Awareness from one of the “1’s”

This week is infertility awareness week. 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility, often in silence. Their hearts break during Mother’s Day, wondering why they don’t get to be called mommy. They see TV shows or hear about people who “accidentally” got pregnant and wish they would be so lucky. They try to brush off the myriad of questions, often very personal, on why they don’t have a family. If they do have one child, then they are asked, “when are you having more?” 

“You can’t wait forever.” If they only knew that the hours of doctors appointments & procedures did make it seem like forever.

“Why don’t you have kids yet?” If they only knew that you’ve asked yourself, your doctor & your God the same thing… hundreds of times.

“Are you going to try for a girl since you have a boy?” If they only knew that I am trying for a healthy child, regardless of their gender.

I’m one of the 1 in 8. For 2 reasons: infertility & breast cancer. Both the same odds, both apply to me. I’m not sure why I’m the “1”. They claim that the two aren’t linked, but my breast cancer was highly hormone positive. Did the years of fertility treatments cause my breast cancer? I’m not sure. I wouldn’t trade my boys, so it doesn’t matter. There does need to be more awareness about infertility. It’s something that’s whispered, which makes people feel like they should be ashamed. 

When we first started treatments, the infertility clinic was right by OBGYN. The “haves” and the “have nots” side by side. Do you know how hard that was? We would sit in the waiting room, seeing what we couldn’t have. They since moved to their own area… much better idea. I’ve gone to the Dr in Halloween costumes, tried to lighten the mood and tried every old wives tale. It’s an emotional roller coaster, a financial drain and a physical hardship. I’m forever thankful to the Drs and nurses who helped us. As a result, we have 2 healthy, beautiful boys. Others are not so lucky. Miscarriage & failed fertility treatments are more common than we know. 

I feel like part of my responsibility as “the 1” is to raise awareness. So if you see a couple without kids, keep the questions to yourself. If they have one child, don’t hound them about when they are having another or if they are going to try for a certain gender. If you know someone struggling with infertility, offer support but don’t tell them all the things they are doing wrong. Often times, they deal with all of this alone. It’s a heavy burden & can create serious depression. 

On your journey of enough, keep an eye out for those who need your support instead of your judgment. Peace be with you. 

Have a friend who thinks you are enough…

Change is hard. It’s scary. It’s also not impossible. It’s been 6 months since we moved … half of a calendar year has gone by in a new state, new city, new schools, new jobs, new churches, new Dr’s. We are still adjusting but we are also doing fine. More people were worried about my kids than my husband and I. “It must be hard to move at that age.” “I can’t believe you changed schools during the school year.” You get the idea – I must have ruined their lives. Only, I didn’t.

Kids are way more resilient than we give them credit for. Yes, we moved our kids. But we also love and support them, we feed and clothe them and take them places. They aren’t abused, neglected, dealing with alcoholic parents or wondering where their next meal will come from. Many of their classmates are. We just don’t see or talk about it as much. Kids are also more easy going (sometimes). They may be more open to learning about “the new kid.” The boys still miss their friends deeply, but they are also making new friends. Much easier than the adults are. Making new friends as an adult is harder, in my opinion.

I don’t have anything to compare it to. We moved to Kindred when I was 1. I graduated from high school in the same town. I even moved back for a period of time. I didn’t have much change of scenery. I wasn’t forced to adapt. That’s not a bad thing – it was comfortable and secure. It was safe.

Making friends as an adult is hard for me. I’ve become even more introverted than before. I fear rejection & judgement. It’s scary and doesn’t feel safe. I am admittedly hard to know. I have a small circle of close friends, but those are ones that I would do anything for. I am very thankful for them. I became friends with Jessie when we were neighbors. I offered some baby clothes to my pregnant neighbor, and somehow we clicked. Similar values, love to bake, both introverted. We would go on walks around our neighborhood & talk for hours. We’d lose track of time while we put on miles. We’d have monthly group suppers (with enough food to feed many) Then she moved. Just 15 miles, but it was so hard. Would we stay friends? Would we still see each other? I mourned the loss of my best friend & walking partner…The person who didn’t care if my house was messy or not. She accepted me for me. The real me was enough for her. Fast forward many years…We stayed friends and are still close, even though I’m farther away. It just takes more planning to get together in person. She knows that if she texts me at 11:30pm, that I’m sleeping but I will reply to her at 6am when I get up. Our kids have grown up together and act more like cousins or brothers and sisters than just friends.

Friendship are hard, but they are possible. I may meet some new people, but I will always cherish the friends in my circle. I know people who are making some big life moves, and the thought of leaving their friends is hard. My advice is this: “you will make time for what/whom is important to you.” Peace be with you on your journey and may you always has a friend who believes you are enough. (Because you ARE!)

Just a bunch of duck feet…

You’ve seen them before… they appear to glide effortlessly along the water. They bob along with the waves but don’t get tossed under. Ducks. Beneath the surface, their duck feet are going fast. They are moving quickly to either go forward or treading water. That’s the part that you don’t see. That’s the part that we don’t see in each other – the duck feet. 

We all have them, but they are all different. They are different between people and even different depending on the day. Lately, my duck feet have been working on trying to get us moved (again). This time, we are moving to a house. It’s awesome & exciting and a lot of work. That means that everything has to be cancelled at the rental house and started up at the new one. People at work don’t see my duck feet. They don’t see the lists on my phone, on Post-it notes or in my head. They don’t know about the 85 van loads back and forth between the rental and the new place. I’m not complaining, I just think we all need to be aware of the hidden battles that each of us is facing. Some are health issues, kid issues, relationship, dependencies, anxiety, work, finances… the list goes on and on. We all have the duck feet, just trying to stay afloat. And while this isn’t anything new, we still see those ducks floating by and think they are graceful & don’t have any troubles. We do the same with people – we think they have it all together. We don’t take the time to look beneath the surface. Sometimes it’s because we can’t – we are too consumed with our own feet that we don’t see anyone else’s.

I encourage you to look beneath the surface & take some time to care about your fellow ducks. We are all in this together. Peace be with you on your journey of enough.