Years before Courtney Kendrick got pregnant, she already knew the date she would conceive. After months of no success, Courtney decided to take a stroll around her neighborhood to calm her troubled mind. As she was alone with her thoughts, she had the impression that she would indeed have a baby. Unfortunately, her time for motherhood was still five years away.
“I remember very specifically going for a walk and feeling [that] when I turned 30, I would be pregnant,” Courtney says. “But the problem was, that was a just a flash in the pan revelation.”
This fleeting thought passed, and Courtney spent the next several years trying fertility treatments and waiting. She decided to start a blog, C Jane Enjoy it, as a way to document her enjoyment in life with her husband while meeting her goal to become a mother. “It had been almost a year [since we tried to conceive], and people were starting to give their advice. Their biggest advice was to ‘just enjoy this time with your husband.’ I got that so much, it started to become annoying and grate on me. I wanted to say, ‘I am enjoying it! We are doing these wonderful things. We are traveling, and eating, and spending time as a couple.’ Yet, it still doesn’t make up for the heartache you feel from wanting to conceive and not being able to.”
Time passed on, and there was still no baby. “After I turned 30 and a couple of months went by, I decided to just give up,” Courtney remembers. “By letting go I was just saying, ‘I’m going to be happy no matter what.’
But finally, after five long years, the quiet revelation she received on her walk came to pass and she was pregnant.
Since the launch of her blog in 2005, Courtney has captured tens of thousands of followers. When her sister Stephanie and brother-in-law Christian Nielson survived a tragic plane crash in 2008, Courtney used her blog to inform her readers with updates from the family. The blogging community got involved, and over $100,000 was raised to help the Nielsons with their extensive medical expenses. Following
this outreach of Internet support, the family has been featured on the Today Show, Oprah, and The New York Times among other national publications.
I had a chance to visit with Courtney in her home and chat with this mother of two about her infertility, her wonderful extended family and her favorite food.
Q: You took in Stephanie and Christian’s children while they were recovering in the hospital. Do you feel that this time,
helping out your sister, may have been a part of your purpose for your infertility?
It would have been a lot harder to take in three extra children if I already have three children. It was perfect timing. I had just had this baby . . . who was two months old and then had my sister’s children come live with me. Because the baby was so little and cute, it took their mind off the fact that they had they hadn’t seen their parents in months. And because I had just had this baby, I was still home bound. I still just wanted to be home and do the mothering thing. I didn’t want to go out anyway, so it was perfecting timing to just stay at home with the kids and be together.
Q: What was it like suddenly becoming a mother of four?
It was overwhelming and tiring and I had to just say, ‘I’m going to lose control of my life.’ My house was messy all the time. We were always trying to figure out a laundry system. But [the children] carried on and they were happy. We had good times. I can honestly say it was the best of times and it was the absolute worst of times.
Q: How did you feel when you first found out you were pregnant?
I was so happy. I felt like I was running a race and I made it to the finish line. I also knew that I could conceive, which is what I knew all along. I was nervous that I couldn’t conceive in the first place. A lot of people that go through infertility but they miscarry
. I never had a miscarriage.
Q: What was different about this time?
I was late, and I was never late. I remember I couldn’t sleep for like, three nights. My dog was just out of sorts. I would get up in the middle of the night, and he would just howl and howl, I thought, ‘My world has changed. Something is different.’ One morning I woke up, got a pregnancy test and took it.
I then texted my husband and said, ‘Positive.’
My sister Paige was my biggest advocate. She was one person that
always said, “Follow your heart.” I took the test on her birthday and was able to give her the news on her birthday.
Q: While you were struggling with infertility, did you find a lot of support in online forums?
Definitely. I never posted anything, I never commented but I would just read these women’s stories. I think forums are just huge for women. They are so helpful. With blogs, it’s just one person speaking. In forums, everyone can chat and talk and voice their opinion. It was just connecting with other women. It was so invigorating for me. These women are going through what I’m going through, and yet they’re happy [and] they’re real.
Note: After I talked to Courtney, I realized I didn’t ask her any food related questions in my interview. I was so caught up by her powerful story that I completely forgot. I e-mailed her a few follow-up question relating to food, here are her fun answers.
Q: What was the first thing you remembered craving when you were first pregnant?
Sour candy. The kind that should be outlawed and only sold on the black market. I wanted to shock my body back into feeling right — the sour needed to sizzle out the nausea. It was hard to find the perfect pieces, but we did our homework and succeeded.
Q: It’s almost Christmas time. Do you have a traditional meal or dish you eat around the holidays?
We like to eat Chup’s Japanese feast on Christmas evening. Miso soup, avocado rolls, Katsu-Don and Yaki Soba.
Q: You have a weakness for:
Sloppy American-Mexican food. Lumpy, lardish and baptized in cheese.
Q: Will you share a favorite recipe?
I love taking Ghirardelli brownie mixes and experimenting every Sunday afternoon. We like to dollop Nutella or jam or marshmallows and graham crackers or whatever into our mix and see how it turns out. We are willy-nilly cooks around here.