2015-blog-challenge-badgeAs I sit and type this post, our 11-year-old son is doing one of his after school chores, unloading and loading the dishwasher, and our 5-year-old daughter is playing quietly in her room.

Really?

Seriously?!

Yes.

Is it always like this?

Of course not.

But I can honestly say I don’t take our children (both living and those who left this world too soon, including our Molly-girl) for granted.

Sean and Abby were born almost 6 years a part and in between Bob and I became very familiar with what it feels like to experience secondary infertility.

As with any trial in life, it can be hardest early on, before we realize how common what we are going through often is.

When life doesn’t go as we hope, dream, or plan, it can be scary and draining to navigate, especially if we don’t know others who have experienced something similar.

However, though we may not be connected with or aware of others who have faced the same challenges, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Sometimes we may just have to work harder to find them.

We are not alone.

You are not alone.

Regardless of what you are dealing with.

Odds are there is someone, somewhere, who had been in your shoes and wants you to know there is hope.

Hope doesn’t mean that we always get what we want.

But it can help us to survive, to find comfort, and joy when our journeys are difficult and uncertain.

Connecting with others via social media or in person, who have been through similar circumstances can be our saving grace.

We are not alone.

You are not alone.

What about secondary infertility?

I can’t promise you a happy ending.

That’s up to you.

But I can promise that there are so many families who have dealt with secondary infertility that found ways to resolve their situations.

Ultimately we all have to do what works for us.

We make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time.

And sometimes, we have to learn to sit with the questions.

Often there is no reason, no obvious explanation, why we struggle to have another child after giving birth to one or more healthy children.

And even if we do know why we are dealing with Secondary Infertility, that still doesn’t guarantee we will be able to have more biological children.

Adoption is certainly an avenue to consider.

Assisted Reproductive Technology is another way to try to expand our families.

But in the end it is your life, your choice, and your family.

We are not alone.

You are not alone.

Whether you end up raising an only child, a living child with one or more siblings who left this world too soon, and/or go on to have more children,

We are not alone.

You are not alone.

Whatever stage you are at in your family building, if you are comfortable being open about your experience with others, I encourage you to share with an open heart and mind.

You never know who you might be able to help, inspire, and give hope to.

We are not alone.

You are not alone.

Though I don’t believe everything happens for a reason anymore, I do find comfort and validation through sharing about my personal experience with secondary infertility and loss.

Knowing that in doing so I may bring comfort and hope to those in the trenches now, helps me to feel like my family and my suffering on our journey to expand our family was not in vain.

We are not alone.

You are not alone.

Thank you for reading this.

If you feel so moved, thank you for sharing it.

To learn more about Secondary Infertility, check out my Secondary Infertility resource page. It includes links to my past National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) posts about Secondary Infertility and many other articles about hope to cope with and support others dealing with Secondary Infertility.

If you want to find out more about infertility and/or learn more about NIAW, please check out these links:

I will leave you with one more thing, a call to action, whether or not you have personally experienced or been touched by any form of infertility:

“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

You have likely heard some version of that quote before.

Take a moment.

Think about it.

Really digest what it means.

Then carry that with you.

Knowing we are not alone is about more than just awareness.

Knowing you are not alone is about sensitivity.

Be kind.

Be patient.

Be open.

Be aware.

Be sensitive.

We are not alone.

You are not alone even if, especially if you are dealing with secondary infertility.

Your situation will be resolved.

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molly 2014

Happy 7th Heavenly Birthday, Molly Marie!

Seven years…

That’s how long you’ve been gone.

How long it’s been since you lived.

Your sister Abby keeps your memory alive as much as anyone these days, which amazes me. She never knew you in this lifetime, but she seems fascinated by you.

Our Family by Abby Benson

She imagines and wonders and questions.

I do too.

Are you still a baby in Heaven?

Are you seven?

Do souls age?

Sean asked the other day if you had lived longer, would Abby be here?

Another good question, that I don’t have an answer to.

And that’s okay.

I learned this year, from another bereaved mother I know, that sometimes we have to learn to sit with the questions.

This is the first year your Daddy and I will not be home on your birthday. It will be the first time we aren’t with Sean and Abby on your special day. We won’t be visiting the cemetery and that is hard for me. However, I think you are proud of us and happy for the reason why.

We did celebrate you, your life, your memory, and your place in our family on Sunday. With each passing year we seem to be establishing some traditions for what we do on our “Molly Day.”

Molly Day 2015

We started the day visiting your grave at the cemetery. We placed decorations, we sang happy birthday to you, we blew bubbles again (in lieu of releasing balloons), and reminded you how much we love and miss you.

Then we went to 10:00 am mass at St. Barnabas, which was said for you. Fr. Jim presided and gave a beautiful homily, reminiscent of the one he gave on our first “Molly Day,” the year after you were born and died. He spoke about how Jesus wished his disciples peace, even those who had betrayed him, after he died and rose again.

It was a wonderful reminder of how to live and approach difficult people we encounter, those that can be hard for us to love.

Peace be with you.

After mass we headed downtown to Ed DeBevic’s for milkshakes, cheese fries, and rude/silly waiters who tease us and dance on counter tops. The kids especially got a kick out of having lunch there again this year, on your day.

Molly Day Lunch at Ed's

Next we headed over to a new and awesome playground on our city’s lakefront, Maggie Daley Park. We had heard great things about it and though very crowded, on such a beautiful spring day here, in Chicago, we had a lot of fun there.

As I write this, it occurred to me that the late former First Lady of Chicago is buried at the same cemetery as you are. I wonder if you have connected in Heaven? I believe she lost a baby or young child many years ago too.

The parking Gods and/or you were watching out for us, as we found street parking at both Ed’s and near the park! We still had to pay, but it was cheaper than valet and/or parking garages.

Molly Day at Maggie Daley Park 2015

So that was how we celebrated! It was mostly sweet, with some bitter and sadness. Abby brought her copy of our Molly book to mass and at one point opened it, while sitting on my lap. With your Daddy to our left and your brother Sean to my right, we could all see and remember, as your sister turned the pages.

Oh, Molly… Thank you for all that you continue to bring to our lives through your legacy. I still believe that we are all better for your time with us, even though it was so short.

I try not to focus so much on who you would be today, most of the time. Rather, to see the good that has come and continues to flow from your existence.

Beachbody 2015 Success Club TripToday, your Daddy and I are on vacation in paradise, a.k.a. The Moon Palace Resort in Cancun, Mexico. When I wrote your letter last year, I would never have dreamed we’d be here now.

But that is what happens when we take risks in life and follow our dreams. Sometimes our dreams come true and sometimes we have to let them die. In both instances there is so much we can learn, if we are open to the lessons.

So Daddy and I are remembering you here, today, and woke up early to watch the sunrise, in your honor and memory. It was so beautiful, just like you.

Grandma and Grandpa Axe, who are staying with Sean and Abby, will bring them back to the cemetery today, at their request, for another visit and then take them out to dinner!

As always, I hope and pray that however you/your soul celebrates in Heaven that you have another beautiful and wonderful birthday!

I miss you, my Molly-girl, and I love you so much!

Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

Love,
Mommy

I have you in my heart. ~ Philippians 1:7

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Eight Years in Eight Words

April 11, 2015

Eight years ago yesterday, on April 10, 2007, I began blogging. On past blogoversaries I have shared things that I have learned from blogging and three years ago, since my blogoversary fell on the second Tuesday of April, I chose “Blogoversaries” to be the Time Warp topic for that month. Two Years ago I decided to keep it simple and choose one word […]

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Shades of Gray

March 10, 2015

I have a love/hate relationship with gut feelings. When they come over me, they are so hard to ignore. I feel pulled to embrace them and yet struggle with other factors that play into my perspective. Recently I learned that my friend Jen, from  Born Just Right, was getting ready to transition, from dying her […]

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Today You Are 40

March 6, 2015

You are a wife. You are a mom. You are a daughter. You are a sister. You are a friend. You are a woman of faith. You are a group fitness instructor. You are a health and fitness coach. You are a writer. You are a blogger. You are living the dream. In many ways […]

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Anticipatory Grief

February 27, 2015

I was sitting across the table from her, in their kitchen. I asked how she was doing. She said, “really busy.” I said, “I know what you mean.” She replied, “I’m not sure that you do…” And then she told me. He got an amazing new job offer, the opportunity of a lifetime. High risk […]

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