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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

You are not alone

Sunday kicked off the start of National Infertility Awareness Week, and in honor of that occasion, we attended the Texas Walk of Hope, which is where the pictures below were taken. RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, also encourages bloggers to share posts about the topic of infertility this week centering around this year's theme, "You are not alone," which is what inspired my post below.

I've often said that having a twin has rendered me incapable of doing things by myself. I don't like to do much of anything alone, and if you think I'm exaggerating, then you should know that I used to ask Brian to go to the grocery store with me not because I needed his help, but just because I wanted to have some company. (Then I had children and realized that going to the grocery store alone was sort of like going on a vacation, so I changed my tune a bit, but that's sort of beside the point.)

So when we were going through infertility, a process that, much like any other major life trial, forces you to experience a pretty wide array of emotions (typically in a cyclical manner!), one of the hardest parts for me to deal with was how lonely and isolated it sometimes made me feel. Isolated from my friends, who were getting pregnant like it was going out of style, and as a result, didn't always know how to act around me. Isolated from my co-workers, because people can only deal with you crying at your desk so many times before it starts to get awkward. Isolated from pretty much anyone that hadn't struggled to get pregnant, because I was convinced they couldn't relate to what we were going through. 

I truly do think God puts us in situations where we can't rely on others to sustain us because he wants us to rely on Him instead... and it's a good thing, because news flash: people are HUMAN and are therefore simply not capable of filling that void (throwback to Plumb's "God-shaped Hole," anyone?). So at least for me, one of the less obvious ways that I dealt with the isolation was by training myself to pray and cast my burdens on Him first... and if we're being honest, a lot of times that involved me turning on songs like this one and crying for embarrassing amounts of time when I was alone in my car. 

But with all of that said, I also know that God never intended for us to go through life's trials alone, or else He would have created Adam and let that be that (...and that would have made the Bible really short and boring). I know many of you have had the same experience, but I can say with confidence that having friends (and sometimes even strangers) traversing the ups and downs of infertility with me made carrying that load infinitely lighter, and believe it or not, sometimes even enjoyable.

I was, of course, always so appreciative of the love and support received from my real life friends and family, but I was also blown away by the outpouring of concern from people I met on the internet, and sometimes from friends of friends of people I met on the internet! Yes, writing about what we were going through was therapeutic in and of itself, but making the connections with other actual people through blogging was really something I never expected.

Although it happens less frequently than when we were mid-treatment or even newly pregnant, I still get contacted from time to time by people- some I know, some I don't- who have read my blog and are going through a similar struggle to get pregnant. Some are asking for advice, but I think in most cases (as was the case for me when I was on the other side), they are just looking for someone that can relate to what they are experiencing and say, "I've been there. It sucks. But you'll get through it!" 

I may be 2+ years removed from my own journey, but the pain is still fresh in my mind, which is why my heart breaks every time I learn of someone new that is facing infertility. But I can honestly say that it also provides me so much comfort and encouragement to know that because of what I went through, I'm able to say to that person truthfully, "you are not alone."

To learn more about what infertility is (besides a convenient excuse to befriend strangers on the internet, overindulge in desserts, and listen to mopey music), click here.

To learn more about NIAW, click here.


the blogivers said...

1. Thanks for getting MJ stuck in my head.
2. Your phone camera takes better pics than mine.
3. Thanks again for passing on the info about the walk and getting us all signed up to go - I'm glad we went!

Erika said...

Hahahaha I love that last parenthetical statement- so true!!! And I'm so thankful that IF brought us together!! And led us to our super cute kids!! ;)

Brittnie said...

Great post. . .

I am glad our infertility struggles brought us together and now we are friends living just down the street (basically) from each other! Yay for friendships to get us through life's struggles.

And on that note. . . I pretty much drive around in my car (currently) all the live long day listening to worship songs and crying. . . :) Kind of like free therapy. :)

Brittany said...

I know your blog has helped so many people! Love the picture of your little happy endings holding their balloons. :)

sschnitzler said...

I am twelve years removed from my infertility journey, but every time I hear or read about a new journey my heart aches. Those feelings are never far from the surface. This is why we are a wonderful source of hope and information for our fellow infertile friends.

sschnitzler said...

It's how I found you Erika...I think. I've been reading your blog for a long time, but IF is what we have in common, so it must be the link!

Natasha said...

This is so true for anyone who is waiting for anything, I think. I am so glad you could do this walk with your two dreams-come-true :)

Also, this line: "Then I had children and realized that going to the grocery store alone was sort of like going on a vacation, so I changed my tune a bit." Yes. Just yes.