, amazing, scientific process of the above events that happen, good. That means you probably haven’t gone through infertility. Researching what needs to happen in order for conception and implantation to occur, has opened my eyes to how much a child is truly a miracle. God designed our bodies in such an amazing way and reading what needs to happen in order for that child to get here is truly a miracle in of itself. God is truly the giver of children.
- Take the time to look at finances.
Some may think that not wanting to jump into doctor visits, and treatments makes me a lover of money instead of wanting to have a child of our own. We aren’t struggling but by no means are we the richest people on this planet. I am thankful that through this process we plan on paying off more student loans and saving more money for if the time comes that we need to go see a doctor. After calling around to one specialist and discovering the cost of talking to a doctor for a half hour vs. a full hour (no testing or anything) it made me realize that maybe saving up for a little longer would benefit us right now. I know that you are never fully ready for a child financially or mentally, but I am taking the opportunity God has given us to re-evaluate where we are at. I would much rather save up instead of going into more debt with no promises of it working. BUT like I said in my earlier post at the end of last year, we weren’t given an ultimatum that a treatment is what we need to do, so we are just being cautious and letting God do His thing in the meantime. 🙂
- Allow God to speak to you through this experience.
Should you jump to expensive, intrusive treatments right away? Should you consider adopting? Should you stop ‘trying’? How can we know the right thing for us to do without consulting God first? I’m not saying that he is going to give you a clear answer right away, but jumping to a decision without taking the time to pray through it and study the word is very risky. Everyone’s situations are so different, that what one couple did may not be what you should do necessarily. Into our second year we were feeling as though God was telling us to ‘be still’ and not let this struggle identify who we were or let it destroy our lives. If it happened, it happened, if not, then God is still good. There is a tendency in infertility to put so much pressure on ourselves and what our body can do that we sometimes eliminate the fact that God can work a miracle. Stop depending on yourself, your spouse and your own abilities and allow God to take control of the situation. Be open to where He may lead you and the steps to get there.
- Choose the hope God can offer instead of listening to the enemy.
Also easier said than done. After losing my mom to cancer in 2009, it seemed that all hope I had disappeared that year. Instead it was shock, disbelief, and always expecting the worst. The grief was the heaviest the first few years without her, and then I eventually learned how to overcome that initial season of grief. Infertility is the next biggest part of my life where hope has seemed to dwindle. Sometimes it just feels like another situation where good things can’t happen to me. The first few months of not getting pregnant I was hopeful. It was probably at 6, 7 or 8 months that I started to lose hope and allow the enemy to whisper in my ear “you’re one of those couples”. From that moment on, I had lost hope, and I only regained it back once I had discovered a new fertility enhancing product. My hope was placed on the wrong thing. Like I mentioned earlier, we have to stop putting pressure on ourselves and our spouses and allow God to take control. To open myself up and to have hope, gives more room for God to be in our situation. Sometimes as Christians, it’s not so much that we lose hope in receiving the thing we want, but we lose hope in God doing something good for us. And we need to properly address that. Don’t put hope in yourself or your spouse. Don’t put hope in the doctors. Put your full trust and hope in God.
- It may not feel like it, but he still has a plan for my life.
Even though this aspect of my life hasn’t gone according to plan, doesn’t mean there is no plan. Discovering God’s will for you should be a thing we search for daily. God’s timing is perfect.
Thank you for taking the time to read through. I hope that this could encourage at least one person today who may be going through something hard.