Last weekend, I was at the Fertility Planit Show, speaking on a panel about Letting Go. I wrote about my trepidation in a post last month and so many of you were incredibly supportive that I thought I ought to report in on my experience.
As anticipated, it was very strange for me to be at the show. I walked around the exhibition hall glancing sideways at the booths for everything from adoption agencies to cryogenic storage facilities to banks offering IVF loans. I spotted a few organizations whose paths I’d crossed on my own journey, including one of my former doctors, who apparently had no recognition of me (probably because he’d spent little time looking at my face, if you know what I mean.) I’ll admit that my pulse quickened and my chest tightened as I walked around. I didn’t feel any pull to get back into the fertility game or any tempting new possibilities, but I could feel some of those old, anxious, emotions creeping back in.
The panel itself was great. About 50-100 people sat in the room and I’m told another 22,000 watched online! Attendees asked lots of questions and I was glad I had answers to many of them.
The hardest part for me was looking out at people in the audience who I knew were coming to the end of their infertility ropes. I could feel they were in so much pain and it was incredibly courageous of them to come and listen to this panel on a topic I know they didn’t really want to face. Part of me wanted to climb down off the stage and just hug them and the other part wanted to kick the world in the kneecaps and scream that these perfectly nice people didn’t deserve this. But I didn’t do either of those things. I sat on the stage, told my story, and answered as many questions as I could.
The upshot of the whole experience is that I’m very glad I accepted the invitation to speak. It was ultimately very rewarding to speak from a place of peace and healing.
As an added bonus, I got to meet two incredible women, Melanie Notkin and Tracy Cleantis, who I’ve known for some time through the blogosphere. I also made connections with some wonderfully compassionate therapists, who specialize in this area. More about this aspect coming soon.
The show is coming back to LA next year and you can bet I’m adding plenty of suggestions to my speaker survey of more ways to bring this crucial topic out into the open.
If you’d like to see the panel discussion, it’s available to download on the Fertility Planit site or you can view below.
Thank you all again for being so supportive and encouraging on this new step in my journey.
It was very brave of you to go and I’m glad you reported back. When you described what you felt looking at the audience — it brought back the anxious feeling I would get sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, surrounded by people older than me while I watched the pained expressions on their faces and thought how my face must look the same way. I’m so glad I’m no longer in that waiting room or feeling that way 24 hours a day anymore. I’m sure you were able to help the people in that audience too.
I just watched the entire video and it was excellent, even for someone who has been “out of the game” so to speak for years. I was already familiar with Melanie, Tracey and you but to see all of you together was like a slice of Life Without Baby heaven. All intelligent, articulate, honest, raw, compassionate, empathetic and most of all ready to help others along this often lonely and painful journey. Role models to look up to when you weren’t even sure any existed.
I also thought Janis Goldman had some eye-opening insights on past emotional traumas and infertility. And just when I thought I’d learned it all! As was mentioned several times, the grieving process comes and goes so the need for support never officially ends. Thank you for always having your life preserver out there to hang onto and for a being an eloquent voice for all of us.