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natalie baby and dog


When I first announced that I was taking the Executive Director job here at Hopeful Beginnings one of the first questions I was asked was if we provided counseling for woman experiencing fertility issues. The answer to this question is not straightforward. No, we do not offer counseling specifically for infertility, but we do offer counseling for many of the issues that are linked or come about because of it. Infertility, whether it be diagnosed or just general difficulty getting pregnant, is a growing topic among women. Research suggests that there is a real issue, with reportedly 19% of women not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying, but there has also been a move to destigmatize the issue through more media coverage, social media support groups – even celebrities have shared their experiences in the last few years and so many more women are aware that they are not alone.

When my husband and I first decided that we would like to start our family, I remember the excitement. We would look at baby names, laugh at the ones I loved but he couldn’t pronounce, I would wander into the baby section of Target…there was so much hope. But as the first year dragged on, hope turned into frustration which turned into doctor’s appointments and medication. It was stressful and incredibly difficult. I remember trying to figure out what I had done wrong – whether it be too many Red Bulls drunk as a college student or too many years taking birth control trying not to get pregnant – I had a strong drive to find the reason why my life was not going as planned.

In the end, it took 2 failed IVF cycles and 4 months of medication to get pregnant with my first son Emilio. It was an incredibly stressful time, and my husband and I were starting to envision a life without biological children. We turned the second bedroom into a walk-in closet, we adopted our fur-baby Ani the English Bulldog who I credit with helping me relax enough to allow my body to finally conceive.

After my first pregnancy, I was able to have 2 more children – 3 healthy, rambunctious boys in total – but not all women have my luck. And even those of us who can have children, are forever changed by the process. I know that my body will certainly be the same after the hormones and the stretching but also there is also something that changes in the mind as well. A sort of loss of confidence that life will go as planned.

Recently, Hopeful Beginnings was contacted by a client who is currently pregnant after a long history of miscarriages; we are fortunate to be able to offer her perinatal anxiety counseling and help walk with her through her pregnancy and (hopefully) parenting journey. Every woman’s story is incredibly complex and Hopeful Beginnings is honored to be a part of that story when needed.

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