Not a “mom” yet

I remember the days well. The days when the Mom’s Blog was a community I desperately wanted to be a part of but wasn’t. I couldn’t. I didn’t have kids yet…at least here on earth.

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I remember the days like they were yesterday. The explicit reminders everywhere: negative pregnancy tests, medical bills for my D&C surgeries, PREGNANT BELLIES EVERYWHERE I LOOKED, babies getting cooed over in every store, restaurant and vacation spot we visited, mommy & me classes at the yoga studio, moms groups that I wasn’t invited to, and as you may well know, the list could go on.

Infertility felt like a prison that I had no control over when I would get out. I felt trapped, alone, and so very frustrated. Never before in my life had there been something I wanted that I couldn’t get by simply working harder.

Maybe that’s where you’re at today, or you know someone who is trying for a baby and isn’t having success. Maybe it’s secondary infertility: trying for baby #2 or #3 and you’re incredibly sad that it isn’t happening in your timing-or maybe you’re becoming fearful that as you get older it won’t happen at all.

Infertility is a painful and isolating place.

Sister, you are not alone. You do NOT need to feel guilty for being sad about your “family planning” not panning out the way you envisioned.

Three years ago, I was in an incredibly dark place. We had lost our first child to miscarriage at 11 weeks and had been trying for months to get pregnant again.

There is a part of every woman that longs to be called “mom.” A part of us that longs to cuddle up with a little munchkin and call him or her “ours,” and I was unsure after years of longing for that, if it would ever be my reality. Even considering adoption was a scary thing because I had heard the awful stories of failed adoptions and years of waiting.

I just want to encourage you – wherever you are today – to do 3 things.

1) Tell your story.

2) Don’t give up.

3) Live Joyfully. 

1. You need to tell your story. Millions of women are in your shoes and feeling alone too. You need community just like the frazzled mommies of “terrible twos and threes” who are invading Chick-Fil-A on a weekly basis.

You need friends to cry with when you get bad news from the doctor or feel so depressed–yet again–after you get a negative pregnancy test for the hundredth time.

You need to be loved, encouraged and reminded that God has a plan for YOU and YOUR FAMILY (which by the way already exists in the form of you + your hubby.) Don’t be afraid of talking to people about what’s going on.

Writing is also therapeutic. Journal it out, girl. Let the tears hit the paper and smear the ink. This is a part of your life story. It’s a season and you WILL SURVIVE. But seriously, it’s so much worse when you try to shoulder it alone.

When I was going through my miscarriages, I blogged pretty openly and I received SO MUCH encouragement from others who had been there or who were right there with me.

2. DO. NOT. GIVE. UP.

We adopted our beautiful son 1.5 years ago. Yes–after 1 failed adoption and 4 miscarriages–but he is 100% our son. He is loved and treasured as dearly as a child can be. He is our miracle boy.

I birthed our beautiful girl 13 months after C bear’s adoption–yes, after 2 more heartbreaking miscarriages and in spite of a deep seated fear that I would probably never be able to have biological children. She is our miracle girl.

Miracle boy and Miracle girl

Miracle babies, Coleton and Annabelle

You have heard the miracle stories too. It can annoy the pants off of you at times because you AREN’T PREGNANT YET! I used to cringe beyond cringe inside about those “relax and then it’ll happen” comments. Of course you have gotten the unsolicited fertility advice, or perhaps the most common if you’ve considered adoption, “my friend adopted and then she got pregnant.” Regardless of what people say or how well intentioned they are, it is so hard to hear. Try to take these stories with a grain of salt, trusting that you will have your own story someday about how your “miracle babies” came into your life.

*It’s hard to know what to say to someone struggling with infertility, miscarriage, or child loss. If you know someone who has gone through a miscarriage and are looking for ways to come alongside her, check out a blog I co-wrote with my good friend after we had both gone through a miscarriage. It’s called “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.” 

The adoption process is not as scary and complex as it sounds, and oh my stars, if we were to have adopted ALL of our kids, I would be 1000% satisfied. An adopted child becomes YOURS just as if he or she had popped out of your, er–you-know-what. (Check out Lynn’s post on how they decided to adopt.)

If your heart’s desire is to be a mommy, you will be a mommy someday. Keep praying, hold TIGHTLY to hope, and have faith.

3. Live joyfully. In the meantime, try (and it won’t be possible all the time) to live your pre-kids life to the fullest. Even if you “already did that” before pulling the goalie, you need to get back into that mentality. It brings freedom.

You could become an amazing mentor through the Big Brothers Big Sisters. You can serve in your church nursery. You can go skydiving. You can road trip. You can travel abroad. You can craft. You can stay out late. You can go on a mission trip. You can do things so much more easily than you will be able to when you have a baby to call your own.

I know you would RATHER have a baby and totally skip all of that in a heartbeat. But that’s not today, according to a plan bigger than your own. That time will come. Try to let go of bitterness and choose joy instead. Being a yoga instructor, I like to phrase it this way: “Inhale joy. Exhale bitterness. Inhale joy. Exhale discontentment. Inhale peace. Exhale fear.” (This is my favorite breathing exercise.)

And when you can’t let go of the pain? Let yourself feel it for a period (30 min for example) and then choose to step out of that dark place. Sometimes it seriously helps to buy yourself that venti mocha frappucino and go tanning or hit up a hot yoga class. Have a glass of wine at a local vineyard with your main squeeze, knowing you can’t do those things while you’re pregnant. (minus the frap. You can totally still have a frap. Let’s not judge.)

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You have been given a precious gift—LIFE—and infertility can give a heck of an effort at robbing you of that. Your wait won’t be nearly as bad if you choose to live it with joy.

Maybe this hits you right where you are today. Remember girl, you are not alone. And someday, you will long for a moment to read a blog because you’ll have a little one tugging at your shirt with peanut butter all over his hands saying, “mommy, mommy, MOMMY!!” Incessantly. I can’t wait to read your story.

You will be a mommy.

Hold fast, and don’t lose heart.

 

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11 Responses to Not a “mom” yet

  1. shawna lange August 16, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    What a fantastic article Liv!!! I didn’t struggle with not getting pregnant as you know;) But i did have 2 miscarriages, one before Josiah and one after. We already had 3 beautiful healthy children. That first miscarriage was devastating! No one in my family had ever had one and couldn’t really relate with me. It brought much sadness to my life, and my families. It took a long time to “get over it”. We named him Michael Anthony, & our second angel we named Bernedette. We are grateful to have two beautiful angels in heaven looking over us and praying for our family constantly!! Many beautiful things also came out of our experiences, a ministry helping other moms, and a beautiful garden named Michael’s Garden where others who lost a child can go pray and receive God’s healing love! Praise God that good can come from bad!

  2. Jill V. August 16, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    Very well said! Thanks for this post.

  3. Rita Templeton August 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    This rings so true for me. My husband and I struggled through five harrowing, yucky years of infertility before finally having our first son. Now we have four boys, but the experience of being infertile is still a huge part of who I am – and how I relate to my children. (I wrote about it in a blog post a while back: http://www.fightingfrumpy.com/2012/05/formerly-infertile-myrtle.html). I’m so thankful to have been given the chance at motherhood that, at one time, I wasn’t sure I’d ever get.

    Great post!! 🙂

    • livryan November 19, 2013 at 11:31 am #

      Thanks for sharing your blog post, Rita! I really enjoyed reading it. You’re such a good writer!! <3 OH how I can relate to the constant yelling, "get out of the dog water!!" haha. Have a great day. So happy that you have found yourself with a home full of little ones 🙂

  4. Melanie August 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Thanks for this post – as a mommy of one, miscarriage wasn’t something I had thought much about until trying for baby #2 and losing our little one early on. I appreciate your story and the encouragement to share with others, and the reminder to keep enjoying life while waiting for your time to come around.

    • livryan November 19, 2013 at 11:30 am #

      It’s so true, Melanie. Miscarriage is so unexpected. 🙁 I’m sorry for your loss. I’m praying for you and hope you have a great week!

  5. Sarah G August 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    I know how hard it is to be “open” about infertility. I struggled for 10 years and after 2 IVFs had our own miracle baby. I just had a chemical pregnancy from our IVF #3 and am now staring the big do we do it again choice down the barrel. Thank you for being open and honest. I think the more people who share the more knowledge others have. Resolve also is a great online community for those struggling with infertility, starting the adoption process or living child free.

    • livryan November 19, 2013 at 11:28 am #

      Thank you for sharing Sarah! I am so sorry about your loss from the last IVF, 🙁 I can’t even imagine going through that after IVF. I will be praying for you today. I totally agree about sharing with each other…it helps so much to have that community of support. I’ll have to check out the Resolve community as a resource to recommend. Have a great week!

  6. Lynn S August 16, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    What a great post Olivia. I can totally relate. Superb advice for someone going through the depths of infertility!

  7. Rhonda Ferebee August 15, 2015 at 7:54 am #

    Oh my Goodness Olivia, I’m sure everyone has already replied seeing as it was some time ago but if you do happen to receive this one I appreciate your story of hope! It finds me right in the middle of a. Wry similar storm and terrible faith struggle. I’m working on ways to release this infertility pressure and my own story but I have been apprehensive to share because of fear of sounding week and the unwanted advice or comments. I am on my way on a road trip with my mom and husband to the beach today but please know I found your post today here it almost 2 years Ago she. You put this up here. Just a quick share I’ve had a stillborn at 32 weeks(prior to my marriage) then got married and suffered two miscarriages and one failed frozen embryo transfer I am numb with pain. Could care less about anyone’s pregnancy news or newborns right now we have decided we will try one more time. and after that we are willing to consider adoption, in hopes its not as expensive as IVF! I wasnt open to it at first because I wanted that natural experience but I’m adopted myself so why not! Please pray for my hubby and I as well we are a great team but our faith is drained and being spiritually raised we can’t lose that! Again thanks for the glimmer of hope?

    • Olivia August 17, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

      Rhonda-

      Thank you for sharing your story here. I hear you and feel for you and I’m so sorry for all the loss and waiting and pain you’ve been through so far. You are so brave to keep trying…keep fighting…and keep holding onto that dream of being a parent to babies here on this earth! I am praying for you and LOVE that adoption is something you’re open to too! We love our adopted son (obviously) as our very own and are so thankful that he is a part of our story. <3 Hugs girl.

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