Thanksgiving always has me counting my blessings. And, yes, I count “infertility” among them. Without my diagnoses, without our struggle, without our losses, I wouldn’t be here today. And today is really, really, fricking wonderful.
Our baby journey taught us so many lessons, and helped us become healthier and happier people. And most of all, it brought us to our miracle.
Julia Indichova in The Fertile Female says whenever she holds a group session of woman wanting to become mothers she sees little baby angels flying around the room dropping presents into those women’s laps. That’s kind of a crazy way of looking at it, but I feel like ever since our journey started, all sorts of gifts have been given to us.
Was it all puppies, butterflies, and rainbows? No, of course not. There was misery, depression, anxiety, monthly sobfests when Aunt Flo arrived, feelings of brokenness, of inadequacy, and of failure. There was strain on our marriage. There was strain on my faith. There was grief. A whole lot of grief, especially with each pregnancy loss.
But, then the gifts started pouring in. And, more importantly, I started being able to recognize them.
Gratitude for Fertility and Happiness
As part of my fertility journey I actually started a gratitude practice– and it reshaped the way I thought about my journey, my life, and happiness at large.
Still today, every night when I go to sleep and every morning when I wake up, I count my blessings. I can honestly say that at night I can never stay awake long enough to count all my blessings- there are far too many.
(Just in case you haven’t seen it or you need a refresher, here’s one of my favorite songs from the show White Christmas, “Count Your Blessings”).
So this year for Thanksgiving, I’m counting my blessings. Here on this blog I’m counting the blessings of my infertility journey. Most of these actually come from a journal entry I made the month I got pregnant back in 2014- but before I knew I was pregnant!
Six Blessings of My Infertility Journey
- We had time together as a couple before having kids to travel. Although we started trying to get pregnant right away, it wasn’t time for us to have kids yet. Looking back I realize how much we got to do before our miracle arrived. We traveled all over the world including to Malta, Prague, Ireland, the UK, the Caribbean a couples times, India, and more. We wouldn’t have been able to do that if we’d had a little one right away!
- We learned how to eat well and cook clean. When we started our journey we were eating whatever was cheapest at the grocery store- discount white pasta, cheap cuts of meat, and other discount items. I was chugging back the milk, and nothing was organic. Once I hit my infertility rock bottom and decided to do ALL THE THINGS we completely overhauled our diet. We ate organic, we learned how to cook things like quinoa, lentils, bone broth and kale. We nixed white carbs from our diets and fed ourselves green leafy vegetables multiple times a day. We ate superfoods to boost our health. We learned how to make foods from all over the world, including amazing masalas and stir fries. In short- we learned how to COOK and how to NOURISH our bodies. Read all my posts about a healthy fertility diet here.
- We removed dangerous toxins from our house and personal care routines. After my infertility diagnoses started rolling in we looked for anyway possible to eliminate fertility harming toxins from our lives. We ditched phthalates, parabens, SLS, pesticides, nonstick cookware, plastics, BPA, and other harmful chemicals and products that were in our everyday lives. This boosts fertility but also our overall health, and the health of our future babies and children! We might never have learned about all these everyday harmful chemicals if not for our long baby journey! Read all my posts about removing toxic chemicals from your home here!
- We invested in making ourselves happier (yoga, meditation, Circle & Bloom, Fertile Heart, etc.). We learned that you can’t just stay happy without some serious self-care. I even started a whole fertility-based self-care mind-body regimen that helped me become happier and more at peace than ever before in my life- even while in the throws of infertility.
- Our sex life became even better. I know, this one sounds wrong. And at first, our sex life did suffer, as we were focused solely on making babies. But later, when we realized our odds increased by having sex everyday, we started exploring our relationship more deeply and learning more about each other in bed. It’s a little awkward to write about on the internet, but you can read more about this journey in my free e-book on how infertility made our sex life great!
- The challenge drew us closer together as a couple. Big challenges like this can make or break a marriage. We were lucky- it drew us closer together, and taught us how to love and support each other even through difficult times. We came out stronger and more resilient- we’ll be ready for the hurdles of the future.
They are our world, our love, our hearts. I now understand it- the wait, the losses, the timing that wasn’t what I wanted. We were waiting for these babies.
And it WAS WORTH IT.
Happy Thanksgiving. Count your blessings my loves!
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Anna Rapp is a fertility journalist and non-toxic living expert. When Anna Rapp was struggling with infertility and recurrent early miscarriage, she was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve, High FSH, low AMH, low follicle count, endometriosis, and an MTHFR mutation. Despite being told donor eggs were her only solution, Anna used her graduate training in research methods and analysis to read everything she could find on fertility and egg health. Ultimately, she lowered her FSH and got pregnant naturally (twice). She blogs about how she did it and encourages her readers to take charge of their fertility journey and get happy, healthy, and pregnant!