FertilityIQ basecamp recap: let the information begin!

Logo_2x-1024x791.png

A little over 2 weeks ago, I packed my bags and flew down to San Francisco, CA to gather with an amazing group of men (okay, man) and women who are passionate about making a difference in our infertility communities.

(Sidenote: Our friends from FertilityIQ.com, Jake and Deb, made this all possible. Their passion for the infertility community amazes me. Jake and Deb have beat infertility. They have the sweetest little 4 month old son, Lazer, but it took work for them to get there. They struggled themselves, faced loses, and realized the infertility community needed a unified voice to help them get from here to there. This family did NOT have to start FertilityIQ.com. (A free service where patience leave verified reviews on their doctors anonymously so that other potential patients can select the right clinic for them from the start.) This family did NOT have to fly us out to CA and sponsor this FertilityIQ Basecamp, host us so graciously, and advocate to get us into some of the best conversation spots possible. They didn’t have to – but they did because they care. And that, my friends, is pretty awesome. In no way is this post, or any of my continued work with them sponsored. It is my personal opinion that they are the bees knees and if you haven’t already left a review on your clinic on FertilityIQ.com, I would run, not walk, over there to do so.)

deborahjake_042 (2)

Meet Jake and Deb!

Okay, back to the Basecamp:

Our stories all look different. Some of us have pursued IVF treatments, others haven’t. Some face male factor infertility issues, PCOS, recurrent pregnancy loss, while others are labeled with the big old “unexplained” stamp. Some of us have experiences miscarriages, some have beaten infertility, and others are still patiently waiting for their miracle. Each face around the table held a story – and represented an army of women with questions that needed answering. In addition to our awesome hosts, Jake and Deb, meet Caroline, Elisha, Lisa, Nikol, Katie, and myself. Once we said hello, it was like we had known each other all our lives, and the chemistry came alive. And so, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

img_6388

(from left to right) Chelsea (me!), Lisa, Elisha, Nikol, Caroline (holding Lazer), Deb and Katie. Shout out to Jake our camera man!

Remember that survey I asked you to fill out earlier this summer? Well, you guys filled it out in DROVES. (We drew our $125 Amazon winner in San Fran and because there were so many responses, we decided to draw TWO names! A huge congrats to Leanna D. and Jane R. for being our winners! I hope you are already spending your winnings in fun ways!). And what was so interesting was that out of the HUNDREDS of responses, there were some really identifiable themes – questions you all asked – and so we took those questions, set our agenda, and here we are!

Now, there is A LOT of information to be shared. And I want to dish it all out to you in digestible pieces, so watch for many other posts to come in the weeks ahead. However, for today, I want to chat with you guys about the themes we saw, who we met with, and then point you in a direction today to read a summary of all these meetings from the eyes of the different ladies around the table. Will all of the FAQ’s be hit today? Probably not, however, you have the chance to blog hop and learn A TON! Then I will spend some time tackling each of these highlights for you too, so feel free to leave more specific questions below if you have them, so I can be sure to answer!

Here are the main grouping of questions that you asked:

  • MEDICAL
  • COMMUNITY / SUPPORT NEEDED
  • FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE, GUIDANCE, INSURANCE, EXPENSE
  • 3RD PARTY NEEDS – WHAT DO I DO?
  • EMOTIONAL SUPPORT – HOW TO GET IT AND WHEN

Looking at this list, more specifically, the themed MEDICAL questions asked were:

General:

  • Why is there so much disagreement between doctors on tests, protocols, treatment order
  • Why are the costs so high and success rates so low?
  • Why is unexplained so frequently a diagnosis &; what should one do with that?

Progression:

  • How do you think about when to progress from IUI to IVF to donor egg to deciding to live child-free?

Lifestyle & BMI:

  • How much of a role does BMI play in success rates (does 25% vs 30% vs. 35% make a difference)?
  • How does diet choices (specifically: gluten free, red meat, organic) play into fertility?

Recurrent Pregnancy Loss:

  • After how many miscarriages should they get genetic testing?
  • What role does immunology play in infertility?
  • What about Natural K cells? A lot of women are being diagnosed and treated for it.

Male Factor Infertility:

  • Why would my husband’s sperm count go from high to low with no obvious cause?
  • Talk to me about varicoceles. Is it genetic?
  • With Male Factor, when is IVF necessary and when is it not necessary?
  • What can a man do to boost his sperm count, or improve his motility or morphology?

PCOS:

  • Besides adjusting the diet, what else really works for PCOS patients trying to get pregnant?
  • What are the most promising tests or treatments for PCOS?

Endo:

  • Any promising treatments coming for endometriosis?

What better place to get these answered then by meeting with the top doctors at Stanford Medicine?! We first got to spend some time at their embryology lab, watching freshly retrieved eggs just post ICSI, and observing where the embryos are stored and monitored carefully. We then sat down with Board Certified doctors, like Reproductive Endocrinologist,  Valerie Baker, MD and Urologist, Michael Eisenberg, MD and asked your questions. Want some answers today on what our time there looked like? HOP ON OVER TO NIKOL’S BLOG NOW TO READ HER FULL REPORT ON OUR TRIP TO STANFORD!

img_6262

Taking a peek at some ICSI’ed eggs from the lab

img_6263

A Male Collection Room – set in a different section of the clinic which was very nice for the guys!

img_6281

A peek inside the embryology lab! The yellowish tall container on the right is where the embryos are developing!

img_6332

Arriving to Stanford!

We then looked at your questions about forming and finding community, specifically looking at the TTC community that’s formed on Instagram, and how we can maximize it! So what better place to visit then the Facebook and Instagram campus, and spend some time talking with the Director of Community at Instagram! We had a blast there! (And seriously, what a dream job! The campus alone is insane. Rock climbing walls, tennis courts, FREE FOOD EVERY WHERE (you seriously don’t pay for anything!), tons of coffee shops and ice cream shops (again free). The campus looks like the Main Street of Disney World, filled with people doing bike meeting or walking meetings, pop up boutique shops, etc. Such a cool place to see!). To learn more about what our conversations were like at Instagram, HOP ON OVER TO CAROLINE’S BLOG NOW TO READ HER FULL REPORT ON OUR TRIP!

img_6207

Welcome to Instagram!

img_6275

A photo opp with Katie, the Director of Community (far left)

img_6255

Can’t go to Facebook without giving it a big LIKE!

facebook-headquarters.png

A peek at the “Main Street” campus and one of the many (free) cafeterias

Next, the financial questions – and those were endless! I am giddy to get into all the details of this meeting. We got the chance to meet with a highly reputable clinic, (privacy given), to discuss “Saving Money When Going Through Treatment”. The tips and tricks she gave us were INSANELY awesome. We KNOW finances hold you back from seeking the medical care you need. We know insurance companies are terrible at providing coverage to those in need. We want to help you find ways to making it more reasonable and affordable. I will say, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done here, but we got some solid saving money tips for you to start! HOP ON OVER TO KATIE’S BLOG NOW TO READ HER FULL REPORT ON OUR CONVERSATION!

One area many of us didn’t have direct experience with, was 3rd Party Reproduction (ie: donor eggs, donor sperm, the need for a surrogate or gestational carrier, and embryo adoption). Great news though, we brought in  Donor Concierge, a husband and wife expert team, Gail Sexton Anderson, Founder and Terrell Anderson, COO to get the scoop on how this process works. It was fascinating and I walked away with so much insight on the process. HOP ON OVER TO JAKE AND DEB’S BLOG NOW TO READ THEIR FULL REPORT ON OUR MEETING WITH DONOR CONCIERGE.

img_6321

Visiting with Donor Concierge over lunch

And lastly, we had to tackle the emotional questions you guys asked. Questions like:

  • How do I find local support?
  • When is the right time to see a counselor?
  • How do I know when it’s time to walk away from this journey and find peace living child-free?
  • How do I protect my marriage during this time?
  • How do I grieve properly?

Ohhhhhh, friends who are still reading this, this session was IMPACTFUL. (I felt like I went through a therapy session myself, there were tears!). It was led by Beth Jaeger Skigen, LSCW, who oversees many of the RESOLVE Support Groups.  I can’t wait to dive into my notes on this, but for your immediate satisfaction, HOP ON OVER TO ELISHA’S BLOG NOW TO READ A FULL REPORT ON THIS SESSION.

img_6318

We also know many of you asked how to start and lead your own local infertility support group, so HOP ON OVER TO LISA’S BLOG NOW TO READ TONS OF TRICKS AND TIPS.

Then, with so much swirling in our minds, we took some time to step back and regroup, with a little bowling of course! Truly, the friendships formed were pretty awesome. We were able to casually chat about what we were learning, before heading into our final night meeting – WHAT TO DO NOW?

img_6336

bowling1.jpg

And friends, we have SO much good stuff planned in the weeks, months, and year ahead. We HEARD YOU! This whole infertility thing, it’s hard. Without the right resources, couples are spinning their wheels for far too long. Without financial reason-ability, some people have to walk away from their dreams of starting a family forever. With the stigma of infertility being so silenced, way too many women are suffering alone, without the help of a community or encouragement around them. All of this, it has to end. And we are doing our best to make a difference, one step at a time, so stay tuned.

Now before I close, I wanted to share with you my TOP 3 Takeaways from the weekend. Random things that stuck out that I just can’t wait to share with you. So here they are:

1) The Stanford doctors told us this – “Your voice (the patients!) will be stronger and more effective to continuing advocacy for fertility topics than doctors. So don’t be afraid to make your voice heard!”

2) 76% of women suffering from infertility have clinical anxiety and 53% have depression, although many will go undiagnosed. Depression and anxiety levels peak between years 2-3 of trying to conceive. Don’t wait too long to get help processing your emotions! Infertility is constantly entering into a world of grieving and unmet expectations. Remember that your doctor is not your therapist, that’s not what they are trained for, so take time to find a good one counselor. (RESOLVE offers so many resources for local support groups, both peer and professionally led!)

3) Patients CAN ask for a discount if paying out of pocket, especially if they have gone through multiple cycles. (Clinics may be able to give up to a 20% discount depending on size and status.) Tell your story to your patient billing rep AND your doctor. And if you refer friends, mention that!! Explain your financial hardships … it’s very possible to get numbers cut!

Now, I could go on and on about what an awesome weekend this was (it was!) and how bucket filling it was (it was!) but now, since I’ve rambled enough, I’ll close with some more pictures from our trip.

img_6190

Our first night in! LOVED meeting my two dear friends, Caroline and Elisha, face to face! Perfect time to whip out the selfie stick!

img_6185

The dinners Jake and Deb hosted were SO yummy!

img_6199

Caroline and I are Facebook ready!

img_6278

Pizza + to die for desserts to close out night 1. YUM!

img_6288

A few of us kicked off our Saturday morning early by popping over to the Farmers Market by the bay!

img_6287

This oyster lover just had to try a local treat – and it was DELISH!

img_6291

If you know me well, you know Lox are my favorite thing to eat for breakfast. This San Fran version of Lox was FABULOUS and I will dream about it for weeks to come.

img_6306

As will I dream about this lady’s hot chocolate. All kinds of happy.

img_6310

Little did we know this is NOT in fact the Golden Gate Bridge, despite our many squeals.

img_6319

One of the gorgeous meeting spaces we convened in.

img_6398

One of the most sacred treasured moment happened in my hotel room during a brief intermission. You see, it’s when this beautiful group of women asked to gather around me, lay hands on me, and pray for me and our upcoming transfer. *cue tears* And as these beautiful sisters in Christ prayed, it was overwhelming. Because never in my life did I think we’d be facing these battles, yet God, in His goodness, surrounded me with community. Friends I met online nonetheless! And it was powerful and reminded me just how much He cares. So through tears and laughter, we prayed, and it’s a moment I’ll never forget. 💛

img_6339

So many fun Uber moments during this trip!

img_6363

The REAL Golden Gate bridge, as seen from Jake and Deb’s apartment window. (Seriously, that view!)

img_6387

We all got to love on Lazer so much! He smiled whenever the camera was out, such a cutie!

img_6378

Another yummy dinner filled with conversation!

Until next time friends!

Chelsea

mug exchange.

mug exchange

Since April 2013 I have been coordinating different quarterlyish package exchanges for the TTC (trying to conceive) Instagram community. We typically have a theme – lucky socks, stationary, ornaments, local love, nail polish, scarves, favorite things – and it’s SUCH a fun time to put together package for someone who knows about the season you are in. We don’t just cut if off to the people who are struggling to conceive, we welcome women for all phases of infertility (pregnant, adopting, new mom, etc… more details on this below!) I absolutely LOVE how all of these women come together to support one another and spread positive energy and love.

And guess what – it’s time for the next one! Typically I don’t use my blog to spread the word about this, but this time I want to invite bloggers, instagrammers and all of social media to participate (plus have a place to answer lots of questions in an easier forum than a tiny IG comment section). Our theme has been suggested to me from several past participants and I am SO excited for it. Drumroll please ….

The next exchange theme is A MUG EXCHANGE! Woooohooooooo!

Before I share how to sign up participate, let me answer a few commonly asked questions about these exchanges:

Who can participate?

Anyone who is currently trying to get pregnant, including those suffering from secondary infertility; those who have recently adopted, are in the process of adopting or searching for their new family member; anyone who is currently pregnant after dealing with infertility or recently having had a baby after a struggle and lastly, anyone who is using a gestational carrier, egg donor, sperm donor or surrogate.

Please note that you may be given anyone to purchase for, not necessarily someone who is on the exact same journey as you. As this exchange grows, it has become increasingly more difficult to ensure that you get an equally appropriate match. Just try to remember that you are encouraging another TTC sister no matter what their story is!

How does it work?

Once you sign up and get the name of the person you are sending to (more details below), you will work to put together an exchange box for them, including a coffee/tea cup/mug. You will be given a “send-by” date and I ask that you respect that date unless there are extreme circumstances. You will send a box to someone and receive one from someone else!

How much is this going to cost me?

Typically the suggested amount per box is $20 plus shipping. I don’t advise that you spend more than $20 but we definitely do have some generous women who put together a box worth more. Since not all mugs cost $20, you are able to fill the package with ANYTHING else that might make someone smile! Lucky socks, a special treat, a fun lipgloss or nail polish …. You can’t go wrong (unless you break the law) – this is definitely a situation where it’s the thought that counts.

I do ask that you invest in a lot of bubble wrap and a good box. It helps tremendously to ship it US Priority and get a tracking number just in case anything should happen during transit. (Plus it comes with $50 insurance!) No one wants to receive a shattered mug due to poor packaging!

Besides a mug, is there anything else I HAVE to include?

A note! Please include a card inside with a special word of encouragement for your new friend. Many will include a way for their person to get in touch with them – a twitter handle, blog or email address or IG account – it’s really helpful for me if you include your name so that my inbox isn’t inundated with “who should I thank!?” emails.

I live in the US/Canada/UK/Australia/etc, can I participate?

Yep! We always have women from all over the world participate and I think that is what makes it so much fun! HOWEVER, you will only be assigned an overseas person if you agree to be open to shipping internationally. (More about that below). I do ask that if you live outside of the US, that you be open to shipping internationally, as many of the participants are located in the United States, however I know that sometimes that’s not an option and that’s  okay too.

So am I exchanging with the same person I am sending one to?

Nope! The fun part is that who you are sending to will be a completely different person than who you receive one from.

Does that mean I should keep my person a secret?

It certainly does make it fun when that happens but it’s not necessary. If you are too excited to hold it in, feel free to share. You will be getting their social media information so feel free to friend them, follow them or look them up!

What kind of mug do I need to send?

You can get ANY kind of mug. Travel, big, small, delicate, clunky. It could be a cute mug from your local coffee shop, something you ordered on Etsy, bought at Walmart, or purchased from a garage sale (just make sure it’s clean). There are SO many adorable mugs out there – be creative! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – this can be a mug that you adore or that you think someone else would love.

Because shipping a mug can be tricky, there may be some women who just want to order a mug online and have it shipped directly to their person and then they can send a separate little box of surprises if they didn’t spend $20. (If you do this, take advantage of the “gift card” section in a order to let them know that’s what you are doing).

How many women participate? Is this a legit exchange?

The first exchange I coordinated started as 30 women putting together a package and has now grown to a couple hundred. And I have a feeling now that we are opening this up to more of the social media world, it’s just going to grow bigger and bigger! Yeah support team!!!!

What happens if I send a package but never get one back?

Ugh, guys, it does happen, I have to be honest. It doesn’t happen often but there are definitely a small handful of women each exchange that are subjected to a lost box, a flakey partner, or some other sort of weird circumstance. I will do my best to reach out to your sender once or twice but sometimes due to the sheer volume of participants, it just becomes impossible to make sure everything gets straightened out. From the very beginning of the exchanges I have warned participants that you have to come into this exchange with the understanding that you may not get a box. It stinks that there are some people that might taint this experience but I do promise that it is far and few between. I am a firm believer that it is a blessing to give and if you are one of the few unfortunate few that receives a shattered mug or nothing at all, just know that your gift has blessed someone else. So please understand the risks involved but know that you likely won’t have a problem! In exchange for my time coordinating this, I just ask that you follow through with your commitment to send a package, sound good? :)

Can I share this on my blog/with my instagram followers/on facebook/twitter/etc?

Of course! We LOVE new participants and their friends. They don’t need to be a follower of my blog or instagram account (chels819) to participate. Anyone in the infertility community is welcome to join in. We will be using the hashtag #TTCmugexchange2014 so feel free to share and let’s spread the love! (Also, if you want a live link, you can send them to this one: https://trialsbringjoy.com/mug-exchange-2014/

What are the dates I need to know in order to participate?

You will need to sign up no later than Monday, October 13th. That’s a FULL 2 weeks of time to sign up, spread the message and start brainstorming. You will then receive your exchange partner from me via email on either October 16 or 17. (Because of the hours it takes to coordinate, I am not always able to get ALL the emails out on the same day. So if you see someone post that they got their person and you have not yet heard from me, it’s likely due to the amount of time it’s taking me to email everyone back individually. Do not panic!) Once you receive your person, you will have until Friday, October 31st to put together your package and mail it out. Please make sure if you sign up that you are able to get your box out on time.

What happens when I get my package?

This is the fun part! I LOVE seeing all of the posts where people show off their package! Post your mug to social media and tag it with #ttcmugexchange2014 so we can all peruse the pictures. Send a shout out to your person, blog about it, tweet about it, do whatever you want to celebrate this fun exchange! I do understand too that there are many women who are not publicly sharing their infertility journey with others so know that you don’t have to share it publicly in order to participate. The key thing is that we offer encouragement and support to one another, even if that circle stays small.

Enough FAQ’s! HOW DO I SIGN UP!!?!

Alright, here is how you sign up!

1. Email me the following info to ttcexchange@gmail.com NO LATER THAN Monday, October 13th:

  • Your full name
  • Your full mailing address (please remember to include your zip code so I don’t have to google! Also if you are in the USA, please type your address on one line (ie: 123 Notebook Lane, Janesville, LA 45698. This makes it a lot easier for me with the system I use). If you are from outside the USA, you can use multiple lines.
  • Your blog/twitter handle/IG name (be specific which is which)
  • Your willingness to ship internationally (just write YES if you are willing and NO if you are not)

I will close the exchange at midnight on the 13th (central time) and will not be able to accept stragglers after that.

2. Wait to hear back from me! I WILL CONFIRM THAT I HAVE RECEIVED YOUR SIGN-UP EMAIL. If you do not hear from me within 24 hours, please check the email address you send it to and resend. (Also, check your spam filter to make sure my reply didn’t go there). If you have emailed and still haven’t heard back from me, leave a comment below with your email and I will connect with you.

3. Share! Let your friends know about the exchange! You can share my blog or instagram account so that they can find out more information. I feel awful when someone finds out “too late” and can’t participate so help me make sure no one gets left out. Again, use #ttcmugexchange2014 to share – the more the merrier!

4. Shop, write, smile and sip! Once assignments go out, shop and send out your package with an encouraging note. Then wait patiently and enjoy your mug once it arrives. Share the thoughtfulness of your new friend! I have seen so many amazing friendships form as a result of this exchange. Cell numbers are swapped, emails are exchanged – I have even seen friends plan trips to visit one another due to the friendship formed over a simple package! I LOVE THIS PART!

That’s it guys! I am so excited for this. These exchanges are among the highlight of my year and I am pumped to open this up outside of Instagram. YIPPEE!!!!

Ready, set, GO!

community post.

What happens when you join forces with some of the best bloggers around? This post! A few months ago I was reading some of my favorite blogs and felt selfish keeping their words, perspectives and stories to myself. So instead of just sharing their links, I decided to invite them over to my page and team up to create a post. Lucky for me (and you!) they said yes!

Anyone going through life knows about the difficulties of mental attacks and the way that lies can be so easy to believe at times. This fact got us thinking, as women who have struggled or are struggling with infertility, what are some of the lies that we have faced on this journey? And how are we dealing with them? Believing lies and feeding those negative thoughts are one way that we stumble, pick our scabs and dig ourselves into an even deeper hole that can be tough to get out of. Some days it’s simply recognizing that what we are bemoaning is a lie – other days it’s just finding the strength to keep fighting what we know isn’t true. I’ve asked these ladies to share with you today one of the great lies that they have defeated (or continue to battle) and I hope and pray that these encourage you as much as they have me. These women are in all different phases of their TTC journey – some pregnant, some adopting, some still trying to conceive – yet I believe that their stories will bless each of you. Be sure to give them some love too and check out their blogs (linked throughout) and walk along with them. So without further adore, please enjoy reading the words of my amazing friends!

IMG_4404

1. “The lie that I am broken.” By Chelsea (me!) at Starbucks, Peace and the Pursuit of a Baby

Recently I was asked in a study to list out words that I associate with myself – labels that define me. I was surprised at how quickly the first word came – broken. If you read my last post on PCOS and what I deal with, you may understand how I got to that word. It came so quickly that it seemed like my subconscious had been stewing on it for a while. And as I scribbled in my notebook, the word broken just made so much sense. My body doesn’t work right. It doesn’t do what is supposed to be natural for so many women. Verses in the Bible about how we (women) are supposed to be ‘fruitful and multiply’ make me want to cry. “I can’t! I’m trying!” I fight shame constantly over the fact that my body isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s broken.

But then I remembered these simple verses – and it changes everything: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it… How precious are your thoughts about me, O God…” (Psalm 139:13, 14, 17a).

These verses reminded me of these truths – one, He made me. Insulting my body is insulting His work. Does anyone remember that old bumper sticker from the 90’s that said “God doesn’t make junk!” It’s true! Two, we are complex – wonderfully complex. There are so many moving parts in our bodies and just because something isn’t working correctly doesn’t mean the product is broken. It doesn’t define me – I am not broken. Third, His workmanship is marvelous, therefore I am marvelous. (I will withhold from inserting a picture of me in a princess crown, pretending to be marvelous.) But all joking aside, I am not anything less than His perfect daughter, created in His image and crafted to be me. Insulting His creation is insulting Him. Lastly, He thinks precious, beautiful thoughts about me – a Creator who is proud of His creation, not ashamed.

2. “The lie that I am not worthy.” By Wynne at Gloriously Ruined – Living His Story

The past five years have been quite the journey of ups and downs with our struggle with infertility.  At times, I am on top of the world knowing and believing the truth that God is good, and He is trustworthy and He is able to do immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine.  Then there are times I doubt my healing and restoration will ever come.  I didn’t realize until a few weeks ago actually, that I didn’t feel worthy of healing or good gifts from God.

How could that be?  The Bible says, that “every good and perfect gift is from above” and I know that God is the giver of good gifts.  He loves me, and He is working all things together for my good and His glory.  I believed this lie that because of sins in my past, that I wasn’t “good enough” to receive good gifts from God.  I have been praying and believing that God is ABLE to heal me, but I don’t think I’ve really believed He will.  The Word also says, “nothing is impossible with God”, and “God is ABLE to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine”.

God is the great physician, and in this season I feel He’s asking me to stop my striving, and know that HE is God.  While I can’t expect God to respond in a certain way to my faith, knowing there is no “formula” for healing and restoration, I can chose to believe that God is who He says He is, and He is GOOD!  He is about the ultimate good and glory of His name and His story.  He doesn’t have to prove that He’s good by doing what we want Him to – we just chose to believe He is trustworthy!  He is the giver of all good gifts, and I am enough [so are you!].

3. “The lie that I was all alone in this struggle.” By Jessah at Dreaming of Dimples

In my first few years of infertility, I believed that I was alone. I believed that I was surrounded by pregnant women who got knocked up easily. But it wasn’t true. It was a lie that I was telling myself. There are so many of us who are suffering or have suffered varying degrees of heartbreak on the road to parenthood. Some silently and some wearing it all on their sleeves. If 1 in 6 couples have trouble growing their families, we are really never alone on this journey.

Now that I am finally pregnant, I realized something that I will never forget and remind myself often using the phrase “you don’t know her story”. What do I mean by that? Well, a woman in the depths of infertility despair could look at my growing baby bump and think negative thoughts about how she is the only one in the world who can’t get pregnant. That everyone around her can have a baby with such little effort yet it’s so hard for her.

But she doesn’t know my story.

That woman would have no way of knowing that I am just like her. That this pregnancy didn’t come easily or without a fight. That I shed my share of tears. That I tried to conceive for almost 6 years before finally seeing a BFP. That I had to endure three failed IUIs and three failed IVF attempts before finally using an egg donor to conceive my miracle baby.

This woman could feel pain and alienation. But she just doesn’t know my story. I wonder how many pregnant women I saw when I was trying to conceive that made me feel sad. How would I have felt if I had known that they had just got done fighting their own hard battles? Would I have felt connectedness? Camaraderie? Compassion?  Hope? If I had just reminded myself that I am not alone and that I don’t know her story.

4. “The lie that God is punishing me for something I have done.” By Caroline at In Due Time

How many times have you heard someone say that they feel God is punishing them for something they have done? Many people have the thought that the reason they are going through a trial or suffering is because of something they did to cause it and therefore Jesus is punishing them.

That is a lie.

Are there consequences to our actions? Absolutely. Often times when we suffer, it’s because of our own mistakes. However, God does not punish us. God loves us. When you feel like you are being punished, recognize that your punishment was already bought. Romans 5:8 – “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus already paid for our sins. HE is the one who was punished for our sins, not us. HE is the one who received the repercussions, not us. He doesn’t give you what you deserve (punishment and death), because He already paid the price. “He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.” Psalm 103:10

We know God doesn’t punish us, but does He discipline us? Yes. Just as a parent disciplines their child to correct and train them to be more mature, that is what our father does with us. He does it out of love. He does it because He cares for us.

If you ever think that you are being punished, I encourage you to reflect on God’s character. When you have fresh revelations of who He is, you will never doubt that all of His actions towards you are out of love.

5. “The lie that adoption is ‘Plan B’.” By Kailey at Cheers to Plan A

The lie that adoption is ‘plan b’ is a lie that I’ve continually had to lay at Jesus’ feet. It is very easy for me to think, “Oh because we couldn’t get pregnant, adoption is what we had to do so we could become parents.” The truth is that my God is not surprised by our journey to adoption, which was His best plan all along. THAT eases my soul. It gives me peace and allows me to praise Him because His plan is far better than I could ever imagine.

My husband and I have played this silly game called “what is the truth?” I will tell him all these things that are going on in my head from the enemy and he will call it a truth or lie. It sounds super silly, but it works. It helps me match up my thoughts with the Word of God.

The truth is that infertility is how we got to adoption. It is OUR story. And I accept that with joy in my heart. I have no idea what our future looks like, but I know the Heart of my Savior. His heart is turned towards His children and He wants nothing but the very best for you and for me.

I hope that this has encouraged you to make your journey, just that, YOURS. No one else has it. Take ownership, be thankful. It is a privilege to have your own story and live it out. Much love to each of you and know that “Plan A” is what God has had planned for you since the beginning of time AND it is the absolute best!

6. “The lie that I am not healed … at least not yet.” By Elisha at Waiting for Baby Bird

I sat on the edge of my bed taking my blood pressure and as I waited for the reading, I remember thinking to myself that if it is within normal range than I am finally healed of this symptom resulting from PCOS. However as the numbers appeared and I saw 160/92, I heard a whisper that said, “Not healed yet.” Each morning when I would pluck out 15 dark coarse hairs from my chin, I would hear the same voice whispering, “Not healed today.” As my menstrual cycle would go past 50 days for the fourth time in a row, I could hear it again quietly reminding me that I was still not healed.

It wasn’t until I looked in the mirror one day, wondering when I would be healed of this dreaded illness that consumes my entire being, that I heard a different voice…a different whisper. This one said, “By His wounds you ARE healed.” I laughed! If I am healed, then why do I still see the evidence of PCOS? Why do I still have high blood pressure, excess facial hair, insulin resistance, lack of ovulation and long cycles? I am not healed…at least not yet. It wasn’t long after thinking those thoughts that I realized the voice I had been listening to…the one telling me I wasn’t healed yet, was the enemy. He was feeding me the lie that my healing of PCOS was a work to be completed rather than already finished. Isaiah 53:5 says that by His wounds we ARE healed. It doesn’t say we might be…will be…could be…but ARE. God wants you and me to know that what we desperately need Him to do for us has already been done.

Jesus’ finished work at the cross satisfied the Father’s heart that from heaven’s throne came the pronouncement, “It is done!” in response to Jesus’ cry, “It is finished!” on earth. I no longer worry about what I see or feel, or the presence of contradicting reports. These are just lies from the enemy and though they are very real, I know that they are temporal and not the truth. God’s Word is the truth and when you start believing that only what God’s Word says about your situation is true, all the lying symptoms will eventually have to line up with His Word. I am living proof as I can testify that once I began ignoring the voice of the enemy and believing the truth that by His stripes I am already healed, my cycles suddenly became much shorter and ovulation started occurring naturally. I give all the honor, glory and praise to God.

My question to you today is what do you see when it comes to your healing? Do you see a finished work or a work that is yet to be completed? God the Father says, “It is done!” Jesus says, “It is finished!” What do you say?

7. “The lie that God’s gift is actually a curse.” By Charity at The Word of a Nerd

Sixteen weeks along – this milestone was filled with excitement – if we chose to, we could know the sexes of our babies, see how big they’d gotten, and watch them squirm on the ultrasound screen. Instead I laid down for what seemed like hours as the ultrasound technician scanned over and over on my belly. Her excitement waned and she was no longer as chatty as before. I wasn’t worried until she brought the doctor in – a doctor who couldn’t be any worst at delivering bad news. The news about one of my baby’s health was accompanied by the fiery arrows of the devil. They pierced into me and I began to question all of what I thought I knew.

My babies are a miracle! GOD himself directed our path to pregnancy, He orchestrated every single step and I knew that. In that moment I wasn’t sure I knew anything and I was positive that I didn’t hear God correctly. I was sure that I had been disobedient and that God was punishing me by stunting the growth of my baby.

Since then my mind has drastically changed. I am not allowing the words of death to penetrate my heart or my womb. I am reminded that I am loved deeply by the GOD who sent His Son to die for my sins. I am reminded that GOD knew my babies before I did and He loves them much more than I can. His love is what I have hope in and His ability to heal is where my faith lies – not in doctors and not in a diagnosis. The enemy seeks to take the joy that God has given to me by making me believe his gift is a curse. I don’t believe it anymore, I know my God – He operates in love not fear. 1 John 4:18

Image-1 (3)

I hope this post has blessed you as much as it has blessed me! We love touching others as well, so feel free to share with your friends or readers! I’d love to hear what lie you are debunking and how you are doing it too, so please, join in the conversation and share your heart with us in the comments!

Until next time …  XOXO!

PS – For those regular readers of my blog, Friday Favorites will be postponed a few days — check back Monday or Tuesday for a special edition. :)