What I wish I could have told my struggling, infertile self 5 years ago

It will be a million times better than you can even imagine right now. And, it will also be hard, but so, so, so worth it.

What I wish I could have told my struggling, infertile self 5 years ago

While I can’t say I think about my past dance with infertility all the time, or how I must look to some people who don’t know better, I do think about it a lot while I’m grocery shopping.

I try to imagine how I would have reacted to seeing me now, five years ago.

When you look at me now, you see a mom pushing one of those comically oversized carts with a molded plastic car anchored to the front that the grocery store graciously provides for moms of two.

In the cart, my gorgeous blonde-haired, blue-eyed, three-year-old daughter is perched upright, smiling at everyone and talking non-stop. Her equally adorable18-month old brother is buckled in beside her and whining for cookies, which you’ll instantly forgive once he fixes his doe-like brown eyes on you. A flick of the eyes towards me will reveal a six-months-along pregnant belly.


I am positively oozing fertility.

I know exactly what I would have done. Feeling a stab of pain straight through my heart, I would have grabbed my cart and strode off purposefully in the opposite direction, forget the produce.

But that’s not the whole story.

Five years ago, I was on the other side of the fence.

Escaping into bathrooms at baby showers and children’s birthday parties to sob, praying every prayer, trying every trick (even the weird ones), exhausting every homeopathic option—I was getting shot up with powerful drugs nightly, and all I had to show for it was a lot of stab marks and bruises. No baby to hold in my arms.

Lots of my infertile friends, who are now parenting, express how hard it is for them to celebrate Mother’s Day or do certain trigger-activities now that they’re parents. They hold the pain of infertility close to them, even now that they’re on the other side of it.

I’ll be honest, I do not feel this way.

I remember what it felt like, but in the hazy, out-of-focus way that I remember how it felt when the mean girls in high school ignored me, or how badly I wanted a pet hamster when I was nine.

I remember it happened… but I can’t quite conjure the same emotions, now that I’m so far removed from it.

I respect the feelings I had at the time, but I will never, ever relive them. Everything prior to having a child has essentially been erased by the very nature of the act. Even as I try to remember and feel sad… I don’t.

Everyone’s experience is different.

I do wish I could show my five-years-ago self a snapshot of Future-Me-at-the-Grocery-Store. “There,” I would say, “There you are. Stop crying. It will happen so fast. It will be so immense, and nothing will ever be the same again. It will be a million times better than you can even imagine right now. And, it will also be hard, but so, so, so worth it.”

I can’t say the same to the infertile stranger in the grocery store. Not everyone will have the same outcome—that’s the cruel reality of the world.

But I can say that where you end up is often so far from where you expect or dream to be—whether that involves children, or something else that will ultimately fulfill and soothe your soul in unimaginable ways.

All I can say with truth is that five years can change everything.

I see you. I’m sorry you are suffering this pain. But please know, I suffered it once too—and what you see now isn’t even close to the whole story.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


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