There is always more than meets the eye.
In every story there is a struggle.
No matter how it may appear from the outside looking in, there IS a struggle.
As a Boudoir Photography Studio it can be hard to seem more than than just creators of sensual and body positive images, but in every instance our sessions and our clients are so much more than that.
Especially this client, a beautiful, intelligent, and confident Doctor who, for many years, has been experiencing challenges with fertility. Our words would not do justice to her story, as such, the following is a direct entry from this amazing woman. These thoughts and experiences are real, they are true, and they are her own.
This day in age, we take pictures of every life event and celebrate them with friends and family on social media. But what happens when you have shared your life but are keeping a secret and struggling with the amazing gift of having your own children. Fertility challenges are extremely personal and emotionally taxing for each woman and her partner. People assume you go to school, graduate, start "adulting", get married, buy a home and have children…just like that! But everyone’s life journey is different. We have no right to judge when one step does not follow the other. Personally, I have achieved each step including a professional doctorate and an amazing husband of 7 years. The next natural progression is children and expectation to have children is HIGH!
Let me share my story with you…my husband and I have been married for 7 years. We honestly were not “not trying” to have children from the 2nd year of marriage. I have not been on birth control for over 10 years, had consistent periods and regularly enjoyed having sex like any married couple. But was it really all normal? After a year of hoping to become pregnant naturally, we decided to go to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (Fertility Doctor) to get ourselves checked out. Overall, my husband was normal and healthy, and I was healthy, but had “delayed” fertile window compared to other women. So, the specialist recommended an oral medication and “natural relations” (my Doctor’s words…he’s very sensitive and amazing). A few months passed by and no pregnancy, no miscarriage, but just a lot of sex and questions. Lots of sex sounds great, but when you plan it, it loses the magic! At this time in my life, I was at a very stressful job and knew I needed a change. So, I made the change and settled in to a new phase of life. Baby making left up to natural occurrences.
About another year went by…we were working on year three of our fertility journey. Tried a new doctor, different medications and now let’s add a new procedure…intrauterine insemination (IUI). IUIs are basically taking the man’s sperm and directly placing it inside of the uterus with a very long caterer. The goal is get the sperm as close to the egg as possible. Great! This will get me pregnant! Especially when the doctors say we placed at least 24 million sperm there! I only need 1 baby! Sexy? No, but if it works, great!
Now, if you have ever been on this journey, you understand the scheduling. Your life revolves around the fertility doctor, what you eat, when you take medication and when to have sex. For those that do not know, you are seeing the doctor multiple times a week at the start of your menstrual cycle, then a few times around your ovulation time and then you wait…for a positive pregnancy test or your dreaded period. The constant doctor appointments are not terrible, especially when you see a great, friendly practice, but the medications and the waiting for a baby are maddening!
Like most women on this journey, I have been prescribed everything from oral medications to injections. Injections that need to be pushed every night, at the same time in alternating thighs, belly or buttock! Talk about feeling sexy when you have bruises on your thighs. Oh! And by the way, the medications are meant to stimulate your hormones, so imagine PMS/early pregnancy symptoms x 10! Bloating in places that have never bloated (my triceps?!), headache, muscle aches, vaginal dryness, tender breasts, food cravings, and nightmares just to name a few symptoms. And like any woman wanting to feel “sexy” for herself and her husband, the emotional pressures were overwhelming.
More emotional pressure including questions from family and friends hoping and praying for you to have family, financial pressures to pay doctor bills, and the many attempts to “try” what has been successful for others. I could write a book on the ways people get pregnant. Anywhere from drinking tequila, standing on your head, eating kale salads, or the best one… “Just relax. It will happen!” I even question myself, “Would it be better to have become pregnant and then have miscarriages and try it again?” But remember, I have never been pregnant, had a miscarriage and no one can tell me directly WHY I have not had any children. Talk about frustrating and emotionally draining! I have tried it all and it all caused more questions, more fear and more insecurities!
Every time I would go to the doctor’s office, during this now 5-year journey, I would observe the waiting room. Women of different ethnicities, religions, body types, and sexual preferences surrounded me. We all looked different on the outside but wanted one thing on the inside…life! That’s when it struck me…I have lost my sense of life in attempt to gain a little life! I gave into the “infertility” fear, insecurities, questions and anxiety that held me back from living a full life!
We are told in 1 Samuel 7:12, “Samuel took a stone and set it down…named it Ebenezer, meaning, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” This photography project is my “Ebenezer”, faithfully exclaiming the LORD has helped me this far and will continue. I am fearless in the Lord and who I am as a woman!
What started out as a small Boudoir Photography Studio in South Jersey has turned into so much more. We encourage self-love in all forms and we are profoundly grateful that our clients trust us to capture their stories. Every part of you is beautiful including your struggles. Remember that, and remember to Be Fierce, Be Beautiful, and Be You!