Baby Blogging through Infertility: How Photography Blogs Give Hope
At Fotoskribe, your content is important to us- whether your company focuses on weddings, on families, or on babies. Sometimes, though, it’s easy to forget how important that content is to other people. Sure, your blog does some heavy lifting to be able to get new leads to your website. But your blog can offer more than marketing.
Your blog can offer hope.
Fotoskribe writer, Shelby Law is a powerhouse when it comes to sharing your stories, but today we invited her to share one of her own: the story of her struggle with infertility and how blogging has helped. Here, in her words, is how writing your blogs brings her joy. We hope her words remind you of how important your images- and your blogs- really are.
Blogging through a Fertility Struggle
I won’t lie to you—for as many photography blogs as come our way, we, as a writing team definitely have our favorites.
There are hilarious wedding stories to be told and beautiful love stories to capture. We’ve talked before about the power of blogging engagement sessions and why they deserve a place on your blog. But without fail, every time… when we get baby blogs, you can hear the collective “AWWW” from across the continent.
But, it took me awhile to get to that point.
See, my husband and I have been struggling to have children for a little over four years (49 months and counting, to be precise). So, there was a time in my life that seeing other people with that happiness caused me emotional pain. A pain so great, it was physical: an ache in my chest that just wouldn’t stop. There was a time when I refused to get on Facebook for how many pictures I could see of my friends and their babies. Ever since I had gotten the news it was going to be much more difficult for me to have children than for other couples, it seemed like everyone I knew had kids of their own.
It was on the tail end of that depression that I started to blog for Fotoskribe. At first, I thought it would be so hard, since there were family photography sessions left and right . . .
But instead, it was wonderful.
So many women had stories like mine to share, and even the ones that didn’t were filled with such joy and adoration that I couldn’t help but get swept up in it. This was the kind of thing that I was (and still am) looking forward to when I finally come to the end of my own journey.
I know a lot of you as photographers listen to those stories, and I’m sure that you are touched by them, by the resilience of waiting years and years for that miracle. But if you’ll let me, I’d like to share a little bit of just how much that journey costs in emotional exhaustion and tears, so you can fully understand how amazing those baby pictures are. And really, how special what you’re documenting truly is.
This is my infertility story.
I knew from the beginning I was going to have a hard time having children, so when my husband and I got engaged, I met with my doctor to ask about the fact that… well… My body doesn’t quite do things the normal way. But I was told that even though I knew I had problems, I wasn’t considered “infertile” until I had been trying for at least a year. Infertility is a word even doctors don’t want to say too quickly.
If any of you have children, you know how hard it is when you go through every month hoping for a miracle. So, let me tell you, going through an entire year knowing the only chance we had was a miracle—that was not fun.
After a year, we met with a doctor who started to work with me. She was kind, but she wasn’t optimistic, and when my husband’s tests came back with issues, she didn’t hold back:
“The only option for you right now is IVF. Otherwise, it’s time to start looking at moving on.”
We knew we couldn’t afford to go to a specialist. My husband graduated college that month, and we were still relatively newlyweds. So, absolutely crushed, we moved to Atlanta with his new job and started to research adoption possibilities.
My husband and I went to foster care parent meetings, but we decided quickly that fostering wasn’t for us. After a year and a half of deep depression over our inability to have our own children, neither of us was sure we could weather it if we had to give a child back.
So, we signed our names to the years-long waiting list for adoption with the government and started looking at agencies and their costs. Once more, we realized that we simply couldn’t afford it… though we could start the slow and steady process of saving up the tens of thousands of dollars necessary to do so.
The IUI Journey
Finally, in October of 2016, my mother told me about one of her church friends who had been able to get pregnant despite having the same problems my husband and I have. Pointing out that as long as I was saving up money, I might as well try this doctor. She sent me the contact information for the specialist her friend used. After two months of hemming and hawing, I called them. The truth was that I was scared to start that journey again.
I don’t regret starting to see that specialist, because the doctors and nurses have been nothing but kind, but I wasn’t wrong to be worried. It has been the emotional roller coaster of a lifetime. Six months in and we’re still not pregnant, and this is what happens every month:
The first week is just about how much it hurts. It’s just about trying to recover from starting a cycle over, trying to pull yourself together after the devastation of the previous month’s failure. It’s about forcing myself to go to the doctor. It’s about spending the night crying, and bursting into tears randomly throughout the rest of the day, because it just isn’t fair. It’s exhausting, it’s tiring. I just want to be done.
The second week is about finding acceptance, bracing myself for the next round. It’s about doctor’s appointments and tests every. single. day. It’s about reminding myself that I chose this.
The third week is about holding my breath. It’s about going to the doctor for that crucial moment, for an IUI I pray works this time. It’s about forcing myself to relax, and calling my mother to drive me home because it’s uncomfortable to sit upright for a few hours afterward.
The fourth week is about fighting that niggling ray of hope that starts to burrow its way in despite all my emotional defenses. It’s about starting to let “I think it worked this time” become a daily reality.
. . . And then the fifth week is about barely staying upright every morning when I take a test. It’s about barely keeping myself together with every negative test. And then it’s about sobbing on the bathroom floor when it doesn’t take.
So, when I see your baby blogs and your maternity shoots, all I can think is…
“I want that.”
It’s a strange kind of hope, I’ll admit. I look at those pictures and see myself, sometime in the future. Whether it’s through this doctor or from something coming of that years-long adoption waiting list (which we’re still on)… One of these days, that’s going to be me.
I’m sure you’ve heard stories from women like me, the basic, general overview of:
- How long it took
- The relief they felt
- Being overcome with joy they can finally start their journey of parenthood
But I just wanted to tell you mine, as well as something else.
When you do those sessions and share them on your blog, you are the guardian of something precious. You are the caretakers of memories that transcend years of heartache, depression, doubt, guilt, and everything in between.
Those pictures mean more to women like me than you know.