Go Orange!

I’m trading in my Reds and Pinks this Valentine’s Day and I’m sporting Orange instead.  If you are wondering why, it’s because I am supporting the 1 in 8 couples facing infertility today in the United States.  What a simple thing one can do to bring awareness to the topic of infertility and it is also such a small thing (but can be a very big thing) to do in support of someone who is facing infertility as well. I actually changed my Facebook profile picture to Orange on Saturday.  Now, if this were another topic, I would be seeing the profile pictures of others changing like wild fire in support.  However, because this is a topic that isn’t talked about and there is such a stigma surrounding it, I believe others have a hard time showing their support. Other people simply don’t even know what the orange means and I have been PM’d multiple times asking why my profile pictures is orange or if I knew it was orange!  It truly saddens me, but then it also give me the opportunity to explain why and spread awareness too.  With that said,  I encourage every one reading this post to show your Orange too, please.  Infertility matters.  Infertility is important.  Awareness about infertility is lacking. Support would mean the world to those struggling with infertility.  Thank you in advance for those of you who do show your continuous support to me, I appreciate it more then you will ever know.  It’s obviously an important topic for me and this is one very little thing that you could do that is a big thing to bring awareness on the topic of Infertility.

Strait from Resolve.org, here’s what you can do to help:

o Orange for Infertility Awareness this Valentine’s Day!

In solidarity with RESOLVE and ‪‎infertility awareness, show your orange this Valentine’s day! Help RESOLVE bring attention to the fight for access to all family building options for the 1 in 8 couples facing infertility today in the U.S: https://goo.gl/x6MXKa

How to participate: Change your profile picture to orange with the #GoOrange4IF twibbon or share a picture of yourself in orange with the #GoOrange4IF and tag @resolveorg: https://goo.gl/x6MXKa

Please consider making a donation to RESOLVE so that we can continue the fight for access to all family building options: https://goo.gl/HQdznj

Go Orange for Infertility Awareness this Valentine’s Day! In solidarity with RESOLVE and ‪‎infertility awareness, show your orange this…

Get Moving, get Motivated!

Just a heads up:  If you follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nichole.leewhitney) or Instagram (nichole_whitney) you likely saw a post similar to this on Saturday.  However, I thought it was important to blog about this as well because maintaining your physical health is such an important part of your fertility (whether you are struggling to get pregnant and/or are pregnant), it also plays and important role in your mental health and can be a huge stress reliever from day to day.  I know recently when I’ve had a stressful day with my kids, nothing beats sweating it out.  I find that when I do this, even on days I am super tired or am not feeling my best, I find myself feeling like I have so much more energy after a workout and feel 10x better then if I hadn’t worked out!  In the past, when I was struggling with my infertility, exercising was also a wonderful outlet for days I was super depressed.  No matter what, it never fails that exercise is helpful to our bodies in more ways then one and we can all benefit from it.  It’s something that is always a win-win situation.

I know it gets old seeing people constantly post about working out and getting healthy.  I understand though why people do post about it and that is why I am not going to apologize for doing so too.   The struggle to stay motivated and keep at it is HARD & I believe by posting it for all to see helps me stay accountable and I also believe this to be true for others as well. I am about 3 weeks in to working out again post baby and I must say it’s much more difficult the second time around. I am much more tired, making the time is a lot harder and my body is very out of shape. Even with only being 3 weeks in, I can feel myself getting stronger and although getting results isn’t happening as fast as I’d like I am grateful for this body that allowed me to have my babies and that is now allowing me to exercise.

Our bodies are truly remarkable and we need to take care of them to the best of our abilities! I am also grateful to one of my dearest friends & also accountability partner, Jody who is helping me through a 3 month workout challenge…I appreciate your daily check ins, you’ve been a great inspiration and motivator to me and have been great support through other areas of my life as well!  One quote that has been an inspiration to me lately is this: “Believe in yourself, and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle” -Author Unknown.  I have been trying to remind myself of this very thing lately and find it very motivating.  I can do this and it’s totally mind over matter!

I wanted to talk a little more about the 30 day challenge I am doing.  The challenge is called Bikini Body Mommy Challenge 6.0, which my accountability partner also introduced to me (thank you!).  I love this challenge because on the days I don’t have a lot of time to work out, there is little room for excuses NOT to squeeze this workout in to my day-day because the workouts are so short.  Although, in my 3 weeks of doing it there have been a couple days where my excuses have gotten the best of me and I’ve opted out of a workout (but again, I am human).  I don’t beat myself up over it if I miss a day or two here and there as long as I don’t give up completely, a small break is completely ok.  It was so important for me to not pressure myself in any way when I began working out again but it was also important for me to find ways to stay motivated.  Having that accountability helps and setting realistic goals is another thing that is helping.  Find what will help motivate you because it’s so crucial in being successful in staying at it when times get hard and excuses creep in.

For those of you who want to check this challenge out you can find more information at this link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zM4K-hfd4hE&t=23s.  I highly encourage you to check it out and give it try.  Even if this is all you can manage for a workout right now, I don’t think you’d be disappointed.  My motto is that moving and doing something each day is better then doing nothing each day.  You’ve got to start somewhere right? Some days I am only able to squeeze in this challenge and other days I’m lucky and can squeeze in this challenge plus an additional 45 minutes of exercise.  We are all a work in progress, and the hardest part is just beginning!  I am happy to say I’ve crossed that bridge.  There are other hardships along the way but I know I have a strong determination to get through those too!

Hopefully I will be sharing more with you on this journey and the topic of exercise in future posts!  Tell me, what are you doing today to help your body, mind and spirit?!?


Life Achievements

Have you ever stopped and taken a moment to think about your biggest life achievements? If you haven’t, I challenge you to take a minute to do so and think about your top 10 biggest life achievements. What would they be?  Before you begin, you may want to sit and think about what the word life achievements mean to you.  There really is no universal definition of life achievements, rather I believe that it is something that looks like and means something different to each individual.  There is no right or wrong answer here, instead it’s diving into your personal self and reflecting on seeing the biggest things that you’ve accomplished or have tried to obtain in life.  I also believe that these things can be both things you have succeeded at and also things you have failed at. They can be a personal characteristic of yourself that you are proud of or they can be tangible things you’ve been recognized for.  Like anything, you may change your mind about what your personal definition of life achievements is over time, but for now think about today.  Think about your life achievements up until this day.  Here are mine & in no particular order:

  1.  Surviving my college years & getting my Bachelors Degree.  For as long as I remember, I always heard that College is the best years of your life.  For me, it was a very overwhelming time in my life.  I grew up in a very small town and had been under the wing of my parents my entire life.  When I left for college I was suddenly independent and could make up my own rules so to speak.  Although my parents were still there from afar to guide me, I was ultimately on my own day to day and that scared the shit out of me.  I am an introvert and being in large crowds of strangers provoked my anxiety on day to day basis.  Being an introvert, it was also very hard to meet people because I have always been that quiet girl in the corner who is far from the life of the party.  In fact, I’ve always had many acquaintances, but very few close friends.  Honestly, that’s the way I’ve always been.  I have a comfort zone with people, and college took me way out of my comfort zone.  Because of my somewhat sheltered life, I always questioned if I should be doing something or what I should do in certain circumstances. Basically, I always questioned myself because I had little confidence. It took quite a while before I was comfortable in my own skin and gained some independence and learned my self worth.  I was also in the midst of a long-term relationship (my very first love and also first long-term relationship) which dictated a lot of my decisions and held me back during this time in my life.  It took me a while to see this and face the situation head on.  Ultimately,  I learned the very hard way  that I needed to put myself first, that giving 110% of myself to someone where the give and take just wasn’t there was exhausting, and that I simply deserved to be happy and I just wasn’t.  In fact, I was miserable.  It took me quite a while to overcome this break up and get to a point where I was okay-but I did it. With many tears, a broken heart, and at a loss…I continued on.  My last year in college was actually fun, enjoyable, and what (in my mind) college should have felt like all along. I guess it helped that I met a wonderful guy, who little did I know would become my husband.  Shortly after, I graduated and earned my degree, which was a huge accomplishment and what I had been striving for in those 4.5 years!
  2. Taking the risk to move (really move) for the first time in my life across the state.  Although I sacrificed a lot, I am one who follows my heart.  My heart was with that guy I met in my last year of college.  So, I ended up packing up my stuff and moving across the state with him to see where things would go and where new doors would take me.  Again, this was super scary time in my life because there were lots of unknowns.  I’m a planner by nature and have always had a plan.  This move came without a real solid plan but I am happy that I took the risk and did so.  This move provided me with not only more independence, but also opened the doors to new jobs and meeting new people.  It also allowed me to get to know my now husband better and learn what love really was all about and should truly feel like.  The one thing about this achievement that stands out to me is I took a risk.  Risk taking is very out of my element and something I take pretty seriously.  It took a lot of contemplating and thinking on my part and the decision did not come easily.  Again, my heart was overtaking my brain and there are so many things in my life that would have went differently if I wouldn’t have taken this one big risk.  I’m thankful, very thankful I took a risk.
  3. Having an  honest, loving, real, genuine, and solid relationship with my now husband the last 11 years.  Although 11 years knowing someone and having a close relationship with them doesn’t seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things, it honestly can feel like a lifetime at times.  We’ve had some great times together and some not so great times together.  We have loved each other and sometimes have even disliked each other.  We have laughed, cried, and argued together.  Lets face it, the honeymoon stage of relationships are amazing and then there is the after moon where as I like to say you start to see the shit through the diamonds.  I must say, though, through it all…when you are with who you are meant to be with you love that person on the good days and the bad days and you can’t imagine life with out them.  It’s hard work to keep this type of relationship afloat, but at the end of the day when you can feel happy about your relationship and look back on everything you’ve been through with a smile on your face, it’s the best feeling in the world and you know you’re the richest person in the world who has obtained one of the best gifts in the world-a best friend for life.
  4. My girls.  These little human beings are my entire world.  No words can explain how proud I am to be their mother.  I am truly grateful and feel so honored.  Having children is such a privilege.  I see this as a huge life achievement because of all the things I have learned about life and love and about myself since having them in my life.
  5. Going through Secondary Infertility and openly talking about my struggles with it.  I won’t go on and on about my struggles with secondary infertility because most of you know my journey already.  I will say that, just putting one foot in front of the other going through that struggle was hard.  Somehow I persevered through this difficult circumstance & that makes me feel like it was an achievement.  I am so proud of myself for the strong women I have become because of all I have gone through with that and being able to openly share my struggles with others.  It has opened my eyes to so many things and I am forever grateful for it.  I achieved so many things during my journey with infertility and gained a new perspective and appreciation about life.
  6. Being a SAHM.  Although I am not bringing home the bacon so to speak, I have no perks that come with having a career, and I am not using that awesome degree (right now) that I talked about in #1-I am raising 2 tiny humans and it’s a big shoe to fill on a day to day basis.  It’s also one of the most important ‘jobs’ I have ever had in my life.  It’s a job that doesn’t come with any instructions either, it doesn’t come with any pay but the perks of this job are priceless.  I’m so proud to be a SAHM and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It isn’t easy and it involves a lot of sacrifices BUT so far it has been incredibly worth it!
  7. Being the genuine, loyal, caring, reliable, yet vulnerable/sensitive, stubborn and honest person that I am.  To own these characteristics, to have confidence in myself, and to own up to all the traits that make me who I am is something to be proud of.  It took me such a long time to know who I was and what made me who I am and although there is always room for growth and change-I am proud of the women I am.
  8. To know and believe that the true riches of life are not material things.  It’s so easy to get caught up in today’s materialistic world and think that happiness is measured by things BUT I can tell you that happiness first comes from within and it’s the people in your life, and the moments you make and the experiences you have that make your life rich.  I realized this at a very early age.  I didn’t grow up with a lot of things, but I grew up with a lot of love and where there was love there was life!  I feel it’s a huge accomplishment to live by this and also pass this wisdom on to my girls!
  9. Exercising.  Some may see this as a silly life achievement, but for me, right now-it’s not.  Having had 2 babies now and being able to stay healthy and active for them requires me to find the time to exercise.  It’s so hard, but someway, somehow I’m finding ways to fit exercise into my daily life.  Not only is it healthy to exercise but it makes my stress and anxiety levels decrease and it is so great for my mental health.  Being able to make time for me with everything else I have on my plate is not easy, but doing it and realizing it’s importance is huge!
  10. Parenting.  Parenting does not come with a handbook.  It is both amazing and challenging.  It is something I love being, yet can make me go crazy at times.  You will have people judge you and give you advice until your head spins.  At the end of the day you are the parent and you have to do what is best for you and your family/child-ren.  I may not be the perfect parent but I know that I am doing the best I can and I’d like to say that so far my kids are doing great-healthy, growing and thriving!  At the end of the day I just want what is best for my kids-it’s such a selfless and unconditional kind of love.

There it is.  My 10.  I know you don’t see any major life-time awards or anything but my definition of life achievements are things that can’t be measured by society.  Rather, I see my life time achievements as things that can grow and expand over time.  These achievements are the things I value, are moments and experiences that have molded me and my life.  They are things I have persevered and learned from.  To me it’s learning to appreciate all that is intangible and the little-ever so important achievements from day to day and finding your self worth and recognizing your personal evolution in time. It’s the unseen, intangible and non- rewarded achievements that I value the most.

Yesterday was a hard day for me.  I was having what I consider a pity party for myself.  It stemmed from getting a huge bill in the mail from my surgery and looking at all the debt we still owe from the past year and feeling like we can never get ahead in life and have nothing to show for it and feeling like we are limited because of our financial situation.  I decided that today I did not want to loathe in my pity for msyelf and do some positive reflection.  We may be in some financial debt, are struggling financially right now, and feel the weight of this on our shoulders BUT we have so much to be proud of and so much that we’ve already accomplished and all those accomplishments did not happen because life was easy.  It’s a great reminder to me that in the midst of hardships great things happen are are yet to come and through this I will get through it too…other great doors will open and life will go on.  Today is Wednesday-I am hoping today and the rest of your week we can all find little achievements along the way that will ultimately lead to our someday lifetime achievements!