Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Can’t I Just Love My Body?

For a long time, I hated my body. Here I am, a woman, who is unable to do the very thing my body was created for. Not only that, but no one could tell me why. It was like I was surrounded by women whose bodies were beautiful and mine was dysfunctional. I went through a time where I considered my body as deformed, inadequate, and ugly. I hated my body because of what it could not do.

Over time, I taught myself to be grateful. My body can not (or at least will not) give life, but my body is still a gift. It is not ridden with disease. I can walk, run, and even dance. I get sick sometimes, but I become well. It is a long and continuous process, but I have begun to appreciate and accept my body again. And I am still working on it.

I’ve been trying to treat my body better. I have been taking a ballet class for months now. I have begun increasing my activity and have concentrated on stretching and making my body stronger. I have been eating better with more veggies and fruit. I have switched to organic products as much as (financially) possible. I have been trying to love my body for what it is and take care of it.

There is a person in my life right now who considers me unhealthy. Those words have never been mentioned, but the comments that are made lead me to believe this is the case. I notice this person never “encourages” any one else to do certain things to improve their health, just me. It makes me feel singled out.

Today, a comment was made to me in passing. I was having a problem that really has nothing to do with diet or exercise. In fact, I have had this problem my entire life, including high school when I was dancing six days a week and was the healthiest I had ever been. Today, this person used the situation to, again, point out what I should be doing to be a better, healthier person. When I described what I have been doing, I was told that wasn’t good enough.

Can’t I just love my body for what it is? This exchange of words brought back all those feelings I have been working so hard to let go. I know I am not perfect. I know I could exercise more and eat better. Who couldn’t? But, you know what; at this point I am just trying to get through the day.

I know this person has no idea how the comments affected me. I know he/she would feel badly if they knew they made me sad. There were no ill intentions there; quite the opposite, the comments were probably intended to be "helpful suggestions".

And in another lifetime, these comments wouldn’t bother me at all. The old Michelle might have used them as a motivator. The person I am now just sees it as another reason I don’t measure up.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Holdin' Babies

This last weekend, we visited with Trav and Britt and their little guy, Schroeder. During our visit, Brittany and I babysat for her friend's kids, a boy almost two and a girl Schroeder's age.

I got some time to hold some babies. The experience was kind-of emotional and spiritual for me. I know you are never really ready to become a mom but this weekend I felt strongly that I am as ready as I am going to be.

I could be wrong and (obviously) I am because I haven't been blessed with a child. I guess there is something else God wants me to learn. I wish I knew what that was.

I am just so ready to hold a baby of my own. I can't explain it, I just am. I hope someday soon my Father in Heaven will feel the same way. I pray for that day...

Friday, July 25, 2008


They say that music is the soundtrack to our lives. Sometimes, I will hear a song and I am instantly transported to another time and place, whether it's a childhood memory, my wedding day, or the high school prom.

The same thing has happened over the last five years as I've dealt with infertility. Certain music can comfort me when it seems there is nothing else that will. Some songs are hopeful, some sad, some bitter, some spiritual and some have a touch of irony.

I have been known to listen to some songs over and over on my drive to work. Something about hearing the words several times helps to inoculate me for the day and buoys me up. Other times, a song will come on the radio and catch me off guard. Before I know it, I'm crying and, in that moment, it feels the singer is the only one in the world who knows how I feel. Most of the songs were not written about infertility but something in them, whether it's a particular verse, or the chorus, or even just the melody, causes me to pull that song into this part of my life.

Like any other life-changing event, my infertility has a soundtrack. So, over time, I hope to record the soundtrack on this blog, starting with "Lost".


Michael Buble is known as a crooner, a modern day young Sinatra. Mostly he sings old school crooner-style songs (which I love): I Got the World on a String, That's All, How Sweet It Is, etc. He also has a couple "original" songs as well: Home, Everything, and Lost.

One lonely morning, I was downloading some Michael Buble songs and I saw the song "Lost". I had never heard it before but I thought, why not? I've pretty much liked everything else he's done. So I added that to my list and burned all my songs onto a CD.

This was back when Ryan and I were carpooling, so I left to go pick him up. I popped the CD into my stereo and it just so happened that Lost was the first song.

As I listened to the words, tears began streaming down my face. I don't know why, but I felt comforted. Infertility is very lonely. There's nothing anyone can do about it, it just is. As I heard the words, "You are not alone, I am there with you", I really felt peaceful, like someone heard me, someone understands, and someone cares. And I'm not lost.

It sounds ridiculous, I'm sure, even to me. But someone was there with me that morning. I don't know if it was a spiritual thing, or what. Maybe the strong part of me was talking to my weaker part, like my head was talking to my heart? I don't know. All I know is, in that moment, that song spoke to me and I didn't feel as alone.


Can't believe it's over
I watched the whole thing fall
And I never saw the writing that was on the wall
If I only knew
Days were slipping past
That the good things never last
That you were crying

Summer turned to winter
And the snow it turned to rain
And the rain turned into tears upon your face
I hardly recognized the girl you are today
And god I hope it's not too late
It's not too late

'Cause you are not alone
I'm always there with you
And we'll get lost together
Till the light comes pouring through
'Cause when you feel like you're done
And the darkness has won
Babe, you're not lost
When your world's crashing down
And you can't bear to fall
I said, babe, you're not lost

Life can show no mercy
It can tear your soul apart
It can make you feel like you've gone crazy
But you're not
Things have seem to changed
There's one thing that's still the same
In my heart you have remained
And we can fly, fly, fly away

'Cause you are not alone
And I am there with you
And we'll get lost together
Till the light comes pouring through
'Cause when you feel like you're done
And the darkness has won
Babe, you're not lost
When the world's crashing down
And you cannot bear to crawl
I said, baby, you're not lost

For all the music postings click here .

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I was looking for the perfect way to describe how I feel today and I finally found it: Blah. Here are the components...

A hunk of exhaustion
A teaspoon of bitterness
A scoopful of stress
A cup of resilience
A dash of depression

Luckily, Blah shouldn't last too long. It will expire soon and I'll have to whip up a new mood "recipe". Hopefully, the next one will be sweeter.

And tomorrow is another day... :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It's a Choice, People!

Can you choose to be positive? I think so.

I am going through the hardest trial of my life, thus far. I know that there are so many people out there (some I know personally) who's trails far outweigh my own, but for me this has been hard. It has been long and intense and, although I know that I will overcome it eventually, sometimes it feels it is a battle that will never be won.

There are a lot of days that I want to roll over in bed, pull the sheets over my head, and disappear for a while. Many times, I'll just sit and stare into space for a while, absent of any thoughts or feelings. Sometimes, I have to force myself to do things that I should enjoy.

Why do I share this? I'm asking myself that same question at this moment. Confessing these feelings is embarrassing. It makes me feel selfish, especially considering what some people struggle with everyday: illness and disease, the death of a loved one, the loss of a child, etc.

Maybe someday I'll look back on this and feel so silly, roll my eyes, and tell myself to get over it. Or maybe not.

Can you choose to be positive? I think so. But it's not easy...

Most days, I consciously make that choice hour by hour. On bad days, minute by minute.

Sometimes, it is literally an excruciating choice to make. Hiding under the covers would be so much easier. I wouldn't have to venture out into the world, pulling myself away from my selfishness, and think of others. Showing happiness for friends and family who appear to have everything they want, sometimes celebrating the very thing I desire. Feeling empathy for people who have their own struggles, forcing myself not to compare their struggles to mine, a comparison which usually results in frustration or guilt, depending on the situation. Either way, it never ends well.

A motto I have learned to live by: "Fake it until you make it". I feel ashamed to admit it, but occasionally I fake this positive facade. But I think that's okay; it usually only takes a little while before I become more genuine. And this way, I don't hurt anyone's feelings or bring anyone down. Despite what they say, misery doesn't always love company! (And, despite what Ryan says, sometimes I can be a very convincing actress...)

And positive thinking is a choice.

So every day, I'll make that choice. When I have a tough day, I'll wake up the next morning and make it again. When someone unintentionally says something discouraging, I'll encourage myself. And, when all else fails, I'll fake it.

And those times I just can't do it? I'll get through: whether it is taking a long shower, shedding tears in the car, shutting the door to my office, or purging those selfish feelings on here, I'll conquer it somehow. That's what everyone else is doing... fighting their demons one at a time. For we all will have them; no one is exempt!

Can you choose to be positive? What other choice is there...


Side note: I just reread this journal entry and, wow, I was brutally honest. I reconsidered posting it, but then stopped myself. If I truly want to record this experience, I have to do it 100%, warts and all. Otherwise, what was the point?

Friday, July 11, 2008

12 Step Program

On Sunday, I taught a lesson to the teenage girls at church. When I opened the manual to see that week's lesson topic, I had to laugh. It was "Overcoming Opposition".

"And the teacher becomes the student..."

The lesson listed 12 things that can help you work through trials. They were:

1. Repentance: Don't carry sins
2. Prayer: Get close to God
3. Service: Loose yourself in helping others
4. Work: Improve yourself
5. Health: Take care of your body
6. Reading: Scriptures and other positive materials
7. Blessings: Ask for them
8. Fasting: Clear the mind and strengthen the spirit
9. Friends: Lean on them
10. Music: Brings about peace
11. Endurance: Remind yourself of past victories
12. Goals: Set them and accomplish them

The lesson suggested if you are experiencing a trial, to concentrate on two or three of the ideas. Sometimes, it feels like all I am doing is #11, but that's okay. It's progress.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Thinking about things...

This weekend, I spent a lot of time alone, which allowed for a lot of time to think. It all started with an article on positive thinking that was passed around the office on Thursday by my boss. This weekend will end with a lesson I am teaching to the young women at church on Sunday about overcoming opposition. I also had a long talk with my mom and a couple of friends. I think someone is trying to tell me something.

This has led me to feel some things that are quite surprising...

I am 28 years old and I have been trying to be a mom since age 23. If you had told me at 23 that I would be 28 and still be waiting, I would have been shocked. I was one of those "have all your kids by age 30" women. I thought I'd have 4 kids: at age 24, 26, 28, and 30. I even had names for them all: Katelyn, Jack, Lexie and Wyatt. :)

Well, over time, that idea has slipped away. It was replaced with confusion, heartache and sometimes even anger. Rather than having all my kids by 30, I began wondering if I'd have even one child at all.

So, back to my weekend of contemplation. I am 28 1/2 years old at this point. Ignoring all the sadness that goes along with being childless in a child-filled world, I began to wonder what would be the big difference between becoming a mother at 29 versus 30 or 31. Suppose I could survive the wait, would it really make a difference?

The infertility world, along with the LDS culture in general, puts a lot of emphasis on time. When you are going through infertility, you feel like doctors stamp a big hourglass on your forehead. You are known by numbers: age, weight, and FSH (this is the hormone level that dictates how good of an egg reserve you have). You are constantly urged not to waste time or it "might not happen for you". When you are LDS, the important numbers are slightly different: age and length of time married. Married 8 years? Yeah, you should have kids by now.

I have been going through 5 years of this now: Hurry, don't waste time! You don't have the money? Then wait. Why are you waiting? You don't have time! That treatment's too expensive? Have you tried this? Get a loan for treatments. You have THAT much debt? Why are you waiting? Multiply and replenish the earth. I thought you'd do anything to be a mom! You're young, you have time. Your healthy. You should have done this treatment right away! Don't think about it. All you've done is clomid? It will happen in the Lord's time. Why don't you adopt? You're lucky, do you want my kids? Your treatment's not that expensive. Hey, just RELAX!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I'd like to meet the person who is not confused after 5 years of dealing with that!

I recently got my CFP(R) designation and have begun taking on clients. This weekend, I have been thinking about continuing with herbs and vitamins but, in the meantime, shifting my focus to building my business. If I throw my whole self into it, I could have my client base built by the time I'm 30. I would then be bringing in enough money to pay off all our debt and build a small cash reserve in less than 6 months. At that point, my discretionary income would be more than adequate to do a fertility treatment each month, if I chose. I would be 30 1/2 at that point, seven years of infertility.

The thought of bringing a baby (or babies) into this family at that time, with financial security and a solid part-time, work-mostly-from-home environment is lovely. It would give Ryan and I a chance to truly get on our feet, to live the way we know we should, debt-free and within our means. All this feels really good.

However, the idea of dealing with the heartbreak for another two years feels traumatic. It is really scary.

What if waiting those two years makes my chances of either conceiving or being chosen by a birth mom even slimmer? What if waiting means I will be forced to have less children? Will I make it through these next two years without becoming bitter towards all children and their unappreciative parents?

On the other hand, I am not preventing...I am completely open to a miraculous pregnancy, if God chooses to grant me one. A surprise pregnancy would be greeted with tears of gratitude and relief. I would just not try so hard in the meantime.

It is a horribly confusing place to be. More prayer, fasting, temple visiting, is needed I guess. No decisions have been made, I am just thinking about things. Trying to see this burden in a different light, trying to find a little happiness somehow, somewhere.

While I wait for answers, I will share that article passed around work. It is what started this weekend of reanalysis, trying to think outside the box. It is a really good article:


Change your thoughts, change your life
Harvey Mackay

If what you see is what you get, what will you get?

That all depends on what you see.

A man pulled into a small restaurant on the outskirts of town. He remarked to his server: "I was just transferred to your town, and I've never been to this part of the country. What are people like here?"

"What are people like where you come from?" asked the server.

"Not so nice," the man replied. "In fact, they can be quite rude."

The server shook her head and said, "Well, I'm afraid you'll find the people in this town to be the same way."

A second gentleman came in and sat at a nearby table. He called out to the server. "I'm just moving to your area. Is it nice here?"

"Was it nice where you came from?" inquired the server.

"Oh, yes! I came from a great place. The people were friendly, and I hated to leave."

"Well, you'll find the same to be true of this town."

At hearing this, the first customer was irritated and asked his server, "So tell me, what is this town really like?"

She just shrugged her shoulders and said, "It's all a matter of perception. You'll find things to be just the way you think they are."

Is your glass half full or half empty?

What do you see? Do you love your job even though there are a few things that bug you? Or do you let the little annoyances drive you crazy and complain to your co-workers non-stop?

As radio commentator Paul Harvey once said: "I have never seen a monument erected to a pessimist."

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties out of opportunities. I've rarely seen a successful pessimist. You need to be able to look on the bright side of tough situations in order to take risks, and survive both successes and failures. The sooner you accept the fact that you will have both successes and failures, the easier it will be to get your business and personal life headed in the right direction.

An optimist, on the other hand, understands that life can be a bumpy road, but at least it is leading somewhere. They learn from mistakes and failures, and are not afraid to fail again. Optimists know that as long as you get up after you're knocked down, you are not defeated.

The annals of business are full of successful people who have gone bankrupt, lost companies, faced public humiliation and still came out on top. The only difference was their attitude: They believed in themselves and the others around them. Hard work, discipline and, occasionally, a little bit of luck kept them going. There's no reason it can't work for all of us, too.

In his book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, which I highly recommend, Dale Carnegie tells the story of a young man who worried himself into a nervous breakdown. He worried about everything: his weight, his hair, money, being a father, losing the girl he wanted to marry and what others thought about him. He worried that he had ulcers.

Eventually, his worry made it impossible for him to work. Something had to give, and that was when he had his breakdown.

The young man avoided everyone and cried a lot. He decided to go to Florida to see whether a change in scenery would help him. When he got on the train, his father handed him a letter and told him not to open it until he reached his destination. He was even more miserable in Florida than he had been at home.

Finally, he opened the letter from his father, which read: "Son, you are 1,500 miles from home, and you don't feel any different, do you? I knew you wouldn't because you took with you the one thing that is the cause of all your trouble: that is, yourself. There is nothing wrong with either your body or your mind. It is not the situations you have met that have thrown you; it is what you think of these situations. 'As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.' When you realize that son, come home, for you will be cured."

After some reflection, he realized his father was right. It was not the world that needed to change; it was merely the lens of his mind that needed adjustment.

Mackay's Moral: If seeing is believing, start seeing the bright side.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Words of Inspiration

I read a beautiful article on infertility in a church magazine tonight. The author delt with infertility for over seven years and managed to find peace through it all. She is an inspiration. I wanted to remember the last paragraph of the article and I hope to acheive this kind of peace someday.

Most of us will have to experience heart-wrenching adversity at one time or another. Infertility was my greatest trial. Although I still do not understand why I have never been blessed with the experiences of pregnancy and childbirth, I realize it is not essential for me to understand why—that understanding will come at a later time. What matters is that I know that the same Jesus Christ who walked on the earth, healing spiritual and physical sickness of every kind, has healed the sickness that infertility created in my heart. He lives, and my knowledge of His love and of His Atonement is a greater gift than any other—even the gift of being a mother.


On a side note, I also read this today and it rang so true. So, I thought I'd share...

Being Sensitive to Couples without Children

• Remember that the circumstances in which infertility occurs vary greatly from couple to couple. Infertility may result from a health condition on the part of either or both spouses. Sometimes couples become infertile after they already have a child or children. Some have married later or waited to try to have children, and some have not. Regardless, all deserve compassion and freedom from stereotypes.

• For some sensitive situations, such as baby showers, it might be wise to ask first whether a person wants to be invited. You don’t have to handle infertile people with kid gloves; just ask how they feel and if they are up to certain events. But be sure to include them in Church and family activities.

• Try not to second-guess a couple’s medical treatments or other actions. They have most likely been careful and prayerful in making difficult decisions. Trust that they have learned what is best for their family. Remember that decisions about building a family are between a husband and wife and the Lord.

• Recognize positive contributions that are not related to childbearing or rearing. Everyone needs to feel valuable, and this is sometimes hard—particularly in Latter-day Saint culture—when one cannot become a parent.

• Realize that infertile people can be sensitive to the undertones of your comments, and try to be careful about what you say. For example, saying “You’ll get pregnant if you just relax” implies that you think infertility is the couple’s own fault, when in reality it is usually a medical condition not caused by stress. “You’ll get pregnant as soon as you adopt” implies that you see adoption as merely a path to having a biological child, when it is actually just as valid a path to parenthood as pregnancy. Even reassurances such as “It will happen in the Lord’s time” can be painful for people who are preparing themselves for the possibility that they will not have biological children during this lifetime.

• Express your support and love with simple, positive, nonintrusive comments such as “I love you” or “I have been praying for you.” Your genuine care and concern are needed by those experiencing the trial of infertility.

Ana Nelson Shaw, “Being Sensitive to Couples without Children,” Ensign, Aug 2000, 61