Two weeks ago today, I literally held my breath as I opened my phone, knowing a few of my most difficult and vulnerable experiences were officially out in the world with the publication of my book on April 6th. My biggest nerves centered around the topic of sharing publicly for the very first time some of my experiences with infertility in my early twenties as well as with secondary infertility years later. While I feel confident in sharing my story, I admit many complex past emotions bubbled up the first week of April – as I revisited painful and confusing memories from years past when I felt little support as a woman battling conception delay and navigating In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). I worried I might once again relive a lot of those memories as the world now weighed in.
While I was hopeful sharing my story might help another woman feel less alone as she navigates hers, I was unprepared for the number of women who reached out and shared similar experiences and feelings. In fact, one of these women is a good friend of mine who shared that – after reading about my experience – she felt like she could finally exhale after holding her breath for so long. I realized as she said this—a friend with whom I’ve had intimate and thought-provoking conversations countless times over the years while our children played together – that we women don’t talk about this topic enough. I’d had absolutely no idea she’d grown her family through IVF, and she also had no idea I’d been there, too. It drives home the fact that the person right next door to you could be in your same shoes and you just have no idea until we normalize conversations around fertility.
I understand fully why some might prefer to maintain privacy during such a sensitive and stressful time (I chose not to share my experience in real time for an array of reasons I share in my book, as I struggled to find the tools at the time to navigate conversations and people’s often critical reactions), so I completely respect however one chooses to go about it. But I’d also like to lend my voice of support and love to anyone who has had to battle conception delay and related challenges to their ability to start or extend their family. It looks and feels and is so very different for each and every woman, and it sucks, no matter how you look at it. But you aren’t alone, whether you navigated it all alone years ago, are in the midst of it now, or might have a brush with it in the future.
With National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) taking place right now, I thought about how I’d like to use my platform to help bring awareness to this topic. There are a lot of things I’d like to do, and this week I’d love to start by sharing stories of other women who are willing to share their experiences with the rest of our community. Although I deeply struggled and felt very alone during my own process, it doesn’t have to be that way for others. And I don’t want it to be that way. As we share and engage in more dialogue around fertility experiences (especially the experiences that look different from our own), we can make a lot of headway together. If you’d like to share your experience, please send your story to [email protected] (with “NIAW” in the subject). I’d love to post and share some this week here on my blog. You can also feel free to leave your story in the public comments below.
Lastly, I reached out to my old fertility doctor (you might remember from my book that he not only first helped our family grow in Washington DC, but then again in NYC several years later so I hold a lot of gratitude for him and his incredible staff) to see if he might be able to help another woman like he helped me. He agreed! Dr. Paul Gindoff from Chelsea Fertility NYC will be covering all costs for an IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) treatment for one woman, in hopes that their fertility journey can be successfully completed and their family can become a reality. If you or someone you know (with their permission, of course) might like to pursue further, please fill out this form.
I want to thank so many of you who have been gracious and supportive as I’ve shared my own experience and I want to send a very big virtual hug to anyone battling this very topic right now that feels little light at the end of the long tunnel. You aren’t alone. And you’ll always find support here.