Mother’s Day and Thoughts on Infertility

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Today is Mother’s Day, and I can’t help but reflect on the current state of my life.

There won’t be someone to hand me scribbles with a printed “Happy Mother’s Day”, there won’t be fruit snacks stuck to my dress, and my car will stay (fairly) immaculate. I am well rested, slept in, and no one woke me screaming or scared from a dream. There won’t be whining, mounds of laundry, or food to cut into tiny pieces. And the absence of these things makes my heart ache.

I reflect on the timing Jacob and I determined, and I can’t help but think today I will go to church and sit quietly in a pew. I should be roaming the halls frustrated by the poor behavior of my almost-two-year-old acting up, feeling exhausted and queasy about the morning sickness #2 is ensuing from heart burn elicited by the spicy Mexican burrito I couldn’t resist last night. But none of these dreams will be realized for me today. I will sit quietly and admire other’s babies that my friends so kindly share and let me entertain during our meetings.

Last week I broke down in tears for the first time in a long time.

It was an old wound, one I thought I’d patched up enough to not feel the pain of, but there are just times things are reopened and you can’t do much about it.

My fertility problems have been present since I was a teen. I didn’t know what they were for a long time, and the diagnosis came at a very low point in my life. The day I confronted my husband-at-the-time about cheating on me, he packed up and left within an hour abandoning me. It was Sunday. Thursday I found myself at a Dr. appointment having an ultrasound confirm that there were cysts all over my ovaries. Apparently those “ulcers” that gave me pain growing up were a little bit more than that. There were other issues, and I left feeling like I no longer even had my health. It was one of the lowest days of my life. I sat in my car and just sobbed. I could, however, not deny the timing for a diagnosis for problems I’d been looking for answers to for over a decade. But still, a long time in a car was spent sobbing.

I was really heartbroken to not only be alone, but to have the thought that I’d never get to be a mother. My friends and family kept telling me it was such a blessing that I didn’t have kids with who Jacob and I now formally refer to as “Buttface”. I see so much how this was a blessing, but at the time I thought being a struggling single mom was better than being alone and never having the chance to be a mother. It is something I’ve always wanted.

I had been through a year of fertility treatments in my first marriage. I was so hopeful and excited each month, and I really felt like fertility drugs were the solution after months of trying. There isn’t a way to describe how you feel each time a pregnancy test comes back negative, particularly when it’s a righteous desire of your heart, and something you’ve done everything in your power to achieve. When you’ve suffered through terrible side effects of fertility treatments, turned an intimate relationship into a science project, and you feel like a failure, it’s a tough patch to go through. To those who have wept looking at yet another negative pregnancy test, my heart goes out to you. I very much know your pain.

When God blessed me with an amazing husband and the chance to marry again, I was of course thrilled, and astonished this would be a part of life again. I’ve always had a lot of faith when the timing was right, a baby would come. Jacob married me knowing full well that fertility problems exist. We knew our kids would have to be super planned out and very much wanted. We always knew it may take longer than planned.

It’s an interesting thing to be a planner, and to learn to have faith in God’s timing for you. At age 18 I would have told you I would be married about 22, teach high school for about 2-3 years, only to welcome a baby to my home at 24, 26, 28, and wrap things up around 30 with baby #4. Of course 2 boys and 2 girls, and they’d all be perfect and the best of friends.

When life fell apart in my mid 20’s, I inevitably learned some valuable lessons. God loves us so much, and has better things in store for us if we have faith and turn to Him. I learned you can look to plan B, C, or even ZZZ, and you can still find a lot of happiness. What may seem like a failure can often be the biggest blessing. Things that don’t work out make you worthy and appreciative of the things that do. And best of all, the coolest people are those who have experienced some serious heartache, and understand how to communicate on a selfless, heartfelt level. For a moment, I could see that I would get a tiny slice of being a compassionate human after being a very ego-centric and judgmental soul.

I know God lead me to a career I would love. He knew a master’s degree and successful career would bring me the self-esteem my ex-husband so readily stole and destroyed. He knew the right guy would come along, and he’d need me to be in grad school so we could meet. He knew that guy wanted a more seasoned girl with a career and ambition. He prepared me for plan “B” and truly taught me you can be happy with plan “B” in any form it may come. I’d argue it was plan “C” because “B” was to be a wealthy single girl and to quickly climb the ranks in Corporate America. I figured I could buy all the shoes I’d want, spoil my nieces and nephews, serve a lot, and still find a lot of happiness. And I did. But then came plan “C” saying- “Here, have a husband, here’s an opportunity to have a family of your own” was much better than a custom closet with all the greatest pairs of shoes one could desire.

I find myself once again, years later, sitting in that car, sobbing. I know things work out how they are supposed to. I know I’ve been blessed with a great job that I can gladly do my entire life. I know this job is easier without children. I know children are a ton of work. Trust me, I have 30 nieces and nephews. I helped raise my youngest sister. We babysit all the time. Most people we know with kids say nothing but complaints when we are around them. We are well aware of the challenge and the responsibility. I know my body won’t be the same. I know my clothes will be covered in spit-up. I know I won’t sleep in ever again. But I know deep down, being a mother is something I really need to fulfill me in life.

I’ve tried hard to focus on everything else in life, but on occasion, I can’t help but realize that I once again said I’d have my first at age 30, and to watch the years go by is something hard to see. I honestly thought it would all work out since I’m with the right person this time. I thought it would be fast and easy this time. I thought I knew the problem, so the problem could easily be solved- that is what every Dr. has told me the past six years. And for some reason, when I realize we planned to be working on #2 by now, it makes me a little sad to think that our numbers may be small, and still very far away, due to fertility.

I keep trying to remind myself of all I have- so many wonderful friends, so many supportive family members. I really am blessed. I really do feel like I have it all, because I have Jacob. I have the perspective that eternity is a long time, and if we aren’t blessed with our own children, or adopted children in this life, we will be in the next.

I guess my questions keep cropping up. What do you do when your heart constantly feels broken? When you’ve had faith so many years, and you start to realize God’s plan is once again, extremely different for you? That in fact, there will be no conventional Mormon life plan for you, and you will always feel the outsider in most conversations. When you can no longer go to a single family or church event without the women discussing their pregnancies and delivery, and feeling judged for not being able to have children by those who have no idea your struggle or pain. I’ve stayed strong for so long, but I guess I needed to let out that my heart feels like a big piece is missing, and today is a day I yearn for that piece.

Today I will put on a smiling face. I will go celebrate the wonderful mother I have. I will enjoy dinner with four of my siblings and their families. I will get to be a mother figure to the eight nieces and nephews that will be there. And I will be grateful to my siblings for their kind compassion and understanding, their ability to be cheerleaders, and their willingness to share their children with us.

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I know this is different than my typical post, but every now and then, I feel the need to be vulnerable and share the matters deep in my heart. And for those of you struggling with a piece of your heart missing, or a dream unfulfilled, I wanted to let you know that you my friend, are certainly not alone.

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  1. Patrick and Jennie says:

    This is a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing and being a little vulnerable. My husband and I find ourselves in this same boat. We are definitely an unconventional LDS couple after being married 7 years with no children! Thanks for helping me remember that we aren't truly alone and there are others out there like us! Mothers Day is hard and sometimes I just wanna skip church on Mothers Day to avoid the awkward conversations! Hope you have a wonderful day and thanks again for sharing a little piece of your heart today. I love your blog! You inspire me to continue to have fun and frequent date nights with my husband!

  2. Katie Elizabeth Hawkes says:

    Nailed it. Seriously, this is so great! Perfect amount of honesty and vulnerability and hope, etc. And look, the comment above mine already proves that at least one person related perfectly to it and needed what you had to share. Also…..the part about most people with kids just complaining about them. Haha. Welcome to the #1 reason why I start hiding people on facebook, along with complaining about their husbands. Good work giving a voice to the countless women who will struggle on this holiday! Good reminder to be grateful.

  3. Chrissy Delacy says:

    I don't know the words to comfort you, but I really love you and am thankful that you shared part of your story and your hurt because it is a reminder of the truly wonderful human that you are. You have a beautiful heart my friend and it shows in the words that you shared today. Sharing these words you will help more thank you think im sure and what a lovely way to turn a sour into a sweet 🙂 Have a wonderful day my dear!

  4. Lauren @ Lot Forty Eight says:

    i am so sorry that you have been struggling with fertility. i cannot even imagine what you are going through or what that would be like. i am so so sorry my prayers are with you.

  5. amen! One more reason I love you!

  6. I have to say it's incredibly brave of you to share something like this and you are very much admired. Everything is happening the way it is meant to happen, I have absolutely faith that an answer will come in some form. Stay positive, and look forward to the answer 🙂

    Sophie X

  7. Your post echoes my thoughts on my own life. I thought for sure my life by now would be like that Leanne Rimes song, 31 years old, have a man, 2 car seats, and a minivan. But, the years keep passing and I don't even have the first of those things. You're right that it's hard to keep having faith when it seems like the time will never come and my dreams of my planned out life seem to fizzle before my eyes. Still, it's like you said. Things have not gone the way I planned, and yet, life turned out well so far after all. You continue to amaze and inspire me with your faith and your experiences. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Mikaela D says:

    Beautifully written. I really admire you, especially for your willingness to be vulnerable and open with your experiences. You are an amazing woman!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this. I love your blog and I love it when my favorite bloggers share things like this. It just gives me hope and peace as I find direction for my own life. Thanks again for sharing it!

  10. Cindy Dahlgren says:

    I understand, and this morning when I woke up to my son talking to my first granddaughter, my heart was a bit heavy still. I have two wonderful sons by adoption, and now a granddaughter, who's also not biologically related. Why does it matter that she's not, or that my son's aren't? I don't know, but it does. I wanted a bunch of kids, and am grateful I was able to adopt 2, but I've always wanted a child from my womb. I'm undergoing some severe health problems right now that are hereditary, and I'm glad my son's can't get it, but what might they have inherited? We don't know, and surprisingly, they don't care about finding their birth families. I know I sound ungrateful, but I have a feeling you'll understand. I know I understand you, your dreams and hopes, and heartaches. God bless, and keep on keeping on.

  11. Lara Becar says:

    Such raw emotion and power in this post. Thank you for sharing, it is beautiful! You have an ability to touch the hearts of those around you, a trait that mothers, whether biological or not, possess. <3 Lara

  12. Camille this post made me cry the whole way through. Thanks for your honesty. Even though that journey of wanting children, infertility, and all the ins and outs of it have passed in my life, I still remember it all like it was yesterday. We love you and Jacob so much and I am so grateful for the example you are to our kids!

  13. Life as Dez says:

    You have really encouraged me today. My husband and I have been trying for a year and a half now and I know the exact pain you are feeling. Thank you for being brave enough to post this and for the compassion and understanding of Gods plan for you. I truly appreciate it.

  14. Ali Mills says:

    Camille you are an angel. I mean it. Even though it hasn't turned out the way you pictures, those nieces and nephews of yours get to have an amazing example to look up to and they will love you as much as thier own moms. 😉

  15. Big hug to you, Camille. This was a very well written and very brave post. It is wonderful that you can appreciate that although your life is not what you imagined it would be, you are grateful for the blessed parts that you do have. That is sometimes hard to do, Camille – but you have good balance and perspective.

  16. Melissa Elmer says:

    Camille, I love reading your blog because you are so honest and don't sugar coat everything. Life is meant to be enjoyed and a time to learn. But some days wounds open and we just need to sob in cars or beds. I've done that myself quiet a bit lately. Wounds don't ever fully heal. But God lets them heal enough so we can pick ourselves up and move forward.

  17. Love you Camille!!! You are amazing. I'm so sorry for your trial and grief, one of such great purpose. I have found that it really is difficult to relate to others until you have experienced something yourself, and I know your sharing this is an answer to a prayer for many. We are so blessed to have our Savior and His atonement to help us through difficult times as He truly knows how we feel. Thank you for sharing your experience. You never cease to amaze me with how strong of a woman you are. Love ya girl!

  18. Jennie thanks so much for sharing your story too, and for your kind words! It really is so nice to know we are not alone!

  19. Thank you- for kind words, but for helping give me the push to publish this, I needed it 🙂

  20. I just love you for feeling empathy with me, caring, and always being there for me with kind words and positive validation!

  21. Thank you, so kind and sweet of you!

  22. Thanks Sophie, I agree, positivity is the key!

  23. What a wonderful reference- I love it! That song totally sums up the dream of many. But it is true that life works out better than we can plan. Here's to both of us finding a lot of happiness in the reality we both know!

  24. Thanks so much Mikaela, that is really kind of you!

  25. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I'm glad you are a reader, and I really appreciate your kind words!

  26. Oh Cindy, I feel like I do understand to some degree. The principle is still universal- accepting a life plan very different than our original desires. And the pain/acceptance cycle is very real. We can be positive and grateful most the time, but there is still the mourning for a loss. I'm so glad you have two songs and a darling granddaughter, what a blessing! But at the end of the day it's prayers and faith that help us realize this! Thanks for sharing your story- it touched me!

  27. Lara this comment meant so much to me, thanks for your kind words and encouragement!

  28. Isn't it amazing how those feeling stay with us, even when we are passed the moment? Thanks for sharing your kids with us, thanks for being the perfect example of what adoption should look like, and thanks for always being so positive about motherhood! I sure love you and am grateful for you!

  29. Dez I am sorry for your struggle. It's never fun to hear others have similar experiences. It is comforting to know we aren't alone. If you ever need a shoulder to cry on, I have two!

  30. Ali this made me cry- thank you so much for your kind words and always loving and supporting me and everyone else in all we do!

  31. Thank you for your kind words! I really appreciate them, and they touched my heart on a day I really needed them!

  32. Thank you for taking the time to read it and comment- I really appreciate it!

  33. Missy, I love you- so kind, so smart, such a great friend! Thanks for your kind words, I couldn't agree with them more!

  34. I love you Marie- always have, always will! Thanks for always being my cheerleader and friend. You're one of the greatest people ever, so it extra means the world! 🙂

  35. Thank you for your post. I loved it!

  36. indeazgirl says:

    I really really hope you get to “grow” a baby someday- and if you do end up adopting- well, those kids will have hit the stinking jackpot. Y'all are going to be awesome parents no matter how it happens!