Infertile AF Immersion Experience

2 months ago today, I embarked on a trip whose impact I struggle to put into words. I traveled to Phoenix, AZ a state and city I had never visited before. This in itself was not daunting, I have traveled alone many times before. I am good at getting around a new city. However, I was going to have several hours to kill before being able to check into the most amazing rental house. Time is my enemy. It allows me to think of all the horrible things that can go wrong. But I decided to set myself some tasks. So I found a massage therapist and received an amazing massage with cupping. This took up 90 minutes of my several hours. I spent the rest of my time at Starbucks. I did manage to drag my luggage into an art store and purchased a journal to record all of my thoughts and observations from the weekend. During my time at Starbucks, my anxiety skyrocketed. I was able to worry about meeting 9 women who I only knew through social media. My biggest concern was whether I was truly infertile. We haven’t even done IVF before we stopped. Would the others judge me for not having taken that step? On top of that I was just nervous in general. I struggle with new people because I don’t enjoy small talk. It makes me awkward and far too frequently I overshare and get too personal. Would they think I was annoying and avoid me the rest of the trip? When Tia sent the text message and said that we were welcome to come to the house, I hopped an Uber and tried to banish the feelings and focused on feeling confident. This did nothing to slow my outrageous heart rate, sweaty palms, and near tears. Then I walked into the house. Lindsay, Danielle, and Tia wrapped me in a hug and helped me get settled in. And I did overshare in the first 5 minutes of meeting all 3 but Danielle assured me that she did the same thing and we bonded over the fact. The first night we created name signs like we would at camp. We showcased who we are and had to choose a word to define what we wanted to get out of the weekend. My word was ‘Purpose’. I am in the middle of an identity crisis. I don’t know how to be me without striving to become a mother. I was worried that I have no other purpose in life, that I have nothing else to offer or achieve. Then we set our intentions with some guided meditation and shared our stories of infertility and loss. The second day we had the opportunity to spend 1 on 1 time with Tia and Lindsay, the Infertile AF founders. Tia challenged me to come up with a goal and work on small steps towards it. Lindsay challenged me to find alternative ways to mother. The rest of the day I spent with the rest of the women. I shared some of my darkest fears and deepest pain. I have not felt as accepted and seen in a group as I did in those few days. Our third day, we headed to Sedona. We did some sightseeing and hiked a short trail that ended on a rock that was pretty high to the bottom. I am incredibly afraid of heights but I stood up and felt the wind whip around me and felt so free. Lindsay pushed me to scoot down and sit on the edge and take in the valley and surrounding mountains. Tears sprang to my eyes as we sat silently. I vowed to do hard things and work towards healing my heart. Our last morning was so bittersweet. I didn’t want to leave. I am always anxious to get home. But not this time. I didn’t want to leave my AZ babes! I made more steps forward with those kick ass women in 3 days than I had in the last 3 years. Since I have been home, I have continued my work. I have been practicing gratitude, which was always a struggle. I took a Photoshop course, to get back into my photography. I confronted my boss when a difficult work situation arose. I climbed a mountain for a second time in Arizona and wasn’t scared of the height at all. I am taking an online yoga class and am working on my health again. I am trying to look at the holidays in a more positive manner. I know I still have many more steps forward to make but I feel more at peace with who I am and the life I am living. Lindsay, Tia, Carrie, Lacey, Loren, Courtney, Jill, Tiffany, and Danielle I love you and I am so thankful for you embracing me and my weirdness and pain!

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