This month, a couple of our community members have graciously agreed to share their stories. I believe that sharing one’s story helps others realize they are not alone on their journeys. It encourages discussions and enables community members to support each other in many ways during taxing times. Please visit their pages to read their stories in full.
The first is Lisa Andre’s journey. Lisa and Steven have been on a fertility journey since January 2019. She was told by doctors she has unexplained infertility. She has experienced two miscarriages, two chemical pregnancies (an early pregnancy loss that occurs shortly after implantation), two failed IUIs (intrauterine insemination), undergone an IVF (in vitro fertilization), egg retrieval and an embryo transfer. Her second embryo transfer was cancelled due to her lining not being at 7mm. Lisa felt her doctors were not doing enough to find the reasons why they were having these problems and decided to take charge and focus on the issues that led to the cancellation of her second embryo transfer. She sought out a naturopath and has been seeing some very positive changes and remains hopeful. Reading Lisa’s blog brought me to tears. The strength and courage she has to keep fighting and to advocate for herself is remarkable. Lisa is an unstoppable force and determined to make her dream of having a baby come true. I hope and pray with all my might that it happens. Please read her wonderful blog at the following link.
The second is Dawn Xiao’s journey. Dawn and Chris have a beautiful daughter named Fiona who they welcomed through surrogacy. Dawn was born with an underdeveloped uterus which resulted in her not having any menstrual cycles. This meant that the couple would need help from someone who was willing to carry their precious baby for them. Dawn and Chris created their embryos in 2016 and a friend agreed to carry their first baby for them. Their friend who carried their first baby, Fiona, has since retired from surrogacy. Dawn and Chris would like to give Fiona a sibling and are currently searching for someone to help them complete their family. Reading Dawn’s story warmed my heart. Dawn and Chris are an incredible couple and I wish for them to find the perfect surrogate who will make their dream come true and help grow their family. Please visit Dawn’s Facebook page to read her full story.
It is difficult to know what someone is/has going/gone through or what journey they are facing when viewing their life from the outside. I realized that many everyday questions such as “when are you going to have kids”, “when are you going to give your child a sibling” and “how many kids do you have” can be triggering and extremely painful for many people. I think it is important to support each other and to be mindful of comments and questions that may be hurtful.
I found the following resources very helpful and have used them to educate myself on how to approach people within our community, especially those struggling with infertility. Being educated encourages healthy dialogue and ensures we are not hurting those we know and love who are going through this difficult struggle.
27 Things People Struggling With Infertility Want You To Know | HuffPost Life
What to Say (and Not to Say) to Someone Living with Infertility (resolve.org)
When I think about grief and what it means to me…it is difficult for me to put it into words. I honestly wish it meant nothing to me and that I was not grieving my daughter’s death. If I had to put it into words, I would say grief is depressing, miserable, unfair, lonely, isolating, exhausting, full of regret, intense, painful, and confusing.
Some words that other members of the Butterfly Run Ottawa Community Support group have used to define how grief feels / what grief means to them are:
At this point, I will share some quotes that I like that I feel will explain what grief means to me better than I can put into words. I have saved all of these quotes and read them often when I am feeling down and lost.
What I have learned in the last year is no one can tell me how to grieve or what grief should look like. There is no right answer because every journey is unique. I know that I will be on this journey forever and that is okay.