Fertility guilt. Is that a real thing?

*infertility and pregnancy loss trigger warning. If you are/have suffered from infertility or loss I do discuss these topics, please know that I see you and my heart is with you

What I am about to say may come off as insensitive but I swear I just truly want to know, is fertility guilt a real thing? Let me back step a little and explain just exactly what I mean. I am one of the lucky women who has not had any issues getting or staying pregnant. With both of my daughters it took one time to get pregnant. (This is not meant to be a brag, but I think that it helps to understand where I am coming from.)

I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter three days after my close friend found out she was pregnant. She had been trying for a few months and we were both so excited. Then a week later she unfortunately found out that she had miscarried. I felt so incredibly guilty. Here she was praying and hoping for a little miracle, doing everything in her power to get pregnant. There I was, barely remembering to take my prenatal vitamins, with the gift so many women long for. I did not understand it why was I the lucky one? As my pregnancy went on, I could see her healing as much as a person could, continuing to try for her little baby. She continued to sit there and support me through my pregnancy, as I asked her about her different doctors appointments, and her TTC journey. She even threw me a small baby shower. Even though she never said anything I know that it killed her inside because she was supposed to be expecting her little one too. I felt like I was in uncharted territory, I was so excited to welcome my daughter, but I did not want to flaunt it in her face. I wanted to be respectful of her feelings, but what I was unintentionally hurting her with my joy?

Fast forward about two years, I found I was pregnant again with my second. That same friend had suffered another pregnancy loss. My sister had been trying for almost a year and also suffered a miscarriage. I had several other close friends that also were struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss. Those same feelings of guilt came flooding back and this time they knocked me out like a huge wave. Instead of automatically shouting from the rooftops that I was pregnant again, I hid it for a while. My husband was the only person who knew. I agonized for over a month about how I was going to look my sister and friends in the eyes, while I knew they were hurting and tell them “oh by the way I am pregnant.” I felt so guilty, I felt like a terrible sister/friend, I just felt so unhappy. There was that one small moment of happiness, but it was quickly replaced with sadness.

Again, I sat there thinking, “God why me?” I am not inherently better than these other women. They were changing their whole lives, doing everything in their power to make their wombs the best place to welcome a little one. They were taking multiple different medicines, removing certain foods from their diets, tracking ovulation to the hour, shelling out hundreds/thousands of dollars on fertility doctors. These women deserve the world and it makes NO sense to me that I get to have the ONE THING they so desperately want. “Do I even deserve to have this baby growing inside of me?” That was a constant thought that ran through my head. I told God that I would trade this baby with my sister, just to see her happy and smiling for the first time in what feels like FOREVER.

After a month of agonizing, I decided that it was time to tell close family that I was expecting again. I decided that the most respectful thing for me to do was to tell my friends and family that were struggling in private. Instead of making some big post in a group chat or on social media. I would tell them one-to-one and let them process their emotions and then eventually make that big announcement. My sister was the first person I reached out to, remembering that she had just suffered a miscarriage a month ago, I told her in the gentlest way I could think of. Her response was something along the lines of “I knew.” While I was relieved that she had suspected something, and was able to process her emotions before hand, I still knew she would need her time to process. One-by-one I told each friend privately the news, and we discussed their feelings. I asked them what I could do for them to not make them upset. Some said they were fine with me talking to them about the pregnancy and giving updates, other said that they preferred not to hear about it. And I respected their wishes.

Now that I am six months pregnant, and everyone knows the news, I still find myself struggling to navigate certain conversations with the women in my life who are continuing to struggling with their TTC journey. Since announcing my pregnancy, my sister and another close friend has suffered a chemical pregnancy. And I do not know what to say to them other than “I am sorry.” I know saying things like “at least you know you can get pregnant” and “just try not to stress out because that will make it harder” are not helpful. Many times people, like myself, are well intentioned but the things they say hurt more than help.

So I guess my question is, has anyone else felt guilty about their own fertility journey? And if you are someone who has struggled with fertility issues, what is something you wish other people knew?

Last Minute Toddler Girl Stocking Stuffer ideas

If you are anything like me, I put off everything to the last minute. And that includes shopping for Christmas presents. This year I actually went out early, and by early I mean two weeks before Christmas, and got my daughter gifts. For me stocking stuffers are the hardest because I don’t like cheap little toys she will play with once and I also do not like a TON of candy. So I try to stick with educational and arts and craft type items. If you need any ideas here is a good place to start!

Like I said I like to add a couple educational type items. This year I went with some workbooks because Elliott Grace is working on using a writing utensil, shapes, colors, and tracing. The Pen Control book is from the book sections at Target, and the Colors and Shapes is from the Dollar Section. The crayons book is off Amazon, but I am sure you could find something similar at the store with the coloring books.

I also grabbed her some Play-Doh because I know from working with an Occupational Therapist at work , this is a great way to support a child’s gross motor skills and hand strengths. There are also a ton of activities with letters you can use play-doh for.

And then I also threw in some stickers, T. O. T. S of course, we don’t let Elliott put them on her clothes though, she uses them for her artwork.

Stickers weren’t the only arts and craft items I included in this years stocking. I also wanted to update Elliotts crayons, marker, colored pencil and chalk supply. She has gotten very into drawing and coloring so I wanted to support that interest of hers! Also adding more color to her selection will help her with her color identification and discrimination (can you tell I’m a teacher?). I had to throw in a glue bottle because at school she has been working with proper glue use, so I wanted to support that skill at home as well.

Of course I also grabbed some random, fun items for her that I know she is going to go crazy over! Elliott has taken a sudden interest in band-aids so I grabbed her her own box to play with. She also is obsessed with chapstick, well eating chapstick, so I tossed in a few of her own. Frozen slippers because well Frozen duh. Every time I get my nails done Elliott forces my husband or I to paint her nails, and when I saw these glittery polishes I could NOT pass them up. Which means Corys toes are going to eventually be glittery purple, sorry babe. And finally chocolate, because every time we have gone to Target the last few times Elliott Grace has asked for “her chocolate” and it’s just too precious.

A lot of these items you can get for a boy as well, these are not exclusively “girl” items! Really the possibilities are endless!

Happy Stocking Stuffing!

9 Lingerie Pieces That Are Sure to Spice Up Your Valentines Day

Whether you are spending Valentines Day with that special someone or you are spending it alone, NOTHING can spice up your night like some red lace! If you are anything like me, spending an arm and a leg on some cheap outfit is not something I like to do. Last year I discovered the brand Mentionables while perusing Instagram. Not only are their pieces super cute ( and come in plus sizes), their mission is pretty dang awesome!

Emily Kelly, owner and co-founder of Mentionables, was standing in the mall outside of a lingerie store when she realized the need for affordable, quality, size inclusive lingerie. Thus, in 2017 Mentionables was launched.

Recently they launched a new Valentine’s Day line that is just SO perfect! So I gathered my favorite pieces for you that are sure to leave you feeling sexy, empowered and confident!

Keyhole Babydoll

The details in this babydoll are so sweet and romantic!

Lacy Velvet Bralette and Panty
Velvet and Mesh Teddy

This black teddy is so versatile, you could wear it alone OR pair it with a black bralette and some jeans for a night out look!

Lacy Strappy Bralette and Panty
Eyelash Lace and Mesh Bell Sleeve Teddy

I LOVE this piece! I thinks its a fun twist on a classic. The bell sleeves give me life!

Satin Ruffle Romper
Lacy Eyelash Lace Teddy
Make Sure to check out the rest of Mentionables Collection

May your Valentines Day be filled with all thing sugar, spice, and everything nice! 😉