1 in 8.  That’s what I learned this last weekend when I attended the InfertileAF Summit hosted by my friend Tia and her friend Lindsay.

1 in 8 women have trouble conceiving – I had no idea the number was so high!  Guess what age women are the most fertile?  Age 23.  I was 23 when Hannah was born.

With women focusing on careers, or enjoying the first few years of marriage being childless, it shouldn’t have surprised me that the number was so high.

What started out as a side conversation between Tia and Lindsay 87 days before the summit, turned into a room filled with 140 people – some as far away as California and Ontario Canada!

InfertileAF is a revolutionary organization created to break down societal stigmas associated with infertility.  We challenge our community to seek empowerment: using their stories to educate others while focusing on their own mental wellness instead of reproductive limitations.

We work to extinguish toxic comparison, encourage empathy, and eradicate demoralization by living boldly.  

We are better together.

We are InfertileAF.

I hadn’t known Lindsay until my friend Tia started talking about their working together.  I started following her Instagram, but other than seeing a few posts, I really didn’t know anything about her.

Well, she’s an author!  You can check out her books here.

And she’s an amazing public speaker.  Her story started way before she had infertility problems.  She is a survivor of domestic abuse and walked away from that relationship, after a gun was put to her head, with $20 in her pocket and a garbage bag of belongings she was able to cull together before leaving her abuser for the last time.  She was 26 years old.

Fast forward and she got married, and kind of feels like she cheated to get her kids, because she only went through one IUI, one IVF and got pregnant with twins.  Some of the women I met had had half a dozen miscarriages, were willing to pay between $30k – $50k to a surrogate to carry their baby, and some, like Tia, finally decided enough was enough and that a family of two – a husband and wife – was enough!

That board below?  People were asked what advice they had been given to get pregnant:

  • God has a plan
  • just adopt
  • get drunk
  • if you just stop trying – it will happen

One woman was told after her miscarriage at 22 weeks that it “was just God’s plan” that her daughter died.  I understand that people sometimes think saying things like that is helpful, but how could you possibly respond to that?!

I know that people made friendships that will last their lifetime.  Tia and Lindsay will for sure – what’s interesting is that they planned this whole event and didn’t even meet in real life until the day before the summit!

The blonde girl in the middle below?  I sat next to her in one of the breakouts – her name is Rebecca and she lives in a tiny town in Michigan – one which my grandma lived in – she was shocked that I knew of it!  It was great to meet you Rebecca!  

The woman in the red dress, Mimi Brown, was one of the speakers.  She tries to keep the funny in infertility – she was hilarious.   You can check her out here.

Tia was the final speaker and she was born to do this.  So powerful, emotional, empowering.  Embrace the life you have – TODAY.  That was the message I took away from her speech.

As I sat and listened to all these speakers, a few quotes jumped out at me.

“Strength Comes from Time and Discipline.”  This one really hit home because I’ve realized that I have dreamed about a life outside of a law firm, doing what I love which is recipe testing and cooking.  I’ve put in the time, but I haven’t been putting in the discipline – having a clear focus on how I can get from where I am to where I want to be.  In the last month I’ve been doing just that and I’ve made more progress in the last month than I have in the last ten years.  

“When you show the wound to light – it heals.”  I love that quote.  How many times do we try to put a bandaid on a wound, so we just don’t have to think about it!   But what happens?  It starts to puss and stays wet, you aid more ointment, put more bandaids on it – and it takes forever to heal.

But once you take the bandaid off – let the wound see the light, does it get oxygen and heal.   I know I can use this analogy for the loss of my husband.  For the first few years I just put a bandaid on my grief, hoping it will go away.  But it doesn’t go away.

Everyone once in a while grief will hit me like a sucker punch when I least expect it.  Instead of trying to choke down the tears, I let them flow freely.  I let it out – and then I am okay for a while.

“You can’t change the outcome, but you can change the outlook.”  Love, love, love.   Let’s face it, there are just some things that you have no control over.  But what you do have control over, is the way you react to that situation.

Can I bring my husband back?  No.  Can I appreciate the 14 years we had together – yep!  I know I am strong enough to keep living because life is for the living!  And I have a lot of living left to do. 😀

It dawned on me as I was driving home, that these quotes can be inspirational for whatever you are trying to achieve – whether it’s weight loss, changing careers, starting a family – whatever?!

So thank you Tia and Lindsay for an amazing experience.  I know this is only the beginning of your amazing journey together!  And Christina, my instagram daughter, so happy I could be there for you too. 

87 days.  They put it all together in only 87 days!  What can you achieve in 87 days?!

Make it a great day!