Infertility is a tricky topic for a wellness space where people often come as pregnant or new-ish parents with babies and tots in tow. Honestly, I was reluctant to introduce education or meet-ups around the topic of infertility, and wondered whether a family wellness center would be the last place someone struggling with fertility would want to come for guidance on their journey to conception.
As Baby Botanica grew, however, many pregnant guests and parents to newborns suggested adding support for couples experiencing infertility – many of these guests having been through it themselves! Their point was this: just as pregnancy and the post-partum can feel isolating, trying to get pregnant, without success, is the loneliest feeling in the world. People want other people who have “been there” to commiserate with, celebrate with, and simply sit with. Well, we can provide that I thought.
And I also realized this: one of my goals for Baby Botanica was/is to provide community through all the phases of life for growing and evolving families, and individuals in all stages.
This is why we have programs for neonates, infants, babies, tots, preschoolers, elementary-school-aged kids, tweens & teens, young adults, old adults, pregnant people, postpartum parents, and parents of all aged children. I loved the idea of Baby Botanica being a community resource that, at its best, could offer wellness as a continuum of care.
So, in light of it being Infertility Awareness Week, and knowing that many of you have had to frustratingly push pause on fertility treatments due to Covid-19, I am pleased to share two virtual offerings for infertility/conception struggles: Fertile Body & Mind Yoga each Monday from 7:30-8:30pm, and our Fertility Meet-up on Wednesdays from 7:30-8:30pm. And I’d like to introduce you to the brilliant, funny, real instructor/facilitator of these groups, Heidi Brooks, of EAT SLEEP DREAM, who is also our Baby Botanica Sleep Consultant (see here for this weekend’s sleep workshop for babies!). Heidi has joined this blog as a guest to offer insight into her journey, and open her heart and ears to your own. Thanks for joining us Heidi!
The Journey to Baby & Baby Botanica
by Heidi Brooks
Infertility. It is still so taboo to speak about it. It’s there though. Once brought up, you’ll be surrounded by whispered: “me too’s.” There are secret Facebook groups, Instagram hashtags to search, and friendship circles where that is the glue that holds you together.
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. It is so important to call attention to it, because 1 in 8 couples struggle to get pregnant. It’s very likely you know someone who has had fertility complications, maybe it’s you. And if it is you, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for the invasive testing. I’m sorry for the flimsy gowns. I’m sorry for the medication that makes you feel like the worst version of yourself. I’m sorry when it’s all for nothing and that pregnancy test is negative. I’m sorry for the relentlessness of it all.
I will say that I am not sorry for my own journey. And not because I finally have children. I am not sorry because my infertility has pushed me to become a more supportive friend, an advocate for those who need help, and allowed me to give myself grace as a mother on the days when I need it most.
It has given my husband and me the opportunity to really live the phrase “for better or for worse,” because he truly has seen me at the lowest I have ever been on this journey.
It has pushed me to become more communicative to my family, about what was happening in my own body but also in my mind.
It was the reason I reached out and searched that secret hashtag on Instagram “#ttc”. A whole world opened up to me. People just like me, who have become my tribe. It’s hard to do, but open up about your journey. You may find that comfort you’ve been looking for in this process. I still remember first telling someone about my infertility struggles, and feeling that wave of relief when they exclaimed: “me too!”
I would have loved to talk to the other people in the waiting room at my fertility clinic, but you know the unspoken rule there. WE DON’T SPEAK OR MAKE EYE CONTACT AT THE FERTILITY CLINIC. But you know what? Start small. Low risk. Smile at the person sitting across from you, say good morning when you’re waiting for your blood draws at that ungodly early hour. You may end up with a forever friend(s) like I did.
To facilitate more friendships and foster support, we are also building an infertility community here at Baby Botanica. Come hang at our weekly support group (for now, virtual) and VENT. Come to Fertile Mind & Body Yoga online and prepare your body for baby.