6 Things Never Say to Someone with Secondary Infertility

   I know that there are people out there who only have the best intentions at heart, but all it take is one misplaced word to not feel like it. How do I know? Because I was surrounded by them who thought they were helping and I had to teach them what I needed to hear and when. The topic I want to talk about is what to NOT say to a friend, or even spouse, that is going through secondary infertility.

   Here is what you don’t know about what’s going on in their head. They feel broken, insufficient, second class, crazy, misunderstood and FRUSTRATED. So the last thing they need right now is for you to make them feel worse even if that isn’t your intention. So here is a list of things that made my situation worse and you should avoid.

1. “You will get pregnant if you are just patient.” I hated this one because my husband and I have dealt with secondary infertility for two years before he finally got a vasectomy to finally end the misery. No, if you are patient it won’t always happen. We tried and tried and tried and, you know what it got us? More heartache. If your friend has been talking about doing something permanent about their type of infertility (mine was chromosomal so the baby wouldn’t develop properly and ending in miscarriage) then NEVER, once again NEVER, say this. You might not know how long they have actually been trying. In your mind it has only been a few months that they have been public about it, but they could have been trying for a year before they announced it.

  • So what should you say instead? “I understand and I am here to listen to you.” All your friend needs to know is that someone will listen to them. I know that was what I needed the most. My doctor wouldn’t listen, and no one else believed me since I didn’t always get a positive pregnancy test, but it would have been the best thing. And if you don’t feel comfortable then listen to the best of your ability and softly suggest they find a professional to talk with. We cannot be everyone’s counselor and sometimes we shouldn’t be. So if it is too much to handle, then suggesting some help isn’t off limits.

2. “Well you have a baby, so you should be thankful.” I am going to tell you what this means – heartless! This is probably one of the most heartless things someone could say to someone who is going through secondary infertility. If you think that they are not thankful for their child, then you are out of touch. Your friend isn’t upset about not being able to have more kids because they are not thankful, but rather they are grieving the death of a dream. Do you have more than one child? If so, then why did you want more children? Shouldn’t you have just been thankful with your first child? Ridiculous right? Well this heartless saying is like a knife to the heart.

  • What should you say instead? “You have a beautiful child (or children), but I understand your natural desire to want more children.” It is 100% natural to want more kids so, when you can’t, it’s hard to accept. If you make them think their desire needs to be invalid just because they already have kids, then you are missing the point of their pain. Because they have kids already is why they are the most frustrated. They get to stare at their fertility every single day, and it is painful to wrap their heads around why they have been barred from having anymore. So don’t discount the desire or make them feel bad for wanting more kids.

3. “God has a plan.” If they are religious (even if they are super strong in their beliefs), don’t throw God in there right away because frankly those going through secondary infertility are probably also having a tough time with their relationship with God. There is nothing but confusion on why He would allow this to happen to them, and there is also A LOT of anger. This was true for my husband and I and it still is a sore spot when a trigger happens. It’s something that will take years to get over. So DO NOT just throw this out there just because you have nothing else to say. It will do more harm than good.

  • What should you say instead? Honestly, feel it out. I would suggest you wait until they bring it up. Don’t be the one to bring it up first and DO NOT just throw Bible verses at them about God’s love and plan. Like I said, this might do more harm than good. God does have a plan and we cannot see it. The problem is that your friend might not be able to see past the next day let alone a year from now. So just listen and be there even if you don’t say anything and just sit there in silence while your friend processes.

4. “Pull up your boot straps and get over it. There are people out there worse off than you.” Now if you ever say this to a friend going through secondary infertility, know that I am smacking you over the head right now. When was the last time you got some terrible news and needed time to process? How would you have felt if someone had just come in and told you to pretty much stop caring about your loss and get over it? You might be in a really good spot right now, but your friend isn’t. They need to be validated and understood. Not told to just get over it because they can’t and in some ways they never will. Really, when you are told you can’t have anymore children, you don’t get over it completely. Instead you just get really good at faking it. What you, as the friend, don’t see is your friend’s heart over the years crumble a little bit more every time someone else announces they are pregnant or simply see a cute baby in the market and the mother is doing nothing but complaining about motherhood. Your friend would take that baby in a minute if they could because they know the pain of not having one.

  • What should you say instead? “Take as long as you need. I know this is a really hard thing, and I am here with you.” If your friend knows there is going to be someone there who knows their story and is there for them they will be more comfortable. Maybe talk about their triggers as time goes along and be there for them when one is triggered. They need to know that people understand this isn’t the same thing as a gold fish dying where you can just go to the pet store and buy a new one. This is a life time issue and it won’t go away. Like I said, we just get really good at faking it since we know that our family and friends don’t want to hear about it all the time. So we stop talking which isn’t good either, but we don’t want to always be miserable to be around. If your friend is starting to close up, then this is where I would really suggest they get help from a professional.

5. “If you just relax it will happen just like it did for me.” NEVER, I say NEVER, compare your story with your friend’s. I understand that our personal story is where we get our experience, but every story is different. If you dealt with infertility and things worked out for you then great, but that doesn’t mean it will work out for your friend. Also your friend doesn’t need you smearing your success in their face. I know that isn’t what you are thinking when you say this, but it’s not a thing of encouragement.

  • What should you say instead? NOTHING. Nothing about your story unless it is completely relevant to your friend. What do I mean? The same. You can try to be encouraging, but it doesn’t always come across as encouragement. So when in doubt, say nothing.

6. “This too shall pass.” This is not true. The pain might fade to a dull ache, but that ache will be there forever especially with having kids first. If external triggers aren’t hard enough, there are the internal triggers as well. Nothing hurts worse than seeing your three year old rocking her baby doll and tell you she is putting her baby sister to bed. Talk about a shot in the heart. It is hard enough having to deal with others outside the home, but when the other kid(s) start asking for a sibling and you know you can’t give them one then there is nothing to make that pain go away.

  • What should you say instead? “It will always hurt, but it will get easier each day.” I know this sounds counter productive but it does help. Why? Look at the first part. You validate their pain and the second part is the encouragement they need. Because it is a day by day process, and there is no way to speed up the process.

   So there you have it. What not to say and what to say to your friend who is going through secondary infertility. It’s a painful process that will probably last a life time so please be patient and just be there for them. Be their hero and their support as they try to move forward and learn what their new life is going to be. Things will get easier for them, but it is going to take some time.

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Second Hardest Day of My Life

   So today is a hard day for me because it was supposed to be my baby’s due date. I was supposed to be making hospital plans and having to pee every five minutes due to a growing baby using it as a trampoline. I was supposed to have a new nursery all prepared and have read my daughter books on how to be a big sister. But none of those things are happening for me and my husband. Instead of it being a day of accomplishment, it is a day of sadness at what we should be doing. Also tomorrow we are going to urology to make sure that we won’t lose another baby, Lord willing, ever again.

   But even though I am sad that we won’t be able to be like our friends who are about to deliver their babies or just announced they are expecting again, I am trying to find joy in what I have been blessed with. I have this beautiful miracle child who is more than enough for us to handle. I have the most wonderful and supportive husband to go through this with. And I have a loving support system who have prayed and supported me through these tough nine months. I thank everyone who has been there for me and my husband as we have gone back and forth with what is best for our family. I honestly couldn’t have done this without knowing that there were people out there praying for us and interceding the devil to not get us down. Thank you all again.

   So what is the next step for us? Well, my husband isn’t going to have the best Memorial Day Weekend this year that’s for sure, but he and I think it is best. Are you a woman or man in out position? Are you wondering if you have had enough? It’s okay to say that something like a Vasectomy is the best thing for you and your partner. There is nothing weak about it. Ask the male partner. He will never say that a vasectomy is a weak man’s decision. I don’t know one man who would honestly raise his hand and say “yes, I want a vasectomy”. So it’s not the easy way out by any means.

   I am actually a little nervous because someone else will be in my husband area and I have to say I am very protective of him. I mean, who wouldn’t be? So not only am I having an emotional day with it being my baby’s due date, but I am also a little stressed out with it being the final day of us trying for a baby and someone else messing with my husband’s junk.

   Now, I know that vasectomies fail all the time which I hope doesn’t happen since we don’t want kids 4-5 years apart. So I pray that his won’t fail because I don’t know if I could handle another loss or, by some miracle, another child who is 4-5 years younger than my daughter.

   Then there are all the good things that I have to remind myself there is when it comes to only one child. We get to go do more since we only have to pay for one child, I get to have some me time because she is now at an age where she can play by herself and I go do thing like take and shower, and I will only be 39 when she graduates high school so my husband and I will have many years to be together and be young enough to enjoy it. These are just a couple of things but they are enough for me right now to keep my mind in the right place when it wants to go to the dark place of grieving.

   So there is so much good life ahead of us and I look forward to experience it. Now that we have finally gotten to today it will be easier. Then after tomorrow we will be starting our new life. Our daughter will love to have her parents back and we will be able to enjoy her to the fullest. So this isn’t the end, but just the beginning.

   Hope you have  a great day, and feel free to leave a comment and let me know what are some things you are looked forward to have enjoyed since deciding to stop trying for anymore children. 🙂

How to Serve Others While You Hurt

If anyone is like me, then you have had some hurt in your life. I have had quite a bit in the last year especially with losing all my possessions and four babies. Talk about a hit to the heart, but there is always a choice when it comes to grief. You can turn into yourself and become nothing but a shell or you can use your grief as a gift to help others. It took me a long time but I decided that it’s worth it more in the end to help others than to only concentrate on myself. One of ways I do that is through my Etsy Shop.

Why do I love it? It gives me a chance to create and produce something productive when I feel like nothing is good in my life. You can’t help but smile at something you have made yourself. The extra money is nice but you will notice that I have one item in my shop that is more than the rest. I happen to love to make baby blankets which seems odd right from someone who just lost four babies right? Why would I make something that someone else will buy for their baby when I have just lost mine?It doesn’t make much sense does it I know, but I see it as a way to look outside myself and bless someone else even if I don’t feel blessed right now.

The other thing that I would suggest is to engage with people who are going through the same thing that you would like to be doing. I know, this sounds even crazier than the first thing, but it is true. One of my best friends and I were pregnant at the same time. Our babies were actually due two days a part. When we found out, we were so excited because there is nothing more fun than being pregnant with a best friend (I have many by the way). When I lost my baby, it could have really ruined things with my friend and I because she was nervous about what she could tell me  or not about her pregnancy. I didn’t want her to cut me off so I made the decision to be there for her and engage with her pregnancy even though I had lost mine.

Can you see where I am going with this? I was able to be a blessing for my friend and experience her pregnancy with her because I was able to come out of myself and see those around me. And it has been fun going on this journey with her. If I hadn’t taken that step, I would have missed out on something really great. Now, I will not sit here and tell you it has been easy reading her texts about her baby moving and doctors appointments. I am not perfect in any way. I have to fight jealousy everyday and that isn’t something that is probably going to go away soon, but there is a way to be jealous and happy for someone else at the same time. you just really have to keep your heart in check.

My next big test in this area is coming up soon since her baby shower and I am going to it. I have no idea how I am going to react. I could be all tears or I could be all smiles. Her shower is actually a week before my husband’s vasectomy which is going to add a whole other layer to the day. It’s the last week that my husband and I can decide whether or not we are really going to go through with making him sterile. Hard right?

So I have to keep myself busy and I have decided to go full bore into her gift to be a blessing to her instead of pining and dreading the day. No one likes a person like that for sure. I don’t want to be angry my whole life. I want to have the joy of the Lord shine through me and to show that my hurt doesn’t define who I am or what I can do. Also, the projects are really fun and turning out super cute. I can’t wait to due a post about it. This one item is so cute, I just might make on for me.

The point being, don’t let your hurt keep you from serving others. I might sound like I have it all figured out, but there are still many days where I have to just sit there and and say over and over again “God is good” because at that moment it doesn’t feel like it. I have a whole other post planned for that topic so I won’t go into it now. But just keep your chin up. Things will get better.

I Miss VHS and Cassette

Being a 90s kid, I remember VHS and Cassette Tapes and therefore I remember when DVDs  and CDs came out. They were supposed to be these awesome things for movie goers and music listeners because they didn’t take up much space on the shelf and they could have hours of extras of bonus material that had been possible before on a VHS. Sounds great right? Well there is one thing about DVDS: They suck with kids. Let me explain.

I remember as a kid being able to get up and go start my own movie with no parental help whatsoever by the age of two. Why? Because it simply required me to remember two buttons on the remote, the power button on the tv, and sliding the movie into the player. Now, it will take my daughter a lot longer because half of the DVD menus require the ability to read, and take two, three and even four buttons to finally get to the movie. So now I have to get out of bed and start my child’s movie when she gets up before I am ready to start the day instead of her being able to be independent and start the movie herself.

The second thing that is irritating with DVDs and kids is that they ridiculously fragile! Seriously!? Why is that with all the technology in the world the next best thing can’t hold up to a toddler holding it the wrong way for it to not play properly anymore? And just so you know, that whole thing with BluRay that is can’t scratch is bogus too because they obviously didn’t include toddlers in their focus groups. My daughter has damaged three BluRays to the point I will have to replace them.

With VHS it was so much easier because they only had one weakness and that was if little Johnny decided to pull the black tape out of the casing. Otherwise, my VHSs survived being stepped on, thrown, and even ran over. Yes, I left one of my movies in the garage as a kid and my Dad ran over it. But, you know what, it still worked. I would love to see a DVD or a CD survive being run over.

I know what you are probably thinking and why don’t I just keep them out of my daughter’s reach? Well I’ll tell you why – she doesn’t stop. Take a look at this poor CD for example.

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This lovely little CD was on a top shelf and my little one climbed up and got it down and hid it from me. Today I finally found it in her room in pieces since my daughter now knows what happen with something not bendy is bent. She also gets to learn what happens when we don’t treat the things we have with respect and this is now in the trash and she thinks I am a monster.

But you know what, this would never happen with a VHS or Cassette. Nope. It would have taken ALOT more force than a toddler bending it to have one of them break. So, as a mom, I wish they didn’t get rid of VHS and Cassettes completely. I believe they are very much still relevant. And to me, the bonus features really aren’t that worth it. Most of the time they don’t show the “how they did it” like I would like to any way. I would rather save money from not having to buy the same movie I love in less than a year because I daughter thought it would make a fun chew toy.

So to all those parents out there who feel the same, stay strong. Someday we won’t have to keep treating the DVDs like they are made of gold anymore.

When Your Child Wants a Baby

Emma did the cutest thing today. She has this baby doll that she loves named Bailey. She is originally Emma’s potty doll but she has turned into her best friend. Bailey tends to go every where with us. But today she did something that made me smile and my heart ache.

We were sitting down for lunch and she insisted that Bailey join us. I remember doing that as a child with my little Simba so I told her that’s fine and we began to eat. I noticed that Emma was putting some of her Mac and Cheese off to the side and she was mumbling something to Bailey. I listened closer and she was saying, “There Baywee. It’s nummy. mmmm… dewishous.” (bad grammar to match Emma’s pronunciation.)

That’s what made me smile and a little sad at the same time. She was treating her doll as if she was real. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. I have caught her her rocking Bailey to sleep and taking her potty on the big girl potty. She is such a good little mommy. But I am worried it is because she wants a sibling. She stares at sisters whenever we go to the store and she is drawn to movies and shows that emphasis the sister bond.

What if I can’t give her one? Will she feel left out? Will her life be less fulfilled than that of her friends with siblings? I know the answer to everyone of those questions but the truth it whether or not I will listen to it or the lie. That is the important part.

When your child wants a sibling I know it can be heart breaking when you have tried and God has not blessed. I haven’t had her ask directly yet “Mommy, why don’t I have siblings like my friend ___?” And I am not looking forward to it.

I had a break down a couple weeks ago thinking about this very thing. I texted my sister telling her that I don’t know how I am going to make God look good in all of this to Emma when she can start asking those kinds of questions. My only thought was “Well honey, God only wanted to give you for us to raise. He didn’t see fit to give you a sibling”. Pretty horrible right? But this is what my wiser (younger) sister replied with, “No you tell her that I wasn’t supposed to have kids and God was so gracious and gave us you! Can you believe that? Isn’t He good? Then He told me to be happy where I was and mommy loved being your mommy so much that I was ok with just having you”.

Pretty crazy right? And did I mention my sister is only 22 years old? Where did she get to be so much wiser than me in this growing up adventure? So when your child starts to ask for another baby and it isn’t possible, try to remember that God has already given you a very special gift already. I can’t lose sight of that as I am getting closer to finding out if I will be able to give my daughter and brother or sister or if I will have to have this serious sit down talk with her in the future.

If there is anything you would like to add, feel free to leave it in the comments! Have a blessed day!

Look in a Mirror: Parenting 101

My last post was one that was really from my heart and my goal with it was to touch someone who is in the same boat as me. I wanted them to see that they are not alone but that God is still good in the end with everything.  Well this post isn’t like that one. Not that God isn’t good still but rather this post is about my child I have on earth and not the ones I don’t have.

As you know, I have this bombshell of a daughter and she is the world to me. She doesn’t get the title of bombshell for nothing. She is beautiful and smart and will knock the socks off an elephant with her drive and her will. None of which is bad but keeping it focused in the right direction is really hard. I have tried certain things that people have suggested but I was still left with this wonderful child who is screaming (sometimes literally) at me to lead her and raise her in the way that God desires. What I was trying wasn’t working.

The problem with it though is that I have no idea what I am doing half the time. As a young first time mom, I am still trying to figure out all the do’s and don’ts  when it comes to raising a child in this day and age. This thing called discipline in one that has been become so confusing that I have often missed a great training opportunity because society has made doing the “old fashion way” of parenting really hard. And the crazy part is that my two year old figured it out! She knows that she wouldn’t be taken behind the shed or put on a time out in public since I really can’t do any of my tools in public other than just let her sit there in the store and have a tantrum over not getting that piece of candy. (Please understand that I have an awesome daughter and I know that. I am talking about those moments when children have those episodes they do at times. Most of the time I can take her any where and she fine.)

That was until I went seminar from the National Center of Biblical Parenting, and introduced to me the heart way of raising children. My daughter isn’t a bad kid but she is a kid whose heart needs to led in the right way to have her grow into a confident adult. The ultimate goal as a Christian parent is to bring my daughter to the feet of Christ and have her accept Him as her Lord and Savior. So I picked up their book Parenting is Heart Work and have had a hard time putting it down. I haven’t made it very far to know exactly how to help change my daughter’s heart yet but so far the book has been great as explaining what it means to be a heart based parent instead of just a behavior modification based parent.

So I will continue reading and let you know how things go with my daughter, but there was one huge thing that I learned with reading this book. The reason I think the book is written the way it is because us parents need to look in the mirror and get our act together in order to be able to parent our children properly. I am reading going “when do we get about my child?” But really it is touching my heart. My daughter has a thing with anger so I need to ask myself how to I react when she has done something wrong? Is my heart in the right place to be that leader and example she needs? So the title is fitting in two ways. You can’t give what you don’t have.

I can’t wait to keep reading. I think I finally found the answer I have been waiting for in order to turn my daughter off the track I can see her going down. She might be only two but with something like anger only gets bigger as they do. If I can help her now with it and help myself with it just imagine what life will be like when she gets older. Imagine the work God could do through her if something like this doesn’t get a chance to really take root in her as a child. I am so excited to get started.

Do you have a child that you have tried you feel like everything but nothing has worked? Why not give this one a try and let me know how your results are? We can start our own little support group because parenting isn’t easy. It’s the hardest thing that we can do but it is the most rewarding thing we could ever do.

So until next time, keep your head up and keep looking up. His grace is sufficient in all things.

Two Weeks Without Internet

So we have been in our new house for two weeks and we have a funny story. So after a couple days we had our internet provider appointment and he came out to find that the cable to the house was bad and it needed to be replaced. He said the request would take up to seven days to be completed and then someone would be out the following week to hook us up.

Well a week went by and we didn’t know if the work had been done. So we called the number we were given by the installer. He didn’t return our calls for a couple of days and then came out of find out the work had been done the next day after the installer put in the work order. So we had been sitting waiting just to be hooked up and didn’t know it. The guy came out the next day and hooked us up which was greatly appreciated.

Ok, so maybe to some people that isn’t a funny story but with how the past few months have been, it wasn’t a huge surprise. But I learned something being disconnected from the rest of the world – I didn’t really miss it. Of course being that this blog, my books and my Etsy Shop are online run makes not having internet tricky, but overall I didn’t miss it much. I didn’t have the distractions that internet provides at my fingertips.

My house was quieter, we played with our daughter more, and my husband and I got to have some nice nights just talking. I could see us starting some “Unplug Days” in the future to make sure we are staying in touch with what is important. Being in the middle of pointless arguments on Facebook and Twitter is not the place to be. Playing with your kids, hanging out with family and friends, and being a part of a community is what really matters.