Kind words, thank yous, and other thoughts
The stories y'all shared in response to my first blog post have been humbling and heart-wrenching. They've made me smile, laugh, cry, and deeply want to hug every single one of you. I know this is way overdue, but thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and beyond.
I wanted to share with you some of the responses I received because they touched my heart so much. I hope you'll find some peace and encouragement from these ladies as well.
Words from some beautiful and wise women
The first comes from Dr. Serena Hon, an amazing physician, dancer, and friend.
"You're very much not alone, despite how easily it is to feel that way.
Want you to know it's okay to feel angry, hurt, depressed; it's okay to question your self-worth and reevaluate your identity (both imagined and current).
It's okay to want to share, and it's okay to not want to share.
I'm glad you have religion and faith on your side, something I just wasn't raised with... and, who knows, I may have found helpful along this journey.
But be it with God or with friends, know you never walk alone."
Serena hit on so many good points here, with the main one being so true. We are not alone. Sometimes it takes reaching out and sharing your story, but even if you don't, you have God and your loved ones on your side. Lean on them.
Meredith Dunham, friend and owner/director of ONE Academy of Dance, recommended the verses Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28, and Proverbs 3:5 when finding strength and renewing our trust in the Lord. They are as follows:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Note: This does not mean God will only let good things happen to you, or that every venture you undertake will be blessed. It means that even when we face immense suffering, which we are guaranteed to face, God will find a way to transform it into good.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
It's natural to want to know it all. To want to know EXACTLY what's happening, and when. This is not how we get to move through our lives as Christians. Trusting in the Lord is greater than any knowledge we could accumulate on our own. It teaches humility, and keeps us connected to the One who loves us more than anything.
And lastly, but certainly not least:
"[God] doesn't waste our pain and suffering." -Jaime Ginn Ryskoski
This thought and thoughts like this have crossed my mind frequently. If I hadn't struggled to get pregnant, I wouldn't be able to more deeply connect with the many of us who have had this struggle, or write words that someone could find soothing.
We can apply this idea to any difficulty or struggle we face. Any terrible thing that happens to us will make us more effective as comforters and mentors to those who will face these same or similar problems in the future.
Takeaways from sharing my infertility story
1. Infertility struggles are insanely common, but many of us suffer in silence.
After hearing from so many friends and acquaintances, it floored me how many women carry this same burden of unwanted infertility, though it comes in different forms. Don't assume you know someone's fertility story, or feel entitled to ask them why they don't have kids yet. It's a sensitive topic. Please, please, please approach other women with care!
2. If you feel up to sharing your story, you should.
It's cathartic, and can be comforting for your friends to know what's really going on in your life, and that they're not alone if they share your struggle. However, like Serena said, not everyone is an external processor, and not everyone should be expected to tell their story if they're not ready.
3. We are more the same than we are different
I received responses from women (and men!) of all ages, races, religious backgrounds, and more. We were and are united by love, despite our pain. Thank you for those who reached out to me, shared their stories with me, and walked with me. I want to highlight y'all and let everyone get to know you some.
Pam Aguilar, Amber Bean, Kim Boehm, Jenny Chan (fellow Rice alum, illustrator, and really cool chick), Joanna Chen, Anslee Connell (Follow her music here), Donna Davidson, Ruchi Doshi (fellow Rice alum, mom to baby Shiv), Meredith Carpenter Dunham (friend and Director of ONE Academy of Dance),Harlan Elam (now a dad of four after him and his wife had their own battle with infertility), Sarah Freed (mom to the most fabulous pom and Chinese cresteds), Breah Kinsella, Ashley Konecko (sweet vegan mommy like I aspire to be!), Amelia Koford, Patrick Kremer, Melissa Kummerer, Sundari Haran, Elizabeth Harwood, Kelly Hochanad-el, Dr. Serena Hon, Jung Eden Hwang (friend and makeup artist for my wedding!), Abby Jeffcoat, Robin and Ron Ladd (an amazing math teacher and a kept man respectively, who are also my awesome in-laws. Love y'all!), Julia Lopez-Mobilia (founder of Short Straw Studio. Such cute stuff!), Peter Maharaja, Kim Masi, Paul May (CEO and Founder of BuzzStream, also the best CEO I've ever worked under), Karen Georgiev McCarty, Shira More (my favorite co-worker probs ever), Sara O'Connor, Kit Papandrew, Ashley Paul, Bobby Prengle, Aimee Pruett (Co-creator of FoodBanjo, and co-creator of baby Zara ;)), Jenny Rozelle, Jaime Ginn Ryskoski, Sheena Shah-Simpson (friend since high school, recently earned her PhD because she's incredible), Sharanya Srinivasan, Molly Sylestine, Grace Tan (my beautiful mother), Shirley Tan (my beautiful grandma), Colleen Teska (INCREDIBLE dancer, choreographer, and artist. And person.), Courtney Cope Tyrrell, Charlene Vela (Check out her fitness blog!), Samantha Wallace, Emy Wang, and Andria Whalon.
So many remarkable women (and men!) offered comfort to me and shared their stories. I'm eternally grateful for every single one of you in my life.
Other thoughts I've had
In light of Vegas shooting and Puerto Rico and other storms, realizing that God may give me a child, and her destiny is to die in a disaster like that.
Am I willing to trust Him? After I've longed so deeply for a child? Would I hate God for taking my child away in such an awful way? What if my child is struck by cancer? Will I hate Him for allowing her to suffer so gravely? If I can't honestly answer yes, maybe that's why God has waited to give me that gift. Because it would destroy me. It would cost me my soul.
I never understood in the past why people would walk away from Christ. Being a Christian has only ever brought me comfort in difficult times. However, with this struggle, I see it more plainly now.
It would be easier in a sense to turn away from God. I could just accept my feelings and not feel guilty for feeling bitter and slighted. The common culture would nod its head with me, saying it's so unfair. But if I turn away from God, what do I have left?
I'll end by saying that God, who loves you more than should even be possible, is always at work in and around you. As Serena said, you are never alone. He's always there. Don't be afraid to lean on Him.