Women are interesting and complex characters. We are capable of a lot of sh!t. By now everyone is aware that, as mothers, we assume the roles of not just “mommy” but we also tend to be nurses, doctors, taxi drivers, teachers, custodians, and top chefs (because we know we got this cooking thing down to a science by now). We are hella awesome. BUT, we also get HELLA exhausted. We sometimes resent the days we ever became a parent and wish we could assume the roles of magician and disappear for a week or ten.
What we sometimes tend to forget is how being a parent is a miracle and a blessing. Just having a baby to cry and be exhausted over would be the biggest wish come true a lot of parents could ever hope for.
In my family, aside from my parents, I have one sister who is 3.5 years older than me. Off the top of my head I’d call her “Fertile Myrtle” (her name is Alisha but I like a good rhyme). I swear all she had to do was think about being knocked and there it is. Me, on the other hand, is a different story. It took my husband and I over two years to get pregnant now with our daughter who is now 4 and kicking ass every single day.
I remember how discouraged I was when we got married and I wasn’t rocking a glorious baby bump 6 months later. I went to our family doctor to ask questions and I quickly found out that to stop taking contraceptives in the middle of the cycle is a no no and that may cause your body to hate itself for a while before getting on the straight and narrow again. I didn’t tell anyone other than my husband and it took a toll on me. I was embarrassed, and looking back now I wish I would have let more people in. Long story short, no extreme measures were taken before our little blonde bombshell came barreling into this world. And we couldn’t have been happier!
1 in 6 couples in Canada unfortunately aren’t so lucky.
Infertility can sometimes be a scary word. An ugly word. A word that many women are ashamed of because a lot of us believe that we were put on this earth to make beautiful babies for us to love and nurture. And you know what? Alot of us are, dammit! But sometimes we need a little extra help. And that is OKAY.
I recently connected with a super woman who happens to also be my family’s photographer. She photographed our wedding back in 2010 and followed us through maternity, all of our daughter’s milestones and many family photo shoots as well. Her name is Jenn Peake of Tailgate Photography, and Jenn and her husband James are a beautiful married couple who are so much in love you need sunglasses to look at them. And they want a baby. Unfortunately, they were looking down the dark road of possible infertility.
So the way I see it, Jenn wanted a baby so she had two choices; take this path alone
and try to hide it from extended family and friends or use her experience and journey as a way to share it with the world in hopes of showing other women and couples that infertility is NOT uncommon, there ARE ways to make it happen and that she WILL GET SH!T DONE like the mother effing dime she is!
Well, I suppose you figured out which choice she made. *Insert hair flip and crown adjustment here*
Here is what Jenn had to say when I recently interviewed her:
1. Okay Jenn, so let’s back this up. First, tell me a bit about yourself:
Well, let’s see! I made the best decision of my life leaving my terrible past behind and moving to Halifax 3 years ago! I met the most wonderful man who became my husband on December 31 of 2016. I am a full time photographer “Tailgate Photography” and own a media publication “The Daily Musician”.
2. Did you always know you wanted to have babies?
Absolutely! I’ve wanted kids since I can remember!
3. When you first realized that you might not ever have children, or knew it would be special circumstances in order to conceive, how do you remember feeling?
It was back in 2008, when I decided to find out what was going on with my body. I have had irregular periods forever and thought well maybe there’s something they can do to fix it! Well, the doctor sent me for blood work and ultrasound which both according to her came back fine. But because I had that one issue of “irregular periods” she diagnosed me with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Now, there are options to help you to get pregnant with PCOS. I became kinda obsessed with learning about it… but it was hard on me. I had all kinds of emotions. I was nowhere close to being in the right relationship to want kids at that point in my life.
4. What made you want to share your story to the public?
There are so many women (couples) who struggle with trying to conceive but it is something no one really talks about. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, I think more people should share their stories. Support is everything. I met a client Lindsay that has become a very good friend. She shared her story with me and has been a constant inspiration and great support system for us.
5. What lengths are you going through to conceive?
My husband and I decided that we wanted to have kids right away. I certainly am not getting any younger. I got a referral from my family doctor to the IWK. Dr. Ripley is amazing! He sent me for a full work up, I had blood work done 3 times to check everything from hormone levels etc; ultrasound to check my ovaries; a dye test to check my uterus and tubes and checked my husband. Everything came back good. Blood work was normal as were all my levels, tubes are open, ovaries are perfect size, no cysts. Dr. Ripley told me I do NOT have PCOS. All those years of thinking my dream of having a baby may never come true… I have found hope. Now, they see alittle abnormality in my uterus that is “simple to fix” with day surgery. I have to have a MRI to confirm then he will schedule the surgery. He’s confident and doesn’t sugar coat anything. Straight to the point. Dr. Ripley not only works at the IWK but also at Atlantic Assisted Reproductive Therapies here in Halifax. He said he would be there every step of the way with us.
6. How is your husband through all of this?
My husband James is amazing. I am honestly the luckiest woman ever to have him. He is strong and confident. He believes in me and my body. When I’m emotional and weak, he’s my strength. We lay there at night and talk about “baby Peake”, he never says “IF”, it’s always “WHEN” we have baby Peake. We don’t believe in bad luck, honestly we have names picked out, we know we would like to have Atleast 2 kids, we have little onesies in our closet. Honestly, you have to have faith it will happen, positive thoughts will give you positive results.
7. Who is your biggest support system?
My husband James, our family, my friends.
8. You are a baby/child photographer. How does it make you feel photographing these beautiful babies while going through your incredible journey? Is it difficult?
I love it. I love being able to snuggle a newborn, and capture incredible images for my clients. I am happy for them, to get to experience what I long for. We get to be part of their life, watch them grow. Of course there’s nothing I want more than my own baby but I put all my love into my photography. I could photograph babies everyday! I met a couple last year that have become such good friends. Lindsay is amazing, I have started photographing her son when she was pregnant! She shared her story with me about her challenge and road to have a baby. Oliver is her “rainbow baby”, and we get to capture him as he grows. It’s a whole new appreciation when you wait so long and go through such a hard road to have a baby. Going through this journey, gives me a better prospective of life and my photography. Newborn photography is my absolute favourite and I look forward to the day when I am posing my own baby.
9. You seem incredibly confident and hopeful, which is fantastic! Are all of your days this positive or do you have days where you struggle?
I wasn’t always this confident and hopeful. From 2008 to April 17th, 2018 I wasn’t at all. I said “if” constantly, I would tell my husband I probably wouldn’t ever give him kids. I would lay in bed at night and cry because I longed so much for a baby and finally finding my person that I wanted to create a life with…. it made me sad and angry at the same time that it may never happen. On April 17th, as Dr Ripley came in to give me the results of everything, I was terrified. Waiting in his office was the most horrible 20 minutes ever, everything bad I could think of ran through my head. When he sat down and went through it all with me and told me the next steps a huge weight lifted, all these years thinking I would probably never have a baby my doctor was telling me it is possible. Like I said before, he tells you straight up, no sugar coating anything. When he says we will get your pregnant, I know it will happen. I have been changing my lifestyle to make myself healthier. I have lost 21.1 lbs, feel fantastic and not stopping now!
10. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Advice: Cherish every moment of your pregnancy, with your newborn and your family. Thank you for letting me share my story! I hope it gives hope to someone and helps others talk about their struggles.
WELL. If that doesn’t give you all of the feels I don’t know what will! This is just one example of how turning a difficult situation into a challenge and journey can really make you stronger as an individual and a couple. Having a support system is so incredibly important.
Jenn and James, I love you both and may the odds be ever in your favor.
You are gonna rock this parenthood thing!