#WhatIWantYouToKnow is that infertility needs to be centered for the Latin community. I am a first-generation Latina that grew up in a family culture where infertility was not discussed at our gatherings. It was not even discussed between my mother and I, which we have a close and beautiful relationship. She is my biggest cheerleader.

It took me until I was about 36 years old to be given the infertility diagnosis. I didn’t really know what to do with the diagnosis so it took me another 2 years to begin the journey to seek options. During my journey, I was told by a fertility doctor that IVF was my best option. When the fertility doctor reviewed the IVF process with me, I became overwhelmed by all the steps that IVF requires. I was also worried if I would have the courage to self-inject myself multiple times.

It would take another 2 months for me to proceed with an IVF procedure due to my worries and anxieties. I decided to stop my business and part-time employment in order to focus on the treatment. My husband was the only income earner in our household.

In late 2019, my husband and I did our first IVF process. On the day of the transfer, my parents flew in support and care for me. It was a deeply emotional process and it was only then that my parents understood the toll this journey takes on people. My parents saw my bruises on my abdomen due to all the self-injections that my body received. They still do not have a thorough understanding of IVF.

Unfortunately, I miscarried 3 days before the end of our first trimester, just before the holidays. Because of the lack of empathy that I experienced in my first fertility clinic, we chose to go to another out of state fertility clinic in 2020. However, we cancelled our second round of IVF a total of 4 times due to the pandemic, job loss, and the severe wildfires taking place in the west coast. I became frustrated, angry, and deeply sad.

I am an advocate by heart in my local community. As I am an advocate for equality, inclusion, justice, economic development and public safety initiatives for our most vulnerable voices including black and brown voices in our communities, many do not know my health struggles, diagnosis, and losses in creating my dream family. When you go through a disease that nobody can understand, you stand alone, you stand in silence, and you stand in darkness at times.

Now, I am working on healing my mind and body in order to better prepare for retaking the IVF journey again. I now understand that it is critical to have a healthy mind and body in this journey and one must continue to hold on to hope.

Carmen M.