Give us your quick bio:
My name is Rebekah. I'm 36 years old and the mama of 4 fur babies. I am boldly embracing my childfree after infertility life! This wasn't my plan A, but I am rocking it anyway and making it up as I go along!
What is your personal experience with Infertility?
PCOS, years of trying to conceive, several medicated cycles, several IUI's, 2 rounds of IVF, a miscarriage, a nervous breakdown, over $30,000 in medical bills and here I am. I survived it and I came out better than I went in. I wasn't able to grow my family by having a human baby, but life turned out perfectly for me and I'm tougher than I ever imagined I could be due to it.
At your lowest point, how did Infertility impact you?
After my first round of IVF ended in miscarriage, my husband and I waited 6 months before we decided to do another round. After that round failed, I kinda just went into this, "I'm ok and everything is fine," mode. Everything definitely was not fine. That led to me having what I call a, "mental break." I began having panic attacks almost daily. I wasn't able to function at all. It's like my body was there but my brain wasn't. I was lucky enough to have an amazing therapist who did very intensive work to help me through this time. My husband and I decided to take a year off completely from treatments after that.
What was the turning point in your mindset? What helped you find happiness outside of Infertility?
My therapist said something that really changed my perspective on what my life should look like. She said, "imagine you spend months and months planning a trip to Bali. You read all the books on Bali, you've bought the perfect clothes, your itinerary is planned, etc. Bali is the only thing your heart is set on and no one can tell you that any other place would be just as amazing. Now, let's say your plane has to make an emergency stop in Alaska. Due to the weather conditions there, you cannot get out for at least 1-2 weeks. This is definitely not Bali. You didn't read the books on Alaska! You didn't pack for Alaska! Frantically, you have to decide. Do you make this the adventure of a life time or do you waste that precious time and only think about Bali?" Perhaps it's because I'm so in love with travel, I don't know, but this analogy hit home for me. My husband and I were so disconnected. Our relationship was so strained. I was constantly on hormones, constantly obsessed with what I was putting in my body or what I wasn't. I was stressed from getting from one appointment to the next on top of working and being exhausted and not sleeping well, when all he had to do was jizz in a cup a few times. I was full of anxiety, I was angry, I felt slighted. He became only a means to a baby to me and I took a lot of that out on him. So taking some time off and reconnecting gave me the chance to see that I already had all that I ever needed. I have the best husband ever, family and friends who love me, the ability to travel and read and do volunteer work. That is all something I'll never take for granted again because I feel like I came very close to potentially losing it all.
How have you created a fulfilled and content life with Infertility?
My husband and I live life on our own terms and I think we are able to really hone in on aspects of our marriage and ourselves that we want to work on. We plan to do a lot more travel and a many more updates to our historic home. I am singing again, which I've done most of my life, and I did not have time to do that, which I am so passionate about, when I was going through treatments. I am not sure I would have the time and energy to do a lot of the things I do and plan to do if I had had children. I truly love my life the way it is and I don't feel like anything is missing the way that I once did.
What actions did you take to help you heal?
Therapy, time, love, kindness and grace with myself. I really started to just envision life in a different way that I ever had before, which helped me settle into it. I started to live in a way that wasn't focused around something that wasn't happening and it was such sweet freedom. A year of therapy, travel, and finding myself and my husband again was really what made me able to see that I already have everything I need.
What would you tell other people facing an Infertility diagnosis? (in lieu of the phrase "never give up")
You can absolutely have an amazing and fulfilling life after infertility, EVEN if that journey doesn't end with a baby in your arms. It's scary because it looks different. It's scary because it can feel lonely. It's scary because society puts a whole lot of shit on you that you didn't ask for. But motherhood is scary and lonely too. We don't always get to choose which path life takes us, but we do get to choose whether or not we want to rock it and make it the best it can be. I choose to boldly rock this new life and just keep making me the best me that I can. I hope somewhere along the way I can help someone see that this choice is a real choice, and can be a very beautiful and meaningful one, as well.
How do you views align with the InfertileAF Mission?
I believe that ALL people, no matter where they are in their infertility journey, should be seen. They should be respected, their views valued, and their stories should all be shared, even if they don't all look the same.
How has Infertility shaped your future self?
I look at my life in a completely different way than I ever thought was possible. Sometimes I think that, as women, we were just always told we would be mothers, so that's what we always thought. For some of us, that might have put a limit on our potential. Or at least it may have put a limit on our ability to think bigger and have different dreams than the ones society provided us.
What goals do you have for your future?
I plan to keep moving forward in my career, do more community involvement, especially in helping kids whose schools no longer have music programs. I've been to 13 countries so far and want to get to them all. My husband and I are going to keep thriving and enjoying our lives, each other, and our 3 cats and new puppy. Life is to be fully embraced and I'm so glad I can clearly see that now.
Don’t forget! $99 Early Bird Ticket Sales start soon for the 2020 InfertileAF Chicago Summit!
The summit will run from NOON on Friday April 17th - 5pm CST Saturday, April 18th.
PLUS! We will also have an extremely limited number of add-on VIP tickets for a private dinner with the InfertileAF founders! This is a highly personal meet and greet opportunity. The cost of the VIP ticket includes your dinner and drinks for the evening. Dinner will be the Friday, April 17th, 2020. The price for each VIP ticket is $120.