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Mother's Day for some women may be a reminder of fertility challenges

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BATON ROUGE - While Mother’s Day is a special holiday to celebrate all moms, some women remember the long journey they had to take to become a mother.

One out of every eight couples has trouble getting pregnant, and fertility treatments could include months or even years of procedures, medications and injections. 

“It’s a miracle,” Shellie Littleton, a new mom who struggled with infertility, said. “I still cry sometimes when I look at her just because we were so blessed, and we're so lucky.”

Like all babies, Callie Littleton is a miracle, but getting her here was a tough task.

“Certain medicines at certain times every day, and then introducing injections in my stomach,” Littleton said.

Littleton and her husband started fertility treatments after months of trying to get pregnant.

“It seems like everyone else just gets pregnant,” she said. “You try and try and try, and nothing happens for you.”

After five months of treatment and a few weeks of waiting, Littleton got a phone call.

“They called me about lunchtime and said, ‘Congratulations, you're pregnant,’” Littleton said. “I lost it at work. I was crying. I was screaming.”

The couple's problems conceiving are not uncommon.

In fact, 15% of couples struggle with infertility, and there is still a stigma around couples who can’t get pregnant naturally.

“There's kind of this inborn need to reproduce,” a fertility specialist at Fertility Answers in Baton Rouge, Dr. Neil Chappell, said. “It's just kind of wrapped up in your identity, and when things don't happen as you plan, it changes your plan. And that's a hard thing to cope with.”

Chappell says while most of his patients have the same goal, he is honest that it’s not going to be easy. 

“Everybody always says the same thing, ‘We help people get pregnant,’” Chappell said. “That's not true. We don't help people get pregnant. We help people through the journey of infertility.”

Despite the challenges, Littleton does not regret their journey.

“When I look at her after a bad day, she just makes it better,” Littleton said. “I'm her comfort… someone's safe space.”

This is her first Mother’s Day, and she is thankful for her little miracle every day.

“It's special every day, though,” Littleton said. “It doesn't have to just be on a specific day. It's almost like every day is Mother's Day.”

She is also thankful to all of her support groups during the tough process. Littleton and Chappell say that it’s important to have friends, family and professionals to help you during this journey.


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