Shelby Eckard is the proud mom of a seven-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl.
She’s also a nutritionist, a body image coach, and an advocate for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — a hormone and metabolism disorder that is the most common cause of infertility in women.
This week, her worlds collided when her son walked in on her crying in the office.
I may be biased, but my family's pretty cute☺️? happy Sunday
According to Good Housekeeping, Eckard struggled for years to get pregnant with her second child. Her first child, Parker, was unplanned and she thought she wouldn’t have any problems getting pregnant again.
But after months of trying, she was diagnosed with PCOS. She received treatment and started supporting other moms with the same condition after she gave birth.
On July 19, a friend who had been struggling with infertility texted her a picture of her ultrasound — she was pregnant.
Eckard cried as she thought about her friend’s new baby and her own personal struggle to get pregnant. Then her son walked into the room.
Parker peeked at his mom’s phone to see what upset her. He saw the image of the ultrasound and asked why she was crying. She explained that the photo was of a baby.
Eckard wrote on Instagram:
He said, “But Momma — I don’t understand. Why are you crying? Babies are awesome.” This, spawned a whole flood of tears I held back behind burning eyes. How do you explain to a seven-year-old the emotions and challenges of infertility?
The 32-year-old mom pushed back tears and used her “strong mom voice” to explain why she was crying.
Got my workout in at the playground today! Rock climbed the kiddie wall, ran and chased ducks, and swang like it was going out of style! Who says you have to hate your workouts? Or in my case, grow up ?
She wrote on Instagram:
Having a child is like looking forward to a birthday. You know the time for it is coming. And for some reason, for some, those “baby days” don’t come when they’re supposed to. Or ever. And it’s like waiting on a present and not knowing if you’ll ever get it. And it can make you sad. If you were looking forward to your birthday, and it didn’t come, you’d be sad, right?
Parker was satisfied with his mom’s answer and quickly disappeared into the house. Later she found him sitting on the floor of her bedroom surrounded by crayons.
This morning, my 7 year old son walked in on me crying at my desk. He asked, "momma, why are you crying?" He then caught…
Eckard walked over to Parker and asked what he was doing. He looked up at her and said:
I want those ladies to be happy, too. I want them to get their presents. I can’t give them a baby. And I thought maybe they can borrow my sister for a little, but I can’t drive and I’d miss her. So I am drawing them pictures as presents. Maybe you can send them to them for me? When they’re sad? I don’t want them to give up. I want them to be happy.
At the top of his picture he had written: “Don’t stop trying.”
The mom was surprised that her son had been thinking about infertility since he spoke to her in the office.
View this post on Instagram
Y'all. One of my girls said to me, " I just feel lazy on rest days." Well rest day doesn't mean you sit around. Practice taking active rest days. Where you are active, but not at the intensity of your normal scheduled work outs. Walking. Swimming. Jogging. Or doin @thefitnessmarshall with your son in your moo moo ?? just move your body #iveryobviouslylostallmydanceskills #sofly ????
She wrote that she was proud to have raised such a thoughtful human being:
There’s moments when I think I’m failing as a momma, but these moments? I know I’m not doing so bad.
In an interview with Dearly, Eckard said Parker has been drawing new pictures every day for women suffering from infertility. She hopes they will be able to send them together soon:
“Parker has been working on lots of drawings, and he wants to find a way to send them to women everywhere who need to smile.”
She told Dearly that her son has always been kind.
When Timehop reminds you how crazy different your life was 5 years ago… nights spent on the hem/onc floor with blood…
As a young boy, he was always sick. She believes his health issues might have made him more empathetic towards others suffering from medical conditions:
“He’s gone through more than any seven-year-old should with his own struggles with autoimmune hemolytic anemia. He spent a lot of his early years in the hospital and I truly think it’s shaped him into this tiny empathetic super human. I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
The mom and PCOS advocate hopes Parker’s story can help encourage moms and future moms-to-be to reach out for support if they are struggling with infertility:
“I want parents, especially those who are struggling with secondary infertility, to understand they aren’t alone. Fertility is hard enough. But secondary infertility can leave you in a spot where you feel you don’t fit in anywhere. You do. You aren’t alone. Seek support. Know that there’s always a reason to smile, even if it’s just a simple drawing from a seven-year-old boy on the internet.”
Sometimes it takes young eyes to see difficult adult problems in a completely new light.