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One of the main desires women share is to one day be a mom. Struggling with infertility can be emotionally exhausting (....and financially exhausting if pursuing infertility treatment) and can leave one with a feeling of emptiness and despair. About 10 percent of women are diagnosed with infertility issues and many struggle alone as it is not a commonly discussed issue.
Courtney Crouch shares her experience, her struggles and how she has made the conscious decision to not let infertility define her.
When I turned 30 I had completely turned my life around for the better. After years of living an unhealthy lifestyle battling depression, anxiety, and weight issues I hit rock bottom and decided to change my life. Like the flip of a switch I changed my entire way of living. I ate super healthy, worked out, lost 65 lbs, got rid of negative people in my life, and only allowed positivity in. With these changes my life came together and I met my best friend, my soulmate, and my partner for life. A year later I packed up my life in a small town of Northern California and moved way outside of my comfort zone to Alabama to be with my guy. We created a beautiful life, with a beautiful home, and a healthy relationship.
I was skipping periods from 30 years old on, I took several pregnancy tests that always came up negative so I decided to see a doctor. I have been diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure. POF is when a woman’s ovaries stop working before the age of forty and affects very few women. Often times they cannot explain why this happens and there is no treatment to reverse it. After seeing three doctors, one being a Reproductive Endocrinologist I was informed that my ovaries have shrunk, I have very few follicles and my AMH levels came back undetectable (undetectable eggs), this means at age thirty-three I will not be able to have children without the use of a donor egg and IVF. On top of that, I have to be concerned about bone density issues.
I felt like less of a woman. The massive amounts of hair that I lose daily in the shower, hot flashes, dryness, and weight gain did not help me feel good about myself or beautiful. I questioned my decision for always putting my career before everything else when I was younger. I searched for things that I could have done to cause this harm to myself. Obviously, this was my fault. Was this a sign that I was not fit to be a mom? And then I stopped searching and blaming, there were no answers to my questions. The answer to my diagnosis is POF does not define me.
This is a part of my journey. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, even if I can’t even begin to understand that reason right now. I began to allow myself to feel every emotion and to process everything slowly without judgement. The unselfish part of me was grateful someone like me was going through this instead of someone who’s heart was set on having kids, even though it is still heartbreaking to me. I balance facing the reality of this situation and clinging on to hope that things will change.
I start each day with a gentle yoga practice while burning my Personal Hero candle that I bought myself. I read an inspirational quote and remember all the good in my life.
Instead of staying stuck in sadness, I stepped up to the plate as a partner, an aunt, a stepmom, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and a role model. I redefined my dreams and I saw my light. I shared my story openly for so many who can’t. I am not happy that I am unable to have kids, but I have made a choice to not be sad about it anymore. I did the bravest thing I could do and let it go. I was inspired by the quote "The greatest gift sadness gave me was the motivation to transform." Yung Pueblo
Infertility is incredibly isolating, I want to share my story so others can find more support. We need so much support when going through infertility. We need someone to give us a hug, acknowledge us on all the holidays we dread, and baby showers we attend. I want to show people that life can go on, and it is ok to grieve. But mostly I want women to understand that they are not less than. I want to inspire people to design a life they love.
My Hope candle reminds me to trust MY journey. I was given this life for a reason, it's the product of hard work, desire to change, choices, and circumstance. My candle reminds me to keep my heart open even on the days that it hurts and to trust that you can find joy in every journey.
My dear friend Mandie Fraher has supported me more than she'll ever know. She is the most beautiful and kind hearted person I know. She sent me a card at Christmas time because she knew how hard the holidays are for me.
Courtney started a blog when she created a healthy lifestyle. She offers good reads, healthy tips, and lessons from her journey. You can connect with her at: https://resculptingawoman.com/about/
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