Age Range: 36-40
Give us your quick bio:
I live a good, full life with my husband and two dogs. I write, run, practice yoga, have a small quilting business and work full time. We have 7 nieces and nephews that help make our Plan B a little easier.
What is your personal experience with Infertility?
My husband and I got married May 2015 - just a few months before my 36th birthday. We gave ourselves a year before trying to conceive, but it wasn't happening. Due to my age, the doctors didn't wait the full year of TTC to start investigating. Late October 2016 I was told my AMH numbers were so low that if we wanted to try IVF, egg retrieval was not possible and I'd need an egg donor (eventually diagnosed with premature ovarian failure). However, we had made the decision in advance that we weren't going to seek medical intervention to get pregnant. For some reason, a reason I still don't fully understand, I knew that I needed to trust my body to know what was best for me. We have not sought any medical interventions for my infertility.
At your lowest point, how did Infertility impact you?
I was very sad. I struggled to get out of bed. I cried a lot. I didn't want to see people, especially anyone with children. Family was the only exception to that rule. I was grieving the loss of dreams and hopes that I expected for my life.
What was the turning point in your mindset? What helped you find happiness outside of Infertility?
Because we were clear on our boundaries for intervention from the outset, I knew I'd likely never become pregnant. Right away I had two choices to make -- be bitter and angry or work through the pain to find the beauty in the ashes. I'm grateful I chose the second option. It's not easy. I still avoid baby showers and unfollow people who post a lot of baby pictures. I allow myself to feel what I need to feel without letting it take over my whole life. Rather than avoiding the pain, I do my best to go through it. Although, I know it will never completely go away.
How have you created a fulfilled and content life with Infertility?
My first dog, Denali, has been in my life since she was 9 weeks old -- she recently turned 11 years old! She's my baby. Last summer we got a new puppy, Steve, who recently turned 1. He brings a lot of joy and antics to our home! I was adamant about getting a young puppy because I wanted something to care for and raise. It went by quickly! Having dogs doesn't make the pain of infertility go away, but it does ease the pain a bit.
I also work hard at being a good aunt. I build relationships with each of our 7 nieces and nephews in ways that work best for them. I look forward to being their confidant and biggest supporter as they grow older and need other adults in their lives.
Finally, I'm sharing my story of infertility through my blog, Instagram, and one day a book, to help other women in similar circumstances know they aren't alone. I felt alone for so long -- I don't want others to have to face that, so I'm trying to do my part for them.
What actions did you take to help you heal?
Just a few months before my diagnosis I started my blog while I was on sabbatical from my job as a full-time youth minister. I wanted to use my blog as a way to process what I was experiencing on my sabbatical and tie in my creative side -- quilting, photography, journaling, etc. After my diagnosis, I slowly started writing about my loss, grief, and work toward healing.
I saw a therapist weekly and a spiritual director monthly. I talked with friends and family. I leaned on my husband. I went for lots of walks with our dog. I journaled and blogged. I sat quietly in nature. I took time to just "be" in God's presence.
I am also a runner, so I use my half marathon trainings as a way to remind me that my body is strong and capable, despite my premature ovarian failure.
What would you tell other people facing an Infertility diagnosis? (in lieu of the phrase "never give up")
Don't go this journey alone. Reach out, connect with other women who have faced a similar diagnosis. And, it's okay to stop trying. You can life a good, full life in the midst of your infertility.
How do you views align with the InfertileAF Mission?
100% agree. Everyone's journey is different. We need to lift each other up, not compare and contrast. We need to support each other during challenging times and moments of celebration. Infertility is not something to be ashamed of -- we need to be more open about this so that other women might feel empowered to own their infertility story openly too.
How has Infertility shaped your future self?
I'm on a journey to write a book. I had no intentions of being an author prior to this new life, so that's exciting!
What goals do you have for your future?
I'm dreaming of an online community specifically for infertile women who have chosen not to seek medical intervention, or who have stopped treatments, and are seeking to live a good, full life in the midst of that. There are message boards galore for those trying to conceive, but I think we need more spaces for those of us who have decided to move forward without a child.
Personally, I want to travel with my husband more. When the nieces and nephews are older, I'd love to travel with them as well.
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.