book covers collage

Erica’s Favorite Reads – 2022

According to Goodreads, I read 22 books in 2022 (that’s a nice convenient number isn’t it?)

I love keeping track of what I’m reading on Goodreads – you get all these stats at the end of the year, like how many pages you read, what was the shortest and longest book you read…

Out of the 22 books I read, only two of them were fiction. Obviously I’m still going strong in my nonfiction (mostly self-help or faith development) kick!

Where the Crawdads Sing
Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery

I had been wanting to read this book for a long time, but literally for years every time I tried to get it at the library, all the copies were checked out. I finally broke down and put a hold on it so I could actually read it. Despite it being the longest book I read this year (coming in at 384 pages) it probably took me the least amount of time to read. I would stay up late at night reading it because I was so drawn into the story.

I have not seen the movie, but I heard it was kind of meh – I would definitely recommend reading this one because the “books are always better” cliché most likely rings true for this one!

The Gifts of Imperfection
Nonfiction, Psychology, Personal Development

This is only the second Brené Brown book I’ve read, but I’m a huge fan of hers! I loved Dare to Lead and this book had a lot of the same themes. She is a big advocate of vulnerability and authenticity – and of course, bravery. It takes courage to be vulnerable and authentic. I love Brown’s definition of authenticity which I’ll include a snippet of here:

The courage to let go of who we think we’re supposed to be so that we can fully embrace our authentic selves – the imperfect, the creative, the vulnerable, the powerful, the broken, and the beautiful

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved
Nonfiction, Memoir, Faith

I got to see Kate Bowler speak in person at my university’s annual fundraising “Friends of the Library” event earlier last year. She was funny and engaging, just like she is as an author. She challenges the idea that living a good or godly life means good things are guaranteed to happen to you (prosperity gospel). Why do some people’s prayers not get answered? Why do bad things happen to good people? Does everything really happen for a reason, or do some things just suck? If you’ve ever found yourself questioning these things, this will be a refreshing read for you.

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2022 year in review

Recap of 2022 – It Really Sucked (and it was really great)

This has been the most up and down year I’ve ever experienced emotionally! As I thought back over 2022, my initial reaction was, “it sucked.” (Infertility really colors your perception of life.)

Back in January of last year, I thought I was ready to give up on trying to get pregnant with a second child. I felt like I had gone through a lot of the grieving process already, and I wanted to move on. At that point, we had been trying for a year and a half. We had thought IVF was our only hope to get pregnant again, but then in February we got some updated test results that showed that we actually might have a good shot if we kept trying on our own (supposedly).

I remember feeling shocked, and honestly angry. It felt like a trick. And I was scared. I didn’t want to open myself up to hope again, only to be disappointed. I had plans for 2022. I was going to live life to the fullest and not be so obsessed with ovulation and pregnancy achievement. It was going to be “my year.” The day before we heard about the new test results, I had literally taken every baby item I had saved over the years and put it all in a big pile in the garage to donate (or trash). I had literally just emailed a friend about why I was feeling content with only having one child and being a family of three.

What a dangerous thing, to declare it to be “your year!”

I figured if we didn’t keep trying, I might regret it one day. What if I really could get pregnant?

But the months all passed, and here we are at the end of 2022, and there’s no baby in sight.

Obviously, that’s been the most sucky part of this year. But there were some other doozies too:

  • January 3rd I tested positive for COVID, less than a week before we were supposed to go on a big family trip.
  • In February I applied and interviewed for a job I really wanted, one for which I thought I was a shoo-in, and ended up not even getting called back for a second interview – a HUGE hit to my self-esteem.
  • In April I randomly had to go to the ER for pain from an ear infection because it was so bad I couldn’t sleep or wait until the morning to go to the regular (and much cheaper) doctor.
  • Month after month after month I didn’t get pregnant – my own hellish version of Groundhog’s Day

So yeah, 2022 really did kind of suck.

But it was also really great too.

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egg and sperm (depicted with cookie and frosting)

Some (not-so) Fun Infertility Facts

“While everyone experiences stress differently, you can’t underestimate it. The further you go [with fertility treatments], the more stressful it is if it doesn’t work. If it works, you’re done. Everyone is happy. If it doesn’t, some people have lost a major part of their self, what they believe to be their future, and that’s terrifying.”

Dr. William Hurd, chief medical officer for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Are you (or is someone you know) dealing with infertility right now? Chances are good you do know someone, even if they’ve never told you about their struggle. 1 in 8 couples (some sources say more like 1 in 5) are unable to pregnant after a year of trying, which technically means they qualify as “infertile.”

Here are a few (not-so-fun) facts I’ve learned about infertility over the past few years:

  • In infertile couples, there is an equal chance that the cause is from the man or the woman (this is not just a woman’s issue!)
  • In one third of infertile couples, the problem can’t be identified OR is a combination of factors from a man and woman.
  • Secondary infertility (not being able to get pregnant after the birth of one or more children) occurs at the same rate as primary infertility. 50% of infertility cases are secondary infertility.

Even-less-fun facts about infertility and mental health:

  • As many as 21-52% of women struggling with infertility experience depression.
  • “While infertility treatments are physically demanding, several studies suggest that the emotional stress of the ordeal is the primary reason many couples decide to give up.”
  • Anxiety and depression increased in couples who had failed ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) treatments.
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