Thanks to Facebook’s Timehop, I know that it has been exactly one year since I shared this post about infertility. I wrote that blog post while recovering from surgery – the surgery that ultimately led to my ability to conceive. And I write this blog post, exactly a year later, recovering from giving birth. My what a difference a year makes. (In fact, Whit’s due date was same date I had that surgery. Crazy timing!)
After sharing about my struggles, many friends reached out to share their similar stories – whether they had gone through it previously or were right in the middle of their own journey. It was amazing to connect with people on a different level and find a new commonality – even when that commonality sucks.
If you found this blog post because you’re in the thick of fertility struggles, you’re probably pretty tired of unsolicited advice from people who have no idea what you’re really going through. I get it. And I feel ya.
But, from the year that has followed since sharing my own struggle, I also know how important it is to connect with others. So, here’s my unsolicited advice.
Seriously, share your story. It’s awkward. And personal. (For real, SO many awkward and inappropriate encounters followed after I broke my silence!) But it was also freeing and the start of my emotional healing.
Your story doesn’t have to be public – though I do think there’s a great amount of benefit for yourself and others in bringing the issues to light. But if that’s not for you, find a girl friend or your mom or a stranger or a therapist or whoever – and get it out. Get out all of the shame and pain and frustration. Because the ultimate lesson that comes from sharing about infertility is realizing that it doesn’t control you, it doesn’t limit you, and it doesn’t define you.
Take control. After I shared my previous blog post, several people commented that they feared something was wrong – but they had no idea for sure or what the issues might be. I lived in that same limbo for way too long.
After about 3 years of trying to varying degrees, we finally decided to seek medical help. But, I let the insurance company tell me how and when and what to test. It was try three months on this medicine, then we will test for this, and then three months later we will test for that. It prolonged the journey by at least another year – and resulted in an incorrect diagnosis!
We finally decided to take control. We went to Denver and had a grueling and invasive day of testing to figure out exactly what was going on. It was awful. And insurance didn’t pay for much of it. But it was the turning point. No matter what health issue you have, it’s so important to arm yourself with knowledge about your body so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your situation.
But also be patient. On one hand, take control and don’t wait around. And at the same time, be patient and give things time to work.
After I had surgery, the doctor said she still didn’t think we would be able to conceive on our own. So, I was ready to make my appointments to start IVF. Russell convinced me to give it three more months before we went down that road.
Toward the end of the third month, I remember praying – no, more like crying out – “This isn’t fair; when is it my time?!” I was so frustrated and impatient. And the very next day I found out I was pregnant. When I think about those two days, I really think I can hear God chuckling at my impatience.
Trust in God. Which brings me to my last little piece of advice: Trust in God’s timing and plan. It’s so hard sometimes (okay, most of the time for those of us who are a wee bit controlling) – but ultimately God does have a plan for each of us.
Had my attempts to control the situation succeeded, instead of (reluctantly) submitting to patience and trust in God – I wouldn’t have this perfect little boy. It would be an entirely different set of chromosomes and DNA; an entirely different little human.
God knew what I needed – both in terms of growing as a person and growing in my faith, as well as what Russell and I could handle as first time parents. It wasn’t my timeline, but Whitaker is absolutely our perfect answered prayer.
So, to whoever is reading this, whether I know you or not – I pray for your perfect answered prayer too. And if you need someone to share your story with, I’d be so happy to help you get it out.