Monday, March 6, 2017

Infertility: Sunday Sisterhood Week 2

Welcome back to #SundaySisterhood! Last week we chatted on Instagram about infertility, so now it's time to summarize all of the amazing perspectives and stories shared over the past several days. (To read the summary of our first chat on divorce, click here.) 

I was touched deeply all over again as I put this together and re-read all the comments from amazing women who’ve struggled with infertility and from those who simply want to be there for their friends who are. We had a total of 265 comments, so there's a LOT to share here.

This topic is close to my heart, because we struggled for over 5 years to start our family, and I went through 3 miscarriages before our son was born. It was a painful and lonely time, and I didn't know many people around me who understood. 

So whether you've experienced infertility first-hand, known someone who's struggled with it, or have never given it a thought before, this chat's for you. It's all about women supporting women through the hard times.

And I hope you'll keep following along on my Instagram each Sunday night! We just chatted about depression and anxiety last night, and you can still chime in here. Over the next 3 weeks, we'll also be diving into what it's like to lose a loved one, lose a child, and fight cancer

These are pretty heavy topics, I know, but we're here to listen and encourage each other. If you'd like to help host one or more of these chats, please message me on Instagram.

UPDATE 4/3/17: Now that our series is complete, find the links to recaps on all 6 chats here

How is coping with infertility or miscarriage like grieving the loss of a loved one?

(Host) Jenny peachesandpotatoes I've never lost someone close to me, but that's how it felt for each of my 3 miscarriages. And not being able to conceive again for months or years at a time was definitely a grieving process for me...The denial, the anger, the sadness of letting go of all of my plans and dreams for my family. I had to learn to accept and live with that pain, because even after starting my family, it didn't just disappear. It still causes anxiety and sadness for me, even though motherhood is all the sweeter at the same time because of it. It will always be a part of me.

theshaulisfamily I've had one miscarriage very early on. It didn't hit me as hard as someone who was far along. But I always wonder what my little one would have been like. And I think how I far along I would be right now.

dreamingpinkandblue Infertility and miscarriage have both been a huge loss for me. I'm currently pregnant right now at 20 weeks, we lost our son at 24 weeks. I feel as the time gets closer to that 24 weeks and my scary 29 week delivery I start to have panic attacks and bad thoughts. I think it will take years to recover from both.

thesimplemama Miscarriage on top of infertility is so devastating. I am so sorry you went through that 3 times! You are a strong, brave mama.

simplesundaymornings I lost a boyfriend before I found and married my husband. I would say that infertility is harder. I told my husband one night through tears that after I lost my boyfriend, I knew each day was going to get easier... no day could be as bad as the day he died. With infertility, the thought that there may never be a light at the end of the tunnel is terrible. Every month gets harder.

peachesandpotatoes@simplesundaymornings wow, that is too true...I never thought of it like that! So profound. I agree, not knowing when it's going to end makes it so much harder.
peachesandpotatoes@dreamingpinkandblue I'm so, so sorry for your losses! That's so scary. You are so brave to keep going! I still have panic attacks when I'm getting ready to deliver. It's like a form of PTSD and grief combined. I don't know if we ever really recover! We just learn to cope.

peachesandpotatoes@thesimplemama thank you my friend

peachesandpotatoes@theshaulisfamily I'm so sorry for your loss my friend! I always think of those "what-ifs" too.

brittany.willard There's an emptiness that's there where your babies should be. Every anniversary of the day they should have been born and the day you lost them is hard. However in time it gets easier. You celebrate them instead of mourn.

dailydelivered I’m so sorry you experienced 3 losses. But what joy you must have in knowing you will meet those sweet babes one day in Heaven! I think it is most difficult watching all of your friends start a family when you so desperately want yours to grow too. You almost mourn something you haven't even had yet.

lenae_hamman Amazing topic! I'm an IVF mom! I am so so sorry for your losses. It is so devastating!! I think that infertility and miscarriage is like losing a loved one because in essence you are. Each month that you get a negative pregnancy test you are losing the beloved baby that you were wanting so badly. Even before they are there you make plans for them and when it doesn't happen it's devastating.

peachesandpotatoes@brittany.willard that's so true about the anniversaries. I love what you said though about celebrating instead of mourning!!

danielle_kubik12 When you lose a loved one you try and cope with the fact you will never see them again. With infertility I feel like we all want it so, so badly and that fear is comparable to never seeing a loved one again. We don't know where this journey will take us, if we will get a BFP of our own. It's losing the chance to have a family of your own.

kyburgener We struggled with infertility for 2 years before I got pregnant with my son. I struggled to find support - my husband wasn't going through the same sense of loss and feelings of failure that I was, and even though I reached out to others in the same situation, there was almost a hierarchy of who had suffered the longest and I found the internet to be a very bitter place. I learned though that everyone has hardships in life and while some are very visible, some are not, and it's best to treat everyone with as much compassion as possible, because you can just never know what they're going through.

katiecampbell I lost someone close to me during my infertility and the cycle stages of grief were the same. The way they are expressed may look very different but the grief of loss was similar.

trustinginduetimeI am going through both and I think grieving the loss of a loved one is a million times worse because infertility is grieving the loss of something you don't yet have...

vgd121 Like others said it is a real loss. You go through all the stages of loss. A miscarried baby is a loved one you just grieve for. It takes time. With infertility added, a miscarriage often feels even more heavy. It's just one more problem to add to your issue. It's one more injustice you feel from not being able to get pregnant. Infertility itself (even without a miscarriage or loss) is a loss. It is a loss of a dream. A dream many of us have had since as long as we can remember. We grieve as we see parents and children every single day. We don't understand why that can't be us.

peachesandpotatoes@dailydelivered that's exactly what it's hard to know how to cope because you don't have a name or memories of that person. But definitely, thinking of our reunion in heaven helps me cope and makes me so hopeful and happy!

peachesandpotatoes@lenae_hamman yes, so well said! Every month brings with it a sense of loss.

peachesandpotatoes@kyburgener thank you my friend! I had a similar experience with the Internet forums being a bitter place...I gave up on them pretty early. And yes, my husband was supportive and loving, but not experiencing the same grief, so I didn't know who I could talk to who would really understand. Compassion is so important! Some of my best supporters were people who had kids themselves but still had so much compassion for me; I felt like I could open up without being judged.

peachesandpotatoes@danielle_kubik12 I couldn't agree more! I was so afraid it would never happen, even though part of me held on to a strong belief it would. It's hard to have hope, but also prepare yourself to disappointed every month.

peachesandpotatoes@katiecampbell I totally agree! A lot of the feelings are the same even if they're expressed differently. I'm so sorry for your loss!

peachesandpotatoes@trustinginduetime definitely! Losing one of my children or my husband would totally change my world and my day to day life. Grieving the loss of my pregnancies changed my idea of my future. There was no more baby to get ready for. That was actually one thing that made it hard to went on as usual. Yes, they lived inside of me, they only really "existed" in my mind.

peachesandpotatoes@vgd121 beautifully said. It is the loss of a dream.

saharaviolet I never thought of this idea, but it's true. It's the loss of a dream. As an only child with no cousins and aging parents, my family feels like it's shrinking and dying out. I always thought I'd have lots of kids to make myself a family again and we'd have rambunctious holiday dinners and happy bbqs but that dream of all those new family members isn't happening. It does feel like a loss.

decor8ingjunke I believe you go through a lot of the same emotions as you do after losing a loved one. It's different though because you never met the baby you miscarried. You don't have any memories of times spent together, no face to "see" when you think of them. You are left with "what-if" or what could've been. I take comfort now in knowing that my babies are in the arms of Jesus & I will hold them and see their sweet faces one day. I like to think that my grandmother is in heaven watching them for me until I get there.

onehangrymama So sad to have missed this last night – this definitely speaks to me. It is absolutely a loss. It's a loss of everything you'd planned for, everything you'd dreamed of. A lot of months it's a loss of all hope & faith. Even now that I have my little miracle with me, the pain lingers and gets conjured up in me really easily.

handfulsoflife In my experience a lot of the emotions are exactly the same. The hardest part for me was that it was a deeply private (at the time) loss. I had friends who were willing to listen. I just didn't want to or know how to share.

sacred_stories For me, my miscarriages felt just like losing a loved one. To me, I did. I navigated the entire grief process and continue to grieve, miss and wonder about my babies. I lost my father to cancer as a teenager and the feelings are so very similar.

peachesandpotatoes@saharaviolet I'm so sorry you're going through that! Letting go of lifelong dreams is heartbreaking. I hope your new dreams and the path your life takes brings just as much happiness and more in the end, my friend.
peachesandpotatoes@decor8ingjunke that's beautiful. That's what gives me comfort too, in spite of all the "what ifs."

peachesandpotatoes@onehangrymama I feel that way too. You said it perfectly, how it's a loss of hope and faith at times. I had to find hope and faith in the bigger picture, rather than the present moment, but it took a long time. The pain and fear and loss still surfaces for me, too.

peachesandpotatoes@handfulsoflife I'm so sorry for your loss! It can be so hard to talk about--sometimes I felt worse instead of better. But having people you feel safe with no matter what is so important!

peachesandpotatoes@sacred_stories wow, thank you for sharing this, my friend. I'm so sorry for your losses--your dad and your babies. That is heartbreaking. I love how you are now lifting and inspiring others with your stories.

arrowsandawe Hope you had an amazing chat!

yeckleyhamblin I have had 1 year of infertility, 6 miscarriages, 1 high risk full-term pregnancy, and 1 miracle baby (helped by an incredible fertility specialist and a whole list of prescription medications). It is absolutely awful. I really wish talking about it were more accepted in our society. So many women don't want to share the news before the first trimester so "others won't know" (and I've been there, so I get that), but then they are just expected to pretend like it never happened (or it's not happening) and that is absolutely and painfully devastating to have to suffer alone, physically and emotionally. I am grateful for women like you who speak out, and not only help to normalize it, but also help to let other women know that they're not alone!

How do you keep your season of infertility from defining you? If you haven't experienced infertility, you can explain any circumstance that you could easily find defining who you are.

(Host) dailydelivered For me, I was never told I couldn't have children or that I would need to try alternative means to achieve a pregnancy. But we were not getting pregnant overnight that's for sure! I had PCOS and knew that it would be hard to catch that small window of fertility. But I trusted God's plan for our family. I had a peace about the timing in which our family would grow and HOW it would grow. With each negative test over the 9 years we were waiting, I would look in the mirror and say, "I trust you Lord". I don't know if we would have had a heart for adoption if we had had it too easy. I'm thankful for the journey!

busylittleizzy Such a difficult topic. I have friends who struggled with this. One of my dear friends thanks to science now has twins ☺❤❤ It was a long road but her babies are precious

theshaulisfamilyThis is a good reminder for anyone who struggles to trust god. Thanks!

peachesandpotatoes I love that part about trusting God! I thought I did, but for years my infertility defined my view of myself and I felt broken, a failure. I finally figured out that if God was going to give me a family one day, all I could do was accept His timing and learn to be happy in the meantime. I'd been working on that for about a year when I got pregnant with my son. Again, I had to put my trust in Him because I didn't know if I'd miscarry again. Every day carrying my son was a gift, and now he's a healthy 3 year old!

peachesandpotatoes I think not letting infertility define you is not letting it define your life. I realized, hey, I can still eat the food I love, dance in the car to my favorite songs, love my man, go hiking, go to church, hang out with my friends...I'm still the same person. I tried to turn my focus from getting pregnant to getting healthy and being happy. I realize, I'm not broken, I'm just waiting.

dreamingpinkandblue I think you have to turn all hope and faith over to God. When I finally stopped trying to control everything and turned it over, I felt more at peace with my self and whatever life would throw at us.

thesimplemamaWow-9 years!! Oh mama! I admire your faith and trust in the Father. Infertility becomes so consuming at times.

gjaliberti Seems like a great chat.

littleluxurylistIt is not an easy journey. It took us a few years and the eventual timing was unexpected, but we were so grateful at our little miracle.

lenae_hamman Amazing topic! Hits close to home. First off, I am so inspired by your journey to adoption! I would love to adopt someday. I had a hard time during our infertility journey. I dealt with a lot of self esteem issues and depression but I overcame it by looking to God and really engulfing myself in His word. Mark 5:36 got me through a lot of hard days!

dailydelivered@busylittleizzy Awww that's so great! It's definitely hard to watch a friend go through it.

dailydelivered@theshaulisfamily This has been a great topic. So many women struggle with infertility today.

dailydelivered@peachesandpotatoes ahhh this is so good girl!! I love that you were able to learn that in the trial. And what a gift that you've been given with a healthy baby boy!!

dailydelivered@dreamingpinkandblue yes! It's so true. It's the same with anything in life. Worry gets you nowhere! And fully trusting Him brings a supernatural peace!

dailydelivered@kimjoyt Oh, well the fact that I didn't even read it before pasting!

dailydelivered@thesimplemama It really does! Thankfully I never thought much of it until working at a crisis pregnancy center and someone asked how I was able to work in such an environment. And then I started to feel anger when teens would come in a few weeks after a one night stand saying they just wanted an abortion because they didn't want to go without drinking for 9 whole months. I struggled a bit with that.

dailydelivered@littleluxurylist That's so great that you were surprised!

dailydelivered@lenae_hamman Such a great verse! He uses those trials to prune us and strengthen our faith in Him.

danielle_kubik12 The longer we have tried, the more it defines me. But I've changed things in my life to better our chances of conceiving. Plus, I am always wanting to learn more about infertility.

melaniewatson PCOS is so hard I love that you endured through 9 years with faith. I think sheer stubbornness helped me with my battles with PCOS and infertility. We grow through our struggles.

thecupcakehome Amazing topic! I’m in awe of every woman that goes through infertility!

kimmylulu7 I’ve loved following your journey and it has given me so much hope! We've waited 5 years and I have PCOS too. God just whispers wait and we wait. We're in the adoption process currently, but I still believe him for the promise of my womb. I'm with you...had I gotten my way years ago I'm not sure I'd been open to an adoption. Sadly, I think I would have ignored the call because I had my babe (s), it cost too much $, too time consuming, etc. It's funny how the wilderness has a way of shaping us! Now I can't imagine life without the thought of adoption!

nashvillewifestyles Thank you for opening up and helping women who have struggled with this issue

redlocksandshamrocksUgh it's such a hard topic. I actually have a blog post about my struggles with miscarriages that I haven't been brave enough to post.

trustinginduetime I know that my motherhood or lack thereof isn't who I am!!!

katiecampbell I used to never want infertility to become my identity and I always was so fearful of that, that I actually went the other way... which meant I was in denial of my reality. But through the years I came to a place of acceptance. Of thanking God for his gifts wrapped up in unexpected ways and chose to embrace my suffering of infertility with hope, boldness and courage. Infertility was and is a part of my story, just not who I am.

vgd121 This is hard! It does define me sometimes because it takes such a huge amount of time and effort (if in an active treatment especially). The best things for me are to do things for others- volunteer and give back. It takes my focus off myself and my "problems" to do this. Hobbies are great too but sometimes they can be self focused too so I really like to give to others.

peachesandpotatoes@redlocksandshamrocks I would love to read it when you are ready to share it! I have a hard time finding the words too.

peachesandpotatoes@vgd121 it really can be all consuming!! I totally agree. Realizing I was still the same person--same likes and dislikes, same talents, same hobbies--helped me so much in not letting it define me or my view of myself.

peachesandpotatoes@trustinginduetime totally! One day I was dancing to one of my favorite songs in the car (this was after about 4 years of infertility treatments and 3 miscarriages), and it just hit me, I'm still me!! I'd been feeling so broken and hollow, but in that moment I realized I could still enjoy all the same things and be myself, no matter what happened.

peachesandpotatoes@dailydelivered I totally get that!

peachesandpotatoes@danielle_kubik12 it takes so much out of you! It took me years, but I finally realized that I was the same person--same likes, talents, hobbies--no matter what happened.

inthelyonsden What a lovely thought especially around topics that women can know they are not alone ❤❤

saharaviolet It's probably not the best in the long run, but it does help to get lost in work. It keeps me from thinking about fertility and reminds me I wear other hats too.

kayleigh.tx What a great support chat!

decor8ingjunke I suffered with infertility and multiple miscarriages for 13 years. There were many times over the years I would get consumed with the loss & feeling like I might never be a mom. I had to remind myself everything happens for a reason, and trust that God will bless us with a child in His time. Since I was a child myself, I've always had adoption on my heart, however, I believe my years of infertility solidified that desire. Just as we were going to submit our adoption application, I found out I was pregnant with my oldest. It was 10 years after my last miscarriage. My 34th birthday. Fast forward 5 years & we now have 3 biological children. We still have adoption on our hearts, and hope He will grow our family that way.

redlocksandshamrocks@peachesandpotatoes I might be sharing it this week!

danielle_kubik12@peachesandpotatoes I ask myself all the time how long I can do it. Sometimes it seems like I'm fighting a losing battle.

decor8ingjunke Just finished the loop! What a great discussion. It made me think of things I haven't in a while. Prayers for all those still struggling with infertility.

mandywhitleyphotography A great series!
mrs.erincoleman This is such a good topic to bring a safe open conversation to. Very close to my heart! @thecarrycamp really helped encourage me that infertility is a part of my story, but not who I am.

prettyplainjanesThis is so wonderful. A gift to many I'm sure.

fromthefamilywithlove Infertility is huge. Thank you for creating an open conversation.

handfulsoflife For me learning to share my infertility story helped it not define me. Infertility is a part of who I am but it and the losses and struggles are not all that I am. Learning to open and share brought me courage, healing and a sisterhood I would not of had.

dailydelivered@handfulsoflife I know it definitely shapes you and teaches you so much through the trial. I'm glad you have learned to share and be open. That's a tough one!

dailydelivered@fromthefamilywithlove It was a great chat! So many don't speak out about it but it's crazy how many families are affected by it today.

dailydelivered@mrs.erincoleman that's so good that you had someone to help you through that. It's so hard not to label a struggle in our life as a part of our identity. It's definitely part of the story, but not who we are!

dailydelivered@decor8ingjunke thank you for joining us!

dailydelivered@danielle_kubik12 I'm so sorry that you feel defeated at times. Praying for you today.

amynsmith Love the idea and name of this

dailydelivered@decor8ingjunke wow, what a story!! There is so much purpose in the wait. I love that God used that time to solidify the desire to adopt. Do it!!! It's the best thing ever!!

dailydelivered@melaniewatson I love that you pushed through and grew through your struggles of Infertility and PCOS too!!

dailydelivered@kimmylulu7 I'm so excited you're going to adopt!! And yes!! Don't ever lose hope, but be present where He has you right now and leave the rest to God!!

dailydelivered@redlocksandshamrocks I hope we hear your story soon!!

dailydelivered@trustinginduetime Yeah girl!! And it shows! You are being used in mighty ways to encourage other women and I know He has great plans for your family!

dailydelivered@katiecampbell I'm so glad to hear that! I can relate to the denial part for sure. God is so faithful and trusting His plan is way easier than worrying and stressing about it all. I love how He grew my family!
dailydelivered@vgd121 I'm so sorry Tori. It IS hard! Whether you totally trust God's plan or your angry and don't think He has what's best for you in store. It's hard. Praying that you have peace in the wait.

smashedpeasandcarrots What a great series!

What are some things I can actually do to support a woman dealing with infertility and lighten her load?

(Host) bitsofsweetness Some of my own favorite ways have just been being a listening ear when they needed it, sending encouragement when I could, and just being there.

theshaulisfamily@bitsofsweetness that's been my experience too. Listening and supporting.

brittany.willard One way to help is to help others understand that infertility doesn't just have one look. We have two children - took heaven & earth to get them here. We have two in glory & I can no longer become pregnant. That was a painful gut wrenching reality to come to grips with that I will never be pregnant again - but a lot of people don't consider my walk to be infertility. So helping others understand that infertility doesn't mean - no children. Good topic to discuss.

bitsofsweetness@brittany.willard that's so true too!! I can't imagine how painful that is too

lenae_hamman Love this topic! Hits close to home! I think that the best way to support is not to judge. It was hard when woman would tell me "just stop trying and it will happen". That's absolutely the worst thing to say because in some cases, like mine, it wasn't possible to get pregnant without infertility treatments. Be a good listening ear and a shoulder to cry on!

thesimplemama Take her out for a glass of wine. It may not lighten the load but it will lighten her mood for an evening

bitsofsweetness@thesimplemama what is it about fun and time with friends that is so therapeutic?!

bitsofsweetness@lenae_hamman those are probably the hardest words to hear in many struggles but especially infertility

danielle_kubik12 Spend time with her. Get your nails dine, go to lunch, shopping, anything helps.

bitsofsweetness@lori_bassham thought of you with this!

camillianairee@lenae_hamman I cringe when I hear people say that!! I really wish that wasn't a mindset.

katiecampbellBe willing to listen and step into my suffering with me. I always felt like a burden to others with my infertility, so when friends were intentional about asking, it was so freeing to be able to be myself. If your friend is going through treatments, drive her to appts, send her notes, call to check in. :)

vgd121 Take her out for a girls day and don't make the convo all about babies!
peachesandpotatoes@brittany.willard so sorry for your losses! I agree, infertility has many faces!

peachesandpotatoesI totally agree with @katiecampbell...asking about it is huge! I usually wanted to talk about it, but I felt bad bringing it up. When people asked I felt like they really cared.

peachesandpotatoes And I agree with everyone about having girl time! I felt like at some points people didn't want to be around me because they knew I was grieving after a miscarriage and didn't know what to say or didn't want to say the wrong thing. It felt so good to know that my friends still wanted to see me and spend time with me.

bitsofsweetness@katiecampbell stepping into suffering. That is so powerful. The people who could just listen to me go on and on even years after my miscarriage touched me the most. I didn't have to verbally fix it for them

saharavioletI would love a friend who was willing to hear the funny and nitty gritty stuff too. I can sometimes laugh about the personal and ridiculous stuff we've had to do through treatment and wish I could share those laughs with a girl friend, but it always feels like such a serious topic that a fertile friend might not realize it's okay to laugh with me. I want to tell all the fun and fertile girls the story of driving with a sample cup stored up close and personal to keep contents warm and how it feels to look at a pre-filled IUI syringe and give it a pep talk and on and on... it's okay to laugh with me too.

decor8ingjunkeI agree with the above comments. The most helpful is to just listen. Maybe take her out to get her mind off things. @lenae_hamman , I couldn't agree more with what you said about the comment "if you just quit thinking about it, it will happen." I HATED that comment. It would make me so angry. I suffered 13 years with infertility. Just not thinking about it wasn't going to help.

lenae_hamman@decor8ingjunke Exactly! So excited to find so many that can relate with what I've been through! 13 years is a very long time. I'm so sorry! But God has certainly provided for all of us now!

decor8ingjunke@lenae_hamman yes ma'am He has. It was a long difficult journey for me, but I learned a lot....most of all that God answers prayers in His time & never give up.

handfulsoflife Really listening, inviting them into your home, providing a safe place to talk and let all the emotions out. Not judging, being empathetic, praying for them and doing things that (like a GNO) that will lighten their days. Also realizing that some treatments are painful. Providing a meal or help to her family would be a huge relief and a gift.

What are some ways that infertility takes a toll on a woman's marriage, career or health?

(Host) thesimplemama My marriage was probably impacted the most during infertility. Sometimes I forgot that infertility wasn't just about affected my husband too. He felt the same frustrations, disappointments, and hurt that I did. Plus he wanted to comfort me (which I made difficult at times-I blame it on the fertility drugs-hello crazy hormones). Ultimately, it bonded us in a way that made becoming parents for the first time so much sweeter. I am so thankful the Lord protected our marriage during that time.

dailydelivered I think it can steal intimacy in a marriage for sure. I've heard of couples stressing so much about the timing that they just go through the motions without truly enjoying sex with their spouse.

dreamingpinkandblue Marriage: constantly trying or once deciding to go through IVF just wondering and worrying all the time. Career: currently I am pregnant and because my pregnancies are very high risk I have had to stop working. Health: I have bad lungs do not being able to exercise is a big thing for me, all the shots and hormones have made my labs fluctuate like crazy. Am I grateful for everything I've been through? Absolutely, I wouldn't change anything...well maybe.

thesimplemama@dailydelivered Stealing intimacy is a great way to describe that!!!!

thesimplemama@dreamingpinkandblue Oh sweet mama-to-be, everything you said is so true!! Hard...yes. Worth it...every second when you are holding that precious baby in your arms.

simplesundaymornings I struggle with this. Our marriage is strong, I have no doubt, but I struggle. I cry a lot. A lot. My husband is not a crier. For months I would get mad because I didn't feel like he was feeling as sad as me. It took me a while to learn he copes much differently.

brittany.willard It's rough! But just like everything else hard it makes your marriage so much stronger, sweeter, and good if you allow the lord to bring you together.

lenae_hamman Love it! I'm an IVF momma myself! Infertility can be all consuming and I completely relate with your answer. God sent us through our infertility to make our marriage stronger and we are now closer than ever. It was hard but was our biggest blessing!

thesimplemama@brittany.willard That is so true!!! I love how the Lord does that!

thesimplemama@lenae_hamman Thank you for sharing your story What doesn't kills us really does make us stronger.

thesimplemama@simplesundaymornings Men handle things so differently. I remember my hubby holding his emotions in more than I did. It's almost as if he didn't want to upset me more by crying. I just said a little prayer for you tonight.

thesimplemama@brittany.willard That is so true!!! I love how the Lord does that!

danielle_kubik12 It puts so much added stress on a marriage. It adds more financial burden, interrupts a normal sex life, sometimes makes things awkward depending on any added fertility "tricks" we try. It's hard to fully explain to my husband sometimes just how hard it is for me to handle pregnancy announcements, negative pregnancy tests every month, 37 to be exact. Rollercoaster of emotions!

bitsofsweetness I nannied for a family who was going through it. Just seeing how much pressure there was from family to not "stress out" and to have a baby (especially from family wanting a boy after the girl they'd had) She had a hard stressful job and I know it was tough to carry both that career stress and everything from family

thesimplemama@danielle_kubik12 Oh sweetie, I remember buying ovulation sticks and pregnancy tests in bulk online. That disappointment time and time again is so hard...especially on a marriage. I am lifting you up tonight and believing that the Father put that desire to be a mama on your heart for a reason and He will remain faithful

danielle_kubik12@thesimplemama I truly appreciate that. Thank you so much.

thesimplemama@bitsofsweetness When people told me "not to stress" I wanted to punch them in the throat. #keepingitreal That is the WORST thing to say!!

trustinginduetimeIt changes everything! Changes relationships, makes it harder on marriage. Really though, it changes it all

katiecampbell Health wise infertility took its toll with the medical treatments I went through over the many many years. I feel like I lost a bit of my "youth" from all the hormones and treatments that I grieve those years in my 20s.

vgd121 It can definitely be a stressor. Marriage can suffer if you are not open about communicating. Stress of timing everything and treatments can be a lot. You have to keep things fun when possible and keep date nights and other interests alive so infertility does not define your marriage.

evagreco It's so easy to forget our husbands have feelings about every detail of the process. we are counting, prepping, injecting, praying, crying, etc. My husband took it hard because he "couldn't give me the desire of my heart". Hated to see me so disappointed month after month.

mrsweems Thank you for hosting this. I remember reading so many message boards and blogs back in those days and I'm so happy to see women connecting and finding support. Infertility really impacted my mental health. I was so stressed and sad that I really couldn't find joy for others. I remember being at baby showers for good friends and I just couldn't get out of my own head enough to be happy for them. Jealousy is a monster for sure. I can relate with the comments about stealing intimacy from a marriage too. My career wasn't impacted negatively but taking all that time off for appointments was definitely an added stress plus all my coworkers looking at me after every appointment like "are you pregnant yet?" There is light at the end of the tunnel though. God had a plan for us and now that plan calls me mommy, has stinky boy feet, gives the best hugs and makes me laugh daily.

peachesandpotatoes@dreamingpinkandblue you are one brave momma! Prayers for you and baby!! I have high risk pregnancies too; it's so hard and scary.

peachesandpotatoes@simplesundaymornings I struggled with that too! Men and women process and express emotions so differently, it can feel like we're at odds. In the end, I feel like it brought us closer and forced us to learn how to communicate and understand and be there for each other, but it was hard.

peachesandpotatoes@katiecampbell YES you and me both, girl!

peachesandpotatoes@mrsweems love this, you said it so perfectly.

peachesandpotatoes@thesimplemama you are seriously the sweetest!

saharaviolet Infertility has impacted my health- for the better. It's forced me to tackle my thyroid issue, eat better and move more. And while the medications of treatment are kind of horrible, the lifestyle changes have been positive and they've become habit at this point so I think they'll stick.

decor8ingjunke If it weren't for my husband encouraging me, even pushing me at times, I might not have ever found out that endometriosis was my main reason for infertility. I had several surgeries for it, all unsuccessful, until the last one. He encouraged me to see a specialist in another state. 2 months after surgery I was pregnant with my oldest child, and have been pain free from endo since! It wasn't always easy & it was stressful on our marriage at times. The endometriosis is something I believe I've had since my teens (wasn't diagnosed until I was 30!). It effected every job I ever held. I missed work every month because of the pain.

handfulsoflife We lived out of the country for several years in our infertility journey. Not having family to reach out to at any moment really helped my husband and I bond together more. More than we would have if we were near family. I know I would of called one of my sisters instead of talking with my husband for some of what I was going thru. Also the timing for fertile days and "we might get pregnant so let's have sex" took a lot of romance and spontaneity out of our marriage. Realizing that I was not the only one trying to get pregnant.... my husband was too... grieving the losses together helped us become closer.

thesimplemama@trustinginduetime You are so right!! It changed me (eventually for the better, but it was a long road).

thesimplemama@katiecampbell Yes!!! I know exactly what you mean!!!

thesimplemama@vgd121 Amen to date nights!

thesimplemama@evagreco Sweet friend, I didn't know you were in the infertility club!! We are lucky to have hubbies who grieved with us.

thesimplemama@mrsweems Precious friend, I love you and your transparency. The jealousy monster was a big one for me too. So glad we get to do motherhood together now

thesimplemama@peachesandpotatoes Right back at ya, sister!!

thesimplemama@saharaviolet Wow! What a great positive perspective! Your words are encouraging. Proud of you for making some big changes!!!

thesimplemama@decor8ingjunke Undiagnosed endometriosis was one of the main reasons we struggled with infertility too!!! Looking back it seemed so obvious that that's what I had but never knew it. So glad you are pain free now and have a precious little one too

thesimplemama@handfulsoflife That must've been so hard at the time. Thank you for sharing your story

What kind of stress, in the form of time, energy, and money, can women face in dealing with infertility?

(Host) howtobuyababy Sometimes I feel like infertility has swallowed me whole. While I refuse to let it define me, it seeps into every aspect of my life. A career change? How can I manage flux in my work life with so much angst and uncertainty in my personal life? A holiday? How can we take a vacation with the time and expense of infertility? All decisions now are considered through the prism of infertility. I try to live in the moment but every month I wonder, 'is this the month I'll become a mom?'

dreamingpinkandblue I totally agree. It creeps through my thoughts constantly, has devoured all our money. Makes me feel lost and not whole. It's caused stress in our marriage but through all of this we can still come out on top!!

theshaulisfamily That must be so hard. Thanks forgiving us a glimpse into your struggle.

thesimplemama The schedule of fertility treatments is so exhausting. I tried NOT to dwell on what number day I was on, but that never worked. And the money. Oh my. So expensive!!!! Looking back, I would do it all the same though.

dailydelivered I've known many friends who have borrowed and spent entire savings on fertility treatments only to end up being lead to adopt. I can't imagine the amount of stress that has on a marriage. No matter how you become a parent, the trials and journey are worth it!

lenae_hamman Great topic! Hits close to home! Your answer is spot on. The costs are overwhelming and it makes it impossible to justify spending money on anything that isn't a necessity.

danielle_kubik12 It has affected every aspect of our lives. It's made me an emotional wreck, a #poasaddict, obsessed with any and everything fertility related. I just pray it happens for us soon.

vgd121 All the stress! Time: appointments are time consuming and frequent. I am in the middle of IVF and I missed 4 hrs of work last week and will probably miss that again this week not including retrieval! Also, time moves slow-- we don't get to pick when we conceive (obviously) and it's all about patience and waiting. Energy: takes a toll on you emotionally and is just tiring over time. Not to mention meds, appointments and everything just saps your energy and makes ya want to go to bed at 8 every night. Finances: no insurance coverage for most people means this is alllllll expensive. So very expensive. I never expected to have to make the financial decisions we have had to make the past 2 yrs

howtobuyababy@vgd121 this description is so bang on. Thanks for making the rest of us feel less alone.

saharaviolet Your answer about all the decisions made through the lens of infertility is exactly how I feel. Should we change out our completely shot flooring/carpeting? Nope! Infertility. Should we plan to see MIL out of country next year? Nope! Infertility. And on and on. For years. And if I'm feeling low about other things (business, overwhelm etc.) I always add infertility to my mental list of reasons I'm a failure. Yikes. It's bad. Today was bad.
howtobuyababy@saharaviolet you are no failure! You are strong and courageous and amazing for talking about infertility at all! And we're allowed to be sad, right?! (I just had the should we change our completely shit bathroom question today. Nope! Infertility).

katiecampbellIt is SO stressful and time consuming and financially burdensome. All the appts and years spent waiting... stressful making decisions and coping with life while suffering... financially overwhelming planning and feeling trapped by financial limits. People who don't go through infertility will never know the things we wrestle with. The battle isn't for the faint of heart, but I feel a stronger woman because of it.

evagrecoThe counting of days - was constantly on my mind. Time consuming appointments. Office staff at the dr became like family.

sherryfelice I know what you mean @saharaviolet I was really down after getting some disappointing news concerning my treatment, my hubby trying to cheer me up brought me a piece of jewelry from tiffany's, instead of being thankful all I can think about is, that money could have been spent on ivf medication

peachesandpotatoes@danielle_kubik12 I'm praying for you too! It's soooo hard! Be gentle on will be an amazing mom one day!!

saharaviolet That was fun @howtobuyababy, I've never done a loop before and it felt good to read and write with other people going through this and allies. Lots of love and support.

handfulsoflife The stress of infertility affects all of the above. Infertility taps every resource you have... every single one. It's exhausting and overwhelming.

howtobuyababy@saharaviolet so happy to meet you. Sending you so much love and support!

howtobuyababy@handfulsoflife thank you so much for the validation. That's exactly how I feel, like every resource has been tapped.

amie_traveling I can relate to these answers so much!! The time factor is what kills me the most. I have spent SO. MUCH. TIME (over)researching everything fertility-related the last year+. It makes me sad to think what I could be doing with my time instead!!

How can I be sensitive to the rare emotions of woman dealing with infertility?

(Host) handfulsoflife In my experience with infertility having friends who would just let me talk, work thru my emotions (tears, sorrow, anger, loss of hope...), pray with me. Not say "they understood" if they did not was huge for me. I was excited to celebrate a new life with friends and family but went home devastated. Have friends who understood that roller coaster of emotions was so important for me. I also have a dear friend, who at the most difficult years of my infertility, would open her home and her couch to me. She wept when I wept, she listened to my anger and frustrations and my sorrows. She was a listening ear and provided comfort, a safe place and prayers for me and my husband.

theshaulisfamily Maybe letting her talk? Just listening and encouraging? My friend lost her baby while I was pregnant. We were supposed to have babies around the same time. She just often wanted to talk. And she didn't want me to act like it had never happened.

thesimplemama Ooh that's a great question! I think for me I needed people to stop pretending that it wasn't a major part of our everyday was constantly on my mind. I needed people to cry with me when I needed to cry. Distract me when I needed to be distracted. And be mad with me when I needed to be mad. Those same people were there when our first baby was finally born.

howtobuyababy Such a good question! I think just listening. There is a tendency to want to problem solve, offer advice, but really we know all the options out there. We're on Google all the time, re: our infertility. We don't need our family and friends to get us pregnant (if only) we just need them to listen to our pain!

brittany.willard Just that, be sensitive and aware of their words. I have precious friends who don't realize that half of what they say regarding our struggles (we have two children here by gods grace, two in glory, I can't get pregnant anymore, and trying to adopt) can literally leave me crying for days if I'm in a bad place that week/month. Just be aware - look up on Pinterest what to say and what not to say.

dailydelivered Really listen to your friend. Everyone handles the road to parenthood differently. For me, I wasn't sensitive at all so it actually annoyed me when people acted so sensitive towards the topic. Being an encourager is a great tip!

lenae_hamman Great topic! I'm an IVF momma myself! Like you I had one amazing friend that supported me through our whole infertility journey. She was one of the few who truly understood and it made things so much easier. We shed a lot of tears together and we are best friends for life.

danielle_kubik12 Listening and not telling me to "just relax and it will happen" or "just be patient" that's the most frustrating part for me. Then seeing people all around me get pregnant kills me. We have 3 relatives who are expecting at the moment. I struggle even explaining to my husband how it feels.

vgd121 This is a hard question. I don't want to tell people they have to tip toe around me, but there are definitely things that help or hurt. One thing that bothers me the most is when people tell me "don't be upset" "don't be so negative" "don't be bitter". I don't like being told how I should feel. I'd rather they say "I'm sorry you are feeling bitter today. I can imagine that's hard"

bitsofsweetness Being careful about balancing talking about my kids with listening to their life. Kids are a blessing but I know it can be hard to see and hear about other people's.

katiecampbell I think listening and even simply asking. Sometimes those of us walking through infertility feel like a burden so we feel like we can't be honest with our emotions. Friends that were intentional about asking made me feel I could open up.

trustinginduetime Just being there to encourage. Praying. Believing. Caring

saharaviolet Asking me how it's going would be great. It feels like a taboo people wait for me to mention and then I'm not sure if I've exhausted their ears about it so I don't tend to volunteer too much and then it feels even more taboo- a vicious cycle.

evagreco Listen and pray

peachesandpotatoes@danielle_kubik12 that was so hard for me too! My heart goes out to you! I'm so sorry you're going through this pain right now.

peachesandpotatoes It meant so much when people asked about it. When people were sad for me or prayed for me, I knew they felt for me. Even if they didn't always say the most helpful thing, just feeling their love was enough to know they were there for me. I tried to let people's comments and advice roll off my back, especially if I felt like they were sincerely trying to be helpful and supportive. It was really only when people laughed it off or criticized me for the way I was feeling (like "just you wait until you're a mom, *then* you'll know what hard really is!") that I felt like people were being insensitive.

randomlyrachels Loved ones who will listen and stick around for all the ups and downs of the "roller coaster"--which is truly the best way to describe it.

handfulsoflife@theshaulisfamily I think that is one of the hardest things about miscarriage is the mom needing to talk, and not having a person she fills safe with, acknowledgement of her child and loss and so many just don't know what to say. Being a listener is so powerful!

handfulsoflife@thesimplemama YES... I too am grateful for those people in my life.

handfulsoflife@howtobuyababy I totally agree!

handfulsoflife@brittany.willard I'm so grateful for conversations like this chat loop! More awareness of what is ok to say would be so helpful.

handfulsoflife@dailydelivered encouragers are so important!

handfulsoflife@lenae_hamman I'm so grateful that you have/had a friend beside you on your journey!

handfulsoflife@danielle_kubik12 I can so relate. I wanted to scream when someone gave me one of those answers!

handfulsoflife@vgd121 those are great answers!

handfulsoflife@katiecampbell intentional friends are the best. I too, didn't want to burden or share my pain with others. I felt like there are some sorrows of life that you shouldn't have to experience unless you have to experience. Having friends who were there for me helped me see past that.

handfulsoflife@saharaviolet I so appreciated friends who asked and really listened

handfulsoflife@peachesandpotatoes it is so important that our feelings are recognized and not dismissed. I don't know why people do that.

l_cline87 Aw this is such a wonderful community.. I wish I had discovered it while I was battling through all of it!

littledove.justine I didn't know you went through that for five years!

Secondary infertility doesn't get much attention. What are some ways you have encouraged women struggling with secondary infertility? If you have struggled with it, what are some things not to say? Is there anything that has helped?

(Host) theshaulisfamily Just listening and supporting them through their tough time will go a long way I think. I'm all ears......I look forward to learning from you ladies who have walked this path.

howtobuyababy Infertility is infertility is infertility and it's all heartbreaking!

thesimplemama I think it's almost harder to go through secondary infertility bc if it worked the first time, why isn't it working the 2nd time around?!? I think the same level of sensitivity should be displayed (and maybe even more). Such a hard thing for sure!

simplesundaymornings Infertility is so hard, so I don't discount anyone's journey... but I'd be lying if through my journey, I didn't think this when people try to talk to me about their story. I never say it out loud, but we all know that infertility makes us think selfishly from time to time. It's so hard.

theshaulisfamily@thesimplemama that's a good point. I had a friend who struggled being told she couldn't have any more after having 4 kids. Society told her she had enough, but she was still sad.

theshaulisfamily@simplesundaymornings I can see that. Because someone who doesn't have any would love to have the problem infertility bc it means they at least had one.

brittany.willard Omg! I don't refer to it as secondary, it's just infertility - the pain is the same. Each loss was the same and each longing for another is the same. We have 2 - struggle to have them, 2 in heaven & I can't get pregnant. We are trying to adopt. Waiting to be matched. Things not to say, oh here's my baby hold him for a bit then u won't want one. Or "you already have two why isn't that good enough ?" "You have 2 just realize that's all god wants for your family"

brittany.willard All things not to say. Oh there are a million more sadly. The thing that helps is just when friends let me talk. That's it.

lenae_hamman OMG AMAZING TOPIC! Hits close to home for sure. Secondary infertility is so hard because, like you said, people think '1 is enough' but if your heart is longing for a child, whether its number 1 or number 5, it is still devastating if that dream can't come true. I would encourage woman to look to God and keep faith through all suffering and waiting. He always provides for the faithful in His time!

dailydelivered Gosh, I haven't actually had friends deal with this so I don't have experience. I know that for the last 3.5 years since having my firstborn I definitely hoped and longed to experience another pregnancy. I knew the chances were slim, but I trusted God had a plan and BAM, out of the blue we are expecting. Such a shocker since we waited 9 years the first time around!

theshaulisfamily@brittany.willard yes that must be hard. :( some people are insensitive. Prayers that you can adopt AND have more of your own. I have several friends who got pregnant right around when their adoption was finalized.

theshaulisfamily@lenae_hamman the best advice. Hard to follow tho I'm sure.

theshaulisfamily@dailydelivered so happy for you!!

lenae_hamman@theshaulisfamily Yes so hard. It took me a long time during our journey to figure that out but when I did it lifted so much weight off!

danielle_kubik12 I don't have much experience with secondary infertility but I couldn't imagine it being any easier to deal with.

theshaulisfamily@danielle_kubik12 prayers for you.

katiecampbell I had IVF twins and the ache for more burns stronger than I expected. I often feel people think because I'm so grateful for my twins that all my infertility problems went away when they were born. I think having the space to be honest and open about my reality makes me me feel loved and cared for by my friends.

theshaulisfamily@katiecampbell thank you for your transparency. I'm sure that's tough. Hugs and prayers that you can have more little ones to hold.

vgd121 I am not dealing with this personally but I think it comes down to being open and offering grace to one another. We don't know what it's like to walk in another's shoes. Even if sometimes I,as a primary infertility sufferer, feel like "gee at least they have a child" it's not my place to judge or belittle another persons feelings. I would love more than one child myself so I can't really see myself outwardly chastising someone for wanting to add to their family.

trustinginduetime It's super common in my @momsinthemaking group!

theshaulisfamily@vgd121 offering grace. So good!! Prayers for you on your journey.

theshaulisfamily@trustinginduetime that looks like a good support group!

saharaviolet I am struggling with secondary infertility. My first and only child will be 16 this year. That is crazy to me, that I'm working so hard to have another child when I've been parenting so long in my adult life already. Should I just be thankful he came along so early in my life and do all the fun adult stuff now? No. The joy he brings me shows me I'm not done parenting. I've been sad lately because 4 years in to infertility, everything my teen is doing makes me feel sad that I may never get to do any of this again, and I think my emotions around this could be negatively impacting my parenting sometimes.

peachesandpotatoes@lenae_hamman beautifully said!!

peachesandpotatoes@saharaviolet prayers for you! I hope it happens!

peachesandpotatoes Having been through such an emotional roller coaster and multiple losses before my son, the thought of having to go through all that again is overwhelming. That's not how it happened for us, thankfully (#2 and #3 came more quickly than I expected!), but I still get anxiety at the thought of having another miscarriage or having to have surgery again to add to my family. And the unknown is what's so hard! Not knowing when or if it's going to happen. I know if I had to go through all that again it would be worth it, and I hope that I would remember how to let go and be patient with God's timing, but it would be so hard.

theshaulisfamily@saharaviolet awww....that's rough. Prayers for you on your journey. Hang in there mama

theshaulisfamily@peachesandpotatoes so glad you now have 3 littles to hold. Thanks for bringing up this topic.

decor8ingjunkeI have not suffered secondary infertility; however, I have a dear friend who does. This post makes me wonder if I've been supportive enough to her. @vandymandy7 , what could I do to be there for you?

handfulsoflife We had secondary infertility and had just moved to a new military base when we were wanting to get pregnant. Being open to share my story helped friends share their struggles as well. Having friends who really listened and prayed with me were gold for me.

handfulsoflife@saharaviolet I'm so sorry. I will be praying for you.

theshaulisfamily@handfulsoflife thanks for sharing!!!

How can I be there for a woman AND her partner, as a couple, who are dealing with infertility?

(Host) thesimplemomlife I have a friend that went through this and the best way I found to be there for her and her partner was spending time with them. Sounds easy right? It is! Spending quality time with them and sharing simple moments was really a way of me proving I was there, I'm a friend and I am here if you need me for anything. Offering my time and helping in any way is really powerful for a couple going through infertility. Sometimes they really just need someone to talk to!

theshaulisfamily A listening ear...good advice!
peachesandpotatoes That's beautiful! I felt like it was hard whenever infertility came between a friend and her partner...letting her vent without taking sides was so important. And definitely being a friend to her *and* her partner brought us all closer together.

vale_1614 Such a great read!!!

thesimplemama My husband and I struggled with infertility the exact same time as our best friends did. We were all 4 a hot mess at times! Ha! But I'm so thankful we could be there for one another as couples. It definitely brought us all closer together.

dailydelivered Being an encouragement when you know they are down and praying for them. I believe that's the best way to be there for them!

lenae_hamman Amazing topic! I'm an IVF momma myself! It can be hard to support a woman's partner. My husband didn't show much emotion to others during our journey. I would defiantly just be there as a listening ear and check in with them to see how things are going. Let them know it is ok for them to be struggling too.

danielle_kubik12 Going out and doing things to help keep our minds off of the stresses of #ttc. Seems like we are always waiting for something, ovulation, BDing, tww then start all over again.

vgd121 I think the best thing to do is listen to them. They might want to vent or tell you about their recent plans for treatment. Or they might just want to talk about anything else but trying to get pregnant or kids. Be kind to them and don't tell them how they should feel or suggest things they try. Often suggestions like "hey have you thought about clomid? Or "what about adoption" are already questions or situations they have already answered. What I'm saying is you probably are not bringing them the golden solution!

saharaviolet My husband doesn't seem too emotional around the subject. He just seems totally resolved to get us pregnant somehow. I wish I felt the way he does (or at least seems on the outside). I'm not sure how others should support the both of us tbh, because he doesn't seem to need more than me and doctors to talk about it. I hope *I'm* being as supportive as I can be.

peachesandpotatoes@thesimplemama that's so beautiful! What blessings those friends must be!

handfulsoflife Having friends who invited us out or over to just hang out. I agree with @danielle_kubik12 , things that got our minds and conversations out/off the roller coaster of infertility.

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