By Ellen Glazer
Every year about this time I phone several parents of young children and ask them to give up a Saturday in early November. I know in advance of each call what the response will be–people will be delighted that I asked and only too happy to oblige. For although life is full and babysitters are expensive, these moms and dads invariably want to give back. And what I am asking them to do is to share their story at the RESOLVE New England (RNE) annual conference. Sleep interrupted nights and busy toddlers have not blurred their memories of what it means to endure infertility nor their gratitude for all that the conference offers.
For many years I have done a presentation for those considering egg donation (ED) or adoption or both. For this workshop, I assemble a panel of ED and adoptive parents who poignantly and joyfully tell their stories. The names and faces change from year to year, but the message is always the same: “We can remember what it felt like to be in your shoes–we attended this workshop and left feeling more hopeful than we had in so long.”
When I encourage a current client to attend the RNE conference, one of them will inevitably ask “But can’t I get the information online?”. The answer is both yes and no. Indeed, there is lots of information about infertility and the many paths to parenthood online. However, reading on your phone or computer offers no opportunity to ask experts specific and personal questions. And when you read online you can’t look someone in the eyes and ask (or infer), “How did you get through it? How did you know which path was right for you?”. The internet doesn’t introduce you to physicians, embryologists, social workers and other providers whom you may enlist to help you reach your dream of building your family.
Years ago, people described infertility as a rollercoaster. About a decade ago, talk of the rollercoaster faded and people began referring to their experience as a journey. Unlike a rollercoaster, a journey is often prolonged with unexpected twists and turns along the way. Many RNE conferences ago I realized that this journey is greatly shaped by the people you meet along the way. I participate in the RNE conference year after year after year because I meet so many extraordinary people there and because I so appreciate the opportunity to help shape their journeys.
Ellen Glazer, LICSW, Family Building Counselor and Coach, is co-author of “Having Your Baby through Egg Donation” and author of “The Long Awaited Stork.” Her session at the 22nd Annual Conference is “Your Next Steps: Egg Donation, Adoption, Both?”.