So, Timehop gave me a true gem this week.
Guys, CHECK THIS OUT:
If I remember correctly, I sent this pic to my mom with the attached text:
“Look at my barren uterus.”
Wow. Full stop. I mean, I remember this day so well! I was in such a dark place. At the time, I didn’t know it would just get way darker before the sun came up again. This year ago girl was so negative. In her defense, she had just gotten some pretty devastating news. Back then we had already tried timed intercourse, ovulation tracking, and even fertility drugs to no avail. At this point in time I learned I had a perfectly normal and healthy uterus and an ample supply of eggs. I think that, honestly, made it worse. There was no explanation to our infertility and we didn’t know at the time that IVF would be our best bet. And believe me, it’s a huge bet!
I am so thankful that mind mindset and outlook have so dramatically changed. Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days, but they don’t put me in that place anymore. That place where my whole biology and womanhood is called into question in my own mind. Shouldn’t this be the one thing i can just do?? As a woman??
It really got me thinking about how far I’ve come and how I got there. I mean, it wasn’t some miraculous overnight thing. I didn’t just wake up and decide to completely change the way I think. A lot of people, books, podcasts, blogs and reflection along with oh-so-empowering knowledge, research and ACTION helped me come to peace with IVF, deployment and whatever outcomes they offer. I thought it prudent to compile a list of sorts, so here goes.
I have always found solace in reading. It’s funny how my bookshelf has changed over the last two years. My many serial killer biographies, true crime novels and military histories are slowly morphing into something in the complete opposite direction. Where “Helter Skelter” once rested, “We’re Pregnant: The First Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook” now lives. And, yes, I read that one, too! Can’t send a book of advice for Tim without proofing it first! All of my new found reads aren’t just pregnancy related either.
One of the books I most enjoyed reading was “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis and I would recommend this read to every woman.
It is so empowering and even a little tough love. I really enjoyed reading about the authors life and the lessons she has learned so that she could become her “true self”. What really hit home for me is how impactful overworking yourself can be on your physical health. I know this is something I am SO guilty of. When she talked about her doctor advising her to go home and DO NOTHING, just the thought slightly panicked me. I thought, there is no way I could ever do that. Taking the time to slow down now has become so important to me after reading this. Also, if you enjoy listening to books via apps like Audible, I highly recommend this one. The author does her own narration and it is so very engaging!
And of course, I have loaded up on pregnancy books. Though there are many, many excellent books written about IVF, educational and anecdotal, I made it a point to steer clear of those for now. I know one day I will be ready to dive into that literary subject, but for now I am focused on only taking in positive information about successful pregnancy. While it might not make sense to people that have never dealt with infertility, it’s so uplifting to visualize pregnancy. Look, we have dealt with a lion’s share of heartache surrounding our IVF story and to read about others would be even harder right now. You feel so connected with someone who has walked your same path. So, instead, I opted for some pretty amazing books about pregnancy! I’ve have always believed knowledge is power. So, if you’re wondering how I want pregnancy and childbirth to go our empower yourself with evidence based knowledge OR how to continue your amazing support from IVF into pregnancy, look no further than my current stack:
IF these titles freak you out, just know I will not engage your debate until you have also read the, Plus, you’ll have to get in line behind Tim.
How these books helped me:
I LOVE learning about pregnancy and childbirth. My mom can attest that this isn’t even something new. At a pretty young age (you know, wayyyyy before infertility was even something i knew existed) I LOVED watching labor and delivery shows. Looking back, I am sure something about that may have weirded my mom out a little but I am so glad she allowed me to continue watching. (FYI, these were discovery health programs, you know, still age appropriate) So, anytime I can learn more about that process, especially since I am hoping to experience it soon, I will dive right in! Remember how I said knowledge is power? This is where it is so relevant. The more I can understand about it before hand, the more confident I feel I can handle it. I know that there is nothing I can learn from a book that will compare to the actual experience, but for ME, soaking up all this knowledge empowers me where it might overwhelm or scare another. But, wait, you may be thinking. There are TONS of books about pregnancy… why all these natural minded books? Why can’t you just read one of those and be content with the hospital -> physician focused -> intervention heavy model? Welllll, ask me 2 years and 2 months ago and I might have agreed with you. My sister is such an inspiration. Yet again (this has been a recurring theme in our relationship), she has shown me a better way and I want to be just like her. Let me just start with how I KNEW Mallary BEFORE she gave birth. I love you, Mallary, but you were a wimp! Physically pain would debilitate her growing up. When she started telling us she wanted to go ‘all natural” for childbirth I DEFINITELY laughed a little in my head. I mean, I was supportive, but I never thought she would actually do it! BOY WAS I WRONG. What I witnessed at the birth of my precious niece Olive was nothing short of… unexpected. Amazing. Jaw dropping. Inspiring. I will tell you I ate my words so fast I almost choked. Now, at the time I still never thought that was something I could do but I was mystified! So, what is there left for me to do? Obvs – educate myself! Now that I have read these books and many other likes them, done so much research and attended other births like Mallary’s, mainly I feel like a huge jerk! Looking back, I can;t believe some of the junk I said to Mallary about her choices thinking that I knew better. You know, with all of my birth experience. Lucky for me, Mallary has always been more gracious and thoughtful than I have. We are seriously lucky it didn’t happen the other way around. Though, Mallary would never shame me for my choices especially if she didn’t have a lot of knowledge on the subject, because that is who she is. So, I officially apologize Mallary. For doubting you, even if it was internally, for being guilty of saying some of the things that make me cringe now about your choice to go natural and also for completely calling you out in this post without prior warning!
I want what Mallary had! And I want to be supported. Before your feathers get completely ruffled, just know that the very first bullet in my birth plan will be “To birth a healthy baby”.
LOADS of the people in my life have contributed to my improved outlook. And it’s the things these people do or say or just their existence that gives me comfort. Of course, being so far away from Tim has left an incredible void. It has also made me more mindful of my appreciation for him just being there and better at communicating with him with words. I really think the little things are what stick with me the longest. I have always been so thankful for the amazing parents that I have. My mom and dad have been pillars of support and when I think of pinpointing a memory that encompasses this, I always chuckle when it settles on my mom getting me a bottle of geritol because “there’s a baby in every bottle”. It’s so simple, but it’s so thoughtful and reminds me that I am loved. I am always on her and my dads minds. I love that my mother-in-law takes me out for lunch when I can manage it and that she’s so totally understanding that my schedule is busy even though I know she would like more time with me. Y’all, I love my clients. I love that every parent of dog’s I have worked with or families I have taken pictures of are like family to me. That they like to FaceTime with me and talk about nothing because they know it is lonely here by myself is so touching. I love that when I publish these blogs I can already count on specific ones to text me to follow up on my thoughts and encourage me. I mean, we are talking about my CLIENTS! These peoples hearts are so big! And I love that I literally ALWAYS have something to occupy my time, probably too much, and they are understanding of that, too. This is what I have come to understand as community and it has brought me so much mental peace.
You guys, I think this blog got a little outta hand!
Let just say that I have come a long way. I am so content this week. Work has been chaos, dogs have been chaos, and deployment communication has been the PITS this week. None of it will even phase me because I have something bigger than me on the horizon. One and a half months separates me and the biggest adventure of a lifetime and I know no matter the outcome, I am prepared and I am capable of overcoming it.