Why awareness and sharing matters
My Personal Fertility Journey:
As a former fertility patient, I believe awareness is a key to healing, not only for others, but for yourself. Reflecting back to when I was going through my IVF journey, not many women spoke about infertility, so my loneliness was overwhelming. I knew there was no shame in going through treatment, but very few women ever spoke about it. Feeling isolated and alone with no one to talk to about this with, I sought therapy. While the therapist that I worked with during my infertility journey was wonderful, I found that the therapy was not helpful as she just “didn’t get it” and the connection was not there. No matter how hard the therapist tried to relate, she just couldn’t.
I was very open about my experience and would share with our patients while undergoing treatment. Encouraging and offering hope, even though I did not know what my outcome would be, and in turn they encouraged and offered me hope! As a matter of fact, my husband, Eddie and I had decided not to freeze embryos, until the day a patient brought in her adorable 9 month old baby boy, and when I gushed over how beautiful he was she blurted out “he is a frozen embryo!” So thank you, person that I cannot name publicly, for changing my mind with that one sentence. After finishing my conversation with the patient, I immediately picked up the phone and called Eddie who at the time was working at the firehouse and said, “we are freezing our embryos, I just met the most beautiful baby who was a frozen embryo!”
After our son was born as a result of a frozen embryo transfer, I developed an even stronger “fertility radar” for women having issues conceiving. It wasn’t hard, when we are on this journey so many of us walk around with a look in our eyes that is easily recognizable, especially when we see a baby. I was able to tell just by the longing way they would look at our son. So whether I was at a supermarket, a furniture store, a mall, if I saw that look I would get a bit close and whisper “he is the result of a frozen embryo.” I cannot tell you how every single time I did that because I felt in my heart that that particular woman was undergoing what I had just gone through, they all lit up like a Christmas tree and we would talk and share and get chills together. It was beautiful! My family, friends, and co-workers will tell you that I have been known to be late to events, but I have not cared as if I was making a difference, that was what needed to be done at the time. The times that I was able to impact another individuals struggle with infertility were more important to me than being on time to something else. Today and everyday, we owe our son to words spoken by one of our patients, and more than ever, I was compelled to do the same for anyone I could help.
So, with that in mind, I encourage all women today who are comfortable doing so to speak up, share your failures and your successes! Post or blog, don’t be shy and help yourself and others work through this emotionally charged and uncertain time. Give hope to others while also helping yourself endure the journey.
On behalf of myself and our team here at Mandell’s we wish for all of our patients to achieve Parenthood and the ability to love and nurture a child into becoming an amazing human being!
Share your story. Awareness changes everything!