Popping up in my Facebook memories today was a picture of my husband and I from six years ago, April 23rd, 2012. We were expecting our first baby and life couldn’t be better (side note, my husband never smiles big for pictures, but he was truly excited for our first little one to arrive)! This picture was taken at our very first baby shower, hosted at my parents house. It was an exciting day celebrating the soon to be arrival of our little girl and our soon to be journey as new parents. The day was filled with lots of advice from the already seasoned moms in my life, laughs, love and support from my family and friends.
You see, my entire life I knew I wanted to be a mom and I wanted lots of kids. I was never sure about anything else, but I was so damn sure about being a mom. When I say I wanted lots of kids, I mean at least five kids! I could picture is so clearly. So often I had heard it spoken by my own mom, by my friends and family that I was going to be such a great mom. Not only did I hear this, but I believed it in my heart to be true and I wanted it so badly. I felt this burning desire in my heart that this is what I was meant to do in my life and I thought it was so special that God placed this desire in my heart! Some people know they want to grow up to be a doctor or a teacher or an Engineer…not me, I just wanted to be a mom! So, at the time I figured that this wouldn’t be my last rodeo and that I’d surely be pregnant again within a year or two and again and again after that. No one really ever told me that getting pregnant isn’t always as easy as it seems, so I never thought twice about it.
Isn’t it ironic that we can plan and plan and plan our lives and God just laughs?
Little did I know I was going to get bucked off my bull and realize my dream of becoming a mother again wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought it would.
Little did I know the plans I had for myself when it came to family building would be crushed by Secondary Infertility.
Little did I know how heartbreaking it would be to see our oldest daughter question why she didn’t have a sibling and wonder and inquire what was taking so long for God to give her one.
Little did I know that my sleepless nights would come from staying up with anxiety as I worried about why I coudn’t get pregnant, instead of sleepless nights due to lulling a baby back to sleep.
Little did I know that I would need to have IVF to conceive my second child.
Little did I know…because we truly knew so very little about this illness. Little did we know that this could happen to us.
I will be the first to admit that I was oblivious to the fact that conceiving a baby wouldn’t come as easily to my husband and I the second time around. In fact, I barely recognize the newly expectant parents below–they seem like strangers to me now. Secondary Infertility has opened our eyes to so many things. Honestly, at the point this picture was taken in my life and in our journey to become parents I didn’t even know that Secondary Infertility existed. However, it isn’t any surprise to me as to why I didn’t know about it…NO ONE EVER TALKED ABOUT IT.
It is for that reason that I am so desperate to talk about it and start changing the conversation surrounding this taboo topic. I had heard of infertility but I didn’t know there were different levels of it. I didn’t realize how everyone’s struggles are so diferent, yet the feelings associated with it are the same. I didn’t know that you could conceive a child the first time around on your own and not be defined as infertile and then have troubles conceiving a second or a third, etc., and it was Secondary Infertility. Until I started to become open about our struggles, I also didn’t realize how common Secondary Infertility is and how many others I talk to and know have said “Me Too”. To say I was very niave is an understatement.
That changed pretty quickly though as we were trying for our second child and nothing was happening. It just seemed like all of a sudden we were in this dark place, alone, struggling and we were in the center of a whirlwind that was rocking our entire lives. I can’t even begin to tell you about the feelings that overcame me in this time and all that we were dealing with. I had never felt so alone, desperate, scared, emotional, depressed, etc., in my life. It was certainly a hard time for both my husband and I. Honestly, it was that small thread of hope that I kept hanging onto and my faith in God’s plan for me that anchored me and kept helping me put one foot in front of the other.
Now, I am telling you about this to bring more awareness to the topic of infertility, not to have pity for me. I truly hope you take a moment to think about those other people out there who are struggling with infertility and realize they are truly hurting and it is hard to find people to share with what exactly you are going through. So many things would trigger me into being sad on a daily basis or someone would say the wrong thing or I would simple see another women pregnant-and it would lead me into this downward spiral of complete sadness. Some days it was easier to just isolate myself then to involve myself in a world that was evolving, when my world was just standing still. It isn’t an easy road for people struggling to be on and we need your support, empathy, compassion, patience and kindness more then you’ll ever know.
Sadly, there is such a lack of knowlege on this topic. I think back to the above picture and how much advice I was overwhelmed with at my first baby shower and I was trying to take it all in about being a new parent and so appreciative I was of all the tips people were giving me…but advice is not always merited when it comes to people struggling with infertility. We do not appreciate advice as we’ve likely done EVERYTHING you are suggesting anyways. Support is different then advice giving and sometimes all we need is someone to lend us a shoulder to cry on or someone to ask us to go do something fun, because let me tell you when you are struggling you live, breath, and sleep (in my case not sleep) all things infertility.
Finding the right kind of support was the hardest thing during my struggle and the circle was very small. However, once I found my circle I clung to it and the safety net these people provided me because those other people struggling right along without you are your life line, your sisterhood. They understand like no one else will. Like I said, I knew so little until Secondary Infertility rocked my world and when it did, it rocked it hard and it was life changing.
I am 1 in 8.
I hope you join me this week in bringing awareness to the topic of inferility. It’s time to #FLIPTHESCRIP and #CHANGETHECONVERSATION.
You are not alone!