This post was sponsored by First Response™ as part of their video and content series, This is My Journey, in partnership with Today’s Parent. It’s aimed at sharing real women’s unique stories to help families understand that when it comes to trying to conceive and pregnancy, no two
journeys are alike.
If you’ve been following along for a while you know that my husband and I are struggling with secondary infertility. I’ve talked about in several posts now.
I got pregnant with our daughter almost immediately after our wedding. It just happened, so I figured when we wanted to get pregnant again, it would be the same. But it hasn’t been. Not even close. After over two years (probably more if I really kept track) we still aren’t pregnant. At the beginning of this journey, I really wanted to open up about what we were going through. I wanted to share it because I knew that:
A. There are so many women silently struggling with infertility, and I know that by sharing my story it helps them feel less alone
B. There is this unfair stigma and embarrassment around infertility that just needs to go
C. Even though 1 in 6 couples in Canada struggle to conceive, there is still this over-riding belief that women get to choose when to have kids, and if they are going to have another baby. Some are lucky, but many are not.
In fact, the question “When are you guys going to have another?” makes me cringe, and sometimes even irate.
My husband had his reservations about opening up about our experience, so at first, I kept the sharing to a minimum. But when First Response and Today’s Parent asked me to share my pregnancy journey, I knew it was an opportunity to open up the conversation about infertility that I couldn’t turn down.
If I’m being honest, I also thought it would make it easier. I thought that by sharing, I’d find strength and confidence in our story. But something entirely different happened.
Opening up, and really digging into how I was ACTUALLY feeling rocked me, and not in a good way. In fact, it rocked in a way that I am not entirely sure I can put into words.
It was like opening up and talking about our experience confirmed that it was ACTUALLY HAPPENING. If I’m being honest with myself, until recently, I’ve always thought “this has to be some mistake. This is another women’s story. Not mine”
Well, as it turns out. THIS IS my story. I always say that despite how perfect things look on the outside, in life, everyone is dealing with some sort of crap. This is ours.
After this interview, I went from doctor’s appointments, to naturopaths, to acupuncturists, to blood testing labs with a pit in my stomach. All day long I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest.
I wasn’t sleeping well. I was on edge. I often felt like I could throw up. The stress and heart break took over my entire body, all while I trying to be a mom to our daughter, and a step-mom to my three stepchildren. I’m sure they knew something was up!
One day I looked at my husband and said “there is no way I’m going to get pregnant being so stressed out – but I just can’t shake this”
For a moment I considered not talking about our journey anymore. After all, the aftermath was really affecting my every day.
But after several date nights, teary cry sessions in my husband’s arms, some long walks, some alone time and seriously mulling it over, I decided against shutting the conversation down.
Why? Because this is what I do. I started this blog to talk about things that most people won’t talk about.
To debunk stigmas and open up conversations. To let other women know that they are normal for feeling the way they do. To let them know that they aren’t alone!
Just because this intention started with step-parenting doesn’t mean that the intention doesn’t spill over into other areas of life.
So today with the release of our video with Today’s Parent and First Response, I’ve decided to keep talking, and share some of the things that have helped me along this crazy roller-coaster of a ride.
Because even though everyone has their own unique experiences, we can all be here to support each other.
So, here are four things that have helped me through…
1. FINDING AN ONLINE COMMUNITY
I had no idea that there is a whole online community of women who are only talking about their journeys with infertility.
I have made so many real life connections by simply searching hashtags like #secondaryinfertility and #ourfertilityjourney on Instagram. It’s amazing how connecting with women through little squares on Instagram has normalized my experience, given me hope and reminded ME that I’m not alone!
2. REGULAR DATE NIGHTS
Infertility can really take a toll on your marriage, so now more than ever we’re making date night a priority. As difficult as it can be, it’s important to have time to communicate with each other and keep the spark alive during this stressful time.
It’s easy to let the stress come in between you, but it’s important to remember that you’re a team and you’re in this together! No matter what happens this is an opportunity to strengthen your partnership.
3. OVULATION TESTS
I spent a year letting an app on my phone be the expert on my cycle. Look ladies, if you too are relying on an app to tell you when your body is ovulating, I strongly recommend that you get a second opinion through First Response™ Advanced Digital Ovulation Test. It detects your LH
(luteinizing hormone) surge based on your own individual hormone levels to take the
guesswork out of the best time to conceive
Apps can be great for tracking, but let’s be real here. Your iphone knows a lot of things, but it doesn’t know exactly what’s going on inside your body and when your fertility window is! Every woman is different!
Personally, my cycle is always different so it can be a bit of a roller-coaster at the end of the month. With the signs of pregnancy being very similar to those that come with that time of the month, I need to know what’s going on so I don’t drive myself crazy. When I’m late, I also use
First Response™ Early Results Pregnancy Test to see what’s up, because it gives results 6 days sooner than a missed period. First Response gave me the positive pregnancy test with Reese, so I know that it’s test that I can trust. I cross my fingers I see a positive result really soon!
4. HEALTHY EATING + FUELLING MY BODY
Sure I love treating myself every now and again, but I’m also trying to keep my body in, what did they call it? “Optimal condition for implantation?” (For the record there is something about that sentence that feels very strange)
My daily routine includes lots of organic greens, fruits and vegetables, organic/antibiotic free meats, and of course prenatal vitamins.
(If you have a hard time swallowing huge prenatal vitamins, First Response™ Prenatal Multivitamin Gummies easy on the stomach, delicious and most importantly maintain immune function, bone health and prevent neural tube defects)
Optimal condition for implantation status aside – I don’t know about you, but when I am eating well and fueling my body, I feel better both on the inside and the outside. Especially during stressful times, it’s important to treat your body with the love that it deserves!
Before I sign off I just want to say thank-you to all of you – through your messages and encouraging words and tags to friends who are also struggling, you’ve helped me through this stressful time more than you’ll ever know!
You’re all amazing!
If you have a unique pregnancy journey that you’d like to share tag #ThisisMyJourney to
participate in the conversation. You can also head to Today’s Parent to hear more stories about
other women’s journey trying to get pregnant!