infertility

I'm going to the Immersion Experience because I want to take the feelings of the summit further

When we said we know how unique and strong this tribe of Infertility warriors is, we whole-heartedly meant it. When you find like-minded people who share the same passion as you, that’s where you feel seen and valued.

We have received anonymous, raw feedback about why attendees are taking the plunge into the Immersion Experience, and, quite frankly, their words have moved us to tears.

September cannot get here fast enough!!

There is so much good work to be done. We are ALL IN on these women because they are braveAF. They give us life and continue to remind us we are better together.

Take a moment to read, please. This is GOOD STUFF (and who knows? You may see YOURSELF in their words):

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What was your initial reaction when we announced the details of the Immersion Experience?

This is JUST WHAT I NEED in this season of my life. I immediately felt that the Immersion Experience was the sign or "AHA!" moment I'd been subconsciously searching for. And I've been counting down the days ever since it was announced!

What was your biggest hesitation with committing? How did you work to overcome this initial fear?

I honestly had no hesitation whatsoever.

The InfertileAF Summit truly did light this huge fire within my heart, so when I found out about the Immersion Experience, there were really no big limiting factors or fears for me.

Where are you in your Infertility journey?

We endured 6 years of infertility, 3 failed Clomid cycles, 1 successful Femara cycle that ended in a devastating loss in 2014, 5 more failed rounds of Femara, 3 failed IUI cycles, 1 failed (fresh) IVF cycle in which we transferred 2 embryos, and 1 successful (FET) IVF cycle in which we transferred 2 more embryos, and they both stayed with me.

Our fraternal twin boys were born on November 5th, 2017.

Where do you feel most stuck in your life these days?

I may be on the other side of Infertility, but I am still Infertile.

I still struggle with quite a bit emotionally.
My pregnancy with the twins was high-risk, I had several complications, and the night I delivered them, I also almost bled to death minutes after meeting my sons for the first time. They were born at 34 weeks and 3 days, and by the grace of God, did no NICU time, but we all stayed in the hospital for about 10 days because my health was poor.
Because of all of that and infertility and loss, I suffered with severe postpartum anxiety and mild postpartum depression, and still do... 20 months later.

I still have a hard time dealing with all of the trauma in a healthy way, and I put quite a bit of pressure on myself to be this "perfect" mother (which does NOT exist, by the way). I also struggle with feeling like I never measure up to my own expectations even when I KNOW my babies think I hung the moon and stars.

What part of the weekend are you most excited about?

HEALING! Or learning how to continue to heal the pieces of my heart that remain broken in a more strategic, healthy way.

I am also looking forward to making deep, lasting connections with the other ladies, and being able to grow together and support one another.

And of course an adult beverage by the pool. :)

Oh, and SEDONA!

Ok, I think I'm most excited about THE WHOLE WEEKEND!

What are you hoping to get out of this weekend?

Peace. Relaxation. New coping skills. Support.

If you could say something to another woman on the fence about joining, what words of encouragement would you give them?

I hurt alone in our journey for about 3 years before I ever spoke out about our struggles with Infertility. It wasn't until I miscarried that I stepped way out of my comfort zone and shared our story. And the support and love I received was immeasurable.

WE NEED EACH OTHER. We truly ARE better TOGETHER.

And I know cost may be a huge factor, but let me share with you this: I am now a stay-at-home-mother and my family has lived on just one income for the past 22 months. I know and understand the huge cost of infertility treatments, but in my opinion, there is just no price tag on my emotional and mental wellness- especially after suffering through infertility and loss.

I also have colossal faith that this Immersion Experience is EXACTLY what I NEED right now. If you think that's you, too... JUMP ON IN.


Feeling stuck with life during or after Infertility? We get you, honey. Let's work it out together. 

Consider facing your fears head on surrounded by healing scenery and a tribe of like-minded women at the Immersion Experience in Arizona this September.

I'm going to the Immersion Experience because I'm tired of struggling in silence

When we said we know how unique and strong this tribe of Infertility warriors is, we whole-heartedly meant it. When you find like-minded people who share the same passion as you, that’s where you feel seen and valued.

We have received anonymous, raw feedback about why attendees are taking the plunge into the Immersion Experience, and, quite frankly, their words have moved us to tears.

September cannot get here fast enough!!

There is so much good work to be done. We are ALL IN on these women because they are braveAF. They give us life and continue to remind us we are better together.

Take a moment to read, please. This is GOOD STUFF (and who knows? You may see YOURSELF in their words):

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What was your initial reaction when we announced the details of the Immersion Experience?

Initially, I couldn’t wait to sign up and made sure I did as soon as registration opened.  But then I thought about it; I would be travelling alone, spending a weekend with a bunch of unfamiliar women and going completely outside of all my comfort zones. Instantly I wanted to beg for my money back. And although I bounce between these polar reactions on a daily basis, I recognize that I need some self care in this area and I am in need to become unstuck!

What was your biggest hesitation with committing? How did you work to overcome this initial fear?

Honestly...my biggest fear was and continues to be meeting new people. My journey has rendered me exhausted and for the longest time I have been running on fumes and I don’t know if I have it in me to meet new people. Although I can be an extrovert around my peeps, I’m shy and honestly intimidated by most people. But...I overcome these thoughts on a daily basis knowing this will be the first time that I will be surrounded by women who really understand the heart wrenching journey of infertility. I get to be a part of a community of women in a world where I usually don’t fit in as an involuntarily childless woman.

Where are you in your Infertility journey?

Last November we had our second round of IVF which ended in a miscarriage and a DNC. My husband of 17 years and I were absolutely devastated. I have not been on any form of birth control in 15 of those years. There are a lot more deeply personal and tragic elements thrown into the mix but to keep the laundry list at a minimum; in April I turned 40 years old and that was always are like in the sand. I knew I was done so we made the agonizing decision to stop the journey towards a baby of our own. We have invested so much time and money into this dream which ended up as a brutal nightmare. So although most of our friends and family don’t understand, we are choosing us and are redefining our plan A.

Where do you feel most stuck in your life these days?

The question; “where do I go from here?” creates some “stuck” feelings. 
And honestly, I get stuck in bed sometimes. I would rather hide from the complicated-ness of my past under my duvet but every day it is getting a little better and a little easier to face the beginning of the day.

What part of the weekend are you most excited about?

I am excited to be with a community of woman that understand that a woman’s worth is not just in the children she produce. I’m excited to eat good food and drink good wine. I’m excited to meet and work with the two founders of InfertileAF!! These two badass women are so brave and strong and have helped me to realize I can be a badass too!!

What are you hoping to get out of this weekend?

I want to do some realistic goal setting and to honestly do some major self care and relaxation. I want to challenge my comfort zones, grow and heal with wine, yummy food while hanging with my peeps.

If you could say something to another woman on the fence about joining, what words of encouragement would you give them?

We are used to struggling in silence with infertility believing that we are being brave and strong while we hide our suffering. We are often not acknowledged when we are drained financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually. 
Its time to acknowledge you. To invest in you. To take time for you. You are not alone. This is not about digging up the past and reliving trauma. It’s about building a community of women who are STRONGER TOGETHER!


Feeling stuck with life during or after Infertility? We get you, honey. Let's work it out together. 

Consider facing your fears head on surrounded by healing scenery and a tribe of like-minded women at the Immersion Experience in Arizona this September.


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.

Those on our Mailing List will be the ONLY people with access to our Early Bird and VIP ticket sales.

Once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Losing Myself While TTC - Lindsay's Perspective

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When I was seven I wanted to be a butterfly.

At ten I thought I'd run for President.

When I was twenty-one I worked toward becoming a teacher.

Now I'm 36 and none of those things.

The one thing that has been a constant for as long as I've thought about my future? Wanting to be a mom, to have the two kids and the partner, to feel secure that the reason I do anything has more purpose than myself.

Yep, read that again.

Somewhere in my journey I stopped dreaming about what I could be for myself and started dreaming about what I'd be for everyone else.

We treat people who don't have kids like they're selfish or like their dreams and goals aren't as important because they aren't attached to little people, their genetic code not being passed along somehow invalidates everything they do. Sure, society doesn't directly state this to anyone. But we all know it's true: somewhere along the line, when you were trying to conceive, your worthiness as a human came into question in your mind.

You wondered if you'd ever truly get the title of becoming a mom.

You remembered back to that one time someone invalidated your family of two by saying you weren't actually a family yet. 

You questioned who you'd be or how you'd cope if what if became a reality and you had to walk away from treatment and take a different route, no matter what route that might be.

We get so wound up in fear of it all that we're willing to sacrifice a lot of good in our lives because babies are "worth the wait."

Right?

When we found out we needed IVF I immediately started researching the trauma pieces of the journey. The truth is, the outcome felt so out of my control at that point. Sure, I could do my best and fight for what I wanted, but I also had to stop telling myself that a biological kid might be in the cards. We were at one of the final stages of treatment, when everything else had failed, and if I convinced myself it was definitely going to work I knew I'd start acting insane. I'd go one too many rounds or resent my husband if he wanted to stop.

I've been known to go so hard after the things that I want that everything else gets neglected and wrecked, because if I believe in something, I believe in it with all of my being.

Plus, my mind is a bitch sometimes. I take things too hard or too personally when others are hateful, and having a background of abuse makes me question if those thoughts are true OR if I'm crazy for believing them. I hardly ever give myself the benefit of the doubt when I'm struggling, so combine my give-it-everything tendency with my you-suck brain, and you could say I took on infertility like it was all my fault, my issue to fix, and every time I got a negative it confirmed how much I was failing.

Legitimately, on my worst days, when I wanted to lay in bed all day and sulk, because that's the kind of depressed person I am: I will lay in my own filth for days at a time and validate my own negative beliefs of unworthiness:

"How can you raise a kid when you can't even take care of yourself?"
"You're gross inside and out; you don't deserve to be clean."

I hadn't felt the heaviness in my soul for a few years, but I knew that pain, the isolation and longing to be understood and heard and held up, and I knew my own identity was going to take a massive hit if I didn't do something to process and move through those feelings.

We hadn't even started cycling yet.

That's when it hit me, that I knew these feelings because I'd survived them before, and so I thought back to my trauma therapist and what she would ask me about those beliefs and my behaviors.

"How are you taking care of yourself, Lindsay?"

In that moment I made two promises to myself:

Practice some kind of self care every single day, no matter what.

Let go of the idea that being rigid and forceful could change the outcome.

Self care, for me, isn't luxurious most days, because even though I practice it each day it's still work. I always feel better after completing it but always question if I should. On my worst days (in bed), I'd simply force myself to get up and do basic hygiene, like brushing my teeth and showering. On better days, I'd meditate or go on a walk, and on the best days, when I was doing all of the above for myself anyway, I would find a way to help someone else struggling.

Helping other people has always been a way for me to feel good about myself, if I'm honest. Mostly, because my soul knows what it's like to want or need assistance and then to receive it; to feel seen, heard, understood, and validated. To give someone else that moment of hope or grace felt like an easy way to ramp up my feel good endorphins.


And this type of commitment to myself is still necessary now, even after having success.

Because pregnancy after infertility can be very traumatic (and was for me).

And delivering your babies after a healthy pregnancy can also be traumatic (and was for me).


And parenting, no matter how much perspective you have or how happy you are to finally be a parent, still comes with its own unique set of challenges and heartbreak. And it's hard to wrap my brain around that, still. I feel guilty saying I struggle.

Life, with or without kids, is going to throw trauma on your lap. We don't get to control that. What we do have control over is our movement within those painful moments. We get to choose how to show up both in the world and within ourselves, and if you're practicing self care while you struggle you will not feel so drowned by the pain, at least not all of the time. Yes, you'll have hard moments. Yes, you'll still have to consciously make the choice to show up for yourself. But it will get easier and you will feel better.


You deserve to come out of this journey and feel good about how you showed up in it, no matter whether or not you have a baby on your hip. Society's bullshit ideas about who should be celebrated and who shouldn't should NEVER be where you base your worth, because each of us will always find a reason to feel invalidated, whether it's because of our infertility, our sex, our weight, a beauty standard, a political leaning...whatever...we're all inundated with bullshit that tries to make us feel like crap all of the time, and it's time we take back the power over who gets to tell us how we should feel.

Because you should be the one making those decisions.

You deserve that and so much more.

XO

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Feeling stuck with life during or after Infertility? 

We get you, honey. Let's work it out together. 

Consider facing your fears head on surrounded by healing scenery and a tribe of like-minded women in Arizona this September at the Immersion Experience. 

Losing Myself during IVF - Tia's Perspective

I remember the moment I realized just how far down the rabbit-hole I had gone with our attempts to make our baby. I had been feeling off all week, knowing I was likely pregnant, but unwilling to take a pregnancy test yet as my beta was days away. I had been down this path before. When I was pregnant with my son, walking gave me asthma attacks. I had difficulty breathing at times and it always felt like my heart was racing. The same thing was happening now, only at a less hectic pace. My intuition told me this pregnancy wouldn't stick around even if it was positive.

My husband, Mark, was on his way to our rental property to check on the progress of our tenant move-out. We had been anticipating this day for a while as their willingness to pay on time or communicate had come to a stand-still. 

The phone rang. It was Mark. "Tia this place is a complete disaster. Can you get off of work? Bring all the cleaning supplies and garbage bags we have with you. Oh, and gloves. HEAVY gloves. It's not good."

Shit.

What if I AM pregnant? I shouldn't be around heavy chemicals and lifting a lot of stuff, right?

I took a test.

At the end of the three-minute mark, the second line finally popped up but I didn't believe it.

Last time it was blazingly positive as soon as my pee hit the stick. 

Something's wrong.

I started shaking, knowing I needed to help Mark. Knowing I was sort of pregnant.

I looked up at the bathroom mirror and didn't recognize my face. I couldn't really remember the last time I really took note of how I looked. All I saw this time was fear. Sunken eye sockets.

Long, unkempt hair that limped around my temples. Dry, chapped lips.

I tugged at the bottom of my shirt. It was more snug than it used to be.

All the IVF medications injected into my body over the last couple of years didn't really make a dent in my weight, but my miscarriage did, and I never really put any effort to try and get the weight off since I insisted we dive right back into another cycle. 

The cycle I was currently in. The one that took all year to complete because I just couldn't bring myself to accept this journey was over. I wasn't going to be a mom. I wouldn't be getting the biological baby I worked so hard for. The one I poured every second of every day into achieving for the last six years.

I had become this lifeless, exhausted, pale person. 

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Is this who I was going to be if I became a mom? 

Is this how I was planning to show up for my child?

Is this the person my husband saw?

Is this my life now?

Because it sure wasn't who Mark married. And it sure as Hell wasn't the same person that started trying to make a baby in 2012.

What. the fuck. happened?

I'll tell you what happened. I took my Type A personality to the extreme, dove in head first, and went all in on the bigger life goal I wanted. I held myself hostage to keep fighting.

I pushed aside everything single thing that wasn't TTC related because I believed it was just background noise. Not worthy of my time.

I chose not to invest money into my appearance, my clothes, or my self-care routines if it meant there was more money for IVF.

I chose not to connect with friends, family or even Mark because there was so much research to complete in between clinic phone calls.

I was restricted from working out, my main source of relief in an already chaotic world, so became restless and irritated with no tangible outlet.

I stopped planning weekends, trips or parties. The only planning I was doing was for every possible due date. When maternity leave may take place. What I needed to save for baby. Which daycare would I choose? 

Projects on hold.
Hobbies on hold.
Fun on hold.
LIFE. ON. HOLD.

I lost everything that made me ME in the process of baby-making, and that last early miscarriage was my tipping point. I wanted to take the reigns back on my life and the only way to do is was to stop the addicting cycle of TTC. For me, it was all or nothing. So I finally chose to walk away.

Having gone through the wringer in a way that didn't serve me well, here are some alternatives if you find yourself more aligned with how I went through IVF.

It's necessary to come up for air between cycles. If you find yourself needing more than one IUI or IVF cycle, there is NOTHING wrong with taking time between them to actually lean into and process your emotions. In fact, I would encourage it. This in-between is an excellent time to reconnect with your partner, plan a fun outing, reconnect with your friends and family or simply pick-up the hobbies you love.

Your reproductive system isn't going to turn to dust if you don't commit to back-to-back cycles.

I always felt like time was against me. As if my eggs were going to shrivel up if the clinic didn't suck them all out of me as soon as possible. The reality is; there will always be more money if this is what you choose to spend it on. There will always be a reputable clinic available for your next cycle. Your biological clock may be ticking but it's not the frantic downhill slope that outsiders may lead you to believe. 

Set a budget for self care and use it. I completely understand that fertility treatments can trump any and all available money you have. Of that amount, I encourage you to set aside a monthly or quarterly budget for things that make you feel good. Whether it's a new outfit, a hair cut, a massage, a book, ANYTHING that reminds you of the badass woman you are is money well spent, in my opinion. Set it aside and DIP INTO IT.

Write it out. Whether it's in a journal, on a blog or simply a series of calendar invites to yourself with details of the day, documenting your days before, during and after treatment give a sense of clarity to just how long each season has been going on. I try to highlight the fun stuff AND the trying stuff because to me, it's ALL important and worthy; equally.

Be honest with yourself. What IS the goal of this? What IS the bigger picture? Do you want to become a mom to a child or to your biological child? Would an alternative route be more suited for you? What do you miss about life before TTC? How's your mental state? Do you think you just need guidance or do you think you have exhausted your boundaries? This type of honest gut-check is crucial to evaluate your quality of life. I would recommend doing it every few months or at the very least, yearly, based on where you're at in your journey.

Thanks for reading :)

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Feeling stuck with life during or after Infertility? 

We get you, honey. Let's work it out together. 

Consider facing your fears head on surrounded by healing scenery and a tribe of like-minded women in Arizona this September at the Immersion Experience.