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The "So Now What?" Podcast


I am a Fertility Survivor.  The kind you enter into treatments hoping you will never be... childless.  After several rounds of IUI and IVF, at some of the leading Fertility Centers, I was told I was no longer a candidate for fertility treatment.  It left me asking myself...

So now what?

For the years that followed, I tried to put myself back together and tell myself I would be OK, but I wasn't.  I was shattered - I felt alone and failed by the whole process and especially, my body.  I yearned for others that felt the pain I felt and someone that could help me navigate a life without a child. 

I didn't find it, so I decide to create it.  

Fast forward to today. I am still childless, but my beliefs about my life have changed.  I decided that I can create meaning and purpose in my life even though I am not a mother.  I've learned to love myself and the body I felt failed me as a woman.

If you've been on this journey, hop on and join me as we create something we were not offered.  Let's create a sisterhood for the bravest women I know.  We brush ourselves off and don't let terms like: Failed, Unexplained, Miscarriage, Not-viable or Advanced Maternal Age define us anymore.  

 

May 22, 2024

Introduction:

Hello, beautiful souls! It's Lana Manikowski and I'm thrilled to share some major life updates and inspiring insights with you today. This episode is dedicated to all the incredible women who are not sure what to expect of your life childless after infertility and IVF. It's a journey filled with unexpected turns, but together, we can find joy and purpose beyond what we initially envisioned.

Big Announcement:

I have some exciting news to share—I recently resigned from my corporate job to fully dedicate myself to my coaching practice and advocacy work. This decision wasn't made lightly, but it felt necessary to truly serve our community and make a real difference. By leaving my job in early July, I plan to create more resources and support for women like us.

The Journey to This Decision:

For years, I balanced a demanding career while also trying to grow my coaching practice. However, after speaking with hundreds of women in our community, it became clear that there's a significant gap in post-treatment support for those who leave fertility treatments childless. Many of us feel abandoned and without direction once treatments end, which is why I’m determined to be part of the solution.

Why This Matters:

Living childless after infertility is not something we planned for. The lack of support and follow-up from fertility clinics only adds to the feeling of being lost. I've chosen to channel my energy into advocacy and support, creating a space where we can find our way together and redefine our lives with new expectations.

Previous Episode Shoutout:

Before diving deeper into today’s topic, if you haven’t yet, make sure to listen to Episode 126. It’s all about dealing with birthdays after infertility—a time that can often feel heavy when life hasn't turned out as planned. It’s a must-listen if you’re struggling to find joy in celebrating another year.

Main Discussion: Redefining Expectations:

Today, I want to talk about expectations—specifically, the expectations we set for ourselves. From childhood, we have ingrained expectations about our lives, but when faced with unexpected outcomes like living childless, it can feel like we’ve lost our North Star.

Here’s what we’ll explore:

  1. Understanding Expectations: Reflecting on the expectations we had and how they change when life doesn’t go as planned.

  2. Setting New Expectations: How to create meaningful and achievable expectations for ourselves in this new chapter.

  3. Handling Conversations: Strategies for managing conversations about infertility and childlessness, and setting expectations for how we engage with others.

  4. Future Goals: Envisioning and working towards a future that feels fulfilling and joyful, even if it looks different from what we once imagined.

Personal Insights:

I share my personal journey, from feeling like a deer in headlights after my treatments ended, to discovering that life can indeed be fulfilling without children. It's about having the expectation that things can get better, and believing that we deserve happiness and freedom.

Empowering Yourself:

You deserve more than just acceptance of your circumstances—you deserve to thrive. It’s about shifting from a mindset of limitations to one of possibilities. Let’s work together to set expectations that bring joy, purpose, and lightness to our lives.

Conclusion:

Thank you for joining me in this transformative journey. Remember, you are deserving of happiness and fulfillment, and together, we can navigate this unexpected path with grace and strength. Stay tuned for more resources, discussions, and support as we continue to build this incredible community.

Call to Action:

  • Listen to Episode 126 if you haven’t already.

  • Reflect on your current expectations and consider how they might be reshaped to better serve your journey.

  • Share your thoughts and experiences with me on social media or in our community forum.

Until next time, know that you can embrace the unexpected and live your life to the fullest. I am here to help!