A year ago I still felt alone. Yes, I was surrounded by supportive friends and family, but I didn’t have a community of people who truly understood my situation.
Today I give thanks for all I’ve experienced and encountered over the last year. Today I give thanks for you.
For my writing friends…
I give thanks for the Bookwifery community. For Christianne and the way she supports each of us in our various stages of writing. For Jen and her ongoing creativity that gives me a visual for Hope and Love. For Lisa and her consistent encouragement. For Becky and her enthusiasm that fills my heart with joy. For Jenny’s faithfulness. For Kathy’s determination. For Janice’s persistence. For Cindy’s beautiful photos. For Kathryn’s quiet creativity. For Gretchen’s daily steps. For Jenny’s palms up life. For Melynne’s example.
A year ago I didn’t know I was writing a book. Today I have three chapters written and a book proposal started. I have a website focused on my book’s topic and an Instagram profile focused on my audience. I couldn’t have done all of this without the support of these women. They have supported and encouraged me in so many ways. For them, I give thanks.
For my infertility friends…
I give thanks for the Instagram community. There are too many to name individually, but as a whole I’ve gained so much from them. For their honesty in the highs and lows of infertility. For their humor and willingness not to take themselves too seriously. For the private DMs that remind me the work I do is important. For the camaraderie we feel in moving forward day after day when it would be easy to just give up. For the hope that a life without children is worthy and good and not second class.
A year ago I didn’t know childfree not by choice or childless not by choice or childfree after infertility or any other similar hashtag existed. For several years I thought I was alone — I certainly felt alone. When I discovered these hashtags, I discovered a community of supportive, understanding, encouraging women. I’ve never met any of them in person, and yet through their posts and stories, through our conversations and interactions, I consider them friends. For them, I give thanks.
For my lifelong friends…
I give thanks for my circle of friends — some close by and others miles away. I think about those who gathered around me at my 40th birthday party. Some I’ve known since childhood, others I met in the last year or so. Some I see or talk to regularly, others more sporadic but those interactions are just as meaningful. Some friends are in the heart of parenthood and struggle to find time to connect. Others are childfree, like me, or past the stage of young kids and have more availability. For them, all of them, I give thanks.
A year ago I was still trying to figure out what my friendships looked like in the midst of my infertility journey. It’s a struggle (and the topic of a future blog post!) and I don’t always know how to best handle the complexities of friendships as an adult. But, over the past year, I’ve paid attention to where the energy is and those are the friendships I give my energy to. I know other friendships will cycle back around, but for now the ones I focus on are the ones that have time to focus on me too.
For my life…
I’ve said it before and I know I’ll say it again — this is not the life I imagined for my husband and I. When I considered what my life would look like, it didn’t include writing a book or growing an Instagram community or exploring new kinds of friendships. I didn’t think I’d be 40 and without children. This is not the life I imagined, and yet… I give thanks for the many people I’ve encountered and engaged with this year, people I wouldn’t know if it weren’t for this life I have. I give thanks for new opportunities this year, opportunities I wouldn’t take if it weren’t for this life I have.
I give thanks for beauty rising from the ashes. I give thanks for my life and the way you make it better.