This post is in paid partnership with Ferring Pharmaceuticals. All thoughts and opinions are my own. As always, thank you for supporting those who support Sunshine & Stilettos.“Fashion Blogger”
Try uttering those words to the confused face staring back at you when they ask you what you do for a living. I can practically see the thoughts flying through their mind. “So, you sit at home all day and don’t work.” And then you have those who are familiar with blogging. Yet, perhaps, the ignorant’s thoughts are even easier to swallow than the latter. They probably even follow you, often just to trash you on blogger hate columns online. You see, when you broadcast your life online, all of a sudden, you become a character. Inhuman. When in reality, it’s the exact opposite.
Sure – I am a lot of things: fashion obsessed, shopping addict, and frivolous spender on things that are completely materialistic and silly to many.
But I am also many other things you can’t see by looking at a photo: Christ follower, Texas country music fanatic, animal lover, a heart for helping those in need and a friend to many.
And lastly, the most simple, yet often most forgotten thing…human.
It’s easy to get wrapped up on Instagram staring at perfectly posed photos and think, “Wow, I wish I had her life.” Or “She’s so lucky. I wish my life was that perfect.” Admittedly, I sometimes find myself guilty of it too. You don’t always see the ugly parts of someone’s story. The online world has become one filtered bubble of perfection, where struggles don’t exist and every day is pretty. When 2018 began, I shared some resolutions I had for the upcoming year. My first resolution read “Be More Intentional With Content.” I wanted to dive deeper on my blog both creatively and personally. I feel so lucky to have such an amazing community of women (and a few men, too!) on this journey with me and who constantly read my blog. A community with their own struggles – many probably with some of the same struggles that I have. I’m writing this post for a few reasons. I’m not writing this post to make you feel sorry for me, in fact – that’s the last thing I want. I’m writing this post for anyone who experiences feelings of inadequacy when constantly being exposed to the highlight reels of bloggers and celebrities and even friends’ lives seen online, forgetting that, we too, experience the not so pretty parts of life. I’m writing this post as a reminder to always be kind towards anyone you come across – for you never know the battles they are fighting behind their smile. And most importantly, I’m writing this post in hopes that just one woman reading this, struggling, longing, constantly crying, and feeling hopeless will know that she is not alone.
I knew that the day would come that I would need to write this post, but I have been putting it off for the past 5 years…as if once I write it down, it somehow becomes concrete – a reality that I can no longer run from. It’s something that not even my family and friends know, and those who do, I only nonchalantly mentioned it in passing then quickly hurried to the next subject.
Our Infertility Journey;
I’ve wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. You know when you just feel like you were placed on this Earth for a purpose? I’ve always felt that my purpose was to be a mother. I’ve longed for the day I would start a family of my own and be able to give them everything my own mother gave me. I “developed” very early on – around 6th grade. My body changed as I became a woman, but my menstrual cycle never came. Middle school passed…high school came and went…I began college…nothing. I know what you’re thinking, “Sounds like a dream!”…except when you’re realizing that you’re not “lucky”, and something might actually be genuinely wrong. Today, I am 24 years old and my body has never been able to have a menstrual cycle without the help of medication.
When I was 19, I went to my OB-GYN in hopes that some of my worries would be put to rest that had lingered since entering adolescence. I didn’t tell my family – I just kind of went. They ran a bunch of tests checking for ovarian cysts and anything else that could possibly cause someone to have an abnormal, or in my case complete lack thereof, a cycle. I sat there on the table as they ran several tests, scared to know what could possibly be wrong with me. Test after test, I waited. Everything came back clear, which left me even more confused. The only “answer” they could give me was that I had a hormone imbalance. Then my worst fears were confirmed. My doctor’s voice lowered, and the mood completely shifted as he told me that I was going to have an extremely difficult time ever getting pregnant. He began to explain the procedures I could explore in the future such as various medications and in vitro fertilization (IVF), but my stomach was already in knots. I left the doctor’s office and began driving home. The second I got in my car, the tears came like a flood. It hit me like a freight train. I couldn’t breathe. My eyes became so clouded that I had to pull the car over. I pulled into the back of a shopping center parking lot and just sat there alone and cried. A million thoughts ran through my mind. Why is this happening to me? There are so many women who don’t want children. “God, I WANT children. Why would You do this to me?” How was I ever going to find anyone who would love me when my body was broken?
I think that was my biggest fear of all. Not only was the possibility of children ripped away from me, but I felt as though the possibility of a husband was ripped away from me all at the same time. As tears streamed down my face, I dialed some boy’s number who lived across the country that I had been talking to for only 2 weeks. We had never even met in person, but I was crazy about him. And I feared I was about to lose him the second I shared what the doctor had just told me. He picked up and immediately asked, “What’s wrong?”, hearing instantly in my voice that I was completely distraught. Somehow he understood between my tears and gasping for air what I was saying. And his next words left me shocked. “Katlyn, I don’t care if you can’t have children. We’ll figure it out. I love you, and that’s never going to change.” I argued with him, almost as if I was trying to bait him into leaving. After all, we had only been talking for 2 weeks. It was still new…fresh. This was his out. I knew all he wanted in the world was children – that was something we shared, and he was going to be the best dad. He was 10x better with kids than even I was. Who was I to strip him of the single thing that he wanted the most?
“I love you, and that’s never going to change.”
Bold words from a boy I had only been talking to for 2 weeks. The boy who had comforted me that November day, was named Dylan. And 4 and a half years later, I married him.
I know now that we are married, the questions are going to start coming, naturally. I wanted to talk about what’s going on before they came pouring in, and I didn’t know how to answer. So when are we going to have children? Whenever God decides it’s our time. And that may be the most frustrating part…telling someone who writes down their hourly agenda every day that they can’t plan one of the most important times of their life…that it could be tomorrow or it could be in 10 years. I got off birth control about 3 years ago and stopped using any kind of contraception (sorry mom, if you’re reading this. I know you’re not happy with that timeline). I think part of me was trying to prove that my doctor was wrong – that somehow he made a mistake in telling me that my future as a mother was not particularly viable. I’m hopeful though. One of my favorite songs started playing as I was writing this post, and says it best:
“I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone”
We have only been married for about 6 months now, so we are going to try to have kids the “old-fashioned” way for a bit longer. Right now we are just trying to not put too much pressure on us, but it has been 3 years without getting pregnant, so our next step will be to have medicine intervene. Consider this the first post of our infertility journey. I want to be as open as possible, so when we do decide to go the IVF route if that’s what it comes to, I will be completely transparent through it all and share where we are at in the process. It wasn’t until I read from some of my favorite bloggers about their own infertility journey, that I felt comforted for a lack of a better word – as if I wasn’t fighting this battle alone anymore.
So, I’m done running. As of today, I am joining the conversation. April 22nd through 28th is National Infertility Awareness Week, and I refuse to be another woman fighting her battle with infertility in silence. And I refuse to just stand by while my sisters are struggling with their own infertility journey, feeling as if they are alone and crushed by the burden of their struggle.
To the woman reading this, scared to have her fears confirmed:
Living in fear won’t make it go away. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for 6 months-1 year to no avail, seek a specialist as soon as possible, so you can get answers and any necessary measures can be taken.
To the woman reading this who spends nights crying herself to sleep, longing for a child:
You are worthy. You are NOT broken. You are strong. You are not alone.
And to the mother who was not given this battle to overcome:
Hug your babies. They are the greatest blessing, even on days when you’re exhausted and feeling completely overwhelmed. Be a rock for women in your life struggling with infertility. They need it more than you know.
If you are struggling with infertility, Ferring Pharmaceuticals has developed a program full of advice, answers, and resources to help navigate the infertility journey called My Fertility Navigator. I encourage you to join the conversation, too. Share your story on for a chance to win an all-inclusive weekend getaway for two to Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa. For every social media post using the hashtag #TalkAboutTrying, Ferring Pharmaceuticals will also donate $1 to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. There is power in numbers, and together we can help overcome the stigma and shame surrounded by infertility.