To the courageous women who shared their struggle with infertility: Thank you for sharing your hearts and stories so openly.
To the readers who learned something new this week from these women: Thank you for validating our experiences.
My hope is that after reading these stories, we'll all be better equipped to support and encourage and embrace those around us who may be struggling with infertility.
I'm thrilled to wrap up National Infertility Awareness Week with a guest post from my friend Amy who I think offers great insight as to how she's found hope after an infertility diagnosis.
If I would have been asked to write about this a year ago, I would have said, “Nope, not possible."
Oh, how I was wrong.
Oh, how I wish I could help you see that hope is on your horizon.
God will take that brokenness you feel and turn it into feelings of hope, peace and readiness for what He has planned next for you.
I remember all too vividly those days of sitting on my bathroom floor surrounded by negative pregnancy tests.
Tears streaming down my face and begging God to just “fix my body."
I remember the nights where I cried myself to sleep in my husband’s arms, because I felt like I would never get my chance at having a family.
While those days are still a very vivid memory – they are also a very distant one.
It still amazes me how much things can change in the course of a year.
Navigating the trenches of infertility has taught me so much. It has taught me that I am stronger than I ever knew.
In those trenches, I found this strength I never knew I possessed.
There are moments today where I still look back and think, “Wow, I made it out of that chapter of my life a better person. A stronger person. A more grateful person.”
I no longer let infertility define me.
I don’t let it stop me from having my happiness.
Infertility is still a part of me, a part of our family and our marriage and my heart.
But now it is a part of me in a completely different way. Before, infertility was my weakness.
Infertility was my embarrassing secret.
Infertility was the part of me that made me different and less worthy than my friends who were fertile.
Infertility actually made me believe that my friends were able to have children because they were better people, better equipped to be mothers, more worthy of God’s blessings.
Infertility convinced me that because my body wasn't able to produce a child, I might as well give up.
How could I ever have happiness?
Writing that and reading it back makes me sick to think I felt that way and that I let my infertility control me like that.
Saying that out loud saddens me, because I let the devil get the best of my heart and my mind.
It was then that I decided I would no longer let my infertility take away the happiness and joy in my life.
I knew that it was time to use my infertility in a positive way.
I started to write about my journey, and I felt the calling to be an encouragement to other women who were on the journey with me.
I could use my experience with infertility to build other women up and to remind them they are worthy of being mothers and having the family they so badly desire.
I now can see that God had me walk those trenches with a very specific plan for my life.
He has big dreams for our family, and I can look back now and see the reason for each and every tear I shed, for each and every minute spent wondering why I was called to experience infertility.
Today, I feel hope.
Today, I have a grateful heart.
Today, I no longer let infertility control my life.
I am so thankful that I have found my strength to make it through hard times.
I am so thankful that I can help other women find their strength while they are in the trenches too.
Your hope is waiting for you.
When you find yourself so deep in those trenches that you feel like you’ll never come out of it – remember that your hope is just on the horizon.
You don’t have to wait for your happiness.
Your happiness can be found right where you are.
It isn't always easy to see – but don’t give up looking for it.
I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to wait for your hope.
You don’t have to wait for your happiness.
You can still have both of them during your battle.
So, to all of you sweet women who are reading this:
My prayer for you is that you can see that hope today. Know you are not alone and that God has beautiful things planned for your family.
National Infertility Awareness Week is April 19-25. This post was submitted as part NIAW's theme: "You Are Not Alone." If you are an infertility warrior and willing to keep this conversation going, please contact me.