Accepting Reality While Allowing Yourself to Dream During Infertility

I started playing games with all of you on my stories because I wanted to get to know YOU better. (it's kind of weird to spill my heart out to people I barely know, if at all) Last night's game was about babies. Just for fun & for dreaming's sake.

One of the questions was, "how many kids do you want to have?" which, I am well aware of, isn't always up to us. And after receiving DM after DM about people being unsure of the number of kids they would have, another question popped into my brain: do you allow yourself to dream?

Honestly, do you allow yourself to dream of the future?

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In the beginning of our journey, dreaming was SO hard because I either lived in my daydreams or cried in my reality. And friends, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: neither one of those things is a very fun way to live.

SO how do we accept our reality AND allow ourselves to dream a little bit?

After thinking about this for a while (aka literally all day long), I thought about my own journey of learning to live in reality while still dreaming and planning for the future. There have been lots of experiences in the last few years that have been lightbulb moments to help me realize that it’s okay to live and it’s okay to dream.

At the beginning of my journey, my biggest issue that I struggled with when it came to dreaming and hoping was that I couldn’t control or plan when things would happen for us. No matter how hard we tried, I couldn’t control when our babies would come. I couldn’t plan when I’d be pregnant or when I’d have babies. I had to learn to let go of my need for control. I had to learn to accept my story. But as I learned to accept my story, I had to learn how to have the courage to dream again.

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As I learned to dream and set goals (I practiced with dreams and goals that didn’t pertain to motherhood or pregnancy), I started doing EVERYTHING I could to turn those dreams into reality. Which then gave me the courage to see a fertility specialist. I realized, at that point, we hadn’t been doing everything in our power to have a baby. I worked on trusting in the processes and procedures our doctors recommended. I practiced trusting in God’s timing and plan. And I practiced having hope. I learned in the time that I spent living in daydreams and crying in my reality was wasted time because even though my reality wasn’t what I expected or thought it should be, I learned that my reality was still good. My story still mattered. My goal and dream of being a mom was still achievable and that one day, I would be a mom; regardless of who birthed my babies-- being a mom isn’t just about pregnancy and birth-- it’s more than that. It’s the ability to love and care for the babies and people that were put into my path.

I began trying to see my experiences of trying and waiting as a positive thing for my future babies. I know that in the future when I have babies, I want to teach them to stay positive, have hope and not give up when things get hard. I realized a while ago, that the best way to teach my babies that will be through my own example. I couldn’t give up on our dream of having babies. At this point, I had to find hope.

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Before our journey began, I always said I wanted to have six babies. After we had tried for a year or so and I realized that six babies could potentially be a more difficult thing, I was sad for a while. This was another dream that infertility had taken from me. But then I thought about the root of my dreams of being a mama. Was my dream to be a mom of six or was my dream to be a mom? If I didn’t have six kids, would I just be a cruddy mom to the babies that I was able to have? Gosh, I hope not because the root of my dream is just to be a mom; not to be a mom to a specific number of kids. I hope that I will be the best mama to as many babies as I am blessed to have. And I had to learn to have an abundance mindset when it comes to babies-- there are enough babies in Heaven for me to be able to become a mom.

It was after all of these lessons that I learned how to dream again. Dreaming is good. Dreaming is okay. But it’s also  important to remember that reality is good. Reality is beautiful in its own way. Reality can be incredible.

Infertility has been such a heart-wrenching journey, but it has taught me so much. It’s a journey for everyone else too. If you’re still learning how to dream again, I hope you’ll remember that dreaming is good and that reality can be incredible and beautiful too.


Good Grief is a resource that really helped me to make these breakthroughs. I would highly recommend Good Grief to anyone who is struggling through their journey.

How My Job Saved My Life During the Darkest Part of My Infertility Journey

I hardly ever talk in great detail about the dark places that infertility took me to. Partly because I don't want to remember those places & partly because going there is so easy. It's easy to be sad when something sad is happening to you. And I know that a lot of my TTC sisters reading my posts are in the trenches right now, so I don't talk about those dark places in detail for them.

But today I want to be a little more open about the dark places to help you understand more about what infertility can do to a person AND I want to tell you about something that truly saved my life and helped me (& still helps me today) climb out of the dark places and find hope, happiness and purpose outside of being a mother.

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There are a few individual days in the last few years that I will never forget. But honestly, when I think back to 2017 it feels like being in a movie flashback. You know when the picture is kind of fuzzy, they have that hideous black vignette around the edges of the picture and everything is just a little bit darker than normal? That's what those memories feel like because that's what almost every day felt like.

I felt like I was walking around purposeless. I didn't have a job that felt like it was secure or steady. I wasn't going to school. I still didn't have any friends that lived near me. I was trying (seemingly) unsuccessfully to build a photography business. I hated going to church because it gave me major anxiety. Our infertility treatments weren't successful & we were running out of money to do more. I felt like a complete failure. (Narrator: She cries as she types because holy cow those feelings of failure were so real and going back to them makes them feel fresh.)

I struggled so hard with anxiety and depression. It felt like the more I tried to not be anxious and depressed, the more anxious and depressed I was. I was so unhappy with so many things in my life. I felt so stuck and like such a loser. I had friends having babies number 2 and 3 and I just wanted ONE. I was convinced that having a baby would give me the purpose I needed to be happy again. It would give me the life I wanted and the life I needed.

And in 2017, we didn't have a baby.

We didn't even get pregnant. We just flushed money down the toilet trying to get there.

Okay. Now that you are adequately depressed & all of the TTC sisters are nodding their heads because #infertilelife let's talk about what happened next.

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Remember how I said I was trying to build my photography business? At the tailend of 2017, I came up with an idea for my business that would change my life forever. (Narrator: this is a true statement. Not just hyperbole.) Blogger Photography Contracts.

I began working solely with bloggers in January of 2018. I worked with them on a weekly basis. My calendar was suddenly filled with work, I met clients that quickly turned into friends, and I felt fulfilled.

But it wasn't photography or owning my own business that was the game changer. It was the fact that I didn't have time to think about the things that made me sad. I didn't have time or energy to dwell on the fact that we didn't have babies. I was so distracted by actually living life that I didn't dwell on the fantasy life I thought I should have.

And friends, I call this the art of distraction.

Distraction is usually painted in a negative light. But here and now I want to focus on the benefits that being distracted brought me.

  1. I became a WAY better photographer. (Trade photographer for whatever type of hobby you want to develop) I was spending 2-4 hours every single weekday shooting. I was spending 2-4 hours every single weekday editing. That's almost full-time job status (p.s. I was also working full-time for a marketing company too, so I REALLY didn't have time to be sad).

  2. I was forced to keep the commitments I made. My clients were depending on me to show up for them. We had a long-term contract and it was important to them that I be there prepared & ready to help them.

  3. I made friends. I honestly think this was one of the biggest benefits for me. I shot with my bloggers on a weekly basis for an entire year. I saw my bloggers more than I saw my own family. I developed relationships with them & learned so much from them.

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There are so many benefits to having a distraction from the sad things in your life. If you're feeling discouraged because photography just isn't your thing, let me tell you about a few other distractions that helped me:

  • We got a puppy & took him to puppy classes to help train him. (Another commitment where we had to get out of the house, met new friends and learned something new)

  • I started a new job (remember the marketing company?). I learned SEO and met new friends. And again, this was a commitment that forced me to get out of bed in the morning.

  • I created Good Grief. (Guys, creation is so good for the soul)

  • I created a morning routine to give me some stability in my life.

I also created a list of other things you could try to distract yourself from being sad. See below.

My job helped me find the rainbows in life and taught me to seek them. I had to look for reasons to be happy because people were relying on me and I had to stick to my commitments. If you're in a dark place, know that there is hope. Know that there is healing. It will take time to climb out, but you can get there. You have purpose and you have more purpose than to just make babies and be a mom (that is a wonderful purpose, don't get me wrong, but it is not your ONLY purpose). I am praying for you. You are not alone. Keep going. You've got this.

 

“No rain, no rainbows.”

 

In church a few weeks ago, we discussed Tad R. Callister's talk, The Atonement of Jesus Christ. As we read through it, the following paragraphs stood out to me and reminded me so much of my own healing process.

"Alma prophesied that Christ 'shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind.' Why? 'That his bowels may be filled with mercy, … that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.'

How does He accomplish this? Sometimes He removes the affliction, sometimes He strengthens us to endure, and sometimes He gives us an eternal perspective to better understand their temporary nature. After Joseph Smith had languished in Liberty Jail for about two months, he finally cried out, 'O God, where art thou?' Instead of providing instant relief, God responded, 'My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.'

Joseph now understood that this bitter experience was but a dot on the eternal spectrum. With this enhanced vision, he wrote the Saints from that same prison cell, 'Dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God.' Because of the Savior’s Atonement, we can have an eternal perspective that gives meaning to our trials and hope for our relief."

As we go through our own afflictions or trials, I hope we can remember that there is hope and relief ahead. I don't know what relief looks like for you, but I know that it is available for you. I am so grateful to know that this "small moment" (that may last longer than 5 minutes-- we're going on 3.5 years now) is just that. It is a small moment and that God has a bigger plan for our family.

I have learned so much in the last year. Those dark days were not worthless. They helped me to see that I didn't want to live my entire life in that way. They helped me to realize that there was so much more for me to live for and so much more for me to do.

Please share this post. Infertility is a battle that so many people struggle silently with. Today you can help someone by letting them know that their struggle is on your radar, even if you don't know that they personally are hurting, being aware & educated is so helpful.

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IVF Tips & Tricks

Since sharing our IVF journey I've received a few questions wanting tips and tricks for IVF. But because we haven't done a transfer yet this post will be added to later once I can share my tips for that too!

Even though we've only done IVF once, (you can read about our IVF Process here!) I feel like our stim cycle and retrieval went really well and I have a few things that I want to share to help you have a successful cycle!

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Why Your Friend DOESN'T Talk About Their Infertility Journey

The more I share about my infertility journey, the more I have people tell me that they don't know anyone personally who struggles with infertility. Or they say something like, “I wish my friend would have told me more about their journey, then I could have been more helpful.”

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