What the infertility/loss community gets wrong

I had another post planned for today talking about an exciting vacation my husband and I are going to be taking, but decided to go another route. While I was doing the dishes today, I was getting fired up as I was thinking about a common theme among the infertility/loss community: success stories/rainbow babies/miracles.

I love success stories, like any good hopeful woman facing infertility does. I love to see my friends hold a baby in their arms after a long and hard struggle with loss or infertility. These are people I’ve prayed for and cried with during their struggle and I want nothing more than to see them happy. I dream of sharing my own success story someday. I dream of being able to deliver good news to those who have walked this path with me instead of feeling ashamed to share more bad news.

But I think sometimes in this community, we focus too much on “someday”. We tell each other to “keep holding onto hope that our miracle is coming”. We say things like, “Next year could be completely different” or “everything can change in a moment.”

But sometimes, that’s just not true. For some people, their infertility journey is going to be much shorter. But for others, it could be years and years. And for some…the resolution could be moving forward with a childless life.

Should the family who never ends up having children be considered a failure story? Or can they find success, a miracle even, through living a happy life without children?

Last year, I discovered a website and resource through Facebook called, Still Mothers. It was formed through the Still Standing organization as a resource for childless mothers after loss. It’s not a place where you’ll have the triggers of hearing about rainbow babies, but it is a resource to connect with other women who are learning to live a childless life after loss (or losses).

I’m so thankful for that resource, but I can’t help but wonder about the women who never conceived and had a positive pregnancy test. I hope there is something out there for women living a childless life after infertility.

Going through another miscarriage has me really thinking about the role that I can play in this community. What can I do to help encourage women facing infertility and loss or making the decision to live a childless life after a brutal journey of infertility?

I want to advocate for women and be a voice of hope that you do not need a traditional success story to have a better life. I think we all know that infertility will always be painful (even after you have a child in your arms), but we can learn to live with hope and to enjoy life even in the midst of pain and suffering.

I want to be a voice of hope encouraging women to be brave and to fight for a good life.

We might not have children, but we still have a unique and beautiful purpose in this world. We can still leave a lasting legacy that will impact future generations. We can still choose to live with joy and have a wonderful life.

I have said goodbye to 7 babies, but I am not without hope. I grieve with hope and I live with hope.

I hope and pray that God will give me the honor of being able to share my story and share my hope with women facing similar circumstances. I don’t know what that looks like yet, but I have hopes and dreams for my story to be used in a special way and I look forward to seeing what exactly that will be.

Sending love to all of you,

Amber

Suggested reading: This blog post is from a blogger that wrote back in 2008 about her infertility journey. I go back and re-read this post and many others from her blog when I need encouragement. Go check it out by clicking here

Also this blog post from Sondra at A Calm Persistence: I had to go back to her blog to find this because I just remembered she wrote this very powerful post about how we define beating infertility.

 

 

 

I had another miscarriage

This last month has been a whirlwind. So much can change in just a month, but for today, I wanted to talk about the biggest change in my life: I found out I was pregnant for a 7th time this month and I had my 7th miscarriage last weekend right before Father’s Day.

I should start by saying that just a little over a month ago, I felt led to pray for a baby. Now you might assume that because I have been infertile for 5 years and have had multiple losses, I pray all the time for a baby. But for me, I have grown weary in praying for a baby. In fact, it made me angry to pray for a baby, because it seemed like every time I prayed, God would answer that pray with the excitement of new life, only to take it away with the crushing heartache of death in my own body.

Last month, something came over me and I felt compelled to be brave and pray for a baby.

Looking back, I need to remember that prayer. When I want to question the direction of my life and wonder why I’m suffering so many losses, when I begin to question what was the point of this child’s life – I have to remind myself that God answered that pray and God had a very unique and special purpose for her life – and my life.

Last year, I wrestled with God over a similar injustice. My husband is a detective and he witnesses a lot of evil. But the two events that stick out more than anything are the murders of two precious children. The first was in the spring last year with a little girl who was 3 years old. The same age as my first 3 children should have been. Her own father killed her. When Jonathan told me about going to that scene that day, I was broken up for weeks. Why did God give a child to a man who was going to murder his own daughter? Why did our own babies die when they would have had an amazing father who would have not only loved them but would have even given his own life to protect them? It haunted me to think that my husband had to witness such an evil act done to a child.

Later in the year, in November, the same month that our baby Matthew died in 2011, my husband was the detective unfortunate enough to witness the autopsy of a 2 year old boy killed by his father. The person who did the autopsy said it was one of the worst cases of child abuse she had ever witnessed in years.

I can’t speak for my husband because he is a very quiet and strong man and he doesn’t show his grief or emotions in the same vocal way that I do. But for me, there is something so painful knowing that these men who killed their children were given this beautiful gift of a child, while I can’t give this gift to my amazing husband. The thought that my husband had to see the evil act these men did against their children and the thought that he has to live with those images in his mind makes me angry and heartbroken.

And when I found out just a few days before Father’s Day that my 7th pregnancy was not viable, it was a crushing blow to have to share more bad news with my husband. I was ashamed at my body for not being able to carry a baby to full term. I just wanted to give my husband something happy to redeem all the sorrow we have faced in the last 5 years.  I wanted to give him a rainbow.

I usually feel “strong” in my faith after my losses. But this time, I just feel angry with God. Logically, I know and believe all that the scriptures say about God being for me and not against me. My heart can’t seem to catch up this time though. And I’m okay with that.

I’m not beating myself up for feeling what I feel. The only way I can move forward is to just work through those feelings and not live in them and prolong my grief by making myself feel guilty.

The first day of my loss, I felt ashamed and I felt sorrow that my infertility journey was not ending. I told Jonathan that I felt selfish that I was more sad for myself than I was sad to say goodbye to a baby.

The weekend of Father’s day I felt angry and mad at everyone and everything. I was also having a miscarriage and dealing with dropping hormone levels.

During the weekday, after the worst of my bleeding had passed, I felt a little back to normal and was even happy. I think part of that happiness was the relief that I didn’t have pregnancy after loss anxiety. Another part of feeling normal was getting ready for family to visit during the week and my friends from out of town visiting on the weekend.

By Friday, I felt exhausted and low and sad at the loss of my baby. I cried all throughout the day. My friend and her husband were coming that night for a visit and she is in her second trimester of pregnancy after experiencing a miscarriage earlier this year. I was nervous to tell her about my pregnancy, but it turned out that she was the one nervous to share her own news with me. I found out the same day that I was going to miscarry that she was expecting a baby due in November. I’ll share more about celebrating my friend’s good news with grieving my sad news in a different post.

This morning, my friends went back home and I’ve spent the day feeling down again. I always feel a bit lonely and sad when people leave after visiting. Our house suddenly feels too quiet. Although I’m happy to have some down time to relax, a big part of me just feels sad.

All this to say, my emotions and feelings are just all over the place right now and I’m just taking things one day at a time. On the bad days, I try to remind myself that I won’t always feel this horrible and on the good days, I allow myself to enjoy being happy without feeling guilty over some preconceived idea of how I “should” be feeling.

The morning before we found out that we were going to have another miscarriage, I told my husband that I thought the baby was a girl and was thinking about the name Evelyn Rose. He was playing a video game and wasn’t paying much attention, but about 30 minutes later told me, “Evelyn Rose. I like that.”

Perhaps some people might think it’s strange to give a name to a baby that you didn’t even know the gender of. But honestly, I can think of no better way to honor my little ones in heaven than to give them a name and to remember them. It gives me hope that I will see them again.

Evelyn Rose lived for a reason. She was an answered prayer. She was a miracle. She had a short life, but her purpose will live on through me and through my husband, and God willing, someday, our future children will know her and her brothers and sisters and they will honor her memory with their lives.

The two children that were killed last year – their lives mattered too. I don’t know their names. I only know that their precious lives were cut short too soon. But I’m going to honor them too in the way I live my life.

I don’t know what exactly that looks like. Maybe it looks like loving when it’s hard to love. Or celebrating others when I’d rather hide from the world. Maybe it’s just the simple act of trying to see beauty in little everyday things, like the sun rising and setting. Whatever it is, I’ve been given the gift of life and I’m going to remember them by living my life fully.

In the coming days I’ll be sharing more, but for now I just want to share this update.

Thank you for reading,

-Amber

“I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.”

 

 

My first gray hair!

Yesterday morning after waking up to brush my teeth, I noticed something interesting in the mirror: my first gray hair!

And not just one gray hair, but 3 plus 1 tiny baby hair in the front of my head that appears to be coming in gray. Oh my!

I’m sure it’s alarming the first time anyone notices gray hair in the reflection looking back at them, but this came as quite the shock as I’m one week away from turning 29. I was sure I would probably someday have a few gray hairs in my older years, but I didn’t expect to see the sign of “old age” before I even turn 30.

Surprisingly I don’t feel upset about this or worried. From everything I read on the internet, there really isn’t a solid answer for what causes premature graying. Some studies link to stress in our modern lifestyle causing premature aging, others say it has nothing to do with stress it’s all about genes, and others point to lifestyle (things like a thyroid problem, autoimmune disease, and so on).

I really can’t say if it’s linked to my genes. My dad (who I take after with my hair) didn’t start getting gray hairs until he was in his 40s. My mom always dyed her hair or highlighted her hair so I don’t think she would have a clue as to when she started getting gray hairs. My brother is 5 years older than me and I don’t think that he has started to get gray hair yet, but I’ll ask him the next time I speak with him.

It definitely wouldn’t shock me if this was related to stress. Hello, the last 5 years of dealing with being a newlywed, marriage to a police officer and then transitioning to his job as a major crimes detective, our 6 pregnancy losses and infertility, health issues and other life stressors is likely bound to affect me physically.

I also wouldn’t be shocked if this was caused by an autoimmune condition or imbalance of some kind.

Regardless of what the cause is, I’m not going to let myself worry about it.

In my most recent post, I talked about my journey in dealing with anxiety and taking steps to overcome that burden. While I can’t change the stress of the past and I have only so much control in reducing my current stressors, I know that I’m on the forward path towards a future that will be much better than the past has been.

Just last week we paid off $800 in debt and another $150 this weekend. We are that much closer towards financial freedom. While being debt free certainly won’t solve all of my problems, it will give us peace and the freedom to not have to worry about finances while dealing with other stressful events. An example of how this will give me more peace: if I’m ever blessed to carry another child again in pregnancy, while dealing with anxiety during pregnancy, I won’t have the added anxiety of worrying about medical bills or going into more debt if an emergency situation should arise. It won’t take away from the anxiety of dealing with medical issues, but it will give me peace of mind to not have one extra thing to think about.

By my 30th birthday, we will be completely credit card debt free and well on our way to total debt freedom if not fully debt free (my husband is able to make a lot of money in overtime – but it’s not predictable. If we are fortunate and he is able to pick up a lot of hours of overtime there is a good chance we could be completely debt free in a year).

Even though my current season of life is really stressful, I’m tired and exhausted and sometimes I just want to throw my hands in the air and give up, I’m taking this one day at a time and focusing on the goal that is not all that far away. My 20s have been sad. I’ve tried to remain positive, but the truth is that this gray hair on my head is very symbolic of the last 5 years of my life.

I almost feel like this gray hair is a badge of honor for everything I have survived. I’ve told my husband many times that I feel like we are much older than we actually are because of the things we’ve experienced at a young age. We were only 24 when we said goodbye to our first 3 babies. Loss changes you and yes I even think loss ages you.

Aside from the negative aspects of the last 5 years, I can also look back on that time as walking through the valley of the shadow of death with God. There was a long season or stretch of time where I couldn’t feel God. I felt abandoned by Him. I didn’t understand His plans for me. I thought He wanted me to suffer and didn’t care about what I was going through. I remember at one time saying, “Why does God continue to allow loss after loss after loss? As soon as I grieve one loss and try to move forward with positivity, he brings more loss into my life. It’s as if He wants me to live a life of sorrow.” God pulled me through that dark season and showed up as only He can do. There have been so many moments where He revealed Himself in special ways in my life – so many little testimonies of His faithfulness at just the perfect time.

God has given me faith to believe that He is trustworthy. He has given me faith to believe that He is working for my good. He has given me faith to trust that He is protecting me from harm. He has given me faith to believe that my testimony, my miracle is going to be one our great joy and celebration. I don’t take credit for any of this faith. I’ve doubted more times that I can count. But in the moments where I was ready to give up on God, He showed up with His grace to show me how much He cares and to give me hope for His plans for my life.

A few years ago, I was worried about getting older. While some of you might think that is silly because I’m still in my 20s, the worry for me came based on the fact that I’ve already faced so many reproductive problems at an early age. The idea of getting older each year and having my reproductive options decline even more was scary. I think we assume that youth is supposed to be on our side, but if I had this many problems in my youth, what would getting older look like for me?

But now? I’m not scared of getting older. My 20s have been a time of growth and maturing. I will carry the wisdom of this decade with me throughout my years. But do I think turning into a new decade will bring worse fate?

Absolutely not. I’m very much looking forward to my 30s. We will be debt free in our 30s. We will be able to take active steps towards growing our family (more on this in a later post). In our 30s, we will likely purchase our first home where we will God willing bring our children home. There are many things to look forward to as we grow older and I’m excited for what the next decade will bring. I’m sure there will still be plenty of hard times and trials, but I’m not afraid anymore.

I’m not sure what I’ll do about my gray hair. For now it’s just a few. To be honest, I actually kind of like it. The gray is more of a silver color. I really feel like it’s a badge of honor and I love what the bible has to say about gray hair and growing older:

“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.”

Cheers to growing older, gray hair and all!

-Amber

 

 

Long time no blog

Hello friends, if any of you are still out there! I know it has been so long since I last blogged and prior to that I wasn’t keeping up with this blog consistently. I’m back for a brief update but I can’t promise that I’ll start truly blogging again anytime soon. I really don’t even have time to do this tonight, but I have been thinking about my blog lately and felt it needed a little love.

The last time I wrote, I discussed that I was dealing with some tough issues but that I was having trouble taking the time to publish those thoughts to the blogging world so I stuck with private journaling for a season.

Today I’m ready to open up a bit about what I was going through.

Anxiety – severe anxiety that I finally realized was affecting every part of my life. I think that I have always struggled with anxiety, but wasn’t able to pin down the issue until the recent past when my struggle with anxiety was growing increasingly worse over time. I think my recurrent miscarriage history obviously added to the weight of my struggle and the combination of dealing with life after multiple losses plus other stressful life circumstances led to me feeling completely helpless and frozen in a pit of fear.

I finally realized back in January that it was time to start taking some steps forward to deal with conquering my anxiety when my husband and I were going to attend a new church and I desperately wanted to go inside in my spirit and enjoy the fellowship lunch we had been invited to, but instead my body refused to move and I sat paralyzed in my car. In tears, I made my husband turn around to head home. I wanted to write about this moment when it happened, but was too embarrassed to share this with the public. Now that time has passed, I’m feeling more brave and ready to share a little bit about this struggle.

When we came home that afternoon, I started searching for how to manage extreme anxiety and social anxiety and found several helpful tips that I could start immediately implementing. Of course therapy would be a great option, but one of my current life stressors and a trigger for my anxiety is dealing with financial struggles. Seeing a therapist just wasn’t an option at the time (but will hopefully someday be one should I need it).

After researching anxiety and how I can cope with this struggle, I also did a bit of research on social anxiety within the church. I read countless stories of people desiring to be a part of community with their brothers and sisters in Christ yet feeling trapped by their anxiety that they felt prevented them from truly living the abundant life Christ promised.

Reading those stories and having a list full of resources to start applying to overcome my anxiety, I felt inspired. God did not plague me with an awful case of anxiety for my harm, but for my good and for the good of others. I felt determined and excited that although this struggle feels really big right now, I believe with every ounce in my heart that God created me to use this burden to overcome every obstacle I face and grow stronger and to help those who face the same kind of struggles. I was excited to think that although at the present time I was too afraid to walk into the church building and share lunch with new faces, someday I will be able to do so and I will also be the person who offers encouragement and true fellowship and community to someone else who needs a little help.

But to take this journey forward, was going to mean taking some difficult first steps forward. One of the first steps I took was to make a plan of action. I thought of all the problems in my life or goals for my future and made a plan for what actionable steps I could take to move in the direction to either solve my problems and accomplish the goals and dreams I have for my life.

I’m not going to go into great detail about my problems/goals and solutions bit I will talk about the biggest action step I took to move forward: I started a new job!

I have stayed home for most of my marriage, but worked briefly in the second year of marriage. While homemaking will always be my first choice for a career (it’s just the way I’m designed!) I realized that although we were “making it” on my husband’s income, we really needed a second income to accomplish our goals a lot faster.

On top of accomplishing our financial goals and saving for more personal future goals, I also realized that getting a job would be a great way to start working through my struggle with anxiety.

I was terrified to even look for a job. I had so many defeating thoughts throughout that process. I received a call back about a job offer after about a week of searching but missed the call. I was so afraid to call back that I almost didn’t. I worked up the courage and was told the recruiter would call me back shortly. A few days passed and my phone remained silent. I asked my husband if I should call back and see if maybe they just forgot about me. He thought that was a good idea. This was really breaking my rules for me. I hate bugging people. I was shaking so hard when I made that call (which makes me sound crazy I’m sure). Again the recruiter wasn’t available and after a few days I thought, “I guess they didn’t like me!”

Just as I had given up and decided to move on and hope for another job offer, I finally got the call and had an interview 2 hours later. The interview process was three hours long and I had interviews with 3 different managers throughout the process. I did a good job, but by the time I went home I had a huge headache and was completely drained from my nervous/anxious energy. The good news: I was hired on the spot and I started training a few days later.

We had 5 weeks of in-class training and 2 weeks of on the job training. I graduated from training today and officially start my first day of the job on my own tomorrow. I know that it might sound completely silly, but I feel very proud of myself for making it this far and overcoming all of the obstacles that came up over the last 7 weeks.

My anxiety is certainly still here in full force. The last two weeks of taking calls have been really rough on my body. I do an excellent job talking with customers and the majority of my customers thank me for being helpful, but the anxiety of just being new at what I’m doing and not totally confident right now has been really tough to manage. During the first 5 weeks of training, I was super motivated and productive and was able to get a lot of things accomplished before and after work: grocery shopping on the weekend, meal prepping on Sundays, laundry every day, ironing clothing, keeping the house clean and orderly, and so on. But with my anxiety kicking into full gear now that we are finally applying everything we learned over the last 5 weeks in class, I have very little energy to get things done.

On top of just the normal anxiety of starting a new position and being unsure of yourself, I celebrated my 6th due date with empty arms on March 16 for our baby Madison that I lost in July. I actually was okay on her actual due date, but the week before I was feeling very low and was exhausted from the emotions surrounding her due date. On top of the sadness of experiencing yet another due date, I was struggling with defeating thoughts of wondering if we will ever reach our goal to have living children. I always dreamed of having a large family and in weak moments like that, it’s hard to imagine any of our dreams ever coming to pass.

Again, I’m so proud of myself for not giving up during these times. It’s so hard to walk through it when you’re in the moment and everything feels too heavy to bear, but somehow God just gives me that little bit of grace and strength I need to push through another obstacle, another day, another low valley in the journey to my promised land.

Not every day is hard. I have many good days. The hard days, the days where my anxiety is exhausting me are obviously more memorable, but the good days are that much sweeter and more meaningful. I cherish every good day that I have. Don’t even get me started on how much I love Saturdays. Walking with my boys (husband and 2 dogs) on a beautiful spring day makes me swoon like nothing else. SWOON, I tell you😉

Another change that I have recently made has been to start participating in more social events and fun life events, even if they are hard to attend.

The big example: Baby events. In November, I realized that while I could be around pregnant women, families with young children, or moms with new babies, I was “faking it”. If I said I was happy for someone, I wasn’t really happy. I was jealous or just plain sad for myself. I didn’t want to feel that way. I wanted to genuinely be happy for other people. I wanted to truly be able to celebrate with other people in their happiness. I prayed a heartfelt prayer that God would start putting me in situations where I would become more comfortable being around family events and where He can work in my heart, as only He can, to truly “rejoice with those who rejoice.” The only thing I have to do on my part is be willing to say yes.

When my husband’s co worker and his wife (who I’ve met on a few occasions) invited us to attend their gender reveal party, I said yes without a second thought.

And you know what? It was so much fun. Long before my infertility, I thought that gender reveal parties were just the cutest idea and I couldn’t wait to be able to throw one. While I someday hope to be celebrating at my own party, it was really nice to be able to participate in the fun with someone else. Plus, I have kind of a sixth sense about baby gender. I’m always right. No joke! And this time, I was totally right that they were having a girl.

During the party, I also met another wife of my husband’s co-worker and she started talking about how she was doing infertility treatments for secondary infertility (her first child was conceived with treatments). I had no intentions of mentioning my own infertility, but when curiosity got the best of her, she asked me and I revealed our own experiences with IF. I didn’t want to spend much time talking about it so I just briefly said my history, but she added me later on Facebook and told me all about the Reproductive Endocrinologist and offered to be a listening ear in the future when we go down that road for treatment. It was really thoughtful.

Over the last 5 years, I have shared my journey openly with people in my life. But recently, I have become more quiet and do not feel as comfortable as I once did sharing my story. For that reason, I decided that I would not tell my story with my co-workers. I’ve even had a few people ask specifically why we don’t have children after 5 years of marriage, but I just smile and say, “just life circumstances” and the discussion dissolves from there.

I have to say, it has been really nice not sharing my recurrent miscarriage story. I’ve made a friend that was in my training class that is pregnant and due in June and it’s nice being able to talk with her about her pregnancy and baby without feeling awkward wondering if she’s worried about my feelings. I do plan on opening up more in the future, but for now, it’s nice to keep my journey private to myself.

My co-worker even invited me to her baby shower and I was very happy to attend last Saturday. For some reason, I wasn’t worried at all before the shower and never felt anxious about how it would go. And yet again, I had a wonderful time and enjoyed all of the baby games (and won a sweet prize for guessing the right size of her belly!) and even enjoyed shopping for cute baby items for her gift. I only went $4 over budget, surprisingly!

The only area of anxiety with being around my pregnant friend at work is that she shared with me that her pregnancy is high-risk because her baby is too small and they are monitoring her weekly to check on the baby’s growth. Of course with my loss history, I’m terrified for her. There was just a brief moment during the baby shower where I had to pull myself together: she was so shocked by all of the presents she received and said, “I’ve never received such nice stuff before.” I thought it was a really sweet comment and felt really happy for her and thankful to God for giving her the blessing of this baby when the negative thought came to my mind, “What if something happens to her baby?” I wanted to cry but was able to pull myself together enough to focus on the celebration.

I think God is definitely answering my prayer to be able to celebrate new life, but I think my next prayer is going to be for God to help work through the anxiety surrounding loss and pregnancy and to be able to not have those negative/fearful thoughts. I suppose before I struggled to celebrate with others, but now that I’m investing in other people and celebrating with them, I’m finding myself worrying about those I love and care for experiencing the same kind of loss that I have.

Love is hard sometimes, isn’t it? But so, so worth it!

I’m not exactly sure how to wrap up this post as I rambled on much longer than I thought I would (don’t I always), but I suppose I should say, I have this huge struggle in my life, well many struggles really, but God is so faithful. As hard as some days are to get through, I just have full confidence that He is working in my life and that all of this pain, all of this hard work and striving, all of my faith and trust that I place in Him, is going to someday be revealed. Right now, it’s hard to see that finish line, but I’m taking each step now just believing that I’m going to make it there.

Someday I’ll look back at this season of life or maybe I’ll even read this post (hi, future me – I bet you’re laughing right now!) and think, “Every hard moment, every difficult moment that I wanted to give up and throw in the towel was 100%, totally, completely worth it.”

If you are also struggling with anxiety, I hope you’ll find encouragement in this quote that showed up on my twitter the other day. I was right in the middle of dealing with a really bad day and my anxiety was making me feel like I couldn’t keep moving forward when I saw this and felt encouraged to know that not only is God for me, but caring people in this world are for me:

“I don’t think people realize how much strength it takes to pull your own self out of an anxiety attack or a panic attack. So if you’ve done that today or any day, I’m proud of you.”

The same day, I also read this verse on my bible phone app:

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

I love that the bible doesn’t shy away from difficult concepts like anxiety and depression. It doesn’t say, “Buck up and get over it.” It says to take your anxiety to God who cares for you, who weeps with you, who KNOWS you and made you uniquely in such a way that you don’t need to be ashamed of. You don’t have to feel like you’re not good enough to go before God because your life is a mess. He wants you just the way you are. It’s such a comfort to me that as crazy as I sometimes feel, God looks at me with loving adoration and calls me his beloved child. I’m not a “mess” to Him – I’m His beautiful creation. And you, my sweet sisters, are His beautiful creation and don’t ever let the world tell you otherwise.

I hope that you all have a great rest of the week. My favorite day is coming up soon, what what! To leave you with some laughs. It’s how I feel every Monday, LOL:

Weekend

Source

-Amber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspired by my mother

I said I was most likely not going to post much on the blog in my last post while I’m dealing with some heavy issues in my life, but this is something I feel very comfortable sharing.

I was inspired earlier this week remembering back over the course of my life as I watched my mom overcome enormous obstacles in her life as a woman and as a mother. I’m facing a lot of issues in my life that seem very difficult to walk through and as I was wondering to myself earlier this week how I was going to do it all, I remembered my mom’s influence through the years and was encouraged that I can also walk through difficult seasons of life with grace just as she did.

My mom always dreamed of being a writer and had a love for reading. She grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas and could be found during her high school years rocking a bikini and a book by the beach. She attended the University of Texas and made the Dean’s list every semester. Sadly, she didn’t finish college as she married my dad half-way through college and didn’t receive enough financial support to continue going.

She devoted herself to being a full time mother to me and my brother and stayed home for most of our childhood, with the exception of working as an aerobics instructor for several years before she pursued her writing dream once more. A close family friend encouraged her to take a romance writing course and she took the plunge into the world of historical romance.

She devoted herself to her writing dream and was fully immersed in reading, researching, writing, workshops and classes, a romance writer’s community, and spending time with writing friends in a writer’s critique group. Her first novel was so successful that she won the Golden Heart Award and her novel was requested by several editors. She had an editor, but unfortunately her first novel was not meant to be and was not published.

Following her first writing disappointment, her dream took a back seat when my parents divorced. I won’t go into many details here, but it was a very nasty divorce and my mom had many obstacles to face as a new single mother.

She selflessly put her writing dream to the side, never knowing if she would be able to pick it back up again and went back to school to finish her degree. To finish sooner, she took 18 credit hours a semester, while working a part-time job, and being a single mother.

I remember for almost two years seeing my mom come home after a very long day, making dinner and then sitting down to study and write papers (she majored in English, of course!) Even though I was only 10 or 11 at the time, I remember thinking how exhausting it all looked.

Not to mention, she did all of this while dealing with the grief of divorce. She even made time to see a therapist on campus to help work through the issues of divorce and single parenthood. I can’t even imagine how she was able to do all of this, but I’m thankful to God that she was.

Her first job out of college was decent and paid the bills but it was very long, taxing hours for a job she wasn’t super thrilled to do. Shortly after that, she moved on up in her career and accepted a job as a market research analyst for a major computer corporation. It was a great job with excellent pay, but the first few years were scary as the company had lay-offs after lay-offs and my mom was constantly worried about losing her job. At one point, we even moved in with my grandparents because of her fear of getting laid off.

I remember when things finally settled down and she survived all of the lay offs, she felt safe to move into our own place again. I spent my first year of high school in a completely different school district and missed all of my friends from my junior high deeply and begged my mom to find a place in that school district so I could attend school with friends again. The idea of starting at a brand new high school yet again was sobering. The prices of homes were higher and she was more interested in finding an apartment closer to work, but again, she was selfless and searched high and low to find us a place near the school I wanted to attend. She cried tears of happiness when she was able to tell me that she finally found a home that worked out. She had to drive an hour to work and an hour back home in Houston traffic everyday, but she did it out of love for me (my brother was now out of the house – he’s 5 years older than I am.)

Once things were finally settled, my mom picked up her writing dream once again. It was hard being a full time mother and working full time hours in a job where she had to travel often around the country and even out of the country (though she did enjoy getting to travel cool places and I enjoyed the souvenirs). Every night after getting home from work she would write. Every free chance she had was either sitting in front of the computer on Word or editing pages and pages of her future novel.

My mom started to pursue her writing dream when I was about 7 years old I believe. Life circumstances got in the way, but she never gave up on her dream and she finally published her first novel in January 2010. The publisher accepted a 3 book series deal and she continued to have success and has published several books in the last 5 years. She’s currently working on a book deadline as we speak and is now a full-time author.

My mom overcame obstacle after obstacle to provide a good life for me and my brother and to make her writing dreams come true.

My own dream has always been to become a mother. My dream has been filled with roadblocks and unexpected sorrows, burdens, and events that stop me from being able to move forward towards my dream coming true.

Right now, I’m at a point in my journey where I can’t move forward with making my dream come true. There are other circumstances blocking the way forward and as I looked at those circumstances this week, I was tempted to think I’m not strong enough to do it. But then I thought of my mom and how God provided for her in so many ways and how she worked night and day to take care of her family and to see her dream finally come true.

As I look to my mom for inspiration, I’m going to move forward believing that I will overcome all of this and the victory is going to be that much sweeter when I finally reach the finish line.

“In this life you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Sending love to you all,

Amber

Having trouble hitting publish

Hi friends, I just wanted to come on here with a quick post to apologize for my lack of blog posts. I have several drafts that I have typed, but can’t seem to find the courage or strength to hit publish.

Some of the things I’m going through in my life right now are just really, really hard and it’s difficult to open myself up and be vulnerable in the online community. I know that the majority of you will be compassionate and thoughtful, but I’m having trouble finding the balance of what I’m really comfortable with sharing right now.

I so desperately want to blog and every time I find inspiration, I sit down and write. But everything so far is just too far outside of my comfort zone for what I want to share. It’s just kind of adding to my anxiety to put myself out there and wonder what people are thinking or how they will respond.

So for now, the blog will probably be mostly quiet. For now, I suppose I’m just blogging for my own benefit and not for anyone to actually read it. But I hope to be back blogging publically again as I work through some difficult parts of my life and find healing to share openly once again.

Thank you for your continued support and love.

Amber

 

Patience and Baby Steps

In my recent post, I reviewed my year in 2015 briefly and discussed some of the health issues I am struggling with, my reluctance to trust God and surrender totally to His plans for my life, and my ongoing desire to have a family.

To sum up that post for anyone who doesn’t want to read the long novel I posted (sorry about that, sweet friends): I talked about my struggle with GERD/acid reflux and food sensitivities, I shared that I successfully completed the Whole 30 diet in November but was disappointed to discover how many food sensitivities I have and now need to embrace starting a more strict autoimmune Paleo protocol to work towards healing, and of course wanting to work towards our goal of having a healthy baby but feeling like I’m stuck dealing with health issues that take precedence over trying to conceive.

I apologize to anyone who read my post if I was too whiny in that post. I don’t intend to share that in the hopes of getting sympathy, but rather as a form to vent my frustration and release the stress of the last year so that I can really start working towards moving forward with my life. I have to tell you, I feel like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders by releasing that in my blog. I’m still a little nervous to have so much personal information on the internet, but I love this blogging community that has been so beneficial for my soul over the last few years and I also hope that my words will be a comfort to someone else.

Although all of the problems in my life sometimes feel too big to even think about dealing with, I know that I have overcome many struggles in my life and I will overcome this also, with God’s helping hand.

In my quest towards healing, I want to set goals and plan/map out how I can work my way to achieving those goals. One of the hardest parts of dealing with illness, for me personally, has been the worry and stress of not knowing how to move forward and feeling too overwhelmed by having too many big changes in my life all at the same time. My goal is to plan out baby steps that I can take slowly over time to work towards my goal of good health.

“Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”

When I started this health journey in November, I think I caused myself a great deal of added stress and anxiety because I had this end goal in mind that I wanted achieved by a set date. The reason for my set date was because I want to see my reproductive endocrinologist this summer and start working on trying to have a baby. Giving myself a deadline for healing is just unrealistic. Healing takes time and you just can’t rush that.

So part of my plan is surrendering to the understanding that I am only in control of making positive changes, but I can’t control how long this process of healing is going to take. While I still hope we will be able to see the specialist this summer, I’m prepared for the wait to be longer than I expect. (For anyone wondering why I can’t focus on healing from my GERD issues while seeing a RE: it mainly has to do with finances. I’m prepared for the RE to cost a great deal of money and I want to do everything in my power to be as healthy as I can before going. I want to do what I can on my own first and then work with the doctor with the things I don’t have control over. I just don’t want to waste money or time when I know that I’m not healthy enough right now to start that journey. Also, I’m not mentally prepared yet for starting that process. I’m still struggling with grief over my loss in July and not ready to get pregnant again.)

I’m giving myself grace and taking this process one baby step at a time.

Sending you all my love,

Amber