Tag Archives: pregnancy

Bruised but not Broken: Finding Gratitude through Infertility

November brings the celebration of our two year wedding anniversary and it marks two years of trying to conceive. November is also the month to give thanks. I want to take this moment to highlight 4 ways in which I hold gratitude for the experiences and the strength I have gained through this journey.

1. A Deeper Bond with my Husband

We have always had a strong partnership, no one has ever made me feel so supported and loved.

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Infertility has been shown to be the fourth most dramatic life event in a woman’s life. It has brought us new levels of sadness. It has also prepared us for any obstacles we have ahead of us. I am so grateful this amazing man. Whether we are crying or laughing, we are doing it together. Struggling with infertility has solidified what I already knew, which is that I chose the perfect person to have by my side.

2. A Cuddly Companion

After our second failed IUI, my husband agreed to let me adopt a kitten. On Labor Day weekend, Amethyst came into our lives.

Now let me be clear, Amethyst did not fill the baby shaped hole in my heart. She is not a replacement for the child we still long to have. She has however brought me so much joy and comfort. I did not know I would love her as much as I do. She has given me the strength of knowledge that I can be a caretaker.

3. Commitment to Yoga

14117909_10100273141045055_821642303518385962_nI began my yoga path before I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility. I am grateful that I already had my practice to turn to with every disappointment. Yoga has been my constant reminder that my body is still powerful and capable. That I can still have control. More importantly as a yoga teacher I have now been able to share the healing power of yoga with others struggling with reproductive loss and infertility. I love to create a space for folks to come together to find support and share, sometimes for the first time, about their experiences. I continue to be appreciative for yoga both it’s physical and spiritual offerings.

4. Building a Network

Through leading yoga workshops and writing about my struggles, I have connected with many individuals who share my story or other experiences with reproductive loss. Recently someone tried to use the vulnerability I have shown against me, which although cruel, luckily is rare. More often, I have received messages of support and solidarity. I have even found strength in relationships with folks in my life I may not otherwise have due to our shared experiences. This network has provided me advice and encouragement.

This process is still difficult, sad, infuriating. But it is possible to hold multiple truths at once, like wishing I had a child in my arms while still so blessed to have Amethyst snuggled in them. As many of us struggle post election to find joy and gratitude, I wanted to boast those in my life who do just that.

 

Another Birthday Without A Child

Several weeks ago I celebrated by 34th birthday. 33 was not the year I had hoped for in a lot of ways. One of my 2016 resolutions that I failed miserably was wanting to write at least one blog post a month. I failed because I did not want to have to write only about infertility. I am more than that. So I didn’t write about my struggles but then nothing else came out or felt right. The process of trying to conceive is an all consuming one. At times all I can think about is the desire to be pregnant and the inability to be so. Each month watching my hopes swept away in a sea of red.

Unexplained Infertility is what the doctor said, which is medical speak for we have no idea. Although it is some sort of answer, the pain didn’t go away. In fact, the pain moved in and made a home. So many daily activities became harder. Watching TV meant dealing with those damn Clear Blue Easy commercials. You know the ones, where women find out they’re pregnant and cheer and cry. Every time it came on it was like a punch to the gut. A reminder of each moment I had looked down to see the words “not pregnant.” Facebook became unbearable. Pregnancy announcement after ultrasound bombarding my timeline. It seemed as though everyone around me sneezed and got pregnant. And then there are the in person interactions. The pregnant coworker I try to avoid so as not to see her growing belly and feel tears welling up. The party I have to leave early when a couple shows up with their newborn. The questions from strangers on whether or not I have children. Getting angry each time, not only because they were asking, but that it bothered me.

I want to say that deciding on a plan of action made things easier but it’s just hard in another way. Deciding to do IUI felt like admitting defeat. And because I chose very early on to be honest and open about this process in order to help others struggling, choosing IUI also meant having to explain IUI to family and friends. Explaining can be exhausting. Talking about it is hard. Not talking about it, is hard.

In two months it will officially be two years of trying to conceive. Two years may not seem like a long time but when you desperately want a baby, it feels like a lifetime. For me it is a lifetime. I have waited my whole life for this moment. I can only hope that a year from now, I will be celebrating my next birthday with a baby, a whole list of other hardships, exhausted, and with a smile on my face.

Getting Pregnant—Not As Easy As You May Think

Let me cut to the chase, getting pregnant is not easy, not even a little. For some of you this may not be news. And as a reproductive justice activist, I am fairly knowledgeable about reproductive health. I knew in the abstract that conceiving can be difficult. But I am very in tune with my body so I figured, how hard could this be.

All those baby bumps and newborn photos on Facebook would lead anyone to believe that you decide to get pregnant and voila baby. I realized there is no way I am the only one struggling with this. These status updates could not be the whole story. But where are the stories? The journeys? All we ever see on social media is the end result. This is quite a juxtaposition from the road to marriage which is documented from engagement to the last dance or a to term pregnancy that we see from sonogram to birth photos. I wanted to hear stories, so I started asking questions.

Turns out it isn’t just me. The more people I spoke to, the more I heard similar struggles. Many more people in my social circle than I could’ve ever imagined experiencing difficulties, infertility, miscarriage and more. Often times I’ve found that folks are more willing to discuss their difficulty conceiving publicly only after a healthy pregnancy or birth. I understand this need to wait. Most people want to hear the happy ending. I may be in the minority but I want to hear it all. In case there are others out there who feel the same, this post is for you.

It’s been one year since my husband and I began trying to conceive. It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions. It began as fun, what with all the “trying” and all. And a little exciting waiting to see if this month would be THE month. I decided to just go with the flow at first. Several months in, the frustration began. Be patient they said. Patience, my friends, is not one of my virtues. Nonetheless I pressed on. At about 6 months in I went into “TTC” mode (starting with learning what TTC meant). This included basal body temps, an ovulation app, teas, meeting with my doula friends, and acupuncture. It was exhausting. All consuming.

By month 7-9, I felt defeated. It was during this time that I really started talking to people outside my tight friend circle about my struggles and in return hearing stories back. It was such a relief to finally hear other people give voice to what I had been experiencing. For about a month after that I felt a boost of confidence. You can do this body! NADA. So I made my appointment to see an infertility specialist. As luck would have it , it was scheduled on my 1 year wedding anniversary. Almost a year to the day we started this process.

And then I took a break. A break from trying. A break from thinking about it. Spending the last few months enjoying our final moments as newlyweds. The appointment happened on Monday. Now I head into another stage in this journey; tests to figure out if there’s any medical basis for infertility or just more time needed. Or that maybe I need a bit of modern medicine boost. I’ll keep you posted. I just want everyone out there struggling to get pregnant, whether it’s been a few months or years, to know you’re not alone. It’s not just you. And yea, this is hard!

*Throughout this post I use mostly “I” instead of “we.” Although my husband and I are going through this together, this post is just about how I am feeling and I do not speak on behalf of us both. He has his own voice and experience of this process.