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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.  


Dec 13, 2022

  You are listening to the So now what podcast with Lana Mankowski, episode number 65. So now what These three words raced through my mind time and time again during my journey through fertility treatments. I tried desperately to have a child, but never was able. I yearned for a community to join that could understand my struggles.

I couldn't find one, so I created one with the So now what podcast? I love that you found us. Hello, beautiful one. It is so crazy to think that we are just a few weeks nearing the end of the year and there's all this hoop law about New Year's resolutions, things that are gonna happen in the new Year, excitement.

And for many of us that went through fertility treatments and weren't able to become moms. We don't have a lot of that desire to think about what our goals and dreams are gonna be for next year in a way that feels good and feels light. It all seems very heavy, and if there's anything that I have learned about navigating this journey, Is that we deal with a lot of heaviness and we have a lot of expectations of ourselves to feel streamlined.

We don't take a lot of time and have not allowed ourselves the permission to normalize that we might not have that same excitement that everybody else has for the new year. Because for us, it's one more year that we've gone without having the child of our dreams.

we find a lot of reason to not look forward to the next year and to not have these goals that feel good and seem achievable. So we're gonna talk about that this week and we are gonna talk about how to build more desire for yourself and for your. , if you've heard me talk about Thrive after infertility, it is one of the most beautiful experiences that I get to play a part in every week.

It is a small group of women who have gone through fertility treatments and weren't able to become moms, and we come together and talk about what's going on in our lives and how we want to create goodness from the sadness that we've experienced and how we really want to thrive and feel fulfilled even though we didn't have the family of our dreams.

One of the exercises that I work on with this group is called an I desire statement. Let me tell you about how that goes. I found, and you might relate to this too, that when you finished your fertility treatments, you felt like there just was not much of a desire to do anything but become a mom.

You might have had a hard time looking at yourself in the mirror and feeling excited about the reflection that you saw. You might have thought about your future and had a hard time envisioning it, feeling full and feeling exciting, and feeling like you were in control of it again. And so what I do, My Thrive members is we create an I desire statement and we get very clear on some of the things that we desire to achieve, things that we desire to feel.

For me, and I think my students would agree, this allows you to start to dream again and start to figure out what it is that you even want with this future of yours. Because if we know that if we continuously want for something that we don't have, then we'll never feel fulfilled. But if we give ourselves sort of this permission to say, okay, I know I'm not gonna be a mom.

I know that that chapter has closed for me, and we can certainly look at that chapter and feel sadness for it, but we also have the ability to find some hope and to find some desire to live again and be the person that we were before and be that energized version of ourselves that we feel like maybe we left behind when our journey ended.

Some of the things that you might relate to desiring are connection. Maybe you wanna have more satisfaction in your life. Maybe you yearn to have belonging and you're feeling like the people around you that all have kids. And the people at work that talk about the activities they're doing on the weekends with their kids and their families, you might feel like you don't belong.

So you might desire belonging or acceptance. maybe approval. Another one that commonly comes up is ease and just feeling like life can be easy again. Maybe you've desire to have some freedom and giving yourself some understanding and some grace. . So I desire statements for me have been an opportunity to let myself start to think about what it is I truly want.

If motherhood and children aren't on the table for me, what do I want in my future? What feels good to me? Maybe I'm, I'm not ready for it right now, but I know one day I desire something. What is that thing for. . Maybe you desire something but you think it's not available to women without children.

Write that down too. So when you create your eye desire statement, you're basically allowing yourself to start to dream again and maybe start to give yourself a little bit of space from this area that had you feeling captive and maybe you felt like you weren't in control for so long because you were in a holding pattern and you were just waiting to find out if this was going to work out for you.

And I know it's hard to let go of that holding pattern and to feel. even excited about being in control of your life because you're just not sure what that life is supposed to look like. You don't know people who talk about what it's like to live a life that feels good and it all seems so foreign. And you know, that's why I started telling my story cuz I felt like there just was no example.

Women out there that were truly talking about life, feeling good. So I created this belief that my life would just be average. And because I couldn't become a mom and I didn't have the children, I always dreamed of my puzzle would always have a few missing pieces. When I started realizing that I could reframe that story and I could start to desire things, that seemed lighter to me and seemed worth dreaming about.

That's when my story started to unfold, and that is why it's so important to learn that you do not have to feel beholden to your infertility forever. Being infertile does not need to be the definer of who you are today being infer. Does not need to be a scarlet letter on your chest.

It could just be part of who you are and part of your journey and maybe being infertile. was the reason that you decided to go in on yourself and do the work that allows you to feel great again and feel fulfilled and thrive and be the woman who was so goal achieving and full of life before you got your infertility diagnosis.

So as you're coming towards the end of the year and you're feeling like everyone's talking about, What they accomplished and what they wanna do in 2023, and you're feeling kind of stuck. You are just in the right place to start. Our next group of Thrive after infertility, I'm gonna open the application process in January.

I have space for four students, and I would love for you to be one of them. I would love for you to know what it's like to be in charge of your life again and what it's like to create a story that feels true to you and feels good to you and feels free to you because that is available. I know that it seems hard some days and maybe most days it feels like you're just too far gone.

Or maybe that your infertility story is just too sad and people that went through what you went through, just don't come to the other side of things. And I want to tell you that that's false. And you can have hope, and you can have desire, and you can create freedom in your life to be the most magnificent and amazing version of you.

And if I could say honestly, even more happy than you could have ever imagined being without children. So if that sounds of interest to you, I would love to take you on this journey with me because it is so much fun. One of my greatest days of the week is Wednesdays when our team meets, and that doesn't mean that we don't have tears, and it doesn't mean that we don't have sadness and we don't share things that hurt us, and things that feel heavy.

But we do a lot less of that and a heck of a lot more of dreaming and believing and questioning and deciding that we have the most opportunity to create a life we love than we could have ever imagined when our fertility journey came to an end. So I hope you have a beautiful.

I'm doing a Facebook Live. I don't know if you've seen me talk about that at all on social media, but this coming Sunday, December the 18th, I hope that you join me. We are going to be talking about feeling festive and talking about some of the tools that will really help you feel like yourself and look at the holidays and not feel so heavy.

So I hope that you. Have an awesome week, and remember, it is never too late to discover your meaning. I'll talk to you next week.