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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.  


Feb 14, 2023

I launched a YouTube channel, so I'm trying something different. I am going to be simultaneously video recording when I audio record a podcast, so you need to go to YouTube. Make sure you follow my YouTube channel.


You listen to the podcast, you can see me in the trenches as I'm recording each week's episode.  I wanted to talk about something this week that is probably one of the largest sticking points that those of us that pursued motherhood and desired motherhood and weren't able to achieve it are working.


And that is creating your purpose. Somewhere back in the depths of our mind, there is a little voice that is telling us that becoming a mom is our purpose as women.  This voice is very loud, and this voice has been our. For what it is that we want to achieve with our life and find, um, our meaning through.


But when you can't become a mom, there is another way to find purpose in your life. Finding purpose.  The societal norm  we choose to believe that there is one purpose for us in this life and in this world, and one thing that I work on a lot with my students and when I am the witness to somebody realizing for the first time that your purpose does not have to be one singular thing to yourself or to one person, it is just a dam that opens up and life starts to flow and life starts to feel less restrictive because you're not constantly seeking this one thing to define you or this one thing to be your beacon in your life. So I'm gonna throw some ideas out there this week that you might wanna consider and if you are still holding onto the belief that Motherhood was supposed to be your purpose in this life, I am not here to judge you or tell you that you need to let go of it, but all I wanna do is offer you the opportunity to see things in a way that others have started to transition their way and see, you know, maybe down the road this is something you'll be ready to pursue, but I'm just planting the bug in the beautiful ear of yours to let you know that you might have another purpose (or purposes) for you. Let's all recognize that we as women might just be following in suit to what we've always heard. And we've talked a lot about this brain of ours that is conditioned to move along in the flow and not question things a lot because questioning takes a lot of mental energy.


It takes us out of our norm of being comfortable and being settled into something. So there was  this acceptance that when you believe or you work or cooperate in the masses, you are in your safe space.  This brain of ours likes to be in its safe place. And when we all of a sudden throw something out there that gets us questioning something that the whole mass of people around us don't necessarily recognize or accept as their truth, we go into this fear mode and question ourselves and tell ourselves, how dare you think something different.


You should not be the odd person out, you should not sit here and question whether things are true or not that everyone else believes are true.  As you start to consider what purpose even is, is purpose defined by somebody else or are you willing to consider what your purpose is defined by, and are you willing to consider that this historical belief that purpose is one overarching thing that you are in existence for the rest of your life?


Are you willing to believe that that is how you will define yourself in your purpose? When you allow yourself to consider the idea that purpose might be multifaceted to somebody else, your existence might mean something so much different than you even know somebody is reaching for that you offer by innately being you. It seems like what I found,  this is my opinion, and many of the students that I work with find it to be very heavy… the mission of finding your purpose. What if waking up every day is an opportunity for you to serve purpose in your life and in the life of others, on this circular type of movement?


And what if you consider your purpose is finding out the truth of who you are as an individual and who you've been created to be in this world is the only purpose  that you need to have in your life is to understand who you are, what motivates you, what moves you forward, what scares you, what things you shy away from because of whatever reason.


Maybe because historically you believed you weren't good at something, or people told you that women without children don't live full lives and women without children aren't impactful, or women without children aren't needed like women with children. So what if you were just willing to question all those things and move forward with an ease and a curiosity in it instead of a fear that you are not adhering to it?


  Does that make sense? Because that's a lot of what we work on  together in the Thrive After Infertility Mastermind or with my one-on-one students, we start to question if something gives you discomfort or something makes you question who you are, listen to those questions. 

Don't accept them as true.

Don't accept that your purpose in this world is only associated with having children of your own.  Get curious and say, I wonder why I believe that? 

Maybe ask yourself, does that need to be my truth?  Questioning yourself might just be art of your path of finding your purpose or finding who you are and who you're intended to be in this life.


 I'm gonna share some things that have come up in some of my own personal journey, that might allow you to take this burden of finding your purpose off of your shoulders. Think about the people that you impact by waking up every day. Maybe you serve a purpose in your workplace.


Maybe you serve a purpose in your family life.  Maybe you are a support to somebody, or maybe people look at you and gain their strength by seeing how you've navigated this journey. And maybe they're not going through infertility and maybe they already have things in their life that you don't have, but they look at you and they look at how you navigate your life and you serve a purpose to them.


As an example of somebody who wakes up every day, even though life is so different than you thought it would be. And when you wake up every day and you put one foot in front of the other, maybe you're serving purpose through your story and through your journey. And maybe there's people, and I want you to really think about this, who have served a purpose in your life?


that is so different from the purposes they serve to others.  I've talked about this before. My second grade teacher,  her purpose was teaching me basic math, how to add and subtract. Maybe divide and multiply, but in her life, if she went home and had a husband or a wife or children, maybe she served a different purpose in their life.


But to me, that was one of the greatest purposes that she served because that was the basis and foundation of math skills in so many different ways that I've been able to utilize arithmetic in my life thanks to her, my second grade teacher.  Her purpose wasn't one universal thing. And now here's a personal story I'd love to share with you.


The day that I found out that I wasn't gonna become a mom, the day that my clinic called to tell me that my one frozen embryo was chromosomally abnormal and not viable for implantation, I was away from home. I was in Minnesota at my corporate office for my job, and I got this news.  


 This was the first time that I felt like there was finality in my journey after going through seven years of fertility treatments and always having this glimmer of hope that this might be the time that it worked. And then finally getting that call that day that this was over.  My dream of. A biological mother with my husband was done.


 I remember finding this dark corner and wanting to be away from anyone while I was processing this information, I was sobbing. And this woman who worked as a custodian in this office building saw me and she came up to. And she comforted me and in my broken Spanish and in her broken English, I explained to her what was going on and the things she said to me served such a huge purpose to me.


Now, I don't even know this woman's name. She doesn't even know who I am. She doesn't even know what I had been through. She put her hand on my back and she told me “He will take care of you”. She was serving a purpose that all these years later, I'll never forget her.  Think about the impact that she made and she serves a purpose by not even knowing how she touched me and the strength that she offered me that day and


that moment that will always stick with me throughout the rest of my life. To me, that is my proof, that your purpose does not need to be one singular thing, and maybe your purpose doesn't have to be thought out every day, but if you're showing up in your life and being a clean, loving, true version of you.


to this world. That might just be the purpose that you're intended to offer. So if you're thinking about how you're gonna move forward and how you're gonna create this in your life, I can help you. It's something that we do by questioning ourselves as we're working through our classes and thrive after infertility.


You can start today. You can start by doing your paper thinking and understanding what it is? What is the true version of you? Who are you besides infertile? Maybe take the word infertility out of your life and out of your story and tell me who you are.


Write that down on paper and start to understand how you can become closely associated with yourself as an individual so when you show up in your life every day and you are presenting the truest version of you, you are creating purpose in more ways than you could have ever imagined.  Maybe there are some skills you wanna perfect and some tools that you want to work on or share with others that offer a greater definition of purpose to you.  When you allow yourself the freedom of releasing this stronghold of the word purpose on you, and start realizing that it could be multifactorial and there could be thousands of purposes you serve in this life and. Allow yourself to stop believing that it has to be this one overarching thing. Think of your name like mine, Lana Mankowski. What if I don't have to have a tagline that defines me the rest of my life? Cuz if I choose one tagline to define me, and you choose one tagline to define your whole life, it can be very stifling, and the freedom that we have as women and as individuals to move through our life in being fluid is the greatest gift and the greatest opportunity to discover our purposes.


So think about that as you're trying to navigate this heaviness that you are associating with motherhood and your inability to become a mom. See the lightness that exists by simply being you. Know that no matter who you are right now, things can change for you. Things can get lighter for you, things can get easier for you, but it takes an opportunity for you to be willing to release that overarching definition of purpose.


That you've so longly associated with motherhood. If you get a chance to check out my YouTube channel, I would appreciate you liking it and following it so that more women like us can find each other. Because if you're anything like I was when I finished my fertility treatments and  realized that I wasn't gonna become a mom, I just longed to know that there was other women out there who knew my story and understood my story, and so maybe we can find one another and grow together and start to believe that our purposes can change the life of so many just by believing that motherhood is not the only way we can change our lives and create a legacy that impacts the world forever.