Guest Post: Sara Ormsby {Infertility}

1:51 PM

A lot of you know that we had a hard time getting Milo on the way and are well into our second go-around of baby making with no success to speak of yet. One of my best friends Sara has been an incredible support to me as we've gone through this struggle together, and she wrote this fabulous post that conveys some of the emotions surrounding infertility. Love you Sara!
First of all, if you were looking for an update on our lives, you are going to have to wait a bit. I recently realized I hadn't posted in a long while, regardless of the many great things we have going on for us here. Blogging is still one of those things that I don't remember to do enough. Stay tuned.

I have been reflecting a lot lately on myself and where I'm at in my life- spiritually, physically, mentally, in my relationships with others, as a teacher, ALL of it. If you don't mind, I'd like to share some of that with you now. 

A lot of you may know that Ethan and I have been having a difficult 3 years. Exactly 3 years ago, in fact, we started this crazy journey of trying to have a baby. I'm not going to go into a lot of details, because this is a very personal topic and I'm sure you don't actually want to know that much about me. (I don't want to tell you that much about me, either.) I've hinted at it on Facebook and in conversations. Some of you know the whole story because sometimes I just need to get it out. It has been a long, (though not as long as others, I realize) painful journey to get to the point we are at today. No, I'm not pregnant. I probably won't be for some time, if ever. I’d like to say that I am at peace with that statement, but that would be a stretch. I can say with full confidence, however, that I am getting there.

There was about a year and half in that 3 year stretch where I was in a really bad place. You may not have noticed from the outside if you didn’t know me very well. Going through the infertility process is hard, (understatement of the year) especially when you are at a time in your life where your friends are on their second or even third kid. You are left wonderingconstantly what you are doing wrong. Not in the literal sense-I understand the logistics of having a baby… In the spiritual sense, I suppose. I can’t tell you how many times I have broken down and cried until there were no tears left with overwhelming feelings of unworthiness. Thoughts like, “I must not be a good enough person to deserve a kid,” or “I will probably be a terrible mother and Heavenly Father knows better than to send one of his children to me,” or “Is there something I’ve done wrong, and I can’t have a child until I make it right?” These were definitely times when my testimony wavered. I have spent a long time trying to do better, and be better, but I have found that coming back to the gospel is a lot like coming back to working out after a long period of inactivity. It is really easy to stop, and 1,000 times harder to get going again. Speaking of which, I really need to start working out again.

Anyway- fast forward. I’m doing much better. I’m so glad I had such a strong foundation for a testimony because I knew just what to do when in this situation. All the basics. Let me tell you people- it works. All of those primary answers are there for a reason. It works. And though I was doing much better at being the kind of person I want to be, there is still this feeling of unworthiness. See, even while typing this last paragraph, I keep thinking, “Oh great. I know there are going to be people reading this and totally judging me and thinking less of me because of this period in my life.” I realize that is most likely not true.

This is probably one of the biggest struggles anyone who is going through this process will feel. There is an intense pain that originates from those feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy. Unfortunately, that is also usually combined with a suffocating feeling of loneliness. Not because I’m alone- I definitely have not been- but because the only people who truly understand what you are going through are yourself and your husband. It is hard to talk to people about it, because very few relate to exactly what you are going through. In this crazy time, I had a lot of conversations that made me so angry and hurt. None of this occurred because the other person was trying to hurt me intentionally—they just didn’t know what to say.

Conversation tip #1: When you find yourself in a conversation about someone not able to have kids, don’t tell them you know how it feels. Even if you struggled with infertility yourself, each individual case is so different. Just tell them how sorry you are that they have to go through this.

Conversation tip #2: Don’t try and tell them all the things they should try. I guarantee it, they have done their research and are probably already on a path with a doctor to having kids. They know. I promise.

Conversation tip #3: Trying to make it sound like they should be grateful for the time with out kids will never go over well. If they are on this journey, it is because they want kids more than anything. Saying things like “Just be grateful, kids are such hard work and you never have time for yourself,” etc., will only make them want to punch you in the face and take your kids home with them.

Conversation tip #4: I still don’t know exactly how to accomplish this, but try not to sound patronizing. “It will happen when it is supposed to happen,” “It just must not be time for you yet,” or “It will happen when you least expect it,” are all things that shouldn’t really ever be said to someone trying to have kids. It just brings up those feelings of unworthiness all over again.

Conversation tip #5: More than anything, just try to be loving. You can do this without even talking about infertility. Just show them and tell them you love them, and you are willing to listen if they need to talk, or help take their mind off of it if that is what they need.

I hope not to offend anyone by the tips above. I know that for a lot of people, it is in our nature to try and help or solve the problem. At first, I would get so annoyed with people for trying to do it. Then I realized that I react the same way in situations I don’t know how to relate to or how to solve. It’s human nature. Know that your care and concern does mean so much. I just wanted to help you know what to say.

I bet you are regretting that you started reading this novel-sized blog post. I apologize. I just wanted to share one more thing with you before you go.

It is amazing how much perspective time can give you. At the beginning of this process, I was so hurt, confused and exhausted from trying to make it all work and solve all my problems. I felt so ashamed at having to tell people about it. I felt inadequate. I felt like less of a woman because my body does not naturally do what it was made to do- bear children. I felt as though I wasn’t cherished or blessed as much as others. All I’d ever wanted since I was a little girl was to be able to have a husband and a family. I'm so lucky to have an amazing husband. I know I'm more fortunate than a lot of people. Even though I know this, I felt like my life didn’t have as much value as others I saw around me because I wasn't able to have children. Looking back, I know that is absolutely not true. I think deep down I didn’t truly believe it either; it was more of a reaction to what was happening at the time.

During the Women’s Conference, President Uchtdorf’s entire talk was directed right at me, I’m pretty sure. It was like he was calling me out personally and reminding me that it is time to stop wallowing in self-pity. Of course I am blessed.
In my times of sorrow, I chose not to see the amazing blessings I was given daily. I landed my dream job. My husband graduated and immediately had work. We have amazing family and friends who are constantly loving and supporting us. That is only a tiny portion of the blessings I received.
Seriously. How lucky am I to have this guy?
I receive these blessings because I am so loved. Pres. Uchtdorf then said, “He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held on to the fading light and believed even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short and He still loves you.”

He loves me whether I can have children or not. He loves me when I make bad choices, and he loves me when I make good choices. Because he loves me, he wants me to be happy. But if I feel that having kids will make me happy, then why doesn’t he let me have them?

He then said, “I think God knows something we don’t.”

Instinctively, I know this. Reflecting on what there is to learn from this difficult time in my life, I think if nothing else, my Heavenly Father wanted to me to remember how much He loves me. During this time, after some pondering, praying, and reflection, I have felt His love stronger than ever. I’ve had to put in the work, but the work was worth it because I feel so loved. I know there is a purpose behind all of this. I know that my life still has meaning and value and that I can still bring Heavenly Father’s children back to him, though maybe not exactly in the way I thought I would.  That’s ok. The more I remember how much my Heavenly Father loves me and wants me to succeed, the less I hurt. The pain is still there, and I have days that are really hard. But I don’t have to let those days control me.

As Pres. Uchtdorf said, 

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  1. I am sending BOTH of you the biggest hugs!!! As a LDS woman who knows the pains of dealing with infertility, I can so relate to everything you wrote and instead of giving advice or preaching to y'all I will just give hugs.
    If you ever need anybody to vent to, total stranger over here, but you can message me anytime! I have a 7 month old after trying for 3 years, various infertility surgeries, and a miscarriage. I've been there, I know what it's like. HUGS.