Welcome to the new InfertileAF.org and a BIG announcement!

Isn’t she fancy? InfertileAF.org was in dire need of a grown-up face lift, so we got to work making a good one! Grab a cocktail and take a look around!

If you’re interested in Sharing your Story on our blog, we have a brand spanking new form HERE with fun new questions!

If you want to learn more about us, Tia and Lindsay, as Principals of InfertileAF, head HERE!

If you want to BE BOLD and snag your seat to the Immersion Experience next month, check out the streamlined registration form HERE!

If you want to share the stage with us at next year’s summit, apply to be a speaker HERE! (hint: applications are being accepted for 2 more months!)

Speaking of next year’s summit, how about we spill some deets about 2020!?

Let’s start with this…

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The best part? Because we are anticipating 400 women and men in attendance, and we KNOW just how obsessed you were with the first summit, we are opening up early-bird ticket sales NEXT MONTH!

There will be a set limit of 100 early-bird tickets for sale starting September 1, 2019

These tickets will sell for $99. They grant you access to the entire summit, all speakers, break-out sessions, entry to the giveaway table, and vendor booths.

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!


Can’t attend next year’s summit but looking for a way to connect with like-minded fertility warriors in a private setting on a beautiful oasis?

Reserve your seat at our Immersion Experience next month!

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. 

I'm going to the Immersion Experience to help clear my head and connect

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?

The day I saw the post for the retreat was the day after I found out my cousin was pregnant; with her second baby. I was in a place I knew I needed healing & needed it ASAP. I thought wow, how nice would it be to be around women that actually understood what I was going through. Tears trickled down my face as I browsed through the details. I saw it included yoga, hiking, healing opportunities & I was more intrigued. Whats so incredible was that I was looking for a yoga/healing retreat to go to in September & this was in September! I thought I probably couldn’t afford it & then the cost was the final sign. My hubby & I had almost exactly the amount left for the cost of the Arizona Immersion Experience in our “baby” account (an account we had started years ago for our baby(s) turned into fertility treatment, yet had just a little left not knowing if we’d go through a frozen cycle which we’d need to save more for anyway or what) My husband said this is perfect for you, go! Transfer the money & do this for yourself.

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

I’d say my biggest fear was committing to going because I get so depressed at times & tend to isolate. I’ve never been in Girl Scouts or sororities & haven’t gone away on my own. Which sounds outstanding considering I’m 39 years old! But everything about this Experience spoke to me & I just knew I needed to do this, for myself.

Where are you in your Infertility journey?

My husband & I have been trying to conceive for 5 years. We tried natural, ovulation kits, 3 IUI’s & then the word fertility specialists came into play. I panicked & was in denial. In 2017 we went through almost 4 IVF/ICSI’s with 2 completed rounds, both failed. I think I was still in shock & extremely depressed all last year... I’ve never seen 2 pink lines. This year the word surrender came to me. So that’s what I’m working on.

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

In purgatory. A feeling of limbo where I don’t quite know what to do or I’m in denial that I do know but don’t want to admit it. Giving up seems like I am weak or succumbing to failing. Everyone says to not give up, so if I do then they’ll think she must not have really wanted a baby. But in my gut I know fertility treatment needs to be over. Surrendering is my practice lately even tho anxiety wriggles it’s way in there turning all my thoughts upside down, doubting myself all over again. It’s a real ride I tell ya!

What part of the weekend are you most excited about?

The yoga, hiking & trip to Sedona sound fabulous!! But I’m actually looking forward to releasing this pain & these ideas that have been gnawing at my heart strings & making the butterflies in my stomach turn into moths.

What are you hoping to get out of this weekend?

I’m really hoping to make a decision & to be okay with my decision. To truly start a new story & live a new dream.

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

Do this for YOU. Infertility can suck the life right out of you, give yourself permission to heal. You deserve this. Surrounding yourself with others who understand what you’re going though will be most beneficial.


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.