My story I once hid from, has become my passion and purpose.
I lied about doing IVF for over two years because I was ashamed. Ashamed that my body didn’t work the way others did, that my story didn’t play out as I imagined. I would tell my boss that I had a doctor, dentist, or financial advisor appointment—you name it, I used it! I would get excited when I thought of a new “excuse” that I could use to hide a fertility consultation, IUI treatment, or IVF egg retrieval. During those years of infertility, I lost myself in the emotional roller coaster and became unrecognizable to myself. I felt like I was failing as a woman and constantly felt isolated, anxious and hopeless. After three years, when I finally got pregnant with twins through IVF, I told my friends that I had twins in my family (which I do, so I told myself it wasn’t a lie). A few months after the twins were born, we were pleasantly surprised to find out we were pregnant with our son. Consequently, the news helped us conceal our fertility struggles further. I felt so proud of myself for “getting away” with doing IVF without anyone knowing. No one could judge my decisions or my body for not working.
But I was not only lying to the people who asked about my conception, I was lying to myself. I wanted to be a positive example for my children, the kind of person that stood behind my decisions with pride and conviction, especially when it came to infertility. I never wanted my kids to feel ashamed of how they were conceived, or worse, think that I was. It felt amazing once I let out the words, “I did IVF.” I started to tell everyone-- the doorman, the delivery guy, anyone that would listen! It was the most freeing feeling in the world. Nothing was wrong with me, and I could be proud of my story.
However, my infertility struggles didn’t end here. As the youngest of four I always wanted four kids, and so somehow, I found myself right back where I was when I first wanted a family. I say this with sincere compassion and empathy, knowing how it feels to be willing to do anything for just one child. For two years, I let the desire for a fourth baby interfere with the joy I had for my kids and take over my life. But this time around, my husband was not on board with using ART (assistive reproductive technology) and if I’m being honest, he was not really on board with a fourth baby either. We argued about having another child and I was constantly trying to take on more with the kids so I could convince him to agree to another baby, which just ended up making me resentful.
When my husband got a new job, we were fortunate enough that I could stay home with the kids. I was ready to make this paradigm shift and excited to be home with the kids more. Yet, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that in the back of my mind, I was also hoping it would help convince my husband we could handle a fourth child. When he eventually agreed to the possibility to try naturally for a fourth, I changed my diet to vegan, tried every fertility smoothie out there, started taking my basal body temperature, and started following the FAM method to track ovulation (fertility awareness method). I became obsessive over a fourth baby, allowing it to influence all aspects of my life. I was already blessed with my beautiful family of five, so why was I so set on another baby? Why was I always looking forward with the mindset of, “I’ll be happy when I have my fourth baby?”
This challenge led to self-discovery, resolve, and purpose. I left my job as a jewelry buyer and enrolled at IIN, Institute of Integrative Nutrition, which pushed me towards my passion to explore fertility coaching and my career path and mission: to support women while empowering them to own their unique fertility story and break through the taboo of infertility. Through the program at IIN, I was able to identify my belief system and why I was fixated on a fourth baby and holding on to my childhood dream of four kids. I was able to change the narrative of the story I was telling myself and enjoy the present moment and my incredible family that I am so blessed with.
I once heard that challenges are a gift because they force us to look at our lives differently and make changes that we wouldn’t have made otherwise, leading us to our individual paths. I believe I have found my purpose and passion to help other women unlearn the traditional way of starting a family, own their unique stories, and become empowered to take the next best step for them in their individual journey to motherhood.
My family-building experience helped me discover my purpose in life and pushed me towards my passion to help women use their voices and spread awareness about infertility. It is a disease that can cause so much sadness, loneliness and anxiety. Once we realize we aren’t so alone and other people are experiencing these feelings too, we can feel empowered to tell our stories even as they are still being written. We don’t always get the ending we thought or dreamed of, and it may take much longer and be harder than we ever imagined. But if we trust ourselves and do the next best thing in the moment, I believe we will discover our strength and resilience was greater than we ever could have imagined.
Infertility is tough, but so are you!