Today in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), please welcome Shawna from Lunchbox Babies! Shawna is no stranger to infertility and has a beautiful story. Today, she’s sharing some life lessons that she’s learned on her journey. I hope that today’s post encourages and inspires you.-Jessi
Life Lessons From My Journey With Infertility & Miscarriage
Since launching my blog, I have chatted with several women about infertility and loss. The one theme that runs through these conversations is how hard being in the middle of it all feels. How isolating. How alone.
I am so thankful that my crazy road of infertility and loss is over. However, the lovely “what if” can still rear its ugly head, and I must make a conscious effort to move on from those thoughts.
I have learned so many things about life and myself throughout this crazy journey of mine. As I walk forward, looking back has been a strangely rewarding experience. I have gotten to see the lessons that I have learned, and I want to pass them onto you.
Everyone has struggles. Not just me.
Do you have that person in your life that seems to have it all together? In my case, this friendly acquaintance made a wish on a star to get pregnant, sneezed and her babies popped out in delivery, and I think that birds followed her around as she sang Disney songs. Part of that could be slightly exaggerated. Maybe. I remember when I found out that it was all an act. That she struggled. Not like with me in my walk of infertility and loss. But in her own way. Everyone is struggling with something that we know nothing about. My cross to bear is infertility and multiple miscarriages. Her walk was different than mine, but she struggled. A lot. When you are walking through infertility, it is SO EASY to feel like you are the only one struggling. Now, all of the women around you may be blessed with royal ovaries and the men may all have super sperm, but they all have their issues as well. This DOES NOT make your journey any easier, and your desire for a child any less. But, offering grace in the face of heartbreak sometimes makes it a bit easier to bear.
This too shall pass.
Isn’t that phrase SUPER ANNOYING? Do you know how many times I heard that, or I even said it to myself? When you are walking the road, it feels like a lifetime. Here is the good news. This is temporary. All of it. Whatever the outcome. I pray that the outcome for you is having your own little miracle children running around your house. But, one day, your membership at the super awesome infertility sorority will end, you can stop running the never-ending marathon, and you and I can be chatting about the life lessons YOU learned during your journey.
I am stronger than I am giving myself credit for.
We ALL are! In any challenge that presents itself to us. Looking back over just the last year, I am amazed at how far I have come. Twenty months ago, I sat in Labor & Delivery, got an epidural and delivered a baby that was already in Heaven. I have no idea how I made it through that time. Prayers from family and friends were the only way I survived, and I am only stronger now. When you are in the midst of your battle with infertility, you will feel like you can’t go on. You will feel like it is all too much. You are strong. Keep up the fight. Find your prayer warriors. Find your people. When you look back at this time in your life, you will be amazed at how strong you were.
Don’t isolate yourself.
When we were trying to get pregnant with Jackson, I was DESPERATE to give Harlan a sibling. A handful of miscarriages and failed pregnancy attempts made me isolate myself. I didn’t want to talk about it with anyone, I was scared that we would never have another baby, and I kind of became a different person. I really felt like I was a shell of myself. I look back at conversations that I had during that time, and I was just TRYING to be “normal”. I became a bit anxious in social situations, just praying that no one would mention my situation or have “fun” pregnancy news of their own. Walking the infertility journey can feel isolating enough, don’t make it worse by retreating into yourself. Ask for help, hugs, and a laugh.
It is hard to walk away. Know when it is time.
Once you have struggled with getting pregnant or keeping a pregnancy it is VERY difficult to know when to walk away from that journey. You can be amazingly blessed by your husband and your children (if you have them), but also feel like you should keep trying to have one more kiddo. No judgment from me over here. I get it. But a time will come when you know it is over. Accepting that is the hardest. For me, that moment came on Thanksgiving in 2017. I had just lost my second baby of the year and was sitting at the kitchen table playing cards with my youngest. We were having so much fun, and as he was laughing at one of my awesome mom jokes, it just came to me. I can either spend my time concentrating on my two boys or spend my time concentrating on trying to grow our family. They don’t need another sibling as much as they need me. My love, my time, my full attention. That realization was the worst. But it was what was best for our family. Sweet friends that are dealing with this decision right now . . . praying for YOU! It is not an easy decision.
I hope that these life lessons may be helpful for any and all of you. If you would like me to pray for you during your challenging journey, please send me an email. I would love to be a prayer warrior for you. I have my share of prayer warriors and could not have survived without them. XO