As moms, we bind to the message that motherhood is a life of chaos, overwhelm, exhaustion, and putting ourselves last. And while it does require sacrifice, and can be overwhelming at times, the idea that becoming a mom means you no longer exist or matter, is simply not true.
I’m on a mission to help you find yourself again.
As a reminder to you, and to myself, I do not have it all figured out. I don’t have all my stuff together all of the time. Life happens for me too, and I think it’s easy to see someone who shares what I share, about rhythms, routines, and mindset and think, “oh, she never struggles with any of those.”
If we are being honest, sometimes I sort of start to believe it myself, just because I share on all of it so often. But the reality is I’m a human, just like you are.
I’m a mom trying to figure things out one day at a time. I just happen to have had enough of the way I was living and the way I was showing up.
And honestly, I was just tired of my reflection in the mirror, like who I was, I was tired of it. So I decided to change. And that’s what I want to encourage you to do every single day. That’s the point of the podcast and this blog.
It’s why show I up on social media. This is all a part of of the message I share to be the best versions of ourselves.
I want to remind you, you have a choice. You have a choice in the way you think. You have a choice in your actions and how you show up.
You can be a better version of yourself if that’s what you choose.
Okay, I think that’s all I needed to get off of my chest. I want to start sharing more personal stories and some of my struggles in hopes of encouraging you. Especially in the chance you find yourself in any of these places I’ve been in, and sometimes, still walk through.
Struggling to Conceive
I did some of this in the beginning of my podcast, and I’ve shared lots of practical things that I hope are helpful for you. But I think my personal story can be just as helpful and encouraging. I’m going to kind of switch things up by sharing a little bit about my journey to becoming a mom.
As I briefly mentioned in Episode 1 of the podcast (if you haven’t listened yet, you can here), getting pregnant was a process. It wasn’t something that came easily. It didn’t happen overnight by any stretch. Which is not what I saw coming.
If you’re a woman out there who’s trying to conceive for the first time, or maybe you’re struggling to get pregnant again, I want you to know I understand the pain and frustration you’re dealing with and walking through.
After about six months of nothing happening, really, because we kind of thought we were married, we’d wait. But once we decided to have kids, this process didn’t happen as easily as we thought it would.
So I switched my OB and started seeing a doctor who specialized in fertility treatment. He told us he could help guide us through this process. We did all the things you do in the beginning. Like making sure everything looks okay with my ovaries and reproductive system. Also checking to make sure my husband’s sperm count was within normal range.
You know, all those things that are so nerve-wracking, it’s like, there’s always a test, always something to check. You’re waiting on pins and needles and for somebody who already struggles with anxiety, this whole season sent me into a spiraling, emotional rollercoaster. One I would be in and out of for awhile to come. I just didn’t even know it.
At one point, I began taking progesterone for a chunk of my cycle each month. I would take ovulation tests and do everything I was supposed to do. It was one of the most frustrating, isolating, and devastating things I’ve ever gone through because we hadn’t shared with anyone yet in this part of the process.
Keeping the Journey to Myself
No one knew we were even trying.
I didn’t want people to know, because I didn’t want to have to face them each month and tell them not this time.
“No, it’s another, no,” whenever they asked me if I’d gotten pregnant yet. It was just too much. I could barely handle seeing the “no’s” all alone by myself, in the bathroom every month, much less talk to other people about it and have to explain it. Listen to them and their responses.
I just couldn’t deal with it.
So we decided to keep it to ourselves for a little bit.
We did eventually start sharing with some close friends and family members, and people at our church who really were with us during that time. They stuck by us and prayed for us and were really there for us during those really difficult days.
But before sharing this, I was carrying an invisible load. And even whenever these people knew what we were going through, it still felt as if I was walking around all alone.
Like I was carrying around this weight. The weight of the world on my shoulders. Like life was moving on. People were going on about their days and I felt like I was falling apart on the inside.
I felt so fake having normal conversations with people. I remember wanting to scream in their face. “Do you have any idea what I’m going through?!”
Carrying the Weight of the World
I would just want to lose it on these people. I was struggling silently, and what felt like, all by myself. Because like I said, at first, nobody knew except my husband and my mom and nobody understood.
They didn’t understand.
I love my mom. She loves me. She’s my best friend, but she didn’t understand 100% because she didn’t struggle getting pregnant with me or my brother.
And my husband obviously loves me and was there for me, but he wasn’t living in my reality. Nobody was me. Nobody was actually dealing with it.
I was the one who felt like a failure. Like something was wrong with me. My body wasn’t cooperating with me.
Why couldn’t my body do what it was made to do? Was something wrong with me? Why was it so easy for other people?
These are some of the questions I would ask myself. Why did people have babies who didn’t even want them? And why not me? When that’s all I wanted.
I wanted a little baby so badly. What did I do to deserve this? What had I done?
You know, I was asking all of these questions you ask when you are desperate and I started to believe that God was punishing me for something I had done. Maybe this was just a consequence for things I’d done in life.
And somehow, this was how I was paying for it. Which, you know… logically, I knew this isn’t how things work. This isn’t how God works, but in the middle of my pain, this was just what I started to believe.
The pain was magnified.
Why Did Everyone, But Me, Have a Baby?
Every time I saw another Facebook announcement of somebody finding out they were pregnant, or I saw somebody else in the store who was pregnant, it seemed like there were pregnant people everywhere. All over the place.
And whenever I heard of people finding out they were pregnant, especially friends and close family members, it wasn’t that I wasn’t happy for them, but it was painful to see others having something I wanted so badly. Sometimes it wasn’t their first baby and other times it was accidental.
Like I said, it was all just very difficult to process.
I felt like I was going through all of this by myself.
I had one extended family member who saw a specialist and took medicine in order to get pregnant as well. So she was really the only person, who I felt, understood and knew what this was like.
I would be walking through the store, be out with friends, on a date, I’d be at church… Anywhere really, and the feelings and emotions would begin to rise up.
If you’ve been here, you understand. I don’t have to explain this to you, but I would be doing something totally normal, like grocery shopping because this was before the age of ClickList and something would trigger all of the emotions I was trying to deal with.
Tears would fill my eyes.
I’d run to the bathroom and cry in a stall or outside. I would just walk out and lose it.
I think by now you’re starting to get a glimpse of how agonizing this was. My entire life was consumed with this, and I was a kindergarten teacher going to work every single day. I had to keep myself together.
I had to be prepared and energetic and loving and kind, and all of those things that babies need at that age. And I did my best, but it was not an easy thing to walk through.
It was not an easy thing to live through and it wrecked me. It truly did.
I was buying so many pregnancy tests that I should have also bought stock in them.
I’m not even lying.
I would try Dollar Tree tests and the expensive tests because maybe one or the other was inaccurate. I heard Dollar Tree tests were more accurate.
So I went and got the cheap ones. Who knew?
I held so much hope each month only to be devastated when the words “not pregnant” quite literally, appeared on the digital screen of the stick I was holding in my hand.
Where was God?
I felt like a failure all over again. My heart broke in two, all over again. Where was God?
I’d been a Christian since I was in the eighth grade. At this point I was 22, maybe 23.
Why was he letting this happen to me? I truly started to question my faith. I started to question God. I started to question his plan for me.
Was he even there? Was he even real? And I really started to wrestle with these things.
I remember journaling a lot during this season. And I actually, before I started recording the podcast episode on this (you can listen to it here), I spent like, 20 minutes upstairs looking for my old journals because I remember writing and tears just pouring from my eyes.
I would write prayers. I would write my feelings and my emotions. (I hope I can find them because it’s so raw and it’s so real.)
It really is a beautiful thing to just be able to pour out your heart onto the page and even to God. But it was one of the hardest things I’ve walked through, so that’s why I’m sharing this.
You Are Not Alone
Because I know I’m not the only one who’s been through it. Somebody out there is going through this right now.
I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know when, or if your time is coming, but I’m sharing my story in hopes of encouraging you in the fact that you are not alone. Even though, I know you think you are.
I felt that way. Anyone who walks through this feels this way, but you’re not alone.
I finally came to terms with the possibility of never caring and birthing a baby of my own. I had resolved, even before this point, these babies in my classroom, all 23 of them, they were where I would pour out my love and my heart. So that’s what I did.
I loved them as my own.
It’s something I would have done regardless of if I was a parent or not. But when I saw it through this lens, it made it even more special because I had this opportunity and appreciation to love these 23 kids, every single day.
We started to explore other options for fertility. Adoption had always been something in my heart I felt I wanted, but my plan very loosely was to have babies first and then possibly adopt later.
It’s still something I haven’t completely closed the door to, but who knows what God has in store down the road.
I was starting to think my body would never cooperate and I’d never experience pregnancy and delivery and would never be a mom. Then one morning in December, I woke up and I decided randomly to take a test.
At this point I had stopped counting days neurotically, and came to terms with whatever was meant to be.
There was nothing I could do at this point. I had been trying and fighting and, you know, really just pushing back.
I was mad. I was angry. I was so frustrated, but I just decided to let it go.
I was honestly, probably just so exhausted at this point.
I was so tired of month after month after month after month.
An Unexpected “Yes”
So, I’m honestly not even sure on this random day it was a day I should have taken a test, but I did. Fully expecting it to be another “no.”
I’d had almost two years of “no’s” in the bathroom all alone. And just like I’d felt during one of the hardest seasons that I had ever walked through, the test said “pregnant “ and I was shocked.
Tears filled my eyes and all I could say was, “oh my God. Oh my God.”
Because I was so thankful I was finally pregnant. I was finally going to have a baby!
I sat there and I cried, and cried in my closet all by myself because my husband was still sleeping. I was so happy and filled with joy.
However, I was about to learn a very hard lesson… This pregnancy and this baby were not the answer to any of the things I was dealing with.
This baby would not decrease my anxiety. In fact, the opposite was true. Not only through pregnancy, but you know, as a new mom and as our kids become toddlers and big kids, our anxiety is tested.
My anxiety increased even more, even though I didn’t even think that was possible at this point. Because then, I started to worry about all the things you worry about as a first-time mom or even your second, third, and fourth time around.
It’s normal to be anxious from time to time.
This was more than that.
New Levels of Anxiety
I became, kind of, obsessive and would go through every single thing, every possibility, every birth story, I could find. Everything that could possibly go wrong, what to expect every single week, every single month. (I do not recommend that you do this by the way.)
There’s nothing wrong with being informed, but there’s a fine line between Googling simple questions and looking up all of the things that are going to make you sick and worried and keep you up at night, which is what I was doing.
Just following the Baby app, letting it tell you, week by week your baby’s progress… There’s nothing wrong with that.
What I was doing was not a good.
But during this time, smartphones were on the rise and Google was in my pocket, right at my fingertips. And my anxious, little self could not help. It. I’ve always felt like more knowledge gave me more security.
And if I just knew what could happen, then I could prepare for all the possibilities and especially those worst-case scenarios.
Where are the Enneagram Six’s at? Because I know that you feel me on this.
I searched and I searched and I read the most heartbreaking, devastating stories. Like, why was I doing this to myself?
It was kind of sick in a way, if you think about it.
But it was something that I thought was helping me, by being prepared. By knowing all of these different outcomes, I thought I could be prepared if something were to happen or go wrong because that’s what I was expecting.
But it wasn’t helpful, it just increased my anxiety and it was not smart.
I found myself in another season of spiraling, only this time it was different.
We are Not in Control
So, what did I learn from my season of trying to conceive? Well, we can plan all we want, but it doesn’t actually matter. And it sucks to say that we are not the ones in control and nothing anybody can say, or do, can change that.
There’s literally nothing you can do.
And it is frustrating. It is maddening. It is heartbreaking. It is devastating, but it just is what it is. And I hate it.
Sometimes I hate it when my plan doesn’t work out the way I want it to, because I want what I want. We want what we want.
We Aren’t Actually Alone
The second thing I learned is how we are not actually alone.
Your thoughts will convince you otherwise, but there are so many women who are walking in your shoes right now.
Even if you are not trying to get pregnant, there are still women dealing with the same things you are dealing with, that I’m dealing with. So you are not ever by yourself. You’re not ever actually alone.
Do Not Give Up
The third thing I learned is to not give up. Don’t lose hope.
I’m not saying your story will be anything like mine. I’m also not saying that it won’t be, you don’t know. I don’t know.
But at the end of the day, you have to make peace with what is. You have to make peace with your current circumstances and your situation.
Stop waiting for this ,or that to come, or to go, or to change. You have to be at peace with where you are right now. Not when you get that thing you think you need, even if it’s a baby or a husband.
External Things will Not Fix Internal Problems
Whatever it is… A job promotion, when you reach a certain point in life, lose X amount of weight, whatever. Because trust me, when I say you will still be you. And you will still carry all of the things you carry… Your anxiety, your anger, your emotions, your baggage, your past.
If you haven’t made peace and dealt with these things, then you’ll still be dealing with them. Whether or not, you have a husband, or family, or baby, or job, or whatever it is you’re looking to fulfill you and make you happier.
Those things are not going to fill that void. It does not fix the problem.
You’re looking for an external solution to an internal issue.
The sooner you realize this, the better.
This may be the most important thing I’ve said so far. I really wish I had grasped this truth earlier in life.
The things I was looking for, that I wanted, that I was going after, were all attempts to try to fill a void that couldn’t be filled by any of these things.
You cannot use an external solution to fix something that is wrong internally.
And I don’t say “wrong” in a negative kind of way, but some of us have mess. Some of us have stuff from when we were kids, or teenagers, or early adults, that we haven’t dealt with that will continue to be if we don’t deal with it.
So regardless of the season, regardless of your status, regardless of where you are in life or where you want to be, if you don’t deal with the root of those things first… If you don’t deal with it internally, then nothing else is ever going to matter or make a difference.
I really wish I would have learned this sooner.