Motherhood is a woman’s greatest calling on Earth. When I found myself without the choice to be able to have more children… it was a punch right to the gut. I didn’t want my body to make the decision for me or a doctor highly recommending me to stop having children. I wanted to make that decision for myself. I still had that burning desire to have more children. Infertility can be debilitating for us and I am so grateful for the women that shared their stories with us in this post.

Families come in all shapes and sizes and no two paths are identical. I fulfilled my desires to have more children through foster care and adoption and the decision to do so took much prayer, study, and family conversations with my husband.  The more options a woman and couples have, the better. And if you find yourself searching for the right fertility center for yourself… start with Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM) which has been one of the industry’s leading pioneers in infertility science, research and advancement. 

There truly are a Million Ways to Mother and I wanted to advocate for a fertility center that was centered around women and celebrated women. Yes, CCRM has the name Colorado in it, but do not worry if you do not live in Colorado. They offer access to a national network of award-winning physicians and have 11 centers across North America.  CCRM is dedicated to delivering leading patient outcomes for prospective parents who want the fastest path to the healthiest baby. They have a full suite of fertility services, innovative technology and cutting-edge labs. Unlike many other fertility clinics that outsource their specialists and testing needs, CCRM leverages its own data, as well as a dedicated team of in-house reproductive endocrinologists, embryologists and geneticists in order to deliver consistent, successful results. 

CCRM delivers some of the highest IVF success rates in the industry. Through its proven methods, it takes the average patient at CCRM 1.2 IVF cycles to get pregnant (versus the national average at 1.6).

When Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine reached out to me to talk about infertility and provide a little direction, I was excited to highlight stories from my dear friends and share how each story is different yet there are multiple options and all need to be researched.

I may not personally know you, but I love you. Your desires to be a mother are felt and you are not alone. The emotions that women feel about motherhood are some of the most wonderful and some of the hardest that we go through. Here are some stories of some of my friends and family as they experienced infertility…

This is from my sweet sweet cousin Lexi:Trying to express all the feelings that come with the struggle of infertility isn’t easy. I think in the last 10 years I’ve felt just about every emotion there is. The feeling of inadequacy as a woman is tough. I think a lot of times as women we just expect when we feel ready to have a baby, you just get down to business and boom, you’re pregnant. When it didn’t happen that way for me I felt like I had failed. I felt embarrassed that I couldn’t give my husband a child.

Why me? What was I doing wrong? I thought for sure it was my time. Having a child is such a righteous desire. Then it seems like just about every woman you know is having a baby or 2 or 3 while you are struggling just to get pregnant. This silly biological clock ticked loudly in my ear as each birthday of mine comes and goes and I wondered if it wasn’t meant to be or if I should give up and be thankful for what I have.

I’ve felt sadness, hopelessness, anger, fear, failure, unsure, heartbroken and the list goes on. There’s no right or wrong way to deal with the emotional toll infertility takes on your life and the lives of your family and friends who sit by and watch you struggle. For me, I just try and hold on to the slivers of hope. Because they are there, and it helps you keep going when you just sometimes want to throw in the towel and call it quits.

Words from my friend Cassie:

Life’s Losses. We all will grieve certain life losses throughout our lives. Maybe the loss is an illness, a dissolving marriage, a death of a loved one, a dream not fulfilled, singleness, a financial struggle, etc. Things don’t go the way we plan and expect, and that can hurt.

It’s National Infertility Awareness week, April 21-29 which is a reminder of my current life loss and a reminder to the 1 in 8 couples who experience infertility. Life losses suck! There are days I cry, get jealous, complain, get angry, and compare. There are days I believe the lie that I need to do more for the Lord in order for Him to allow me to be “blessed with a child” or that I need to have more faith or that I need to delight myself in the Lord more. There were times when I tried everything in my might to get pregnant (pills, cutting things out of my diet, adding things to my diet, doing test after test, ovulation sticks, getting rid of toxic chemicals in the home, etc) and month after month, I was left feeling discouraged.

Whatever your life loss is, know that it’s OK to grieve. So grieve. And constantly remind yourself that God is GOOD. It’s easy to talk about God’s goodness when things are great, easy, and go our way, but not when things are sucky.  His goodness is not contingent on our circumstances or our “feelings.”

There is grace for your grieving, and I pray that you too will experience hope and healing and the Lord’s goodness when you’re hurting!

Thoughts from my friend Karmann:

My first initial thoughts that flood my mind when I think of my feelings of infertility go right to, “It was never going to be what was wrong with me!” 

The first 5 years of trying and going through my first 3 miscarriages I was in denial I had a problem. I was adamant that it wasn’t infertility and I didn’t need to seek help. I truly believed if I was faithful enough God would make it be ok. 

After my 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th loss within 6 months of each other; I succumbed that we needed help. The word INFERTILITY was now a part of me. 

Now looking back on my journey of 15 years, enduring 9 losses, going through 2 rounds of IVF, holding my son for the first time, going through 2 more losses with Frozen transfers, holding my daughter after our third frozen transfer, experiencing a natural pregnancy with heartbeat, giving our last two embryos away, losing that baby, getting pregnant again naturally 9 months later, losing that baby, and now 14 weeks pregnant  naturally again with another miracle, I am forever thankful for infertility!

I would never ever think I would say that out loud; but I am! It taught me so much about me. It taught me so much about God’s love for me! I have been able to serve so many others because of my struggle and I think it’s why we go through things. It’s to help other daughters and sons of our loving Heavenly Father. The spiritual experiences through infertility are my most cherished and I would not have had them without my struggle!!

I thought after having kids “I beat infertility.” It’s not so. It’s apart of me. It’s who I am!  And you better believe it; I am so proud. My struggle is part of my story! My story is so sweet; for without knowing the bitter you can’t cherish the sweet. My bitter was so worth it; to have my sweet miracle family.

Thoughts from Maren:

I grew up with some different health challenges and because of that always had the mind set “if I ever have a family” not “when I have a family.” When dating I knew I needed to tell my now husband about the possibility of not having children. Sure enough a little over a year of being married I was finally diagnosed with premature ovarian failure (early menopause). The time just after that was brutal. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I felt I had let my husband down. There was a period of a lot of self-blaming. Through reaching out to my support system- family, friends, church community, I was able to cope and function.

While there are still triggers, I’ve met some amazing people in similar situations and have learned so much. It’s like when you finish a super exhausting workout. You are drained but you don’t regret exercising because you know the exhaustion will go away and you will feel stronger and focused. I emotionally felt like I had been through the toughest workout. It took a bit to realize but that strength and focus did return. 

Does it suck? Yes! Will there always be triggers? Absolutely! Would I change what I’ve been able to learn about myself and the way I try to now approach other people going through trials? Not at all. Given other circumstances I know I personally would have taken so much for granted. This has taught me so much about myself and has given my husband and I other opportunities to grow and connect in ways we probably wouldn’t have otherwise. 

Words from Adrienne:

In the first eight years of our marriage, we had no problem with infertility. Quite the opposite actually, we felt like we just had to look at each other to get pregnant. During this time, our suffering came in trying to maintain our pregnancies. In eight years and between four babies, I would lose three babies–one early miscarriage, a boy at 13 weeks, and then another boy, a stillbirth, halfway through our pregnancy.

After my fourth child, my son, was born, my endometriosis, that was extreme but mostly manageable, became aggressive. My health deteriorated, I could hardly function, and I was in constant debilitating pain. After having a very scary evening while my husband was out of town, I knew we had to move forward with treating this terrible disease. I am now permanently infertile. I will never have any more children.  Growing up, I wanted a houseful.  God had different plans.

The emotional side of this journey and especially its outcome has been difficult. Initially, I felt so much paralyzing shame that we told no one for months. I remember telling my dad over six months later, and his response pained me: “Why didn’t you tell us?  We could have walked through it with you.” But, I had to process it myself first. I felt deep shame and humiliation that my body had failed me so badly, that I could no longer have children. I grieved deeply that my years of childbearing were over long before I thought they’d be.  I dealt with, and still occasionally do, figuring out where I belong. Most women my age are able to and still are having children. I am not. Gradually, though, deep peace and acceptance has come. I am so grateful for the four children with which we were blessed and able to keep in this world. I am thankful for my three little ones waiting in Heaven now and no doubt welcomed their Grampy (my dad) in December–oh, my father loved children, especially his grandchildren. I know the Lord has plans for us, plans always for the good. Still, the loss of my fertility pains me greatly at times. But, now I am at least able to accept that pain and cope with it.