I sit with my husband on a sunny afternoon, on a beautiful beach in a swimsuit for the third day in a row. This time though, as I look at myself in a swimsuit, I notice something a little bit different, something that hadn’t been visible to the world the last time we had been here: a tiny scar on my belly button. My husband sees my gaze, watching as I look down at my body with a disappointed look on my face. He smiles and holds my hand saying, “I am so proud of that scar.” I look up at him and see in his eyes that this is true. I look down at my body once more, noticing the small change on my skin. It was in this moment that I began to embrace my infertility journey.

My husband and I were married in 2014 and soon began talking about having children. In March 2016, I find myself walking into the emergency room with a pain in my stomach. I soon find out that this pain is a ruptured ovarian cyst. Little did I know that this ruptured cyst would start the journey of a lifetime. Fast forward to July 2017, after countless doctors’ visits and medical checkups, I am sent in for a small surgical procedure to check for possible endometriosis, eventually being diagnosed with stage four endometriosis.

Since that surgery I have learned to not be defined by the word “infertility” but really embrace the word “fertile.” I have experienced a support from family and friends that I never thought possible. I have joined a wonderful community of loving and supportive women, some even within my own community. I have become more prayerful and purposeful in my own prayer life, seeing my faith in a different light. My husband and I grew into a greater union with one another. We have learned to grow together, loving each other in a more purposeful way.

So, if that diagnosis defines me as having more friends and loving support from those around me, so be it. If that diagnosis defines me as more prayerful, sign me up. And if that diagnosis brings my husband and I closer, well let’s just say that I am very blessed!

So, as I sit on a beach with my husband, I look down at my scar once more and a small smile also comes to my face. I, too, am proud of this scar and all of the definitions associated with it.

Fast forward two years, and we would eventually fall pregnant, welcoming twins in November of 2019. Today, I embrace the meaning behind this scar and my diagnosis, knowing full well that this scar really DOES define me and for that I am forever grateful!

If you are reading this and struggling with your diagnosis, know that you are not alone. Your story has meaning, and your journey has a purpose. Embrace it!

Ashlee C.