Tag Archives: pregnancy

The Waiting Place

image

Last week, I was reading Dr. Seuss’s “Oh The Places You’ll Go” for the umpteenth time when it came to me. As I read the words, “…headed, I fear, towards a most useless place. The Waiting Place…” I couldn’t help but think of all the waiting involved in infertility. For me, the chronic waiting, was one of, if not the hardest part of our battle with infertility.

Waiting for a doctor’s appointment. Waiting for bloodwork results. Waiting for AF to come and waiting for AF to stop coming. Waiting for positive OPK’s and then waiting for Big Fat Positives (BFP’s). Waiting for answers. Waiting for insurance approvals and waiting for meds to arrive. Waiting to start your first injection and waiting for your first monitoring appointment. Waiting for meds to work. Waiting for good news, bad news, any news. Waiting to trigger and waiting for retrieval day. Waiting for an embie update. Waiting for transfer day and implantation. Waiting for Beta Day after the most dreadful wait…dun dun dun…the two week wait (TWW).

It’s hard to do anything or think of anything else when you’re in the waiting place.  It’s like being in limbo, unsure of your fate.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again~ if it were guaranteed that after all the waiting, you’d receive your greatest gift, then it wouldn’t be so bad.  However, unfortunately, that’s not how it often works.  Sometimes there’s more waiting.

Waiting for the go-ahead to start another cycle.  Waiting to save more money.  Waiting to hear a heartbeat that may or may not come.  Waiting to make it to the safe zone or waiting to get your rainbow baby.

It can be a most useless place for sure.  I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get sucked into the uselessness of The Waiting Place.  Unfortunately, when you have nothing left to do but wait, your mind doesn’t stop.  You replay scenario after scenario~the good, the bad, the ugly.  You read, Google, cry, Google and have a hard time thinking of anything else when you’re in The Waiting Place.  All that can wear you down and cause you to fall in a slump…and “un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”

It wasn’t until our TWW when I finally realized that this could be my final Waiting Place and that it didn’t always need to be a useless place.  My husband and I made a pact to avoid googling and not take a single pregnancy test before Beta.  It wasn’t an easy feat by any means, but I’d recommend it to any of you in or approaching your TWW.  It wasn’t until then that I realized the waiting period could actually be used in a productive way too.

Afterall, it is also in the waiting place that you’re getting one step closer.  It’s a time to reflect and a time to breathe again.  It can be a time to try new things and cross some items off your bucket list.  It can be a time to reconnect and refocus on what matters most. It’s a time that will eventually shape you into the parent you’ll become because during that waiting you’ll learn a lot.  You’ll learn about patience and perseverance which will make you a better mother.  You’ll learn about yourself and your partner and most of all, life.  Because life is not always easy and “bang-ups and hang-ups will happen to you.”

So try as much as you can to make The Waiting Place as useful as possible.  When you’re finding that difficult, as you often will, look here for support and always remember:

“Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying, You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.”

Once you survive The Waiting Place that is infertility…

“Kid, you’ll move mountains.”

How to Hurt an Infertile Couple in 10 Ways

imageRemember that awesome Kate Hudson chick flick, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days?! This is your guide to not turning off an infertile couple by avoiding doing/saying at least these ten things. Now most of my readers know me, so as you’re reading this I know what you’re thinking.  Oh My God! Did I say that to her? Is she referring to me? No, no, no. In fact, I’ve probably said or done some of these things on the list myself. It is just that part of discussing infertility is promoting awareness, so people know how to avoid what can be hurtful and what to say to offer support.

1. “Just relax…it’ll happen when you stop trying.”

This may have been the case for 1 in 235,578,428 couples, but for us there’s zero sperm so I can’t relax. If you’re offering, I’ll take the bottle of wine, but you can keep the advice.

Really advice is not something that the infertile couple is looking for unless it’s coming from a doctor or another couple who struggled with infertility. Instead offering support by saying something like “I don’t know much about infertility, but I’m here if you ever want to talk about it” (over wine of course) would be the most comforting.

2. “My husband just looks at me and I get pregnant.”

That’s great for you Mrs. Fertile Myrtle and Mr. Super Sperm, but comments like that make us feel less female and male. It makes us feel inadequate and disappointed in ourselves.

I know it’s life that some things come easier for others, but be sensitive to those who might be having a tougher go at it. Saying something along the lines of “That wasn’t our experience. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have to wait to get pregnant when you want it so badly” would be nice to hear.

3. “Have you gone to the doctor?”

Jeez…no, I have a masters and sixth year degree, but I didn’t think of that. Seriously, countless people asked me that and while I’m sure it was just par for the course, there’s a better way. You could gently ask, “Where are you in your infertility journey, if you don’t mind me asking?” Chances are most couples won’t mind and if they’re saying they’re infertile, chances are even greater that they’ve been to the doctor’s.

4. “Why don’t you do that turkey baster thing or Petri dish thing?”

I’m exaggerating now. Most people don’t use those terms, but the truth is most people have a vague sense of what IUI and IVF are. They assume that’s the cure-all. For us, IVF wasn’t even an option for over a year and a half, as is the case for many couples. Even then, IUI and IVF cycles may not work the first time, so the couple may have attempted interventions already without success.

Really the best thing to support an infertile couple would be reading up on IUI and IVF to get a brief sense of what they are. All it takes is a quick Google search. That way when your friend or family member would like to chat about their upcoming cycle you could understand better what they’re going through.

5.  “Why don’t you just adopt?”

Adoption is one of the greatest and most selfless things someone can do for a child.  While it is also an amazing option, especially for an infertile couple, it may not be the avenue they’re pursuing (at least at this point in time).

Adoption also comes with lots of emotional and financial turmoil and is not a simple process.  Just like with IVF, to assume adoption nullifies infertility is ignorant.  People who think this is the “cure” for infertility aren’t acknowledging all the facets.

Its easy to say “Why don’t you…?” when you’re not in that position.  So ask yourself what you would do if you were infertile.  To what end would you go to?  Would you exhaust all options before adopting?  Would you spend your life’s savings on fertility treatments? More likely than not, you’re probably saying I don’t know.

6.  “Who’s problem is it?”

This is a really personal question, but I’m sure if you talk to an infertile couple, they’ve heard it more than once.  Usually people ask because they might have known another woman or man with a similar experience.  However, this is really up to the couple themselves to divulge if they so choose.  Furthermore, whether it is the female or male with the infertility issue, it really doesn’t matter.  In the end, both of them are in pain and struggling.

I remember asking my husband what he wanted our blanket statement to be in the beginning.  As time went on, he became more open about the major issue for us being male factor.  In my opinion, it’d be best to stay clear of any question of this sort.  If the couple feels comfortable enough, they’ll tell you.

7.  Ignoring It

When you’ve been married for a certain amount of time or when you hit a certain age, babies and pregnancy tend to come up in conversations.  When you’re the infertile couple and these topics come up, you feel like crawling in a hole.  Either the conversation comes to an awkward halt when someone realizes you’re at the table or you discreetly dip out to the ladie’s room (or to do a shot of Fireball) as fast as you can say IVF.

Other times, it can feel like there’s an elephant in the room that everyone is avoiding.  Sometimes it may not even be the case, just your own over sensitivity about the situation.

There were many times, when I wished someone would’ve just acknowledged it, rather than avoiding it.  I didn’t want to have a pity party so I wouldn’t be the one to just start the discussion about our struggles.  However, if someone asked, I was full-disclosure and it felt good-really good  actually to get it out there on the table.  It would also open up the opportunity on subsequent occasions for friends and family to ask about our last appointment or what step we were at in our journey.

I’m sure it’s just as uncomfortable for ‘outsiders’ as it is for the infertile couple themselves.  But there’s a delicate way in which a couple’s infertility can be acknowledged, but, yet, not define them.  Sensitive sentiments, such as “I know you had said you started trying in June.  Is everything going okay?” would be a nice way to ease into the dialogue.  If a couple is not ready to disclose any information, you can catch the drift.

Infertility is an invisible hurt.  So when it goes left unsaid, it can sometimes worsen the wound.

8.  Dismissing the Possibility of Prengancy

For me, it got to the point where I felt as if people had even dismissed the notion of me becoming pregnant as a real possibility.   This may or may not have been the case.  Again, it may very well have been my own hypersensitivity.  It usually wasn’t even something someone said.  It was more often an uncensored look, as if I caught them off-guard by saying my name and pregnancy in the same sentence.

These types of instances usually occurred with people who were obviously very familiar with our infertility and therefore in our close circle.  They’d present themselves at times when I would say “Well I might be pregnant then, so…”

It’s hard enough not to give up on yourselves when you’re faced with significant issues trying-to-conceive.  Then to see others uncertain of your destiny can be even more discouraging.  Try to stay positive for the infertile couple.  Even just your sense of hope can be enough to get them in the right mindset.

9.  Complaining About Being Pregnant

I’m sorry, but it can’t be left unsaid.  I know that kankles, back pain and sleepless nights associated with pregnancy aren’t always a joyride.  And of course a right of passage of being pregnant is being able to whine enough that you “earn” yourself a foot rub or carton of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream…or both.  But as a woman sitting there yearning for nothing more than to not be able to see her own feet, complaints about the sheer miracle of being able to grow another life are painful.  They’re equivalent to being punched in the stomach…again, and again, and again.

Go on and complain to those who have been there, but be cogniscente of your “audience”.  If there’s a woman struggling to get pregnant, wait until later.  Better yet, let her presence remind you of the blessing it is to be able to conceive and carry a child.

The women who struggle and still complain about pregnancy leave me baffled.

10.  “We had issues with our first-it took us like four months to get pregnant.”

Comparing your typical trying-to-conceive timeline with someone who actually is diagnosed with infertility is inconsiderate.  First, get your facts straight.  Only about 60% of couples TTC actually get pregnant within the first three months.  It takes many six months and after a year it can be defined as infertility.

To be honest, at times I’m hesitant to discuss my struggle when there are so many couples who endure years and years of infertility and don’t even end up with the outcome I’ve been given.  There are so many women who’ve undergone cycles upon cycles, who have seen positive pregnancy tests only to see lost heartbeats.

While people try to show empathy in different ways, saying you know what an infertile couple has gone through when you conceived  within the average time frame can undermine what infertility truly entails.  It can be hurtful and downright engraging.  Every infertility journey is different from diagnosis to treatment to outcome.  Trying to compare struggles is pointless; trying to offer support by saying “I remember how stressful having my first was without any infertility issues.  I cannot fathom what you must be feeling.” would be priceless.

 

The Inevitable Question

image
A big pet peeve of mine is as soon as you hit some major milestone in your life, people are always rushing on to the next. Take getting engaged for example. As soon as he puts a ring on it, you no sooner can buy a bride magazine before someone asks, “Have you set a date?” Then, you get married, and before you’ve even had the chance to change your last name on all of your documents (what a PIA that is), people are already starting in, “Are you trying?…maybe a honeymoon baby?!” Like pump the brakes and let me enjoy being married for a hot minute. One upside of infertility is that after so many years of marriage without a baby, people tend to stop asking. Then, if you’re lucky enough to have a baby, you no sooner get home from the hospital to hear, “When’s the next one coming? Ready for another?” I mean, can my stitches heal before you ask this? I haven’t even been cleared for action down there yet.

While more often than not they’re really well meaning questions, I find them utterly annoying. I think it’s in part what’s wrong with society today. I mean we can’t even celebrate one holiday without the next occasion’s motif lining store aisles. It’s always such a rush to get to the next big thing that sometimes the opportunity to savor and relish in the delight of one momentous occasion can be lost. I love that I had a long engagement to enjoy being engaged and was married for a few years before trying-to-conceive. Of course, six years of marriage before a baby wasn’t ideal, but I know that many first year marriages wouldn’t be able to survive the wrath of infertility. I’ve really been able to enjoy each stage to its fullest and feel like each chapter was complete before the next. I know that’s not in the cards for everyone nor what many people would prefer, but for me I like spacing between these joyous life events.

This holds true for adding to our tribe. There’s nothing more I want to do than to have another child to raise and love with my husband; to give Mikie a sibling so that he could share the same bond we do with our brothers and sisters. But if I could plan 😁🙊 I’d love to have them spaced about three years apart. Truth be told, I want to feel like I’m starting over. I know that sounds crazy to some, and there are definitely pros and cons to having kids back-to-back or years apart. For us, spacing just seems right. Unfortunately given our infertility issues, this means that we’d have to start really getting the ball rolling by the fall if we intend on doing a round of IVF in a year or so. And that effing terrifies me.

It’s not the doctors appointments, insurance dilemmas, and loading my body with hormones that’s scary. It’s the fact that I thought if there was a next time of trying to get pregnant, it’d be different. I always say the pressures off next time around. We already have our baby, which is such an abundant blessing, that regardless of the outcome at least we have him. And it’s not that that isn’t true. It is and I’m incredibly grateful, but I’m not complete. I’ve always read articles from moms that tell you, you just know when you’re done and it’s your last baby. I’m not there yet and if I had to guess, I probably won’t be there even if I am lucky enough to have another (Please don’t tell my husband 🤐, but I think 3 is our magic number). That probably sounds so selfish and ungrateful of me, especially since it’s truly a miracle that we even have one to call our own. But if a fertile couple wanted more kids, we wouldn’t think less of them, right? We might say they’re very blessed already, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve more if their hearts so desire.

So this must be what secondary infertility feels like. The great divide between feeling appreciative for the child(s) you do have and yearning to hold another. It’s like a tug of war of the heart. And while it’s easy to say at least, all you want to say is at last.

I have to admit, I never really got it before. I was that infertile girl who thought at least you have one healthy child.  I can’t even have that. And even after getting pregnant and having my son, I still felt that way to some extent. It isn’t until now, when I’m faced with the possibility of not getting pregnant again, that it’s starting to hit me.

I wasn’t intending on writing this post so soon, but lately it seems to keep hitting me.  Since our baby is upwards of a year and a half, I can only anticipate to hear more of the inevitable question-one that I try to consciously avoid asking others, especially those I suspect might be having difficulty trying to conceive.  At this point, I want people to ask.  I really do.  It’s just now I think I’m rewording my response:

“Yes, we’re beyond fortunate to have him, but we’d love to have another if we could.  No, I don’t know it’s going to be any easier and the pressure isn’t off the next time.”

M O R A L of the S T O R Y: infertility never ends.  Not even after you’re lucky enough to overcome it.   When you want a child to rock, nurture, teach, snuggle so badly, the heartache never fades, no matter if it’s your first, second, or third time around.

50 Shades of Infertility


image

Sorry Ladies! There is no Christian Grey in this one. Rather this is about the emotional gamete you run when struggling with infertility.  Actually, I’m pretty sure these are things we feel when battling anything really. Like all grief, there are stages in which one feeling is more prominent than another and then there are those times when you have a myriad of emotions all in one instance. Regardless, it’s important to recognize these emotions and to learn how to cope with them.

I’m new to this whole blogging thing and social media genre, but I’d highly recommend following @missconceptioncoach on Instagram. This is not a plug by any means and I have no affiliation.  I really don’t know much about her, other than what I’ve read on her IG.  She seems to offer some great strategies for enduring infertility and I would’ve loved to have had this resource when I was in the midst of our journey.  You can also probably make some great connections among her following.

With that said, it’s also nice to just read that another person has been where you’ve been in some fashion.  There’s a relief in knowing that you’re not the only one who feels that way.  This is your validation that it’s okay to feel any and all of these feelings.

  1. D E N I A L                                                                                                                       It’s a pretty standard first step in any grieving process.  Denial is a real thing; you just don’t want to believe that it’s real.  You’re in denial that this is happening.  Maybe you should get a second opinion.  You’re in denial that it could be true.  For me, the denial was so real in the beginning that, even knowing there was absolutely no sperm, I still symptom spotted.  I still thought maybe by some divine intervention I could still possibly get pregnant naturally.   Confession: From time to time, even now, I still think this.
  2. A C C E P T A N C E                                                                                           There comes a point that you then accept the circumstances.  The sooner you get to that point, the closer you are to your final destination.  Duly noted: easier said than done.
  3. S A D N E S S
  4. A N G S T
  5. S H O C K
  6. S H A M E                                                                                                                   Even though 1 in every 8 couples is infertile, there is still a stigma. Hence the shame.  You’re ashamed that you’re the 1 in 8.  You’re ashamed that your body is failing you.  You’re ashamed that you’re not “female or male enough” to reproduce naturally.  Once you rid yourself of that shame, there’s a whole new world awaiting you.
  7. H O P E L E S S N E S S
  8. P R E S S U R E
  9. M O U R N I N G                                                                                                 You’re mourning a loss.  Many infertile couples endure literal loss, which is a pain I cannot even imagine.  Yet without miscarriage, there is mourning of a different type.  You’re mourning the loss of conceiving the way you’re “supposed to”.   You’re mourning the loss of something you’ve never even had.  You’re mourning the loss of your plans and dreams of how starting a family would be. You’re mourning a childless life.
  10. D O U B T
  11. H O P E
  12. J E A L O U S Y                                                                                                             You’re jealous that your friend is pregnant and you’re not.  You’re jealous that so-and-so just posted on FB that she’s expecting again and you’ve never even seen a positive pregnancy test yet. In fact, you’re even jealous of strangers.  You’re jealous of the lady in front of you at Starbucks rubbing her cute baby bump. You’re jealous of the girl registering at Babies ‘R Us.                                                                                                                                                                                         This was a hard one for me.  I’m not a naturally jealous person.  To be blatantly honest, there is not much for me to be jealous of because I have such a wonderful life.  I have an amazing husband. At the time, I worked in a rewarding field.  I’m blessed with the best family and friends around.  But there were many times that jealousy got the best of me.  I’d say, “I’m not jealous of her.  I just wish it was me.”  Whatever way you twist it, that’s jealousy.
  13. B I T T E R N E SS
  14. G U I L T [because of 12 & 13]                                                                      Then you have this constant feeling of guilt when you feel jealous and bitter.  You feel guilty because you love your best friend and you want to be happy for her.  You feel guilt for being a bad person and for being so selfish.  You feel guilty that your “expecting and mom friends” go radio silent about baby/kid stuff when you walk in the room.
  15. G U I L T  because of your G U I L T                                                             Then you feel guilty for feeling guilty.  It’s not that you’re not happy for them.  You’re just sad for yourself.  Anyone is your position would feel this way, right? After all, we are only human.
  16. S E L F -P I T Y
  17. D E S P A I R
  18. C A U T I O U S  O P T I M I S M
  19. H O R M O N A L and not just when it’s 💉 time.
  20. S T R E S S                                                                                                               You’re stressed if you’re making the right decision.  You’re stressed if you can manage the injections, doctors appointments, failed attempts.  You’re stressed if you can afford it.  You’re stressed at home.  You’re stressed at work.  You’re stressed all. the. time.
  21. H E A R T B R O K E N
  22. G R A T I T U D E                                                                                                           It could always be worse and I had so much to be grateful for. Even though it felt as though my world was shattering sometimes, I just had to look around me to be reminded of all that I am blessed with: my husband, family, friends, health, happiness. The list goes on, but it’s important to step back sometimes to not dwell on the one thing you don’t have, so you can better appreciate all the good you do have at that moment.
  23. A N X I O U S N E S S
  24. C H R O N I C  W A I T I N G                                                                         You’re in a constant state of waiting. Waiting for your next doctor’s appointment.  Waiting to get your blood work results back.  Waiting for insurance to process your paperwork.  Waiting for your next menstrual cycle.  Waiting to start the meds.   Waiting to trigger.  Waiting for bad news.  Waiting for good news. Just waiting.  And it’d all be fine if you knew for sure that after all the waiting, you’d finally get your sweet baby.
  25. P O S I T I V I T Y
  26. E X H A U S T I O N                                                                                                   All that waiting is exhausting.  You’re not just physically exhausted.  You’re mentally, emotionally, financially exhausted.
  27. L O N E L I N E S S                                                                                                 Even someone, like me, who has the biggest support system known to man can feel lonely.  It’s not that you don’t feel the love and comfort.  You do and for that you are beyond appreciative, but let’s face it-nobody knows exactly what you’re going through~not even your spouse 100%.  And that can be a lonely place.
  28. F R U S T U R A T I O N
  29. E A G E R N E S S
  30. I M P A T I E N C E
  31. A N G E R                                                                                                               You’re angry.  Not always, but sometimes.  You’re angry with yourself.  Angry at your spouse.  Angry at your doctors.  Angry at God.  Angry at the insurance company.  Angry at the complete stranger next to you complaining about being up all night with her teething infant.
  32. P A I N                                                                                                                         Both literally and figuratively.
  33. E X C I T E M E N T                                                                                             You’re excited for the next step.  You’re excited to start a new protocol.  You’re excited to meet a new doctor.  You’re excited that they retrieved some quality eggs.
  34. D I S A P P O I N T M E N T                                                                           You’re disappointed that the results weren’t different and the new medication didn’t work.  You’re disappointed that only half of the eggs were quality enough to fertilize.  You’re disappointed that it’s a day 3 transfer, not day 5 like you thought.  You’re disappointed that it didn’t work this time, but…
  35. H O P E F U L                                                                                                             that you’ll be a mom someday.
  36. D E T E R M I N A T I O N
  37. C O N S U M E D                                                                                                         All day & everyday by #ttc #ivf #baby #babynursery #babynames #pregnancy #fertility #maternitydresses #babyshowerthemes #whythef*#%amidoingthistomyself
  38. O V E R W H E L M E D
  39. D I S G U S T                                                                                                                      I vividly remember being completely and utterly disgusted when a colleague decided to announce to an entire group before a meeting how disappointed and upset she was that she was having a boy instead of a girl.  It literally made me sick to my stomach.
  40. T O L E R A N C E                                                                                                     But I had to remind myself that not everyone sees through my perspective, nor do I see through theirs.  Had pregnancy come easy for me, maybe I would’ve had the same feeling.  Probably not-but we must be tolerant of one another for nobody knows until they’re in your shoes.
  41. S T R E N G T H                                                                                                       They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  This has made you a stronger person.  Not only do you need to be strong to physically endure this, but you must also have mental strength. You probably don’t even recognize the strength in yourself, but you see it in your significant other and in your relationship.  Your bond is stronger than ever because together you’re unstoppable.
  42. C O M P A S S I O N                                                                                   Everyone has a story.  There are so many couples who have fought a harder and longer fight than we did.  You may not always be able to empathize but you can sympathize.  Through your own struggle, you’ve learned that everyone has a battle they’re fighting (divorce, addiction, Cancer). You’re compassionate enough to realize that today just might be one of their bad days.
  43. P E R S E V E R A N C E
  44. D E P R E S S I O N                                                                                         Looking back I’d have to say that there was an exact time I could pinpoint when I probably could’ve been considered depressed.  It was September.  It had been almost a year since our diagnosis and months of medicine for my husband with no change.  I was up to my knees in insurance appeals and starting another school year. My biggest fear was going back to work and seeing how many coworkers had gotten pregnant over the summer.  I was at my breaking point and I couldn’t control the tears.                                                                                                                                                                              Luckily, my best friend was attuned to me.  I never had to say anything at all.  She just knew.  She knew I needed extra phone calls and extra check-ins.  She knew I needed something outside of infertility to focus on, so we planned a vacay.  It helped get me out of my funk…a little.  Thank you & love you 😘!
  45. S T U C K.                                                                                                                       Up until that point infertility had me pretty stuck.  I didn’t want to book a flight for my friend’s bachelorette because I was going to be pregnant.  I couldn’t plan a weekend getaway because I didn’t know when my next doctor’s appointment would be.  I didn’t know what size bridesmaid dress to order in case I was expecting. I was living life in the what-ifs and it had me stuck for a long time. Funny part is that by the time I said screw it and just booked that vacation I ended up being eight weeks pregnant on the trip and sick as a dog!
  46. I N S A N I T Y
  47. S L E E P L E S S N E S S                                                                                   You’re tossing and turning back and forth unable to fall asleep because of  numbers 2, 8, 10, 16, 24, 33, 41 -hell all of them.  And you’re crying because you don’t know how much longer you can handle this and keep it together.
  48. I N S T A B I L I T Y                                                                                                   You know-the kind when you’re at a wedding on the dance floor belting out “I wish that I had Jessie’s girl” and someone leans in and says “Are you guys trying?” And you lose your sh*t, running to the ladies room while uncontrollably crying?  It’s those kind of high highs and low lows that this roller coaster that is infertility can ensue.
  49. F A K E N E S S                                                                                                                  I don’t mean this in a bad way, but like any difficult situation you have to fake it ’til you make it.  I can’t tell you since launching this how many people have said to me “I had no idea” or “I knew you had trouble, but I didn’t know it was that bad.”  It’s not that I was being secretive, but I didn’t want to be that dark cloud or elephant in the room during happy times.  It wasn’t easy to always put on a smile.  In fact, that was probably one of the hardest parts of it all, but  then I remembered #22.
  50. P R I D E                                                                                                                         You might not be there yet, but you should feel a huge sense of pride.  You should be proud of yourself and your SO.  You should be proud of how you’re juggling all of this and how you’re handling everything thrown at you.  You should feel proud because not everyone can do what you’re doing.  One day, somehow and someway, a little someone is going to be very proud to call you their mommy.

P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts & any other shades I should add to the list!  Just comment below!