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Lessons I've learned

As a kid, I would cringe every time my dad would say “now, what lesson did we learn from this?” I felt like I heard it all. the. time. But as an adult, I realize I ask myself that often. Thanks, Dad. Going through this battle with infertility and pregnancy loss, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve also grown a lot. Early in our struggles, I hated when people would tell me “this is all part of God’s plan.” I finally see that. Even though some days I still struggle with it.

So what have I learned?
  • We have very very little control over when and how we have a baby. I am a control freak, there – I admitted it, but I’ve learned to let go. That’s been a hard lesson to learn.
  • I’ve learned that people don’t mean to hurt your feelings by the things they say. I have had so many people say hurtful things, not meaning to, over the course of this process. I could make a couple posts just about that, but I won’t. The truth is, if they really understood how badly their words hurt, they would never say it. Reid has to remind me of this one often.
  • There are always options. They may be costly, and not in your ideal “plan”, but they’re there. Whether that’s hormone therapy, acupuncture, IVF, IUI, adoption, or surrogacy (and more), there are options. But sometimes it takes a while to be okay with that. So be patient with others who are struggling with those options. They’re not easy. And please, please don’t push or try to help make those tough decisions.
  • You never know how much someone has struggled to have a baby. There are a lot of people that don’t care to put their business out there for all the world to read (and I certainly don’t blame them for that), but that doesn’t mean that getting pregnant and having a baby was easy for them. I have had SO MANY people send me direct messages and texts sharing their struggles since I’ve started this blog. And I really appreciate it. As I've mentioned, I used to get angry when other’s would announce their pregnancy, because I assumed it was an easy road for them while it was so hard for us (terrible, I know.) Now I know not to be so quick to jump to that conclusion.
  • Scars, both physical and emotional, are a sign of strength. I used to look at the scars on my belly from our ectopic and be sad. I now see them as a symbol of what we’ve been through. And Lord knows I have plenty of emotional scars, but they have made me a much stronger person. I’m proud of my scars.
  • You never know how your story may help someone else. I have been amazed by the comments and messages I’ve gotten from others. People have said the nicest things, and it seems I’m truly helping by sharing. I had hoped that it would help others, but I never could have imagined the responses I’d get. And the responses have helped me. More than I can ever explain. Thank you to each and every person who has reached out – you’ve definitely made a big impact on my life.
  • People want to be there for you, they just don’t always know how. Sometimes you just have to be honest and tell people what you need. Sometimes we don’t know what we need. But when we do, I think it’s important to be honest with those closest to you. They want to help. Let them bring over dinner, tell them you need a night out or just need to be alone. Tell them you don’t want to talk if it’s too hard. It is absolutely okay to have a pity party for yourself, just don’t get stuck there. Focus on what you need, and let others help you.
  • Sometimes it takes a little longer to get to that happy ending. As hard as it is sometimes, I’ve learned not to just focus on that happy ending, but where I am now. I’ve started focusing more on our marriage, and doing things that make us happy right now. I love this quote I found on Pinterest, and try to think of it often: “Don’t be so in a rush to get to another stage of your life that you miss the purpose of what God wants you to learn about yourself here and now.” – Brittney Moses
  • As I’ve mentioned before, we have an amazing support system. They have truly been put to the test over the last couple of years, but they passed with flying colors. And we’re all stronger because of it. I can thank these trials for the strength of my relationships.   
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. We’ve heard that a million times, but once you have a big thing happen in your life you truly realized how small those little things are that you worry about. I have become a lot more laid back than I used to be.
  • It’s okay to let people see you be “weak.” I struggled with this one. So hard. I’ve always wanted to appear strong and like I had it all together. It was really difficult for me to be vulnerable and show people that I, in fact, don’t have it all together. I would talk about my experience, but I wanted most people to see me a strong person and give the impression that it wasn't having a great effect on me. But you know what, it was. Some days more than others. And that’s okay. That doesn’t make me less of a person. In fact, I’ve come to realize I’m a better person for showing people that I have my weak moments. We all do. 
  • While it has become easier for me to talk about our struggles, it’s not always easy or comfortable for other people to hear. I understand that it’s hard to know what to say, but I hate that society has made this an uncomfortable topic. Especially with the number of people that both pregnancy loss and infertility affect every year. So I’m on a mission to change that. I’m sorry if I make you uncomfortable in the process. But you’ll get past it.
  • I’ve learned to be grateful for what I do have. I spent so much time focusing on what I didn’t have over the last couple of years, and it was so unhealthy. I try to remind myself often of the things that I am grateful for.
  • I have so much more compassion for people. I guess when you’re shown as much compassion as we have been, you learn to give compassion even more. I feel so deeply for people, and hurt when they hurt. I feel like I’m constantly trying to educate people on how they can help others through difficult times. Not that I’m an expert by any means… I just want to help.
  • I can survive. While each of these losses have been tough, and dealing with them can be super painful at times, I have survived. And will continue to.  


I leave you with this verse that has helped me...

“The pain you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.” Romans 8:18

Comments

  1. SOOOO much wisdom in this post. My favorite lesson learned is that "people don't mean to hurt your feelings." this is so true. When I realized that people are doing the best they can i had so much more peace.
    I also loved when you talk about your scars. I have scars too, though gratefully I have never had to experience something as traumatic as an ectopic. I now look at my scars and smile thinking of how they will look on a big preggo belly on day :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Paige! Yes, I have to remind myself of that one often. Most people don't try to hurt our feelings.

      And yes, I can't wait to see what my scars will look like on a preggo belly as well!

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  2. Well you sure did nail this post, all of it!! We have little control, people don't know how to be there... yes yes yes yes!!!

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  3. I love the one about that people aren't intentionally trying to hurt your feelings. I have to remind myself of that one often. And yes yes yes to Romans 8:18!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I had SUCH a hard time with that... and still do. But I always have to remind myself of it. I would like to think that no one wakes up in the morning and says "I'm going to hurt someone's feelings today".

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  4. Wow, I need to print this list and tape it on my mirror! This is amazing, I too am an OCD, contro freak so I can totally relate - we are definitely NOT in control. And being ok with that has been challenging. God has a plan!

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    Replies
    1. Wow, thanks! Yes, the control part was a huge thing for me... I like to have control! And God does have a plan... sometimes I just really wish he would share with me the timeline behind that plan!

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  5. This was a great read! My favorite points were that it's not always easy for people to hear your story -- it isn't, but that shouldn't stop you from sharing because it may be something they need to hear even if they haven't struggled with infertility. I have loved too how many people have talked lately about how important it is to share your story. Once you get into the infertility world, it's easier to see how many others are struggling, but if you're not there, it's very easy to feel that you're alone. I'm sure this post has already been a blessing to so many.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Jennifer. Yes, it took me a while to realize that. I would start talking and had people in tears, or look super uncomfortable. It's become such a natural thing for me to talk about, that it hadn't occurred to me that it may not be so natural for them to hear!

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