I have a little stash at the back of my closet-with a handful of things that I’ve been dreaming of wearing for years. A pair of maternity leggings, a ring sling, a skirt I bought because I loved the idea of what it would look like with a cute baby bump.

In August of 2019, I surprised my husband with a positive pregnancy test and the perfect little onesie. It was the best high of my life. I was pregnant! Then just like that, I wasn’t. We started trying again shortly after the miscarriage and were incredibly surprised to find out I was pregnant again, just 2 months later. I remember the excitement I had felt the first time, immediately being replaced with fear and anxiety. I couldn’t let myself feel happy about it. I knew exactly would could happen again-and it did. We finally saw a fertility doctor after the second miscarriage, where we learned that they were both chemical pregnancies (never making it past week 5). They discussed my fertility treatment plan, and started all the initial testing.

It's all so invasive.

And the topic is still a little taboo, so you do most of this in silence-just you and your partner.

We eventually found out that my uterine lining is naturally too thin, and that my follicles are too small. This is when the fertility meds started. With every new thing that’s added to your plan, comes a new sense of hope. I felt good about the medication and was hopeful it would help me get me pregnant and more importantly, stay pregnant. After a few months of meds, my lining and follicles were looking great, but we still weren’t getting pregnant again. Trying to conceive truly is like the awful rollercoaster people compare it to. Every time my period came, I broke a little. And every time, my husband was there gently attempting to pick up the broken pieces. Husbands don’t get the credit they deserve for this. They have to watch us break, over and over again and not know how to fix any of it. My doctor was really hopeful that we could get pregnant with the help of just the fertility meds, so we continued with them. Month after month, I rode the same roller coaster. Along the way, people I love became pregnant. During every two-week-wait I would do the math to see how long a friend and I would be pregnant together if it worked out that month. After 6 months of fertility meds, we decided it was time to give IUI a go. IUI isn’t as invasive (or expensive!) as IVF, but it still takes a toll on you mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Although we were incredibly hopeful, neither of the IUIs worked for us. I was in a pretty dark place after the second one failed. I was depressed and angry and knew I had to do something about it. I was letting my biggest fear of never birthing a child course through my veins and take over my thoughts. My body needed a break from the trauma of it all. My husband and I wanted to take the time to strengthen our marriage. So, we decided to take a break from trying to conceive. I know breaks aren’t for everyone, but it was definitely the right thing for me at the time. I knew I had some major healing to do that couldn’t be done in the headspace I had been stuck in for so long. I still have some therapy work to do as we start trying again here soon, but I’m happy to feel more at peace with myself and our journey.

I’m incredibly lucky to have the people I do in my life. Little by little, I grew the courage to share the chemical pregnancies and treatment plans with some close friends and family and they all have helped me in different ways. Some kindly sent flowers on mother’s day, others went out of their way to learn how to discuss infertility with those hurting from it. They listened and gave me space to heal. They searched support groups for me and offered to go to them with me. They checked in, and were understanding of my absences at gatherings. The more I healed from sharing, the braver I felt to share. I know it can be a little uncomfortable to talk about infertility, but I really believe it helps people on both sides. This is why it’s so important to know how to have these conversations. There can be so many triggers tied to infertility. Although I know people don’t mean to hurt you with comments, they do sting sometimes. And sometimes I find I’m totally fine! When I’m in a good head space with it all, I’ve done my best to open up about it all. Every time I’ve been brave enough to open up about my infertility journey on social media, I have someone share their infertility with me.

Its like a sisterhood you would never want to be a part of, but are just so incredibly grateful for.

I’m not sure what the next step of my fertility “plan” is, but my goal is to continue healing alongside my husband, dog, family and friends.

"It’s just me....still hanging on to hope."

-- Elsa Taylor