Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Endurance

For those of you who are church-goers, have you ever gone to church and felt like the pastor was speaking directly to you? Like he is addressing everything you are going through and his sermon was written specifically to encourage you with your current struggles? I have felt like this every Sunday for weeks, and I have been taking a lot of notes so I can go back to them for encouragement and insight. I wanted to let you all know a little of what he said in hopes that you find encouragement too.

Pastor has been doing a sermon series on Nehemiah for a few weeks now. In his first sermon on the series, he talked about how Nehemiah went straight to prayer and fasting when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem had fallen. He said that when disaster comes, we usually do one of two things: we ignore the problem or we frantically try to fix the problem. We do not usually immediately turn to prayer. This spoke to me quite a bit. In this journey, how much time have I spent charting, researching, blogging, and doing other things to “fix” my problems? We always have a plan B, plan C, heck we’re on plan G right now, but I think in a lot of ways, pastor was right–I spend a whole lot more time trying to fix our fertility issues than I do praying about them. Which is funny considering they are ultimately out of my hands.

Yesterday, I swear pastor was talking to me. The sermon was on endurance. Pastor talked about rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and how the people were tired and wanted to quit after the wall was half built, and he said that opposition is inevitable, especially when you are doing something that God has called you to. Something I thought was particularly relevant was when he said that the tools Satan uses to bring opposition haven’t changed over the years. Nehemiah refers to discouraging people (Neh 4:1-3) and discouraging progress (Neh 4:9-10), and these are things we face today. I think it is something we especially face with infertility. I know each of us has had a conversation with someone who just didn’t understand and ended up discouraging or upsetting us instead of building us up, and I also know that we have all faced discouraging results–things just don’t move along the way we want them to. Every cycle it feels like we have to start over from the beginning, especially if we experience a loss. Pastor kept emphasizing: just keep praying, just keep building, just keep picking up bricks, just keep praying.

It was just really encouraging yesterday to hear this–to be reminded to persevere through prayer. Prayer may not make me able to have a child, but it will encourage me and it will keep me connected to God and His plan.

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Inspiration

I’m having a hard time finding the joy right now, so I’ve been pretty dependent on inspirational quotes and bible verses to encourage me. I have multiple sticky notes on my monitors at work, and I have a “Secret” board on Pinterest called “IF/Loss.” Don’t pretend like you don’t have one. I’m always encouraged when Storkchaser over at Dog Mom Chasing the Stork posts inspirational photos, so I figured I would share some that have helped me. I hope they help you too.

TRUTH

always try again

<3 <3

at least it makes you smile for a second. :)

not your identity

Never let the odds stop you.

I refuse to be reduced by my inability to have children.

I need to make a sign and hang it where I will see it everyday!

I tried to link to the original site for each of the pictures so you can click on them to get to the source, but since I got them all from Pinterest, a few had broken links that didn’t work. You can’t say I didn’t try. Have a lovely Tuesday, everyone.

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The Wonderful and the Stupid

I’m going to start by saying that nothing seems to elevate my mood and calm me down like jazz music, and I am so happy that it is finally late enough in the year for me to play jazzy Christmas music at my desk at work :o)

In my last two posts, I told you about our current TTC plan and our adoption back up plan, and today I want to tell you about some of the reactions we have received from the few people we have told about our plan to adopt if we don’t get a viable pregnancy before April. I feel like this community is really good at complaining about the stupid things people say, so I really want to start on a positive note and tell you about the absolutely wonderful reaction we have received.

Hubby and I are friends with a wonderful couple that we absolutely love spending time with. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll call her Buttercup because we like to watch The Princess Bride together. Buttercup and her hubby have been married for about a year and a half and have been NTNP for most of their marriage, but she has problems with her thyroid and her hormone levels so there is a good chance that they will encounter problems whenever they do start TTC. Despite the fact that they are not in the same place as us, Buttercup is the most understanding person that I have spoken to about our journey, and she is my biggest source of strength and encouragement outside of this online community and hubby. She is actually the first person who told me that adoption through the foster care system is free, and when I told her our plan, she cried out of joy that we will become parents one way or another. Then she told me that they want to take the mandatory PATH (Parents As Tender Healers) class with us so they can become foster parents in the near future. Their friendship has honestly been a bigger blessing than I could ever ask for, and I find it very comforting to know that, if we do move on to adoption, they will be there with us :o)

The most common reaction we have received is the “once you adopt you are going to get pregnant” reaction, and while it gets old, it doesn’t really bother me that much. I usually just smile and say that means we will have two babies and my heart might just explode because I’ll be so happy. One thing that does bother me is when they take it one step further and say the reason we’ll get pregnant after adoption is because we’ll “just relax and stop trying.” I really don’t need to explain to this community why I find this so infuriating, but it especially upsets me because it isn’t even relevant to us. Our problem is not that we are too stressed to conceive or that we are trying too hard to conceive. Our problem is that our baby dies only a few weeks after conception. But, who knows, maybe if we adopt and relax, that will stop happening. Ugh. People are stupid.

Anyone else out there talking about the possibility of adoption? How have people reacted to that?

I still have to tell you all about hubby and sexy time, so keep an eye on your newsfeed ;o)

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What NOT to Say

It seems like every blog I read that deals with infertility/loss has at least one post on things that you should not say to a woman who is struggling with becoming pregnant or a loss. I wanted to share some things people have said that made me want to punch them in the face were unintentionally hurtful.

  • If it’s meant to be, it will happen:I’m fairly certain this is just something people say when they have no idea what to say. I think people believe this phrase makes them sound wise and empathetic, but I personally think it makes them sound insensitive and a bit moronic. I work in emergency services so I hear lots of horrible stories from our paramedics: babies that die from drug withdrawal because their mothers are addicts, toddlers who are covered in deep burns from their abusive parents, etc. Apparently, it was meant to be for these parents. If I don’t have kids, it’s because I just wasn’t meant to be a parent–obviously, I would be a huge failure at it.
  • All in God’s timing: Similar to the above phrase, this seems to be a phrase that people say when they have no idea what to say because they seem to think it makes them sound not only wise and empathetic, but also deeply spiritual. This is probably the phrase that I resent the most because it suggests I don’t have enough faith to trust in God’s timing and need to be reminded of it. Growing up, I never wanted kids. I thought the girls whose life goals were to grow up and be mothers needed their heads examined. Then something changed. Something I can’t quite put my finger on. I believe it was God working in my heart and calling me to be a mother, and I have a hard time believing that the God I love would call me to something yet keep me from doing it. In fact, I completely reject that suggestion.
  • Just relax–it will happen as soon as you stop trying: It seems like everyone I talk to knows someone who quit TTC and got pregnant. If my progesterone is low, not thinking about it will not magically bring it back up and cause me to get pregnant. Also, how are you supposed to make a big life decision, like having a baby, then not think about it? “Oh yes, I want a baby, but I’m going to pretend like I don’t so that it will actually happen.” You’re right, that makes perfect sense.
  • Just enjoy having sex with your husband: I find this highly offensive because it suggests that the fact that I’m upset about having trouble getting and staying pregnant means that I am not enjoying having sex with my husband. If good sex equaled babies, a lot of people with children would be childless and visa versa.
  • You are so young, you have plenty of time to have kids: I’m not entirely sure why everyone seems to think that 24 is too young to worry about fertility issues. Biologically, I should be at the peak of my fertility–nothing but downhill from here. Yet, despite a year of trying, we still don’t have a baby. Why do people insist that this isn’t cause for concern?
  • (Regarding my miscarriage) You didn’t have a miscarriage, you just had a late period: In the minds of a lot of people, a chemical pregnancy is not considered a miscarriage–it is a late period. According to this train of thought, if I hadn’t taken that pregnancy test, I wouldn’t even know that I was pregnant and therefore, that pregnancy didn’t count. When you spend nine months fruitlessly trying to get pregnant (like my choice of words there?), that second line is a huge cause for excitement and celebration. And no matter how far along you are, losing that piece of hope is devastating. To quote Dr. Seuss, “A person is a person, no matter how small.”

What should you say to someone struggling with fertility issues/loss?

How about, “I can’t possibly understand what you are going through right now, but I am truly sorry you are having to go through this.” That sounds good. Don’t try to relate to people that you can’t relate to–just because your sister’s best friend’s uncle’s first wife had a miscarriage does not mean you understand what I am going through, so stop trying to pretend like you do. You know what I have found the most comforting? A big hug (at an appropriate time, of course–don’t make me cry in the grocery store). You don’t have to say a word, just show me that you care, and you are there for me.

What sayings have you gotten that thoroughly tick you off? Has anyone said/done anything that genuinely comforted and encouraged you?

-Danielle

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