Give us your quick bio:
I have been married to my hubby for almost 9 years, together 15. We both work demanding, full time jobs & we have a small family cherry farm. I LOVE working out & eating well. We are dog lovers & are big camping people, but we camp in a 35 foot long RV & ride ATV's - the faster the better. I love reading & writing & recently started a peer led infertility support group in our very rural area.
What is your personal experience with Infertility?
After multiple rounds of failed IVF, we walked away from family building without children. I have Stage 4 endometriosis, PCOS & otherwise "unexplained" infertility. I had surgeries to remove the endo & a septum. 127 days before my 40th birthday I took the last negative pregnancy test call from my RE & walked away from it all.
At your lowest point, how did Infertility impact you?
I completed isolated myself. I was drowning my marriage. Like many, I told my husband to leave me & find someone else. Someone younger, someone able to procreate. I was on the verge of losing my job for my inability to focus or stay level headed. I lost friends. Worst....I completely lost myself.
What was the turning point in your mindset? What helped you find happiness outside of Infertility?
I don't know what made me join a gym. I hadn't exercised or given a crap about my whole health since we walked away from treatment...having gone from a snow ski instructor & life-long & college softball player to a depressed couch potato. But I did. It was (& still is) an amazing community where I re-found my strength. Suddenly I had the courage to talk about my infertility & to not be ashamed of it. I started sharing and the flood gates opened. People started sending me friend requests on social media saying "me too." I started meeting people for coffee and its led to our monthly group meetings. I now know there was never anything to be ashamed of. That we are stronger together and that there are a LOT of us.
How have you created a fulfilled and content life with Infertility?
I am learning to accept what is. I'm learning to do what I want vs. what society thinks I should be doing and when I should be doing it. I have created fulfillment & my personal contentment by deciding for myself what fulfills me. What makes me feel content.
What actions did you take to help you heal?
The physical movement and strength gain was huge. I also eat better and sleep more. I got back to writing and being earnest in my efforts to let others know they weren't alone. Giving myself permission & grace to have bad days AND to have good days.
What would you tell other people facing an Infertility diagnosis? (in lieu of the phrase "never give up")
I would never say "never give up." Sometimes it's the exact right thing for someone to do. I tell people I may not know exactly what they are feeling, but that I'm available to listen and talk it through. I tell them the choices they make during their walk in infertility are nobody's business. I SHOW them that the grief & pain can be replaced by a purpose, no matter the outcome of their journey.
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?
My future self is far more compassionate & able to empathize with others in many walks of life in general - not just infertility. Instead of my infertility & child free life making me feel weak, I feel like a super hero for surviving it & for having the strength I NEVER WOULD HAVE KNOWN I HAD BEFORE IT to reach out to others.
What goals do you have for your future?
My future goals include growing our group of local warriors. There are no in person groups in close proximity and the need is great.
I want to partner and/or strategize with other established groups, learn what's working for them & take advantage of tools to help my local warriors.
I want to attend the Immersion Experience AND a Rachel Hollis Rise X.
I want to write a book.
No big deal, right?
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.