Social Media is a blessing and a curse in that it connects you to your friends near and far, however that connection can be a version of everyone’s “best life” leaving out the real bits. Sometimes a highlight reel of everyone’s wins on the board can have an adverse affect on your ability to stay confident in your own life. In real life you see your friend’s vulnerability, their real moments … online you see headshots, promotions and baby announcements. Everyone is either: promoted, engaged, booked or fertile.

On the one hand I understand the desire to post the best pic of yourself when posting: because it’s the one you like and are confident with. On the other hand, I understand how damaging it is to constantly be exposed to “perfect” images of all of your friends. When I’m feeling bad about myself it’s harder to not compare myself to my friends, many of whom are innocently posting their best pic, no harm intended. I am also guilty when I post the one pic where you can’t see the bags under my eyes because the lighting was flattering – withholding the Gollum pictures taken at the exact same time.

I felt so confident about my body in February when this picture was taken: 
However, now that I’m juggling hormones and fertility treatments, I look like this:

I hate these pictures. I hate them, but they’re honest. This is what I look like in a bathing suit these days, and as you have probably noticed: it’s less six-packy than it used to be. That’s because I’m on these hormones to get me with-child. The annoying thing is all the other things the pill is supposed to do are working, everything except give me a baby. Side effects include: tender breasts (check), bloating(triple check), cramping (yep) … and then you get knocked up! Except, no. If a baby was in this tummy, I would love this picture. Instead its just my bloated, infertile body. Oh, also this lovely med is not taken orally …

IUI failed again. For the last time. I’m done with the IUI and ready for the IVF. Some people have success with the IUI, I myself am over it, it feels like one big tease. IUI is when the doctor takes frozen sperm and injects it into your uterus with a catheter while you ovulate. Fourteen days later you take a pregnancy test – that is, if your period hasn’t arrived. If Aunt Flow show, you know no.

This time we were assured the sperm sample was strong and that my cervix was “flowering” (the doc’s term for super ripe?).  Due to all the IUI failures before, I planned to lay down on the table after the procedure until they kicked me out. My goal was met when 20 mins later they did a knock on the door to encourage me to get a move on. Check. Next, I begged the front desk ladies to include me in their fertility prayers, and hi fived the gay couple I made friends with in the lobby as they nervously waited to interview surrogates. Then I smashed the rear view mirror on my car trying to reverse because I’m terrible at driving in reverse, well … driving in general.

Dr Knock Us Up said I can’t play basketball during treatments so I emailed my team to update them on my recent insemination. My Bulls pulled through and offered support and encouragement as I began the interminable wait for a positive test.

To pass the time I elevated my HelicopTiger Mom status from a comfortable 10 to a distract-me-please 12. I Amy Poehler’d at #TheHandful’s theater rehearsal and offered several times to demonstrate cartwheels at gymnastics. Surprisingly everyone declined my help.

We pass day 14 post IUI without a period + super swol boobies. I’m like this is it y’all, we got one!! I take a pregnancy test that day and it skyrockets to negative. Too soon, I’m pregnant I say to myself. I tell Baby Daddy I have a good feeling! And for the next three days I was so happy. Every morning I woke up bloodless felt like safety.

On day 14 I depart on a trip to visit one of my sorority sisters. Us Kappas are sisters for life. We are family. My Kappa Sister had just given birth and I needed to go love on them as they navigated the aftermath.

I’m on a 747 to Dallas and need to pee. Immediately I see the evidence: there is no baby in this tummy. Ducking* Aunt Flow always crashing the party lately. I am disappointed, I am sad. I can’t call or text BD so I just sit on the plane and feel sorry for myself.

Which was probably for the best because by the time we landed I had sufficiently mourned the situation and was ready to go to work. A house guest I am not, when I know there’s a baby I come in like a mercenary ready to work.

To some women, babies bring out fertility frustrations. Not me. I’m one of the ones who feeds off the baby’s energy. Not knowing I was experiencing a setback in the moment, my Kappa Sister hands me her JOY. This girl was such a ball of love and so intelligent, I was thrilled to get to spend time with her and my friends. Baby Girl did not disappoint, she was intelligent and adorable the entire visit. She was the perfect antidote to my Empty Womb Blues.

The transformation from Me to Mom and Dude to Dad happens instantly in the delivery room, but the DISCOVERY of who your Mama Bear is happens over time. It was thrilling and healing to support and encourage my sister in this transitional period. Watching her natural instincts and creative problem solving brought me back to when I was a new mom. I remembered feeling scared and unsure in the first few months and I got to watch my Kappa Sister navigate this with (seemingly) much more confidence.

Kappa Daughter spit up on me right away and that was it, we were bonded. Life long friends now. This girl is pushing up to crawl and engaging meaningfully in her coos, she is going to be a STAR. Even typing this I feel my smile when I think about this sweet girl.

To their credit the family pulled off MANY delicious meals during my stay and I left full and probably even a few pounds heavier. When #TheHandful was born we were not capable of cooking meals for people, I truly don’t know how they pulled that off not just once, but a few times.  The love of longtime friends, a new baby and the feeling of a good meal in your tummy can make anything better. Visiting my people revived my soul and reminded me that love and friendship remain constant despite life’s hiccups and setbacks. I left them feeling full in my heart, proud of my Kappa Sister for becoming the Rockstar Mom I knew she would be, and grateful to get to see it firsthand. Turns out real life connection once again is the antidote to online woes. Hugs > Likes.

My family picked me up at LAX and on the ride home we dialed up Dr Knock Us Up. He informed us that after our family vacation in August, we can begin the IVF. First up, MORE HORMONES! Yayyyyy I get to be bloated and emotional for even more time! And this time, I get to inject myself with needles!!! Awesome. Regardless of what it looks like, I will absolutely be transparent about this journey. In the age of photo-editing apps, my hormone bloats will remain untouched. If Cool Mom Jamie is anything, she’s real.

And again, I ask you to consider posting the less flattering pic in hopes of connecting to a friend feeling the same way. I love your white teeth and lack of wrinkles, trust me, but we’re not Kardashians, we’re friends and friends can be vulnerable.

*Does anyone ever mean Ducking?

Navigating Infertility On Social Media