On Choosing the Right Path

Choosing what to do with the rest of your life is a lot of pressure. I mean, it's the rest of your life, right?

The hardest part of making a choice for me was/is figuring out if what I wanted for the rest of my life was what God wanted for the rest of my life. Sometimes we get so crazy passionate about something, it fills us with so much joy and purpose, that we feel like yes, this is it! this is what I'm meant to do.

But how do we know if that's what God also wants for us? When we are filled with that passion and lust for the career or that lifestyle, it feels right! But whose to say our plan is the same one God has for us?

I get that crazy, passionate feeling about creating beautiful things + being a small business owner. But the more I dwelled on it, (I've been working from home for four months now,) the more I felt this nagging thought creeping in....

Is this really what God wants me to being everyday for the rest of my life? It felt like nagging because my honest thought was no, this isn't doing enough good in the world to be his plan. 

It was hard for me to accept because I LOVE making beautiful things and I LOVE my businesses. This is what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. But the more I think about God's plan and what He wants for me, the more I wonder if this is it.

So how do I find my true path?

I think God means for us to better the world. I feel that He wants me (and each of us, probably) to leave it better than it was before. The easiest way to do this is by helping individual people. I knew I wasn't passionate about ABA therapy anymore (working with Autistic children,) what I was going to school for previously. I've been feeling so burnt out from spending the last 10 years of my life working with special needs children. It was something that I started coming home from work stressed out over and after 10 years, I was questioning whether I even wanted to have kids at all, because work was affecting me so negatively.

So I started looking at things I'm passionate about that can be used to better the world. It comes back to relationships, infertility, helping people and being an encouraging voice to others who are going through these tough things.

But I can do this in so many more ways than just through my blog. I can do this as a career, for the rest of my life.

Bingo.

So how do you figure out what God's desire is for you? (Keep in mind that this should be something you enjoy to some degree!)

This is the formula I came up with-
Make a list of the things you love/are passionate about.
Can you help somebody doing any of the things you are passionate about?
Can you make a living doing the thing you are passionate about that also help others.

Here's how my list narrowed down.
* Things I am passionate about- relationships, paper crafting, making pretty things, being a small business owner, helping others, infertility, shelter dogs
* Which of these can you use to truly, deeply help others- relationships, paper crafting, making pretty things, being a small business owner, helping others, infertility, shelter dogs
*Which of these things that you're passionate about, that also betters the world, is something you can make a living doing- relationships, paper crafting, making pretty things, being a small business owner, helping others, infertility, shelter dogs

My list at the end looked like this-
relationships, helping others, infertility.

So then I needed to look at career options that use these three things.

*Career options using my previous list
-Helping people with IVF as an embryologist, infertility nurse or take the counseling route as a marriage + family counselor.

*Which of these things am I qualified to do?
Well, I suck at science and I'm not a huge fan of bodily fluids, so the medical careers are out.

I'm left with the counseling route as a marriage + family counselor.
After dwelling on this for a while, (I mean, it took me 25 years to come up with this formula to figure out what I am really meant to do with my life, I didn't want to rush the final decision,) it started to feel more and more like I should do this to help people. But I don't really want to go back to school. I have an Associates in Social Science (psychology,) from the last time I was in school to become an ABA therapist, so I'm already 1/4 of the way there to becoming a family + marriage counselor.

And I feel that being trained professionally in this area is an invaluable skill to have to help others and my own relationships. I also think being a licensed counselor would cultivate more opportunities to help people to the best of my ability AS a small business owner... But do I really want to go spend another 4 years in school and interning?

There is so much pressure to choose the right thing to do for the rest of your life; but here's the thing nobody tells you- it's okay if you choose wrong.

You probably will choose wrong. When you figure it out, you make a change and you choose something better.

I am 1,000% passionate about making beautiful things and being a small business owner. I will continue to pursue these things and do my best to make them successful. In the meantime though, I'm struggling with the decision to go back to school this fall and start working towards my Bachelors to be followed by my Masters degrees. It would be a crazy amount of work. Especially considering that I will still have to be working when I go back to school, but it's 100% worth if for the RIGHT career.

I could specialize in infertility and counseling those who are dealing with that. Degree wise, there is no option to specialize in infertility counseling, but I know that with my personal experience + knowledge combined with a need for this kind of counseling that it will be possible to work with those who need this specific kind of help. A lot of reproductive (IVF) clinics actually require their clients to do mandatory counseling in order to start IVF, which would give me an amazing opportunity to help those whose personal mindset + marriages have been affected by infertility.

Talk about finding your niche, aye?

But again, there's the passion part calling- do I want to go back to school and get the fancy degree to do this really awesome thing? It is an awesome thing but it would cost me a lot of money, time and stress to be able to even start doing it. Especially when I feel like I'm in love with creating + being a business owner and like that is my true calling- even if it isn't "helping" people. Is it enough to do what you want to, even if it doesn't help people. In a world where so many people need help, it feels selfish and wrong of me to choose a career simply because it's what makes me happy- even though I could do something that makes me less happy + fulfilled but helps others.

I want to know if you struggled to find the career when it came to aligning what you would like to do with what God wants you to do! How did you decide? Did you ever choose a degree or career path and it ended up being the wrong one? (I know I did, the first time I was in school and I still don't know if I want to go back to school and pursue something different!)

xoxo,
Laura

Negative Pregnancy Tests

The complete and utter defeat of a negative pregnancy test. When you're living with infertility and trying to conceive, it's one of the most emotional things we can put ourselves through; month after month, seeing physical proof of our failed efforts to conceive. There is a terrible burden that falls on the shoulders of those who want to have children and cannot. There is a lot of pain that accompanies negative pregnancy tests when you want nothing more than to have a child.

Here's the thing about those negative pregnancy tests though... They only have the power to hurt us because we let them. My first 3 years of infertility were so hard on me, to say I was an emotional train wreck would have been an understatement. Month after month, year after year, "You failed to get pregnant... AGAIN," the tests would mock. Do you know why they did that?

Because I let them.

In the last three years, I've learned a lot. I've overcome a lot. Mainly, the inability to be happy with infertility. I overcame that.

I realized that while I may not be able to make those pregnancy tests positive, there were mountains of other things in my life I could make positive. I could make my outlook and mindset positive. I could make my feeling of self-worth and esteem positive.

I could make myself a positive person.

I could make sure that all of the relationships I kept in my life were positive. And most of all, I learned that my life was going to be exactly what I would make of it. Infertility or not, it was my choice to have a positive or negative life. To feel joy or sadness.

It's not easy to choose positivity and joy when life (or in my case, infertility) constantly lets you down. But it is your choice to make.

So I encourage all of my IF ladies who are struggling with those negative feelings and experiences each and every month to give this a try and just see how it goes. Take a step back. Throw away the tests. Throw away the expectations you keep putting on yourself to get pregnant. Throw away those feelings of self-pity and failure. Throw the negative away!

This isn't to say I won't ever pick up another pregnancy test in my life, I am most certain that I will again one day if I decide to try to have a baby again down the road. But for now, I'm not putting that pressure on myself. If I'm a couple of weeks late (which never happens,) I can go buy a test. I don't need to keep them stockpiled in my bathroom cabinet. I don't have to deal with the anxiety that comes with taking it every month. I don't have to deal with that excruciating two minute wait afterwards. And I don't have to deal with those negative feelings that result from continually negative tests. Instead, I can walk away from the tests and the stress and the expectations and the failures. I can cultivate positivity and joy in both my life and the lives of those around me.

So that's what I did. I threw away my tests. Not only am I happier for it now, but I know that because of this break I've taken with pregnancy tests, the next time I do take a test, I will be excited to do it, not fearful.

Do you put monthly expectations on yourself? Have you ever considered taking a break from those expectations?

xoxo,
Laura

What 6 Years of Infertility Looks Like


This is what 6 years of infertility looks like:
- no more pregnancy tests around the house
- no charts or calendars tracking my cycle. In fact, I don't even mentally keep track of when my last cycle was, anymore. It just comes and goes, always. Ever reliable.
- no apps on my phone for tracking ovulation
- no more crying myself to sleep at night, or any crying at all. (Except during sad parts of movies, I'm such a sap.)
- no closet full of the most adorable baby stuff I just couldn't resist buying for "when it does happen."
- no trips to the RE
- no longer trying to conceive
- no talks about baby names with a significant other
- no talks with my best friends about raising babies together/ at the same time.
- no scheduled, monotonous or boring sex
- no more feelings of inadequacy with myself or with my contribution to relationships
- genuine happiness for others when they have good baby news
- a community of IF ladies, strong and kind, around me
- an amazing group of girlfriends who have children, who allow me to continue being a part of their lives, even in those tricky moments of being fertile with an infertile friend.
- a happy and healthy relationship
- long term goals that relate to having a successful business and a good personal life, instead of those related to marriage and having a family

To most people, 6 years of infertility looks like I've given up. On the contrary; I have more hope, happiness and love in my life than I ever did before. And those dreams of having a family and having a baby are still there.. They are just in the back of my mind, as a possibility, not a requirement I'm placing on myself. Those dreams are dreams of a possible future, way off in the distance. One I'm not worried or anxious about not fulfilling.

It might look like giving up to others... but it feels like contentment to me. What does infertility look like to you?

xoxo,
Laura