Hope & Fertility

Hi. Well, I’m not even sure where to start, or how to start, or truly even what I want to say, so I’m just going to give it a whirl and see where this goes. Sound good? 

Okay good. 

Also, I wrote this post at the beginning of July in a coffee shop after what felt like my zillionth doctor appointment and I’ve just been sitting on it ever since. To be honest, I’ve been nervous to share for so many reasons, and every time I thought about it my heart would race and I’d get suuuuper sweaty, ha! But I figured I might as well rip the bandaid off and see how it goes… so here goes nothing….

Hope & Fertility
Hope & Fertility


“Don’t you want babies?” 

“You need your own baby.” 

“Don’t you want kids?” 

“When are you going to have kids?” 

“It’s never going to be the right time, just have a baby.”

These are all things that have been said straight to my face and over the internet. And by far my most frequently asked question in my DMs is: “When are you going to have kids?”

A few years ago, these comments would hurt so deeply. They’d take my breath away every time and often I’d end up in tears. But now, not so much. I get it, I do. I’ve invited you into our story, our battles, and everything in between, so why wouldn’t you want to know?! 

I’ve come to truly think of it as a complement now. You care, and that means the world. For those of you who have babies, they are the greatest thing to ever happen to you. So it’s only natural to hope that for others, and I’m truly honored you even think of me at all.

But for us, it hasn’t been that easy


He has made everything beautiful in its time. – Ecc. 3:11


Let me preface this with saying that we are hopeful and at peace with our story. We know that we will have a family one way or another and are open to all the things, fertility to adoption. Yes, our journey to little ones looks different than most, but not different than many. And if you too are on the long winding of a road to starting a family, just know we are walking right alongside you, and have been for many years. 

Also, it would be a major mistake on my part not to mention that we are happy, actually very happy. Do we long for family? YES, so much. But do we spend the majority of our days marveling in the pure goodness of our reality? More than anything. 

I got a second chance at love, and a love story that has surpassed anything I could have ever dreamt of. God has been and is good. 

And we got yet another second chance after Ryan won his battle against cancer. We’d be insane not to rejoice in that reality every single day. Like I said, God has been and is *very* good. 

All of that to say, I don’t subscribe to the notion that “everything happens for a reason”.

But what I do subscribe to is that our God is in the business of redemption and if my story isn’t proof of that, then I don’t know what is. He has redeemed so much of my life, and it feels absurd to start doubting Him now. 

That doesn’t mean I’m expecting to get everything I want, it just means, I’m clearly not in control here, and I’ve made peace with it and hopeful for what the future holds, while rejoicing in our “now”. 


Over the past many years as our hearts have ached for a baby we have watched many of our siblings, best friends, and neighbors bring into the world and into their homes the sweetest, squishiest, and most precious babies, and have loved every second of it. I’ve seen some of my best friends become moms for the first time and 3x’s over. I’ve watched my sister completely SHINE in her new role as a mom and it has truly been a joy to be part of.

Just because we long for what they have doesn’t mean I don’t want it for my people as well. I don’t want to miss this season of genuinely celebrating new life all around us just because it’s not happening for Ryan and me in the exact the same way. It’s hard, but fighting for peace is worth it because I have enjoyed all of these babies to the fullest.

I’ve said this for YEARS and I mean it when I say it, I really want to be EXACTLY where my feet are.

To do whatever my season is well, even if it’s a season of waiting. It’s my life’s motto. All I want is to be able to look back while I’m rocking a baby to sleep one day and know that we didn’t waste the years away getting to that point by living daily in disappointment and frustration. 

Although TRUST ME when I say we are human. There are plenty of days where we feel utterly helpless, frustrated, and defeated. Where we cry on the bathroom floor not understanding why it’s seemingly so easy for everyone else. Living this out daily and actively choosing joy can sometimes feel impossible, but we get through those days, we let ourselves feel all the feelings and then we get back up and keep going forward. 

I saw a quote a few months ago (can’t remember where, let me know if you know!) that has stuck with me and went something like “you are currently living out at least one answered prayer”. It just gave me so much peace, and again, perspective. Because ain’t that the truth. So yes, we have our moments of devastation and then we remember the good, and when you really start breaking down the good, it’s overwhelming. This quote just resonated with me because when you are going through something like fertility that makes you feel so invisible, this thought has made me feel *so* seen and cared for because it’s true. 


“You are currently living out at least one answered prayer”


For us, the ins and out of our journey have been fairly complicated with a lot of starts and stops for lots of reasons that have been out of our control. We have always, ALWAYS, dreamt of having a family of our own and it has never been something we weren’t thinking about. We started actively trying years ago and I thought I was pregnant (and took a pregnancy test!) while in Nantucket just hours before Ryan called to tell me he had been diagnosed with cancer. Our life changed in an instant, but I was not pregnant.

So for us this has been quite the unique ride. 

We obviously QUICKLY shifted our priorities to his treatment and dove headfirst into a season of chemo, surgeries, and radiation. Once we had finally completed his treatment (praise the Lord!) our (wonderful) oncologist highly recommended us to wait a full year after Ryan’s last radiation treatment to begin trying again for a family. 

Like I said, it’s been a lot of starts and stops and waiting and then…more waiting. 

I’m not going to get into the ins and outs of our fertility journey/treatment because, eh, I’m not sure I want to. The needles (!!!), the appointments, the tests, the procedures, the everything… it’s exhausting. But if you are also in the thick of it, I see you.

A few weeks ago, Ryan and I were sitting in our doctor’s office in our usual spot and while we were there handful of women came and went. Once we were back in our car on our way home Ryan said, “isn’t it crazy that everyone in there has the same exact goal, to create new life.” And I said “It is. And similarly to when we were in the chemo room, we all had the same goal, to save life.” It’s true, and quite a beautiful thought. We are all in this together.

Anyway, this feels extremely long winded and I’m not sure how we got here or if any of this makes sense. But here we are. 

My prayer is that you don’t read this and feel anything other than hope. That maybe you forward it to a friend who is going through something similar or that it gives you validation for your own journey, whatever that may be, because the truth is we are all on some sort of adventure. Each just looking a little different. 


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38 comments
  1. Ashley, you have the biggest heart and I know this must have been hard to write and share! Thank you so much for writing it though – I have a friend walking through fertility struggles too and am going to share it with her in the hopes that it brings her comfort I love the quote you shared, it really does hit home. I will be keeping you and Ryan in my thoughts!

    • Thank you for sharing! My husband and I have been in this journey for years. It is an emotional roller coaster full of highs & lows. Your reminder that we are currently living out one answered prayer is so true.

  2. We are deep in the throes of our own fertility journey–and we never imagined it would be this hard. Your words brought tears to my eyes because I felt so seen. I love that mantra “You are currently living out at least one answered prayer”. Thank you. Sending you and your husband all the baby dust and hope. <3

  3. Beautifully written,
    Ashley! So inspired by your faith! Choosing joy applies to every difficult situation and makes all the difference. God bless you and Ryan.

  4. May God cover you in this chapter and his will be done according to his plan. May you have peace and patience and a multitude of blessings.

  5. Hi Ashley!
    We met years back in Dallas through our mutual friend Juan for the fun purpose of fashion. My reality is currently my mother’s cancer along with an ivf journey and I feel you and your husband’s story in my heart. Wishing you both continued health and that your prayers about growing your family are answered. Thank you for sharing <3 confident you will get there and be so much stronger of a mom having overcome so much.
    Best,
    Courtney

  6. Thank you for sharing! You have the best attitude. I’ve noticed your gracious replies to unkind comments and questions. I hope we can all learn NOT to ask about kids. But I also get the curiosity and again marvel at your graciousness in explaining “why”. My husband & I are struggling to conceive and beginning fertility treatment. Big hugs to you & Ryan!

  7. Dear Ashley,
    We went though the same journey almost 36 years ago. I had endometriosis and a high prolactin level. Was very hard to get pregnant, I had all the questions u are having. I spent a lot of time crying & Praying and people never knew what we were going through. I had IUI a few times no luck we tried for about 5 years. Then had surgery for my endometriosis. I remember saying to myself “I’m done!” Decided to take my nephew to Disney World. We so enjoyed that trip. Got back and found out I was pregnant! Our son was born and he is our pride and joy! He’s almost 30 now. Wanted to let u know there is hope and we are Praying for you and Ryan. God Bless you both!

  8. I’m an IVF warrior with a beautiful daughter born this year through IVF. God is so good, and He is with you every step of the way! Thank you for sharing, I know how alone I felt for so long before sharing my journey, and it takes a brave person to share. Sending you hope through this season.

  9. Thank you. This article means so much. My husband and I have been trying for 7 years. We are hopeful and try to look forward but like you said there are days when it’s really hard. Blessings to you and Ryan and your journey together.

  10. Ashley, I will be praying for you as you walk this journey. I have been there and I know it can feel so lonely. You are so brave to share this and I can only imagine how impactful this will be for other readers walking a similar journey. Hold on to that precious Hope! He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

  11. Ashley,
    This is so beautifully written and I feel these words so deeply. We are truly all in this together, even though it looks a bit different for everyone. Certainly words of hope and peace, thank you for sharing this. You and Ryan just seem like an incredible team and I am rooting for you.
    Prayers for you on this journey.
    <3 Tara

  12. I needed to read this today. I too am in the thick of it. Three miscarriages in the last year and coupled with the pandemic and other personal trials have been devastating, to say the least. You are not alone.

    • Thank you for sharing your journey & for expressing so beautifully what you & Ryan are living & experiencing together. God is good and I am hopeful your prayers will be answered

  13. As someone who is in the beginning of her fertility journey and feeling over all exhausted and devastated by it all this is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you for providing the best perspective and overall hope for the future (baby or not). I am wishing you all the best in your journey

  14. Hope is all we need.
    Though my story on starting a family does not seem difficult. In my heart it was the hardest time of my life.

    After having my first son so easily, it felt like a never ending cycle to grow our family. I took a shift at life and decided to only be grateful for all that god has given me, and in his perfect time he blessed again but this time with two perfect little twins, making their debut in March 2022.

    Praying hard for your joining and thank you for your words on HOPE, and peace. 🙂

  15. Oh, friend. You are seen and loved this morning. Thanks for sharing the same with others. just want to share a message that I leaned on during my season of waiting on my baby.

    Isaiah 41:17-20
    “The poor and the needy seek water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. I will answer them. I am the Lord, the God of Israel. I will not abandon them. I will open rivers on the barren heights, and springs in the middle of the plains. I will turn the desert into a pool and dry land into springs. I will plant cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive trees in the wilderness. I will put juniper, elm, and cypress trees together in the desert, so that all may see and know, consider and understand, that the Hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.”

    Praying and believing for you and your family

  16. Thank you for sharing your heart with us do beautifully! The quote “you are currently living out at least one answered prayer” is so true (and incredible)! Thank you for using your story and experience to point us to the goodness and love of God. Praying for you!

  17. Just sending so much love to y’all. Once again, your commitment to doing each season well is SO deeply inspiring. You are so brave to share such a personal journey. You and Ryan are an absolutely beautiful family inside and out. Will be praying for you! <3

  18. Your attitude and perspective are something it takes many a lifetime to achieve. Find the joy in the life you have and celebrate it. “All I want is to be able to look back while I’m rocking a baby to sleep one day and know that we didn’t waste the years away getting to that point by living daily in disappointment and frustration.”

  19. As someone dealing with somewhat of a similar situation, I love your perspective, outlook, and openness – something you didn’t have to reveal to the world. Thank you. This post was inspiring, heartbreaking, and full of hope. Absolutely sitting in the quote “You are currently living out at least one answered prayer” today. Prayers for you and Ryan as you continue to navigate this journey. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for you!

  20. Thank you SO much for sharing your story, Ashley! My sister and a few people we are close to have suffered miscarriages and fertility issues, and it is ALWAYS so helpful and healing when others share their stories. It’s a very scary, vulnerable thing to share, but it always ends up lifting up other women and families who are experiencing the same thing and growing your own support system! Yours and Ryan’s journey has been so hope-filled and inspiring, and it has been an absolute joy following along for the past few years. I am praying for you all, especially for strength during this journey for you! All the love and encouragement from Tennessee. <3

  21. Hi Ashley, you have such a beautiful perspective and I see God in how you live your life and in your words. You inspire me and I love your blog I’ll be praying for you

  22. I’ve always been impressed that when people ask you online about starting a family, you consistently have said “in God’s timing.” Thank you for sharing your faith and your journey. You and Ryan (and Dolly!) are already a beautiful family with a beautiful love story. God bless.

  23. What a beautiful post about a topic so many struggle with. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story and for being such a great example of “living where your feet are” on a daily basis. I am specifically praying today for hope, peace and new life for y’all in God’s perfect timing.

  24. Ashley, I am sending you and Ryan so much love and even though we don’t personally know you both, just know your community is rooting for you and praying for you along the way. Thank you for being courageous and sharing your journey with us! You’re a light and inspiration to all and may God continue to bless you and bring you peace and joy in this season.

    Best,
    Emily

  25. Ashley, you have such a way with words! I love your heart and hope in the Lord during this season. Praying for you and Ryan!

  26. Ashley, what a beautiful story of faith and hope and joy right where you are. So thankful for your honesty in every season. Praying for your family and for those in a season of waiting. ❤️

  27. What a nicely written, heartfelt way to share about life. There are countless times that I have sat in those similar waiting rooms and marvel at how many people are sitting in similar chairs, also trying to have a baby. And, the waiting rooms are eerily silent besides the noise of the TV on in the background. Seems like the journey to baby with infertility as well, a silent place that there are so many words but also no words to really share openly because we find ourselves guarded with what we can share and hopeful that if we just keep this time, or this experience close to our hearts and in our prayers, something will are praying for will come into fruition. Sending you all the best wishes that through your happiness you find added joy in a growing family.

  28. Ashley, this is beautifully written with a refreshing perspective. I think many women can relate to your story, and your sense of gratitude is genuinely beautiful. I am also very, very hopeful this will be a gentle reminder to all that we must be careful of the questions we ask women about their “decision” to have children. Sometimes its a choice, and sometimes it isn’t, but regardless, it’s deeply personal. I’m proud of you and the courageousness of this post.

    • We were on that same journey 12 years ago, and praise God for the only son we have now. What a gift! Your attitude and perspective is a beautiful as you wait on the Lord. Praying you have good news soon 🙂

      • What a true blessing you are! For sharing such a difficult story of life’s ups and downs. God is SO good…all the time! I will pray for you and Ryan. It’s Gods timing not ours. I am so glad I get to follow you and your journey. Thanks for sharing your story, it’s so beautifully written.

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