Friday, April 7, 2017

Coming Up on the Big Launch

This month (I hope, I hope) I am looking to launch the service piece of my business. I am SO excited and nervous and anxious and elated, and all other total extremes of the spectrum over it!

Very basically, the program will be meeting the needs and filling the gaps in natural fertility that I have both personally and professionally experienced over the past 11 years.

What were those gaps?

One of the biggest gaps I've seen has been the assumption that 1 provider/1 specialty alone can heal any and all problems causing (or caused by) infertility.

What do I mean by that? For example, too often I have heard women (clients and friends) talk about the diet their Dr recommended, solely based on what seems to have worked for many other patients. After the recommendation was made, the patient was left with all kinds of questions as to where to start, how to succeed, and why this diet may even be beneficial for them. More often than not, what ended up happening was one of two things, depending on the patient's temperament:

Some tried the diet based on a website or a print out's protocol, did it for a month or so not even realizing they were eating foods that contained ingredients that were supposed to be eliminated, nothing happened after a while, and they gave up.
Others went full-speed ahead, reading everything they could about the diet, throwing out every food in their house and going on a shopping spree for all the foods they were now supposed to eat, then realized while they were out of the house at a friend's, a party, a restaurant, that there was little they could eat. These temperaments often turn into the "No thank you, I can't eat that. No, I can't eat that, either"s who were more often than not STARVING. Again, results were minimal, if any were seen at all.

The problem? Lack of expert and GUIDED personalized approach to diet and nutrition.
While a certain style of eating or popular diet may have benefits for a general population (for example, cutting way back on sugars and artificial sweeteners is a generally good idea), I've seen these blanket recommendations, even coming from a trusted physician, fail time and time again. The reason is because it is not being customized for success for that patient, by an appropriate specialist in diet and nutrition.

Imagine you want to learn to dress stylishly, because you are tired of the same old sweat pants and t-shirts. You walk into The Gap and speak to the Manager. He's a very smart, very professional man who knows the sales of clothing and accessories VERY well.  He tells you that A-line skirts are incredibly popular, and many of his customers are buying those. So, you go and you buy a bunch of A-line skirts. You get home and realize you don't have any tops to go with them. Back to the store you go, but now the Manager is speaking with other customers helping them find the exact color and size pants they need. You wait. You wait some more. Finally, he points you towards a rack of tops in the front of the store that just arrived, but they are way out of your budget. You leave with one, because you've already invested in all the skirts, but now you're left with only 1 complete outfit.
You get home, try on the top with one of your skirts, and realize that the way the top falls lower in the back than the front actually makes your butt look ginormous.

You return all of the clothes the next day, and go back to your sweat pants and t-shirt because this is just too complicated. Who needs style, anyway?

Now, imagine instead of walking into The Gap to speak to an expert in popular clothing sales, you walk into an office building called "Styling For You!" There, you meet for a consult with a professional stylist, who learns what it is you enjoy wearing now, what your budget is, what your goals are in dressing better/differently than you have been, and then proceeds to tailor a plan to fit those exact specifications. Not only that, but she stands up with you at the end of the consult, and walks out the door with you to go shopping with you, watch you try on several of her recommendations, and ensures that you are happy with the results.

There is nothing wrong with the Manager from The Gap. But his area of expertise for customers is in sales and marketing. The Stylist was just a better fit for this customer's specific needs in this area.

Diet and Nutrition are just 2 examples, but I have encountered many gaps or deficiencies in holistic approaches to fertility that I intend to make more comprehensive.
So, I am bringing together a team of specialists in their respective fields to maximize results for the whole spectrum of Mind-Body-Spirit.

The Program will include sessions with:

A FertilityCare Practitioner for education and guidance in understanding the woman's own unique biomarkers and fertility cycles (the Practitioner will be matched to each client based on the client's specific history and needs)
A Nutritional Therapist, specializing in women's health and fertility
A Naturopathic Physician to evaluate polymorphisms, nutritional deficiencies, adrenal and thyroid sufficiency, and to develop a personalized supplement plan based upon Spectracell findings
A Psychologist/Marriage Therapist to help the couple understand how their fertility struggles may be affecting their mental health and their relationship, and how to achieve well-being of mind
A Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) to lay the groundwork for successful lactation

Each specialist's sessions very easily bring the client from pre-conception, through pregnancy, and/or through postpartum, with no sessions ever expiring (should someone become pregnant before having used all of the sessions, for example). The Program is meant to be a "guiding through," rather than a one-and-done approach, for long-term, lasting results.

You may also notice that NaPro Technology is not on the list. This is for several reasons, most importantly because my Fertility Program is offered ALL LONG-DISTANCE to make the process that much easier for the client. While several NaPro physicians do work long-distance, in general there are liability and insurance issues that would hold us back from providing the best possible care this way. However, with the guidance of the FertilityCare Practitioner, referrals for NaPro will be made where necessary, again to ensure the best outcomes for each client.
Another strength of this Program Providers is that they can all be seen as Complementary Health providers, who, as a team, become a powerhouse for optimizing health and fertility from every angle. Many clients who are coming to us may already be under the care of a NaPro physician, and so our Program becomes the "whole package" to support and boost their current treatment plans.

(My website will explain this all in much greater detail, I'm just giving you a taste, here!)

What I'd love to hear from you is your questions about the Program! I am crowdsourcing now to make sure that my FAQ section and my description of the Program addresses all of the questions, comments, or concerns out there. And, I could think of no better place to ask than those who have watched my own personal infertility journey over the past 9 years, and the people I credit with helping me get to this point in my life. Truly, blog readers and friends - I owe this ALL to you. What a blessing you have been to me.

Thank you so much for coming along for this oft-bumpy ride!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

So Hard

Robbie is an angel.

He is seriously just about the easiest kid I could have been blessed with. He doesn't complain when we're cooped up indoors and I'm working on my computer for days on end, nor does he protest being carted all over the place or dropped off for babysitting quickly and randomly.

Being his mom has been easy.

Being a divorcing mom has been hard as hell. Gerund emphasized. As, it seems, it shall stretch on and on and on...

It pains me that I can't fix this problem. No, it more than pains me. It plagues me. It horrifies me. And whenever I think about the future, Robbie's future, knowing no matter which direction I go, he will suffer? I swell with such anxiety I can barely breathe.

And I keep it bottled inside, until my 50 minute therapy session once per week. Then, I let it out some more on the drive back to my parents' house, where I'm asked if I'm ok, if I've been crying. And I want to keep it from my mother, my pain. I don't want anyone to see it, especially her. She's a cancer survivor who just this month had major surgery again to repair a hernia from the first surgery. She doesn't need my suffering, she has her own. And when she tells me to imagine Robbie is in pain, that I would want to know as his mother... I answer back, "And so by telling you I've been crying, and I'm not ok - that will help me feel better, because now I've made YOU feel more pain and sorrow?"

So that's where I am. I am filled with such sorrow. Such deep, deep sorrow, that I just cannot fix things. And I never could.

As this all swells up and I sink into my own sorrow in the silence and loneliness of the only place I feel I can truly let it out, I'm reminded that I'm not alone - because I'm reminded what Feast it is:

This is probably my favorite painting of the Annunciation - because I love finding little hidden meanings in things that are already beautiful, and this painting has so many of them. Yes, my favorite is the tiny flying Holy Spirit, headed straight for Mary's womb from the window above, carrying a tiny cross and all. I mean, how all-at-once poignant, hysterical, and beautiful is that? :)

And just like that, I am calmed. Alright, after 20 minutes of sobbing texts with Sew. See, she's my tiny little Holy Spirit carrier.

When I think I have problems - today of all days - it helps to focus on what is truly important. And when Mary said the following words 2017 years ago, she wasn't just thinking of an "inconvenient pregnancy." She knew her yes was the first of many, she knew the cross of being the object of public scandal was only the beginning. She knew. And she hesitated not in accepting it all - accepting the entire future.

"May it be done to me according to your word."

Monday, March 13, 2017


Something doesn't feel right. Well, duh. There's nothing *right* about divorce. It is devastating. It is painful. It is a truly humbling experience in accepting the things I cannot change.

But, there was something not right about the blog. This blog. Being here again, oh wow, it feels like an old, familiar home - full of sorrow, pain, joy, FRIENDSHIP and sisterhood, and everything that shaped me over the past 9 years.  Something was missing. Something is missing.

Being open and honest is kinda my thing in this space. At least, as it pertained to infertility. And every single personal detail of my journey through it.

Of course, there was always an element of secrecy when it came to information that didn't *only* concern me, and would have invaded my husband's privacy. There was always this idea, in my head, that someday, he would guest blog or even write a book surrounding that untold story. It wasn't meant to be.

That part was always unspoken. Not just here, but even in my own private life. There were glimpses of it at various times throughout my spoken story here, but always under the surface. And, it didn't necessarily feel like it was secretive, but so often, I thought it was better, getting better, or long behind us. It didn't seem to affect the story that was being told on TCIE of Catholic infertility. But, it was always there, even when I was unaware of its existence.

Now? It's different. Because it's out there - but only generally. As I've said, there is just too much at stake for my son, and I also want to protect my husband's and my privacy. However it does make blogging a little weird for me.

So I thought maybe I could address some Frequently Asked Questions that have been rolling in, in various forms. And I'll do this periodically as things progress.


1) What happened??

This is perhaps the biggest question to those who read and were shocked at what they read. I can say, "what happened" was not a recent incident, or even a series of incidents, but a much bigger underlying issue. Quite similar to the NaPro and FertilityCare explanations for infertility and miscarriage, I think the underlying issue was there all along, leading to many of these other issues and incidents through the years.  The underlying problem in the relationship was by far the heaviest cross, and despite 10 years of trying to get through it, it only got progressively worse.

To keep the NaPro analogy going, there were times when I thought we had addressed the underlying cause of, say, endometriosis, with a laparoscopic surgery with a NaPro-trained Fellow, only to discover that the surgery was done haphazardly, or was never done at all, or the post-op requirements to ensure regrowth of endometriosis was kept to a minimum were ignored. And where I had become very well-versed in NaPro and FertilityCare through my infertility journey, I never felt like I was getting any better in my navigation through the issue in the relationship.

For those truly concerned friends (even if we've never met IRL), I do have a private blog and am willing to share that part of my life if you are interested. The private blog was only started in 2013 when things truly were out of control. You can feel very free to reach out to me via FB or my email. Again I just ask that privacy is respected on this blog, but do not feel awkward approaching me if you care to learn more.

2)  But you two always seemed to come out of difficult situations stronger on the other side...

Yes, it did seem that way. And there were even more difficult times in the recent years, including losing our home, bankruptcy, and welfare. (I am climbing back from all of this, now.)  Keep in mind, you were reading only my words, and so you accepted (because you had to accept) the light in which I presented my husband. Fundamentally, however, while it looked like we were surviving as a team, on the surface, what it felt like was that the underlying issue was grabbing ahold of both of my feet, bearing the weight of 2 anchors, while I tried to keep him afloat and myself. For over a decade.

3) Where are you living now? Are you near family?

We moved when Robbie was 4 months old, as we were about to lose the house. We have the most perfect little 1-bedroom cottage in my hometown, and are surrounded by family and the best friends anyone could ask for.  It was a year later, this past August, that my husband moved out. I have an incredible support system that I have to learn to utilize more because I truly cannot keep up at the pace I'm going, currently...

4) Are you seeking annulment?

I'll write more about this as time goes on. Right now, I'm taking a day at a time while also planning in a way I could never plan my life in the past. I'm taking the steps necessary to ensure first and foremost that Robbie is as protected as possible from the issue, and while I hope and pray every single day that God will work miracles and heal the family unit, I am also approaching this much more realistically than I ever have (now with 6 months distance and lots of therapy and spiritual direction, all of which I never had all at once).
I may indeed approach the Church Tribunal to gain a deeper understanding and a Wisdom about what in the heck was going on at the time we took vows. And that is exactly how I look at it. I will not, in my mind or motivation, be "seeking annulment" (if you ask me, that whole term is stupid and a misnomer, anyway). I don't want a certain outcome. I want Truth. I have always been after Truth, and now is no different. But with so much deception clouding a lot of my judgement and choices through the years, I do feel that this step will help me gain a clarity direct from Church authority, so that I can begin to take the appropriate next steps, whatever they may be.

5) What is this new business you're doing?

I actually started my business last April - and wasn't really sure what direction it would take. (At the time, I had hoped it would be a business my husband would take an active role in.) Finally, towards the end of summer, it was morphing into something that wasn't yet cohesive but was at least earning income. Now? Well, I am probably less than a month from launching and marketing it in a big way. It will feature what has become my main area of expertise through the past 11 years, mainly, Fertility, and add in some new skills and training I've acquired in eCommerce. I'll also discuss this more as time goes on but it is both at once exhilarating and absolutely TERRIFYING.

My anxiety has been through the roof in all of this - the business, the single motherhood, the divorce, the cleaning up and making amends for all of the casualties of the underlying issue in the relationship... it has been exhausting beyond compare. I feel like a failure pretty much every moment of every day, and even when I do have amazing news or close an unbelievable deal with the business, I am immediately met with a fear that the other shoe is about to drop. (You remember the whole inadoption thing, classic example, but this kind of thing was ALWAYS happening.) I haven't yet made peace with my own strength and ability to handle setbacks now that the major issue is not a part of my life, anymore. It is going to take a lot of time and re-training of the brain, I suppose. But man, this anxiety. From what I'm hearing, it is fairly common at this time in life, as other single moms have commiserated.  In any event, I am trying to find my peace with everything that is being demanded of me now (by myself) to be the best mother but also the best provider I can be. And I fail. Daily. But I continue to pick myself up, brush myself off, and start all over again. With Him, In Him, and Through Him.

What a glorious Lent it will be. Much needed for my soul.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The People on the Bus

There is so much to do, in so little time, to make this business what I want it to be:  to help others on a much larger scale than I ever have, before, while helping me to be with my son, and building our future... the stress is tremendous, because each time I want to just call it quits, I realize, it's just not a choice I have right now.

And yet, it is exciting work and I am so blessed to have all of the major pieces in place for the big launch in late March/early April - SO so so blessed!! God is good, all the time. The problem is me, and my inability to seemingly get my act together to just GET IT DONE. Yeah, ok, so I have a toddler I'm also taking care of, and stuff. But, then I'm humbled to see women just like me, single not by choice, with more than 1 child, building their own businesses, raising and homeschooling their kids, doing AMAZING things, and I am just blown away. Howwwwwww?????? They are goddesses, no doubt. Me? I'm more like a garden gnome.

I'm also teetering on the edge of nervous breakdown. The problem is, I'm not the nervous breakdown type. I'm the type that eschews nervous breakdowns. I'm Ms. "My Word is My Bond" Reliable, who gets deeply involved in commitments and feels an intense obligation to those in my life, personal and professional. I told me therapist (yes, I'm in therapy, don't worry) that "I don't have the luxury of having a nervous breakdown!" (Yes, I called it a luxury. And yes, I sounded EXACTLY like my mother.)

But, nonetheless, I have felt like the past 15 years of my life have been accumulating while boiling just under the surface, ready to erupt at my first sign of "weakness" or slack in vigilance or distraction. I'm working on this, I truly am. And I think it comes down to looking forward, and not backward.

I hold a lot of pain, anger, hurt, resentment, guilt, confusion, and feelings of failure over the past. It has been particularly difficult for me to move past these things and onto today, and tomorrow instead. My emotions are mostly targeted at myself, too - I feel like I could have, should have done a lot of things differently. Better. Just - I don't know, more aware. And logically I can explain it all away ad nauseum. But the feelings remain.

I actually started writing this post a few days ago, and tonight as a I finish it, I feel better. And that has been my life, as of late. Up, and Down. Up, and Down. Up.

And Down.

Luckily I am very well-versed in this, my son's favorite verse of The Wheels on the Bus. I have lived it for a long-ass time.