In 2009, after I had been dealt quite the blow with my premature ovarian failure diagnosis, Larry and I were left with lots of questions and few answers.
We were in luck (as lucky as you can be with infertility) when I found out about the RESOLVE New England Annual Fertility & Adoption Conference. it was local to us in our state and had 40+ sessions to get all those answers we’d been left with in the wake of our diagnosis just six months prior.
2009 was a tough year for us. I had just been told that I couldn’t have children of my own and not a week later, Larry had been laid off. We applied for and received a full scholarship for both of us to attend the conference; without it, we wouldn’t have been able to go.
Going to the RNE conference changed my life:
…it was a fantastic experience full of valuable information. It’s a lot to digest at once, but I think we’ve come out richer and more knowledgeable on the other side. For the first time in several months, I’ve come out with a genuine sense of hope.
I’ve been back every year since as a volunteer, the only exception being last year.
My journey has been “easy” – relatively speaking, of course. I got pregnant on our first round of IVF, our first foray into fertility treatments entirely. But the four very long years to get to that moment were fraught with some of the darkest days of my life – days when I didn’t even want to get out of bed I was so burdened by the emotional weight of my infertility.
RESOLVE New England was the organization that was there for me, throughout it all. I went to their half-day seminars, their Annual Conference, and even their support groups. When I joined their Board, suddenly my perspective shifted. I took a more engaged, proactive approach to barreling through the gauntlet of my infertility. I volunteered, leading a support group of my own. I even worked for RNE for a couple of years before Judah was born.
And every year, the Annual Conference is this landmark in the New England infertility community, one that I’m drawn to out of obligation. Not because someone’s twisting my arm – far from it. I feel like I owe it to RNE to come back because of how deeply interwoven they’ve been in our infertility journey and story.
I come back because I have always believed in RNE’s mission to providing support, education and advocacy for the New England infertility community. I come back because I know what it’s like to be there as an attendee, to be overwhelmed and stressed and exhausted and hunting for answers.
What makes this year particularly special and poignant for me: I’m coming back as a Parent Panelist for the Donor Egg/Surrogacy Parent Panel at the end of the day.
It’s hard to put into words beyond ragged and raw emotion of what it means being able to sit at that Parent Panel table, having once sat on the other side of it and desperately longing to trade places. Sitting there, as a newly diagnosed infertility patient wondering in terror if I would ever be on the other side of that table.
I have always said that our infertility stories, our journeys – matter. I hope my story will help some couple this year, as I was helped six years ago, despite my tears throughout the day. It is an emotional day. But like I said that first year: I left for the first time with a genuine feeling of hope.
You can read more about my past experiences with RESOLVE New England and their Annual Conference here.
The 21st RESOLVE New England Annual Fertility and Adoption Conference is Saturday, November 8th in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
I’ll be there… Will you?