Thursday, October 30, 2014


     Recently I opened up about my struggles with PCOS and infertility (click here to read the post). Neither of these topics is easy to talk about as it can feel like rubbing salt on a wound. However, since allowing myself to be vulnerable and honest I have had readers reach out to me to say thank you; Thank you for being a real woman behind this blog; Thank you for not sugar coating or pretending that my journey to find my healthy has been a walk in the park. When I opened up about my infertility, due to PCOS, I had a reader reach out to me and offer me a gift to help heal an aching heart.

     Crystal told me about her Esty shop, Fertility Gems (click here). She creates beautiful pieces specifically for women struggling with fertility and/or PCOS. She also sent me bracelet for PCOS. It represents holding onto hope - hope that there is always a way and to never give up. Her genuine thoughtfulness and compassion touched my heart. I share my stories to help other women know that they are not alone and Crystal reached out to say thank you.

   When my bracelet arrived it was lovingly packaged. 
This package was more than just the delivery of jewelry. It was the delivery of a hug from one woman to another. Crystal extends her love and compassion to women through her hand crafted jewelry and her work is beautiful.

     Although I have made peace with not having children, I still struggle with the symptoms of PCOS on a daily basis. PCOS is the reason I think about the food I eat, the importance of exercise, and the loving care I need to give my body and soul.  This beautiful bracelet is my reminder that I am not defined by PCOS. I have the power to allow it to make me or break me and I have learned over the years that I do not break easily.

     As women we do not break easily. We suffer in silence and go forward in our lives doing the best we can with smiles on our faces. Crystal and I would like to offer a token of hope to someone who needs to be reminded that PCOS and/or infertility does not define her self-worth. We have elected to give a beautiful hand crafted bracelet away! This giveaway comes from our hearts. It is                                                                                                     our way of extending the hug of support through                                                                                                       the mail.

The giveaway rules are simple:
1. Please Like both New Figure Forward (click here) AND Fertile Gems (click here) Facebook pages.
2. Like this post on New Figure Forward's Facebook page.
3.Please leave a comment under the posting of this blog on Facebook about what you love about yourself.
4. Tag a friend or family member that could use a hug through the mail and both you and your friend receive bonus entries.

That's all. Easy.

The contest will run for one week. The winner will be announced on Thursday, November 6th.

     Our goal is to help remind a deserving woman of the power of hope and never giving up. We cannot help everyone everywhere; however we can help someone somewhere. As one we are strong, as many we are unbreakable!

Thank you to all that entered. I was beyond moved by the stories that where shared with me. I wish I could make everyone a winner, but alas I cannot. HOWEVER, I CAN offer my readers a special discount if you would like to purchase this or other pieces of Crystal's work. Click here to be sent to the Esty store. At check out enter code: NFF5OFF and receive $5 off your purchase. 

Congratulations Krystal Earl McDonald!! You are the winner. Please private message me with your mailing information within 24 hours. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Rainbow Divided. A Lesson in Gender Equality.

     My son is 9 years old going on 35. Really. He's been tested and has an I.Q. of 125. He is literally too smart for his own good. His ability for adult logic occasionally throws me off guard. His logic taught me a lesson in gender equality I will never forget! I never put much thought in gender equality, it had not affected me until now. 

     While Jacob was getting his glasses fitted and learning all the necessary glass care directions, the man helping him asked him what color glass case he would like then reached in and pulled out a case before Jacob could answer. He held in his hand a pink case. My son's eyes lit up and a huge smile broke out across his face because his favorite color is pink. I held my breath to see what would happen as this man's joke was about to blow up in his face.

     The first thing Jacob did was grab the box and say thank you while jumping up and down in his chair. The man looked taken back and at a loss for words. "Oh, you want that one?" I sat silent allowing my son to speak for himself. Jacob assured the man that yes he did want the pink box, pink is his favorite color! "Oh, you don't maybe want blue or green?" The man was looking at me for support to helping to change my son's mind. I remain quiet. My son very happily held on to his new glass case with zero intention of changing his mind.

     He has been denied "the pink one" every time pink has been an option. Not by myself but by society. If there is a pink option along with a green or blue option, he is always given the "boy" colored choice.  This man gave my son the choice and Jacob excitedly held on to the pink, happy to not have to pretend to like the blue or green box. I could see the wheels turning in this man's head, as this has never happened to him before. His handing a pink box to a boy had always sent little boys screeching "YEUW!! PINK!! No way!!" Not my kid.

     On the drive home Jacob held his pink box like it was a treasure. Then he asked me why boys are not supposed to like pink. Huh, my first run in with a gender equality question and it is coming from my 9 year old. I copped out and asked him why HE thought boys were not supposed to like pink.  "Well, I noticed that when a boy, like me, likes pink or purple they get made fun of but if a girl likes blue or green no one picks on her." I felt this ache in my heart when he said that, because he is right. I asked him, "Why do colors belong to boys or girls? Who said boys can only have some of the colors?" Now brace yourself, for what this 9 year old boy said next is beyond his years. Ready? He said, "I do not think God meant for the rainbow to be divided." Stunned silence. I was at a loss for words. My child, in that moment, blew my mind. 

     As I think about it; it is asinine to limit colors for genders. My 9 year old is right; why should he be made fun of for his color choices and not a girl for liking brown? He waited for me to clarify his confusion of the word and I could only offer him words of empowerment. Digging into my body positive speeches I found myself telling him the same thing I have told friends and family who have been down on themselves, "You have the right to like what you like and no one has the power to make you feel bad about it unless you let them. When someone picks on you for liking pink tell them you are allowed to like what you like, you don't comment on the stuff they like." It felt like a feeble attempt to strengthen my son, who has learned to have thick skin when it comes to bullies. He is the shortest boy in his class, likes pink, often sings Elvis or Johnny Cash, and can quote I Love Lucy. Unfortunately he is used to bullies, however he will not let them get to him. Jacob is not ashamed of who is, therefore someone else's opinion of him is not his problem. 

     I think Jacob is one of the strongest kids I know. I take that back, he is one of the strongest people I know. I am proud of his unwavering belief that he is allowed to like whatever he likes and if someone has a problem with it, it is their problem - not his. Jacob sees no logic in judging people for what they like or what they look like. Jacob can teach our society a few lessons on acceptance and gender equality.  My son likes pink and he makes no excuses for it because God did not intended for the rainbow to be divided! Jacob makes me very, very proud. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Two Words That Are A Punch in the Gut. Every Time.

Not easy to write about. At all. 
      I had no intention of ever writing on the topic. It felt too personal and embarrassing. However, recently I have felt the universe pushing me expose a tender secret. Having already shared so much of myself with my readers, what is one more skeleton ripped out of my closet. I share because I know I am not alone and connecting with others who feel the same is what I need to truly heal.

     I have already spoken about having PCOS and the side effects. I have not spoken about the infertility part of PCOS. I have not shared what it feels like to be a broken woman.  I feel broken, like my box did not come with all the parts. There is a part of womanhood I will never experience and I admit I am jealous of those who do. Jealous so much that when someone tells me they are pregnant or I see a post on Facebook it feels like a punch to the gut; like many, many punches to the gut by an angry boxer going for blood.

     My husband has a 9 year old son from a previous marriage whom I have the joy of calling my son. I do get to be a mom and I love my step-son with all my heart but it's just not the same. I did not get to do the baby part; my step-son was 3 when I came in to the picture. A short time ago my husband and I came to terms with not having a baby together. A year or two ago my husband and I worked with fertility doctors and quickly found ourselves about to lose our savings and all future savings for a decade or two to cover the cost of a bunch of maybes. I never cried more in my life. I lost 125 pounds in hopes of fixing myself. I quit smoking. I made exercise a part of my daily life. Only to have it feels like it was all for nothing. Those months were extremely difficult for me, for us. My husband and I did come out on the other side, tear free and confident in our choice to no longer pursue a baby. It is a choice that I am content with. 97% of the time.

     We have lists of reasons why we tell ourselves we are ok with our situation. In an emergency we have been known to watch YouTube videos of screaming babies to help turn off the "I want a baby" feeling.  It works. I am able to swallow the empty feeling and continue on; I have no choice, and I refuse to be a victim of my situation. Recently, however, the universe has been making my ability to not think about babies very difficult. Facebook friends with adorable baby pictures, a pregnancy announcement from a family member, then several from friends. Back to back to back. It overwhelmed me and a few nights ago I found myself in uncontrollable tears.  I just could not stay strong any longer.

     I do not think about babies on a regular basis. It is not at the forefront of my thoughts, until someone tells me they are pregnant, and then the boxer comes out gunning for me. I have developed "happy baby face".  I know what to say and I might even jump up and down if the occasion calls for it. I am good at being excited for someone else. The only person who sees what I am truly feeling is my husband, who is always stronger than I with baby announcements. I do not begrudge my loved ones the joy of being pregnant, but sometimes I wish they could understand what it is like to know I will never get to say those words. No one will ever jump up and down for me and I'll never know that bond. 
My dog, Marty, is my heart. 

     The boxer leaves me alone most days, to rest in his corner, waiting for someone to announce a baby, and only then do I feel that punch in the gut. Only then do I scramble to YouTube to watch a video of a tantrum. Only then do I shed a few tears in private. Only then do I question all the rational choices I have made myself make many times now. I will not have a baby. I will be the best damn step-mom I can be. My husband loves me regardless. I will always baby talk to my dogs. I will spoil my family because they are my world. One day it will just be my husband and I and I am ok with that. Most days. 

     I cherish the time I have with my step-son, he and I are very close. I am Mom to him. I volunteer in his classroom, I cheer for him at soccer games, and use my spit on a tissue to get the schmutz off his face. I treat him no different than I would my own. I am blessed to have my family and I love them dearly. 

     I share this with you, my readers, because I know I am not alone and a reminder helps every now and then. If I am your reminder that you are not alone, I hope I help. When a woman cries for the loss of what never was, she does not cry alone. We are women and we are incredible. You are incredible. I am incredible. My, our, inability to create life does not take away from the love we show those around us. We matter to someone!