Weep With Those Who Weep

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“Rejoice with those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep.”

Romans 12:15

weep infertility ttc

This famous verse begins with rejoicing.  For this series, I’m going to start with the second part.  The weeping.

We’ve got that weeping part down, don’t we?  We know how to weep.

We know what it’s like to ugly cry in the bathroom when there is another negative test on the counter.

We know how to curl up in a ball in bed and sob like we’re pros.

We know what it’s like to have tears sting our eyes when we see a dozen pregnant women every time we step foot out of the house.

We know the tears that fall when we see another pregnancy announcement on Facebook the day our period starts.

That kind of pain is hard to put into words.  It’s one of those things you probably can’t understand until you’ve been through it.  But it’s the kind of pain that makes us strong for others.  It’s the kind of pain that allows us to have a deep empathy, not just sympathy, with others who are similarly struggling.

The kind of pain that causes our hearts to ache when we hear of a friend (or even a stranger!) who is going through the same thing.

The kind of pain that causes our own tears to fall as we hold our sobbing friend.

The kind of pain that can truly tell our friends, “It will be ok” and mean it.

“Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father
of mercies and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our affliction, so that
we are able to comfort those who are in any
situation, with the comfort with which we
ourselves are comforted by God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Our pain allows us to minister to others in ways that we were not previously able to.

It is so important to be vulnerable and willing to be that shoulder to cry on.  For some people that will mean telling close friends and family.  For some it might mean blogging.  For others it might mean starting an infertility support group at your church or in your community.  As Christians, we have a hope and a joy that the world needs to hear.  And we in turn need to have shoulders to cry on.  By sharing our experiences with others, we can mutually encourage each other by crying or talking or laughing together.

So go weep, friend.  Weep your heart out.  It is ok to weep.  God will bring people to you who will also need you to weep with them.  Embrace it.


31 Days ttc infertility

Exercising and TTC

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When I was TTC our first baby, I was paranoid.  Every month, from ovulation on, I really took it easy on my body and I tried to not do any kind of lifting, heavy working, or strenuous exercise.

Well, then I got pregnant with my son (praise God!!) and I realized that my body isn’t quite as fragile as I was afraid it was.

Then I started studying to be a pre and post natal fitness specialist and I really realized that our bodies are not fragile!  We are intricately created beings with the capacity to move, bend, lift, and ideally to achieve and sustain pregnancy.

exercise TTC infertility

If you are TTC, I highly highly recommend some form of exercise.

  1. It is good for general health.  Heart health, muscle health, weight health, etc.  A lifestyle that moves is much healthier than a sedentary lifestyle.
  2. It is good for TTC.  A lot of physical problems that affect fertility can be relieved or sometimes cured from exercising.  Plus, the more toned and in shape you are now, the better your body will handle pregnancy and labor…and the faster you will be able to get your body back after pregnancy!
  3. It could reduce infertility problems.  One study showed that exercising 3-5 times a week can reduce a woman’s chance of ovulatory infertility by 25% or more.  Exercise also helps keep your androgen at healthy levels, which is necessary for proper fertility health.
  4. It is good for stress relief.   TTC can be an incredibly stressful process.  And stress can negatively impact fertility.  It can be a vicious cycle.  There are many studies that have shown the correlation between exercise and stress relief.


Try to work out three or more times a week for at least twenty minutes.  Push yourself so that you reach the point where you feel you are at a moderately hard level.  A general rule of thumb is to work out so that you can talk, but not sing.  It is important, whether you are TTC or not, to not over-train your body.  That can just lead to other health problems!  A good workout should leave you feeling good, not drained.

Watch your posture.  Make sure your body is in alignment, even when working out.

Watch your core.  The best explanation I have heard for this came from Lindsay Brin.  Pretend someone threw you a football and you caught it with your stomach.  Think of that “Hut” sound as you pull in your belly.

If you are just starting to work out, now (TTC) is not a good time to jump into some crazy intense workout.  It’s hard because you want to feel like you’re really DOING something that will help you get pregnant, but if you over train you could cause more problems.  Start gently.

Walking is a great way to start out.  Yes, you may not feel  like you are working out, but it is a fantastic way to get your body moving, build up some endurance, and to lower your stress!

Once you have more endurance, running is a great way to exercise.

Take a class at the gym or do some at-home DVD workouts.  Personally, cardio kickboxing is my favorite!

Make sure that your workout routines incorporate aerobics, strengthening, and stretching.

One thing that I didn’t know until recently was that exercise can and should change depending on where you are in your cycle.  Making Babies by Sami S. David, MD and Jill Blakeway, LAc recommends the following:

“Phase 1 (Menstruation)

  • Avoid strenuous aerobic exercise during your period.
  • Try workouts with a meditative bent, such as yoga, tai chi, or qi gong.

Phase 2 (Pre-ovulation)

  • Spend twenty to thirty minutes a day on aerobic exercise.

Phase 3 (Ovulation)

  • Exercise gently; try swimming, walking, yoga, or qi gong.  Avoid exercise that involves high impact, such as running or step aerobics.  Exercise gets the blood moving, which encourages good blood flow to the uterus, so it’s particularly beneficial around ovulation.

Phase 4 (Potential Implantation)

  • Get moderate exercise to keep the qi and blood moving after ovulation, when an embryo may be trying to implant, but avoid intensely aerobic exercise or high-impact exercise, such as jogging or trampolining (unless you are sure you are not pregnant).  Walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, and qi gong are all good choices.”

I have a working theory that everyone will love some kind of exercise.  If you hate working out, maybe try something different and you might just discover something you enjoy!  I hated working out (even though I knew it was good for me) until I discovered cardio kickboxing.  Now I actually enjoy it!


31 Days ttc infertility

Being Intentional With Children You Already Have

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Once again I’m about to get honest here.

Sometimes it hurts so much that I can’t give our son a sibling that I want to just curl up in a ball in bed.  Sometimes it hurts so much that I can’t get pregnant that I want to just check out on life for a couple hours and wake up when everything is better.  My heart literally aches when I look at our little guy and see him playing all alone.

A couple months ago I saw a woman at church with a tiny tiny baby.  My first thought was, “I might never be able to do that again.”  And for a moment the pain squeezed my heart.   Almost as suddenly, though, came the next thought….”But I did do it once.”

I am so incredibly thankful for our son.  I honestly think that what we have been through makes me treasure him and moments with him more than I would have if pregnancy came easily to me.  I still look at him with wonder and I frequently tell him how glad I am God gave him to us.

How do you live in a painful reality while still being intentional with the child/ren that you already have?  I don’t have all the answers on this.  In fact, I only have a few scattered thoughts and it’s nothing revolutionary.

TTC infertility intentional parenting

First of all, it is ok for there to be pain.  Feeling pain does not mean that you are not right with God or that you need to repent.  When you feel that pain, it is ok to pour it right out to God.  He already knows anyway.  Some days will likely be worse than others.  And that’s ok.

Life doesn’t stop because of my pain though.  And I don’t want to look back and realize I missed out on my son’s life because I was so stressed out while TTC.

Being intentional isn’t really a huge grandiose production that you need to do.  For me it is sometimes as simple as sitting next to my son on the couch and watching Curious George with him.

There are lots of ideas on Google and Pinterest for intentional toddler time.  But here are a few things that we have enjoyed…

  • Go in the back yard and throw some balls.  Throw them high in the air, throw them as far as you can, throw them to each other, throw them a couple feet away and run to catch them…..be creative.
  • Read a book.
  • Go to the library.
  • Find a simple toddler craft on Pinterest
  • Play with his favorite toy with him
  • Talk about what noises animals make
  • Go to a drive-thru for a fun snack
  • Go on a walk (this will likely boost your mood, as well!)
  • Invite a friend or neighbor over and have a play date
  • Take some chalk to the driveway and color together
  • Find some activities in the $1 bin at Target to do together (I recently snagged a wooden pumpkin with a set of three paints)
  • Clean the house together (Wingman enjoys helping with the dishes, sweeping, washing the sliding door, dusting, and just about anything else we let him do)
  • Play Candyland
  • Go to a park

Don’t save your intentional time for only the days you feel depressed or discouraged (although by all means definitely do it on those days too!).  Have fun with your children.  Remind yourself how much you prayed for them.

Obviously my only experience is with a toddler.  There are lots of great blog posts out there with ideas for older children as well.  This one lists 101 things you can do with your children with ideas that would apply for older children.

What are some ways you have spent time intentionally with your children?


31 Days ttc infertility

Secondary Infertility – Guest Post


The National Center for Health Statistics states that 300 million women of childbearing age in the US have secondary infertility.  Secondary infertility is when a couple is able to get pregnant and have a child but they experience infertility when trying for another baby.

I met Kaitlin before our last move and I knew that she was one of those 300 million.  I asked her to guest post for my series.  Her honesty really blessed me and brought tears to my eyes.  I hope that it blesses you as well!

Thank you for sharing, Kaitlin!


secondary infertility TTC

When my husband and I decided that we were ready to try for baby number two, we assumed that things would happen quickly. After all, I had gotten pregnant with our oldest daughter quickly, within three months of stopping birth control. So once we began trying, we eagerly began to plan for our sweet little girl to have a sibling very close in age. We dreamed they would share toys, a room, and have a playmate there at home.

Even though my cycles had returned early after the birth of my daughter (we had not been successful with breastfeeding, so it returned early) and were regular, each month I was disappointed when my period came. It became harder and harder to deal with the disappointment each month. In the spring of 2013, when we had been trying for about ten months, I began to admit to myself that something might be wrong, that there might be a medical reason that I was not pregnant. Until this point, I hadn’t been ready to admit to myself that anything was wrong. I began to research trouble getting pregnant and infertility. I was recommended the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility (a very informative read). I learned about charting and temping, and began incorporating these into my daily routine. This gave me new hope that maybe this was the key I had been missing all along. I became confident that I was going to get pregnant this time.

However, several more months passed. When we reached the year mark of trying to get pregnant, I went to my doctor and requested a referral to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. This is key when treating infertility. An Ob/gyn is not skilled in treating infertility. An RE will order the correct testing, perform the correct monitoring (there are side effects associated with some fertility medications that can be detrimental to your body if they are not monitored properly), and offer the most insight into treating infertility.

When we saw the RE, he ordered blood work, and ultrasound, and a semen analysis for my husband. When our results came in, we received the diagnosis of Unexplained Secondary Infertility. Our first course of treatment was Clomid.

We ultimately did two cycles of Clomid alone, and then one with progesterone supplements in addition to the Clomid. The progesterone caused a lump to appear in my breast, which led to me stopping the progesterone until the lump was checked out (it was a cyst). This cycle was unsuccessful, and after this we began to financially think about and prepare financially for IUI (intra-uterine insemination). We took a break for the cycle after the progesterone scare, allowing us to enjoy the holidays without the stress of timing sex and monitoring appointments. Shockingly, this was the cycle that I became pregnant.

The hardest part of this journey, which was short-lived compared to many couple’s, was the impact this had on my faith. When we began trying to get pregnant, I was still dealing with some trauma from my daughter’s birth/postpartum and my failure to breastfeed, and now I felt as though my body was failing me in yet another way. I struggled with bitterness, as I watched friends and family members become pregnant and give birth. I was asked by well-meaning family members when we were having another baby.

It was all I could do to not scream every time someone asked me. I couldn’t talk about my hurt, especially with people who were pregnant, because it simply hurt too much. Every time I saw someone announce they were pregnant on Facebook, I cried. I lost friends during this journey. I felt isolated and alone. The place where I found a lot of support was a Facebook group for women dealing with secondary infertility. I could say the things there that I couldn’t say to other people – such as that I was angry with God. I was angry when I saw people who didn’t take care of their babies get pregnant again. I was angry that I had such a hole in my heart that seemed like it would never be filled.

Despite my anger and bitterness, I did believe that this desire for another child was from God. I believed that He would see me through this. How it would end, I didn’t know. But I kept praying. I had a song that really spoke to my heart during this time – The Civil Wars’ “From This Valley” has a line that goes “Oh I will pray pray pray until I see your smiling face”, and that line resonated with me deeply. When I heard this song for the first time, I felt a deep reassurance in my soul. It helped me to keep praying, even through the moments that I felt like I was screaming and God wasn’t listening, when I felt like my prayers were hitting the ceiling. Infertility was a huge test to my faith in this way – it was the first time that I felt as though God wasn’t listening. Dealing with this forced me to truly apply my faith and to truly trust God even when I could not see how this would end.

I got pregnant with my second daughter after nineteen months of trying. Over the nineteen months, I struggled with bitterness, loneliness, and anger. It is important to seek support when going through infertility. Whether it is through an online group, a counselor, or a close friend, it is important to have somewhere to talk about it. It is also important to do your research. You have to be your own advocate in your care. Take care of yourself emotionally and physically – go for walks, eat healthy foods, and take time to do something relaxing that you enjoy. Keep praying, even when it is hard. God promised that He would never leave us or forsake us, and that holds true even when we do not understand the situation or can’t feel His presence. He is still there.

Hugs and prayers to all women facing this struggle. You are not alone.

31 Days ttc infertility

The Comparison Trap

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There is this trap that is all too easy to fall into.  I am definitely guilty.  This trap rears its ugly head in a lot of contexts….beauty, finances, education, the busyness of one’s schedule, the amount of sleep one gets, and…..in trying to conceive.

This is the trap of comparison.

It is a hard hard one to fight, because it so often pops unbidden into your head.  It’s like it’s right there below the surface, ready to just jump out!

I’m going to be honest here, so bear with me.  I have been on both sides of this comparison trap.

I have been the woman who has seen a pregnancy announcement from a friend who I know had only started trying 2 months ago (or 6 months or whatever the number is).  And sometimes my immediate thought is, “That’s not fair!!  I’ve been trying so much longer than her.”

AND I have been the woman who has felt slighted because I’ve only been trying for a year while others have tried for 2, 3, 4, or even 5+ years.

comparison TTC infertility

It is so important to remember that every woman’s experience is different.  And every woman’s experience is deeply personal.  For most women, fertility is a hugely personal, hugely emotional thing.

Why do we feel like we can assign difficulties to a value scale?  Or try to figure out who has it harder?  It’s almost as if we feel that we can circumvent the verse that says “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” because obviously God meant only if the difficulties are on a level playing field.

I still remember one time when I was talking to a friend about trying to get pregnant.  I sheepishly told her that for our first son we were trying for “only” ten months.  I braced myself for her response.  What she said though surprised me.  Her face instantly filled with compassion and she said, “10 months is a long time for an individual experience.”

That quick little comment made me feel like she got it.  Like she understood that even though it was less than a year of trying, those individual days that composed those individual months were filled with hope and heartache.  She validated my experience and became a safe person to talk to.  No one wants to talk to someone who shuts them down and doesn’t allow them a voice.

It is convicting, because I know that I am not always that safe space for people.  In face-to-face conversation I try to keep my words and face encouraging, but sometimes my mind is still saying, “That’s not fair!”

I heard this great quote recently. “Telling someone they can’t be sad because someone has it worse is like telling someone they can’t be happy because someone has it better.”

Every person is so individual and so unique and it follows that their experiences will also be unique and individual.  Some of the details might be the same (doctor appointments, tests, diagnoses) but their upbringing, their emotions, their personality all go into it to make their struggle their own.

It is hard.  It is so hard.  It is incredibly hard to really be there for someone when your own heart is breaking.  Trust me, I get it.  In upcoming posts we’ll be looking more at that verse in Romans about rejoicing and weeping.  It’s a tough one for sure.

We must extend grace.  We must extend grace to the woman who got pregnant more quickly.  After all, she is having a baby that she longed for and prayed for.  And we must extend grace to the woman who has been trying for longer and who is hurting because of our seemingly smaller experience.


31 Days ttc infertility

Praying Through Infertility and GIVEAWAY


If you haven’t yet discovered the Amateur Nester, go do so now.  Her blog is found here and you can follow her on Facebook here.

(Make sure you sign up for her fall card exchange!  People will be matched up during the week of October 12.)

I somehow stumbled across Lisa’s blog only a few months ago but it has already been hugely encouraging.  She and her husband have been through a lot, including IUI and IVF.  After their 3rd round of IVF, she did become pregnant and is due at the end of the year.  I can’t do her story justice, so read the full story here.

She regularly answers reader’s questions, she hosts a weekly infertility link-up, and she also blogs on all things infertility.

The first time I found her blog, I noticed a button on the right hand side that said, “Praying Through Infertility.”  I clicked the link and discovered an ebook that Lisa had written by that title.  I immediately purchased it and was sooo encouraged as I looked through it.

Giveaway Time

Lisa very generously has offered two copies of her ebooks for me to giveaway here.  Click the link below to enter via Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


31 Days ttc infertility