I am strong because after two years of marriage, my husband and I were diagnosed with infertility so severe we’re unlikely to ever conceive a child naturally.
I am strong because I was told we’d need in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive a child: a costly ($10,000-$15,000) procedure that is only successful in fewer than 30% of attempts.
I am strong because I found an IVF clinical trial thousands of miles away – an option that made treatment “affordable” for us.
I am strong because I gave myself injections of fertility drugs, all alone, thousands of miles from home.
I am strong because I only made one egg when most women make more, often up to 15.
I am strong because that one egg was fertilized via intracytoplasmic sperm injection, cultured in a petri dish for five days, and frozen for a month.
I am strong because that one egg beat the odds.
I am strong because the day I became pregnant, I was all alone in a big city in a cold, medical procedure room. We just didn’t have the money for my husband to travel to be with me.
I am strong because I gave birth at home, with my husband right by my side the entire time I labored.
I am strong because I was wrong. I thought the hardest thing I’d ever have to do was give birth, but it was breastfeeding that proved to be the biggest challenge.
I am strong because I breastfed my tongue-tied baby for six days, despite the excruciating pain it caused me.
I am strong because I asked for help over and over until someone finally believed my pain was not normal.
I am strong because I helped hold my six-day-old baby still while he had his tongue tie revised by laser.
I am strong because I kept breastfeeding, even though the pain didn’t go away.
I am strong because I continued to ask for help and found out I had vasospasms in my nipples.
I am strong because I take a pill every day to keep the pain away so I can breastfeed my baby.
I am strong because I am still exclusively breastfeeding my baby despite milk blisters and plugged ducts that have no signs of stopping. I also have no plans to stop any time soon.