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lessons

Infertility

What We’ve Learned After Almost Five Years of Infertility

April 25, 2016

National Infertility Awareness Week is upon us and we’re joining the conversation here at True Good and Beautiful.

Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples at some point during their child-bearing years. While it’s the minority of couples, most people have a friend or family member who’s battled this painful disease.

Jonathan and I have been trying to conceive (TTC) for 4.5 years and we’ve learned a whole lot in that time. Struggling with infertility has hands down been the hardest battle in our marriage. As you might guess, it has the ability to bring couples closer together or tear them apart.

Personally, experiencing infertility cemented us together in a way nothing else could have. We are stronger, more deeply connected, and more compassionate towards one another because of this battle we’ve faced.

That doesn’t mean there weren’t ups and downs. Trust me, there were many! Through the struggle, we had to learn how to fight together. We also learned  really powerful lessons along the way  and that’s what I want to share with you today!

In fact, we’re hosting a webinar (more details below!) to spill the beans on the biggest lesson we’ve learned.

Without further ado, here are a few lessons we learned in the hard knocks school of infertility:

Infertility Touches EVERYTHING

So you thought the negative effects of infertility were relegated to the brief moments of seeing another negative pregnancy test or the start of another period?

Think again.

Infertility has a sneaky way of weaving itself into every single aspect of your life and marriage.

Thought you were safe drinking beers and watching the Olympics at home with your spouse? Wrong. One of the commercials sponsored by Visa will be about Mothers of Olympic athletes. Thought infertility would be the last thing on your mind while shopping for groceries? Nope! They sell baby food at the grocery store and every pregnant woman in town will bum rush the store the second you walk in.

Those are extreme (and real life!) examples but it’s still shocking to me at how infertility pain will pop up in the most random of ways. I’ve learned to roll with it at this stage and have developed the ability to briefly acknowledge it and  move on with life. The really painful situations? Those I lean on Jonathan and really good friends to talk it through.

Learn More & Sign Up for Our Webinar

You Need Outside Support

Hopefully, your spouse will be your rock in the infertility journey but they won’t be able to give you everything you need. This is where friends with similar experiences or online buddies come onto the scene.

I’ve unfortunately been blessed with close family and friends who know the pain of infertility. While I hate the fact they too know this pain, I am so grateful I’m not alone. I’m also in a pretty stellar Facebook group for other women battling infertility. They’re a source of comfort, laughter, encouragement, friendship, and inspiration.

Find these essential people in your life ASAP and I promise the weight of infertility will lessen. Joining that Facebook group I mentioned above seriously pulled me out of an ugly depression. I felt so alone, misunderstood, and judged that I was sinking into a dark place. Those friends were the lifeline I needed in addition to Jonathan’s support.

Men and Women Experience Infertility Differently!

This is the biggest and most important thing we’ve learned.

If you asked Jonathan and me separately how the last 4.5 years have been…you would get VASTLY different answers!

Jonathan is a massive supporter to me in the trenches of infertility and we’re closer because of it. However, that doesn’t mean haven’t had some blow-out arguments. We absolutely fought about infertility the first couple of years. Heck, we’d still be arguing about it had we not learned a few vital communication tactics to help us have more productive conversations.

Our arguments found their root in these 3 things: how we think about, address, and experience infertility. It’s not rocket science to realize men and women are different in their responses to emotional situations but we were ignoring that basic concept as we argued.

Once we honed in on that principle, we developed ways to stop the fight dead in its tracks by trying to understand the situation from the other’s perspective. That’s when we started making progress as a couple in this battle.

Since this is our BIGGEST lesson learned on our infertility journey, we want to take a deeper look with you at those differences. Check out the webinar we’re hosting during National Infertility Awareness Week:

How Men and Women Experience Infertility Differently: Turn 3 Common Mistakes into Your Most Powerful Secret Weapons

This webinar is going to explain fundamental differences between men and women while also examining those differences through the lens of infertility.

We’re going to show you some stellar strategies to overcome those challenges and get on the same page with your spouse about infertility. Not only that, you can then use these mindset shifts to your advantage and eliminate the frustrating tension that so often dominates infertility conversations.

Sign up to grab your seat today!

We’re excited to see you in the webinar and hear more about your story!

Marriage, Parenting

4 Lessons From My First Year as a Dad

November 13, 2015
One year ago, our lives changed when Josie was born and joined our family. Josie may have tripled her weight in the last year, but I’ve grown a lot too. Here are a few things I learned this year:

1. Love’s New Dimension

It’s a simple idea, but one that I’ve really come to understand: we love different people differently. The love I have for my Mom is different from that for my wife which again is different from that for my brother.
I don’t love any of those people more than another, I love them each differently.
The love a father has for his daughter is a whole different type of love. It’s deep, rich, and like nothing else. It’s like a new color was added to the crayon box of my life.

2. Sleep is Overrated

Some babies sleep really well at night from early on. Others get there a little later. And then there’s Josie, who only recently started sleeping until 5:30am. Before that she was up (read we were all up) 2-4 times every night.
My sleep hasn’t been this poor (in amount and/or quality) in years, and it takes a greater toll than it used to. But it’s okay.
I’ve been functioning just fine, and even if I’m upset/angry/super tired when that kid starts screaming 20 minutes after I fall asleep (and again a few hours later), it all melts away when I go in there to try and calm her down. I love that booger so dang much.

3. My Life is Not My Own. And I Love It.

We used be more spontaneous. Going to the movies on a whim. Taking weekend day trips without much advanced planning. Running errands when they needed to be done. Taking free time to pursue new hobbies.
All that’s gone.
Babysitters, nap times, and spending time with Josie have taken over all that. And forget about flying somewhere with just a carry-on.
I don’t have as much free time. And things that used to be quick and easy take time and planning now. I haven’t touched my hobby electronics in months. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My days are made up less of chasing my own wants and needs and more of doing my best to provide for Josie’s wants and needs. I am living less for myself and more for my family. And that’s making me a better man.

4. A Better Understanding of God the FATHER

Because I now understand the love a father has for their child (see above), I have been able to gain a better understanding on how God sees me.
One of my greatest joys is watching Josie interact with her world: exploring a room, playing with her toys, ransacking a bookshelf or the diaper bag. I love interacting with her: picking her up, listening to her babble at me, playing peek-a-boo.
I translate the joy I find in my daughter to what God must feel for me, his son. He loves watching me interact with my world: exploring new places, enjoying his creation. He loves interacting with me: when I come to him in prayer.
His heart overflows with love for me as mine does for Josie. Except even more, because I’m a broken man, and when it comes down to it, I stink at loving. He’s God. His love is perfect. He loves me so much more than I can ever love Josie, and that blows me away.
I’ve learned many things, but those are the big ones I want to share with you today.
And to the mom’s out there, check out Amanda’s post on what she’s learned as a mom.