“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35
I am a little late to the game, but March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Last year, I shared the story of my own diagnosis, during April’s Fertility Awareness Week. You can read that article here: A New Perspective. Last year I reflected on, and for the first time shared with the world, my personal struggle with the disease, what it took to receive a diagnosis, and coming to terms with what that diagnosis meant for me and my fertility. This year I want to share a different story. This year I wanted to share how I traveled that journey to acceptance and what that acceptance has meant for my life.
As more time passed, the scars from my surgery began to heal and I did too.
I was first officially diagnosed with endometriosis in July of 2017. It was up until this point that very few, and by very few I mean six people at most, knew about this difficulty in my life. I was so ashamed, embarrassed, distressed, uncomfortable, and unsettled about sharing this with anyone around me. I didn’t want to have a label put on me or really let anyone know that my husband and I had encountered this hurdle in starting a family. Since I was having the surgery, naturally my siblings and some of my extended family found out. I can’t say I was upset about this, but it still did not take the shame away from having this “label.” As time went on, family members words of encouragement were so comforting to me and my husband that I began to be grateful that people knew. We felt that even though they may not have fully understood, their support was a huge help in coming to terms and accepting that starting a family may not go as smoothly as we hoped. As more time passed, the scars from my surgery began to heal and I did too. I was just so grateful to finally know what was causing our issue and that was relief in itself.
It was around this same time that Jay and I decided to send in our initial paperwork to our adoption agency which also helped to provide some comfort and healing. We were so excited about the prospect of adopting, which is something we had discussed before we were even ready to start a family, that the shame began to subside. With our paperwork in the mail, Jay and I kept this information to ourselves for the time being as we had a surprise announcement planned for our families later in the year. After our adoption announcement in late December 2017, this included starting a Facebook page, (you can find us by searching Journey to Baby Cournia on Facebook) and sharing our adoption plans with everyone we encountered, we continued to heal even more. While it still took until April 2018 to share my actual diagnosis with our friends and extended family, it was during that time that I realized how my life had continued to move forward, beyond what my diagnosis was doing to my body. To put it simply, life went on! It didn’t matter if I had endometriosis or not, even though at the time of my diagnosis I felt like everything was coming crashing down, it really wasn’t. Life just went on. It was a simple fact. It may have taken all of that time for me to realize it, but it was the truth.
I feel like this is an important story to share because of the millions of women affected by this disease. According to Endometriosis.gov 1 in 10 women between the ages of 15-49 will be impacted by endometriosis. That’s is approximately 176 million women in the world! Not hundreds or thousands, but MILLIONS! I can’t even comprehend that. And since endometriosis can’t be officially diagnosed without laparoscopic surgery, many women will go their whole lives undiagnosed.
Infertility is not your label.
Here are some things I have learned throughout this journey and if you are walking your own journey with your fertility, I hope it can be some comfort to you as well!
Infertility is not your label. I now use the word fertility, instead of infertility because I don’t believe that any woman or man, was born to have that label on their heart. This is grounded in biblical truth “Be fruitful and multiply” – Genesis 1:28, “He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children.” -Psalm 113:9, “I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations.” -Genesis 17:16
You are not defined by your diagnosis. I know this may sound cliche, but it is the truth! This is also rooted in scripture. God has come to heal us from all earthly dwellings and sufferings. This is the beauty of His promise for us. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” John 11:4. You are more than the label!
Blessings will come. One day you will look back on the struggles you face now and smile. It will be apart of your history, your growing up, your learning, and a part of your story. Be proud of it! The Lord asks us to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” -Romans 12:12. Trust in Him and His promises. He knows, he can see your hurt and the pain. Lean on him and believe in his love for you.
Don’t be afraid to share your story. Women need to hear you! The world needs to hear you! We go through this life ashamed and scared. I know because I was that person. Your story may not reach millions but it may reach one. And that one person needs your story right now. I can’t even count how many women have reached out to me and shared their own story, just because I shared mine. They have shared some of the same experiences that I have shared here today. Someone may need to hear your story to start their own healing process. They need you now more than ever! Proclaim these truths and start your own path to healing, “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.” Psalm 118:6 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” -Psalm 56:3 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
As Endometriosis Awareness Month draws to a close, I want to leave you with one final thought. If you struggle with endometriosis or battle any other “label” in your life. Be free of it. Let it be what it is, leaning on those around your for support. You are greater than that one word which you feel defines you. And you are surely not alone in your battle; for you are armed with the greatest weapon of all…the love of God. Proclaim his promises…“What, then, shall we say unto these things? if God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:3. He is in the beauty that is you. Know that you are loved and you are not alone!
Have a story to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me through our Facebook page @journeytobabycournia
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