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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!

Intentional Living, Money

One Simple Thing to Dramatically Reduce Your Anxiety

January 25, 2016

Your future. Your past. That big decision you’ve got coming up. Work. Holidays. Kids going off to school. Travel. Your living situation. There is no shortage of sources of anxiety and worry and stress in our lives.

What if there was one thing you could do that would affect every aspect of your life and make each one easier? Would you do it?

What if it took a little discipline? A little time? A little saying “no” to one thing so you could say “yes” to another? Would you still do it? Or would you rather keep living a more stressful life?

I hope you’re committed to severely reducing stress and are ready to do this.

The one thing you can do to dramatically reduce the anxiety you feel in every area of your life is:
Budgeting.

That’s right. Budgeting your money affects every area of your life for the better and reduces anxiety, worry, and stress. Here’s how:

Budgeting – creating a plan for your money and sticking to it – takes the guesswork and the worry out of your money. And because money touches every part of our lives, when we make money easier and more pleasurable to work with, we make every part of our lives easier and more pleasurable.

  • If there are money issues from your past, budgeting helps you clean them up and move on.
  • Big decisions to be made? Budgeting gives you the freedom to make the best choice – either by enabling you to save money up or simply using money more wisely – so the best choice – even if it’s something with a financial impact like quitting your job to start a new career – can be made.
  • Stressed out because there’s always more cool stuff to do with your family or roommates than there is money to do it with? Budgeting patches the “leaks” in your wallet so there’s more to use AND trains you to prioritize your activities so you can identify and choose what’s most important for you to do.
  • Big projects at work got you stressed? Budgeting works your planning muscle, which you’ll be able to flex in all sorts of situations!

Now that you’re sold on the benefits of budgeting (or at least interested), here are some quick tips for getting started:

  1. Budgeting is easier than you think.
    • You can do this.
  2. It’s a simple income – outflow equation.
    • Take the money you have (income) and plan how (groceries, cell phone bill, etc) you’ll spend it (outflow). Your planned spending cannot exceed your income.
  3. Every month is (slightly) different, so every budget you create should be (slightly) different.
  4. Start With Cash
    • While budgeting software like YNAB and Every Dollar can be very handy, it’s probably best for you to start out using cash and the envelope system (grocery envelope, clothes envelope, etc. one envelope for each budget category) so you can feel your money.
  5. Be Ready to Say No
    • Budgeting helps you set priorities and stick to them, which means it involves saying no to some things (like going out with your roommates, again) so you can do other, more important things (like saving for a car, or paying off debt). Your “yes” to better things will involve “no’s” to lesser things. Be ready. (And don’t feel bad about it!)
  6. Be Patient
    • It’s going to take a little while (3 months or so) to get a good handle on the right amount for your budget categories. Don’t get discouraged in the meantime. And don’t feel bad if you need to adjust your amounts. Just make sure it all evens out. (Adding $10 to one category means taking it from somewhere else).
  7. Ask for Help
    • Getting started with budgeting can be intimidating. Don’t be afraid to ask someone you know who’s been budgeting for a while for help. They’ll be glad to help. You’ve always got our contact form, too.
Catholicism, Intentional Living

How to Have a Great Lent

February 23, 2015

Admittedly, this post probably would have served you better if it came to you last week. But hey, better late than never! And for everyone out there who got their butts kicked by the first (half) week of Lent, this one’s coming just in time.

This is the busiest time of the year for me creating web content for FOCUS. We go a little Lent crazy, which is why we call our Lent content Lentsanity. Also, as Shaun T’s Insanity aims to get your body into shape, we try to get our souls into shape during Lent, and we’re here to help you do that.

1. Pick a Fast or Pius Practice

I know, Lent already started. If you want to start a Lenten practice now, go right ahead. Don’t worry about not having done it the first few days of Lent. Pick something and do it.

What to Do for Lent: 7 Reasonable Ideas
What Should I Do for Lent: Pope Francis’ 10 Tips 

2. Do What the Church Asks of You

There are a few things the Church asks us to do for Lent, mainly skip the meat on Fridays and fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. What exactly does the Church mean by fasting? And how do we remember to skip the meat? We gotcha covered:

Illustrated Guide to Lenten Fasting & Abstinence
FREE Lentsanity App with Reminders to Skip the Meat

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b1i_e_VL3o

3. Pray

Praying is the most important thing you can do during Lent. Spend some time with God by praying with Scripture. If you don’t know how, I made this handy guide. You can even print it out as a little booklet!

Do the Lectio 3 Step: An Illustrated Guide to Praying with Scripture

 

We’ve got a lot of great stuff coming up for Lentsanity, so be sure to keep an eye out on focus.org/lentsanity to see it all as it’s published. Better yet, subscribe to Lentsanity email updates, and the best of our resources will be delivered straight to your inbox.

Have a great Lent! (And don’t get busted by the Meat Police!)

www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRv8sNa7ZzClS4XovoZPrqbEiT4omv6Er