Battling infertility can lead to self-hate, self-shaming, and a muddled body image if you let it. After years of failed cycles, there were times when I would look at myself in the mirror and become completely disgusted with the shell of a body I was trapped in. I was so angry; why could she not just do what she was supposed to do and what so many other women’s bodies could do?

I had so much animosity built up because my body had failed me month after month and year after year. Our relationship became messy and was no longer healthy. I created walls between her and me and filled my mind with toxic thoughts and “crutches” that would help relieve the pain only temporarily. I despised her so much some days that I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. My body and I were on a path toward destruction and no one was getting in our way.  

It wasn’t until we began our second round of IVF 6 years into our journey that I started to love my body again. I began to look at her differently, dress her in clothes that were pretty and felt comfortable, take her on vacations, pamper her with pedicures, relax her with massages and acupuncture, and fuel her with nutrient-dense foods and supplements.

In return, she forgave me. She began to heal. She remembered how to breathe and how to smile, and she slowly began to show me that she had always had the strength to perform even though I hadn’t believed in her.

Looking back on the number of painful procedures, needle pricks, injections, hormones, pitiful drunken nights, uncomfortable conversations, and endless heartache this body of mine endured on our journey brings me to tears. Not only because I am sad for her, but because I’m astonished that she held it together and kept climbing without ever knowing when she would reach the top.

She is so fucking strong! This beautiful body of mine has dragged me through the trenches, carried my shattered heart up the side of gnarly mountain ranges and towards the light, and for that, I am forever grateful.  

While riding the never-ending infertility roller-coaster I remember thinking to myself that there was no way I would ever be able to safely get off the ride. At first, I just wanted to get off, and then I started feeling mentally and physically ill from going around and around. I would often think, “I’m done. I‘m tired, and I am over it.”

Then one day, the ride slowed down enough for me to jump ship. My body and mind proved this disease wrong and we took back control. We won! We won before even becoming pregnant. We won when I started to love my body again because I gained back control and learned how to love my whole self again.

To the women out there who can relate to these feelings of self-blame during infertility, know that I see you and your emotions are 100% valid. However, there will come a day when you must jump off this terrible ride, break down the walls you’ve built between you and your body, and learn to love each other again.

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Because the truth is, she is doing the absolute best she can, and she will never betray you. Treat her with kindness, love her, and fill her with encouragement always. So, let’s start right now!  Today, write down something you love about your body and practice this weekly. Before you know it, you two will begin to heal together. You are a Warrior, and Warriors are resilient—don’t ever let a diagnosis or failure tell you otherwise.

Jessica Veit is an IVF mom who recently gave birth to her miracle baby boy, Everette. She shares her journey on Instagram at @mamainthemaking21.22.