I shared my struggle with secondary infertility last year (Missed it? You can read my secondary infertility story here ) and I have felt so honored to hear back from so many women about how my story gave them the encouragement and hope they needed to keep going. Honestly that means so much to me as I know firsthand the pain and heartache of infertility. Some days it is hard to keep going. Especially when you feel like you should be grateful for the child you do have at home.
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I was recently remembering the things I did to hold onto hope during our 3 year journey with secondary infertility. I thought I would share them with you in case you needed something to remind you that there is hope. I do want to make the disclaimer that while these things helped me hold onto hope during secondary infertility, they may not work for everyone and for some, it may even make things more painful. You need to find what works best for you because I think having hope and a positive attitude really can make a difference.
5 ways I held onto hope during secondary infertility
1.Baby clothes: This is the one thing that may make things harder for you, but for me, I used it as a motivator. I bought a cute new baby outfit and hung it up in my closet. It was hidden from my only child but I would pull it out sometimes and picture a sweet new baby wearing it. I used it as a way to remind myself of my goal and it helped motivate me to work on healthy habits. I think it was also was my version of visualization as well. Visualizing the future I wanted. I don’t believe that simply visualizing something will make it happen (I don’t have that kind of power, people!), but it did help me to keep putting one foot in front of the other some days.
2.Books: Honestly, I spent way too much time researching on the internet and reading stories on BabyCenter.com It might help you, but it probably wasn’t the healthiest thing for me to do in the long run. But what did help was reading sound literature on the subject. These books were very helpful to me in learning about conception and my body in general, even if they weren’t focused specifically on secondary infertility. My top favorites were Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler and The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis.
3.Mustard Seeds: This started with a friend who was going through the same journey I was (honestly there were like 4 of us at one time- it was crazy how common it was and we didn’t know until we were in it!). I made her a card with this verse Matthew 17:20 and glued on a few mustard seeds on it.
She treasured that card and it is actually the very first page of her daughter’s baby album. =) I have made it into a free printable for you. Simply print it out and you can either glue a few tiny mustard seeds on it or put them in a small baggie and attach the baggie to the bottom. It was a great reminder for us about how big God is and how we only had to have the faith of a mustard seed.
4. Frame: Again, this might make things harder for some, but it was something creative that I could do. I love to paint and craft, so I took a square wooden frame and painted it with the word “Hope” on it. (Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of it!) For a time, it sat empty with the hope of putting an ultrasound picture in it (and later I was able to!). But at one point, I simply put a picture of the son I did have in it to remind me of the gift God had already given me.
If you aren’t crafty, how about something like this frame? It says “tiny miracle” and holds an ultrasound picture. You could use it to visualize your future baby’s picture in it or if you want, you could put your only child’s picture in there as a reminder that he or she is a miracle given to you as well!
5. Faith: Sometimes the hardest periods in our life are the times we hold onto our faith the tightest. This was true for me, especially after I felt like God gave me hope by telling me not to do IVF (see that story here). I think I spent more time in prayer and reading the Bible during any other time in my life and that definitely helped me hold onto hope and especially the plans God had for me. (Jeremiah 29:11)
As I said in my last post on secondary infertility, everyone’s journey and pain is different. I can never presume to know what you are going through and what will help you and what will “work”, all I can say is I sympathize, pray for all of you that reach out to me and have faith that God is with you whatever the outcome!
If you have any ideas to share about things that encouraged you during your journey, please share them below. We can always use more reminders of hope!