I mean, who on Earth would ever say thank you to infertility? You’d have to be crazy to feel grateful for such a dreaded disease that caused a decade of pain and suffering in your life, right?
Well, to be honest with you, during my struggle to start our family, I could never have imagined myself being thankful for my circumstances. Suffice it to say, my journey toward resolution was long and arduous. I struggled with unexplained infertility for a decade of my life and endured seven IVF’s and 40 embryo transfers to have our one and only child.
Time and distance enabled me to embrace my infertility challenges, and I’ve been able to view my struggles through a new lens. Our son is now 26-years old. Most of the stories you read about are written by those in the thick of their battles or are conveyed by new parents. My perspective is unique because I just turned 63 years old, and I still talk and grieve about my journey. However, it is different now.
I could have put my infertility in a box and never shared the overwhelming pain it caused me. However, something inside me nudged me on. I wanted to help others who came after me yet still suffered from the same longing to love a child of their own. After I had our son, I wrote his story so that I would be able to share it with him one day. I knew that time and distance could have clouded my memory, and I wanted him to know how very loved and wanted he was. Soon, I began helping others write their stories so they could pass them on to their children. Sharing stories not only helps others remember their own journey, but also inspires those who are still in the most difficult parts of their treatment. One never knows what nugget of truth someone else can share that may bring hope to others to carry on.
In addition to writing stories, I advocate annually on Advocacy Day. I have been Michigan’s State Captain for four consecutive years now, and I love being a part of a nationwide movement to help pass pro-family legislation to make it easier to realize the dream of having a family.
Over four years ago, I also started my own support group. I lead a local Brighton, MI RESOLVE “General Infertility” support group and just recently started a “Pregnancy and Parenting After Infertility” support group for my “graduates.” Since the Coronavirus pandemic, I also lead nationwide RESOLVE groups virtually. I have met incredible women and men who I fondly call “warriors” because they have more courage, perseverance and compassion than one can imagine. I am in awe of them! It is my heart’s desire to help others navigate the emotional side of their journeys because no one should have to struggle alone.
Two years ago, I co-founded the Detroit, MI Walk of Hope, along with LeAndrea Fisher, which is always held during NIAW. It is incredibly uplifting to bring hundreds of statewide infertility warriors together to provide support, inspiration and a sense of community. I am so grateful that I have come to know them and understand the most intimate desires of their hearts. I am also thrilled that the fundraising campaign for our walk can give back to RESOLVE, the organization that was my lifeline so many years ago. Helping these warriors has proven to me time and again that there are amazing and wonderful people in our society who are surely a bright and shining light to humankind. It has been an honor and a privilege to know these passionate and loving people and for that, yes – I thank you, infertility!