Infertility and A Fall Photo Session

I hope you came prepared for an over dose of pictures and freckles! Despite my lack of tan and sunshine this summer, boy do those beauties stand out in these pictures- I loveeeeeeeee freckles! 

Fall is usually a really hard time of the year for me. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with unexplained female infertility. A devastating condition which means I may never be a mother. Last fall and winter, I struggled a lot with myself. My identity. Who was I now that I couldn't be the person I always dreamed of being? Extraordinary mother, loving wife, maker of a happy home. I had to say goodbye to that version of myself. I had to say goodbye to the life I had so desperately wanted because that possibility was taken away from me.

Infertility devastates your world. It is one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through and I have been through a lot. It is one of the only challenges in my life that I have ever faced and walked away questioning myself. My self worth, who I was. I've lost a lot the last few years. But I stand here today with so much more hope and purpose than I ever imaged.

Because at some point, you stand alone, looking around at the wreckage that was your world and you decide- you make the decision- that this will not be your life.

That you will not cry day after day after day anymore. That you won't waste years of your life being disappointed, angry, sad and confused. One day you make the decision to be HOPEFUL. You pick yourself up off the ground. You throw away all the snot-filled tissues. You take a shower. And you decide that this will not be your life. You decide that you have a greater purpose, a higher calling, a more important role than the one you had wanted for yourself.

You decide that as much as you thought God had turned his back on you, as much as you resented him, blamed him, or even stopped believing that he was there at all; that he IS with you. That he knows your struggle, he cries your tears, and he hopes for you when you don't have any light left in yourself. And one day, if you're lucky, you see that glimmer of hope. You see that escape from the dark, miserable hole you've dug yourself into. You see his hand reached out, waiting for you to take it. You see that his hand has been there all along, even when you turned your back to it. And you decide to trust him.

That's what I did this year. If you read over my infertility posts, like the ones herehere and here; you can see this slow shift in my life, in my perspective. From the daily struggle to get out of bed to the slow realization that this didn't have to be my life. That my circumstances didn't have to dictate my level of satisfaction in life. That my happiness, my hopefulness, the light that shines within me- it didn't have to fade away because of this heartbreak.

And this year I became so much more myself than I have ever been. There are so many moments I am thankful for, and so much hope for the future. I am content in this moment. And yet I am so excited for what may come. This fall/winter marks my fifth year of struggling with infertility. And it's the first time in 5 years that I have been happy and hopeful on the anniversary of my diagnosis. Because even if it's not what I had planned for myself, I trust that it is going to be more amazing than anything I could have thought of. That my life is going to be filled with more adventure, more life lessons, and more light and faith than I would have had without this struggle.

I can't wait to see where He takes me next. I have great plans for the next year of my life. Buying a house with my best friend, backpacking across Oregon, traveling to Arizona, getting my passport, finding an amazing church in this new city I live in. And yet none of those things bring me as much excitement as waiting to see what He has planned for me in the next year of my life. I feel so blessed to have this new outlook towards life and towards infertility. Blessed because I know I have the opportunity to be an encouraging, positive, loving voice in the IF (Infertility) community.

Thank you guys for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this fall photo session and maybe a tad bit of my perspective on my infertility and the journey to find my faith. These gorgeous photos were taken by the amazing Jessie of Schu's shoots. (She also took pictures of me and my pooch earlier this year, here.) Jessie is such a blast to work with, we always end up laughing and having lots of fun together! After doing a fun session together last fall, I knew she'd be the gal I'd go to for this lifestyle/portrait session :) She always let's me be my playful, silly self.

I'm linking up with the Hope Engaged monthly photo shoot link party today. Check it out and think about linking up with us next month! It's always a lot of fun planning and sharing each session and checking out what the other women shared.

Most bloggers love fall. I'm so glad that this year I get to join in and fully appreciate the beauty and peacefulness of this season. What does the fall season mean for you?

xoxo, Laura