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Running Marathons

 December 30th, 2016

{September 16, 2016}

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of people ask me what it’s like to go through infertility. I’ve gotten a lot of “Oh wow, that must have been so hard” or “I am so sorry you had to go through that”. Even after five years, it’s still sometimes hard to put into words what it felt like. What it still feels like.

Long before I ever carried the weight of infertility, I was an avid runner. It was my outlet … kind of “my thing” if that makes any sense. Over the course of several years during and after college I enjoyed running marathons. I loved the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment after training for and finishing a race. Yet somehow, during the years of trying to conceive and subsequent fertility treatments I kind of lost myself. Okay, I really lost myself. I gained 40 pounds. I quit running. I replaced the healthy physical exercise with what I call exercises in spending (which I’m still working on paying off).

After having my second son, Knox, last year, I knew something needed to change. I’d spent the last four years doing fertility treatments and carrying babies. It was time to work on me again. So, I started running. It was ugly at first. It was painful. But, I made a goal that I was going to run a marathon before Knox turned one. Over the course of the last year I’ve spent countless hours and hundreds of miles with my feet hitting the pavement. The early morning hours gave me some much needed time to clear my head and process some of the life events that had left me a bit crippled emotionally. And, here’s one of the conclusions I came to. Infertility is like running a marathon.

What? Does it seem like I’m reaching here? Let me explain. In the world of running you’ve got several choices when it comes to choosing a race, with most people choosing to do 5Ks. And you know what, a 5K is great. Really, most anyone can do it, and that doesn’t take away from it being a great thing. In a similar way, most adults who choose to have children will get pregnant will relative ease and that’s great. And, we’re happy for them. But, then you have the marathon … and the numbers drop off significantly — just like they do when you start looking at couples experiencing infertility.

Not everyone can run a marathon. It requires training. Perseverance. Preparation. The first few miles of a marathon are exciting. The crowd lines the streets cheering you on. Then, the miles start to fall behind you. Your body and mind begin to tire. You hit mile 20. This spot. They call it “the wall”. I’ve been here/hit this several times both running marathons and experiencing infertility. You’ve come so far, but you still have a ways to go. You can’t see the finish line yet you know it’s there. Your mind tells you it’s silly, even pointless to go on. Your body feels like it can’t take anymore. But, your heart tells you you’re not done yet.

You may have to slow down. Take a break. Walk a little. Yet somehow, somehow my friend, you keep going. You fan the flame though it may be dim and you take it one painful step at a time. And then somehow, you cross that finish line. You may stumble across. But, in the end you make it. You’re worn and tired. You’re weak. But, you did it. And in the end, my friend, though your muscles are tired, they’re stronger. You’re better because of it.

So, when you ask me what it’s like to go through infertility, I’ll tell you it’s a lot like running a marathon. This thing you’re going through … they’re incredibly hard. You’re asking your body to do things it’s not naturally capable of doing on its own. But you keep moving. Move at whatever pace you have to, but keep moving. Then, my friend, when you cross that finish line. When you hold that sweet baby in your arms for the first time not only did you finish, you became something better. Hang in there, my friend, I, along with many others stand along the racecourse cheering you on.



Hi! I’m a proud IVF mom of two amazing boys, thanks to the expert care at Fertility Specialists of Texas. I know, first hand, how lonely infertility can be, which is why I write personal entries for the FST blog  — it’s my way of helping break through the isolation. To let you know you’re not alone. And, neither am I. If you ever want to chat with someone who’s had empty arms, who knows the heartbreak of this journey, I’m here. And, I’d love to connect: fstivfmom@gmail.com.

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