My Story Behind the Script: An Update on Our Journey with Infertility

Oh gosh y'all, I promise I haven't disappeared. Things have been churning along per the usual (with a little more quietness on this blog - whoops), but there are SEVERAL life things that I wanted to share with you all if you don't happen to follow me on social media ;) and those things will slowly come in the form of blogs over the next few weeks :)

But first for the biggest news yet -

A while back, you may remember that I shared a little bit about our struggle with infertility in this post here. And while infertility is still very much part of our journey, I am THRILLED to share that for now this infertility chapter is coming to a close and we'll be welcoming the newest addition to our family this June! June y'all! It's going to be here before we know it.

We completed a round of IVF last September and continued with the medications (yes shots included) through most of the first trimester. Needless to say, this little one is truly a miracle. There are days where I wonder how we even got here, but I am SO grateful that we have.

Thank you to all of you that supported us in this journey or sent positive thoughts and prayers our way. It seriously meant and means the world to us and we couldn't have gotten to this point without our fierce little community.

And if you're reading this post with tears in your eyes and infertility has been or currently is part of your journey, please don't hesitate to reach out. I would love to connect with you and offer any support and love that I can - even if it's just a listening ear.

It looks like 2018 is going to be our biggest adventure yet so here's to hanging on and enjoying the ride!

My Story Behind the Script: My Journey with Infertility

It's been several months and countless rounds of doctor's appointments since we found out we were the 1 in 8. It still seems surreal most days and I still have a hard time talking about it (cue all the tears). But a little over a month ago a friend connected me with a wonderful, loving community of women who are all struggling on different parts of this same journey and that connection has made all the difference. This community made me realize that there was an opportunity in this season of struggle to help others, but in order to do that, I had to be willing to share my story so here it is.

Last summer, Ory and I decided that we were ready to grow our family. Little did we know that almost 11 months later it would still be just us and our two dogs. But we were some of the lucky ones.

Yeah, I said lucky, which is crazy right? To talk about infertility as something to be lucky about.

We discovered this was going to be hard for us early on thanks to some intuition and confirmation from our lab results. Somehow, I found comfort in knowing where we stood.

And y'all I don't talk about God very often, but He honestly works in some of the most mysterious ways. In early February (#firstavailable) we went to our first Reproductive Endocrinologist (or RE for short). You quickly start to learn all the lingo when you live in this world, but that's for another time. During this appointment, we learned that our insurance had started covering infertility treatments as of January 1. Had we gone any sooner, we would have been paying out of pocket like so many couples who struggle with infertility. Hearing this silver lining felt like a blessing.

Even in the what feels like the darkest of times, there is always a silver lining.

And here's the thing - I'm not going to pretend like this journey hasn't been hard. That it hasn't been a complete emotional roller coaster because it definitely has. Seriously, cue all of the tears.

give ourselves grace

But despite all that, I know I am exactly where I need to be and that's what keeps me putting one foot in front of the other on the days when it gets hard. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason and that finding a community who understands you can be one of the best things you do for yourself in this journey.

One of the biggest challenges with facing infertility is that so many of us don't talk about it, which means this path can be so lonely. For me, it's been a combination of guilt, shame, not wanting to admit that this is all real. And FEAR. Fear that I would jinx myself. That others would judge me. That struggling with this would somehow hurt my job. Seriously y'all, the things we tell ourselves...

It is in time like these that we need to be most kind to ourselves and give ourselves grace.

Finding a community has helped me become more brave. It helped me face my fears. It provided a safe space to share my feelings and most importantly, it affirmed that I was indeed not alone

community together quote

Perhaps you're wondering what prompted me to share my story now. Well, one of the things we promised each other in our community is that we would wear these Give Grace tattoos (which are part of the Give Grace Campaign) as a means of creating conversation and spreading awareness during National Infertility Awareness Week (Apr. 23 - 29). And since we are almost at our one year anniversary of trying to grow our family these things things aligning felt like a sign that it was time.

The Give Grace Campaign is providing monetary support to couples to help them pursue IVF or adoption, who are otherwise can't afford it.

The Give Grace Campaign is providing monetary support to couples to help them pursue IVF or adoption, who are otherwise can't afford it.

So where does this leave us and what can you do to help?

  • Support the Give Grace Campaign or my  friend Nikki's collaboration with Scarlet & GoldStill Wander Prints. Each of these efforts supports a small business owner, helps spread awareness about this important topic and most importantly, helps couples achieve their dream of becoming parents.
  • Reach out to a friend that you know who has struggled with infertility - check in with them and be willing to listen. Active listening has become such an antiquated practice in our daily lives with all of our distractions, but it's still one of the most powerful gifts we can give one another.
  • Share your story. Even if it's just with family and friends. Putting your story out there can be such a cathartic and important release in this journey.

And if you or someone you know is facing this journey alone, send me a message (mabellecalligraphy@gmail.com). I would love to connect you with this community of women that has helped me find peace and patience in this otherwise difficult journey.

My Story Behind the Script: Why I Fell In Love with Calligraphy

My husband and I got married almost a year and a half ago. It truly was SO magical to be surrounded by so many of our favorite loved ones. One of the hardest things about planning a wedding is that it never feels like there is enough time to love on your guests and make them feel valued and appreciated for traveling from near and far to celebrate that day with you. It is the people that make that moment in your life so special.

bridal party

 

In planning our wedding something that was super important leading up to the day of was the details. Not because I wanted some fairy tale wedding, but because by focusing on the details and infusing our personalities into the ceremony and the reception, we could make our guests feel special. And what better way to add personalization than through calligraphy?

place setting - octopus - gift tags

Think about it. When you get your mail every day, it's one boring bill or spam mail after another. All with your name (probably spelled incorrectly if you're like me) typed out in some generic, stale font. But you know that feeling when you see a handwritten address on an envelope? That is the very same feeling having calligraphy at your wedding can create for your guests. From when the Save the Date envelopes arrive to seeing place cards with their names lovingly written out, this extra gesture can make such a difference.

table  numbers calligraphy
wreath calligraphy - all you need is love - handlettering

Now don't get me wrong, this doesn't replace spending time with your guests at your wedding,  but  the larger your wedding gets, the harder that can be. By adding special touches throughout the evening, your guests can still feel valued, included and loved on. And for some, that place card or envelope will become a special keepsake that will remind them of the beautiful vows you made to each other that day. Calligraphy is just one little aspect of making your guests feel like a special part of your wedding day, but one that my heart has truly grown to love.

beach  portrait - wedding - love - ory and michelle - ma belle calligraphy

First Things First

Welcome to my first blog post ever! I've celebrated a lot of firsts this year and in that spirit of things, I thought I would share a few of those so you could get to know a little bit more about who I am.
Here goes nothing!

2015 Notable Firsts

My husband and I made this banner for our wedding. It was one of our favorite focal points and was just perfect for the fireplace mantle!  FH Weddings  hit it out of the park with these florals and  Ashton Events  brought it all home with the styling. So much magic to be had. The beautiful image is courtesy of  By The Robinsons .

My husband and I made this banner for our wedding. It was one of our favorite focal points and was just perfect for the fireplace mantle! FH Weddings hit it out of the park with these florals and Ashton Events brought it all home with the styling. So much magic to be had. The beautiful image is courtesy of By The Robinsons.

  1. I got married! This past May, my husband and I tied the knot in Clearwater, FL where I grew up surrounded by some of our favorite people in the world. It was truly magical in every sense of the word. I'm excited to share photos with you all as we ended up designing a lot of the details along the way in order to make sure it truly reflected our personality as a couple. It was so fun and really the catalyst for why I'm writing this post today!

  2. I opened an Etsy Shop! Ma Belle Calligraphy was born on June 5, 2015. Since then, I've met a whole new wonderful group of creatives who are passionate about many of the same things I am! It has been so encouraging and such an exciting and challenging experience thus far. I can't wait to continue to grow it alongside you all!

  3. We got our first house! Ok, so for some people this milestone might imply that we actually went out and bought a house, which unfortunately is just not the case for us at this point in our lives. However, what we did do was find an adorable house to rent and start to make it our own as a newlywed couple! And while there are still boxes waiting to be unpacked in our living room and bedroom, it is slowly coming together. Each holiday season has inspired me to set the table and amp up our spirited decor. Christmas lights, however, are by far my favorite. Below is a photo of our current Christmas tree! I'm so in love.

My favorite corner of the house!

My favorite corner of the house!

These are just a few of the highlights from this past year! I'm very much looking forward to utilizing these to set goals for myself in 2016. As we reflect on this year, I would love to know what are some firsts from 2015 that you're particularly proud of and excited about? And what are you looking for to in the New Year?