Episode 131: #NIAW: It Takes a Village: It Starts with You
It’s National Infertility Awareness Week, and this year, we’ve crafted two episodes that address the age-old truth: it takes a village.
Not only does it take a village to raise a child as the saying goes, but it also often takes a village to start or grow a family, especially when challenged with infertility. Reproductive Endocrinologists, Nurses, Patient Care Advocates, managers and HR leaders, partners, family members and friends may all step up, but at the end of the day, the journey starts with you.
That was certainly true for Cristina Loughrey on her journey to motherhood. Cristina spent much of her 20’s and 30’s focused on building her career, and not having found the perfect partner, she began to accept that motherhood may not be in the cards for her. Then Cristina found Ian, and together, they found Progyny.
Cristina’s village included her partner, her employer, her doctor, and care team who helped her through multiple rounds of IVF in a single year, and eventually a pregnancy. In this episode, Cristina details her journey through infertility, stress, and the possibility of the treatment being unsuccessful.
Guest: Cristina Loughrey, Senior Manager of Content Strategy and Narrative Architect at LinkedIn
Host: Lissa Kline, Progyny
For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Progyny’s Education page for more resources.
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Here are some highlights from this episode:
Thoughts Changing at a Later Age
03:22 – 04:03
Cristina Loughrey: I really wanted to focus on my autonomy, my career, some personal healing I was doing from some past traumas and a kind of irregular route towards my career. There was a lot on my mind, and being a mom was not something I felt prepared for. By 28, things kind of changed where I got a niece for the first time, and I started realizing that there was an incredible opportunity to grow and to experience the world differently through the eyes of a child and what we give to them. Then it wasn’t just this fear of failure that I had to look at, but what I might miss, if I didn’t have that opportunity.
The Sudden Realization
04:36 – 05:09
Cristina Loughrey: Oh my gosh, I may not ever have children. That became an actual crisis where I went through a long depression, and I got a lot of bad advice from people. People told me to just get pregnant and everyone acts like it’s so easy and that these are easy decisions. It’s like the same thing as bad dating advice so you just have to kind of must tune out and really drill down. It ultimately came to an intervention point where my parents both talked to me and asked me what I was going to do if I become a single mother.
Finding the Right Guy
07:48 – 09:39
Cristina Loughrey: Totally thinking I would just be single forever; I did meet someone. I had to tell him early that he seemed like a really sweet family-oriented guy, but I don’t think I can have kids. That was a moment where you feel like, you must hold your breath because you’re waiting for your next shoe to drop. They may say okay, well, I’m going to go, and you have to accept that it’s okay. People have a right to want what they want. It didn’t happen and he was divorced, which honestly, is a great thing, because he has all the lessons learned. Eventually about a year into our relationship, I was watching him play with his nephews. He was just so amazing with kids and so sweet, loving and so giving. It really resurrected something to me that felt a little like regret. I asked him about what happened in his previous marriage that they never had kids. He just seemed like someone who loves children. He said that they just didn’t get around to it. I guess that’s good because it didn’t work out. He said that he always thought he’d have kids. My mind was racing, and my emotions were starting to race again. He started thinking, and at this point, just totally abstract because I am 41 years old, how can I get pregnant?
More Questions than Answers
13:25 – 14:45
Cristina Loughrey: We opted for genetic testing. I didn’t want to go through the heartbreak of having to deal with miscarriages. The body naturally will often miscarry when there is a genetic abnormality. I really feel like this science was a blessing. It is a big emotional journey and there are moments when I would be emotionally hurt. I would just be driving after I just had a failed round, and a pregnant woman would walk in front of my car, and I just start crying. We lost a bunch of eggs because our trigger shot didn’t work. I was devastated and I was that scary kind of devastated where I was on the floor in a ball crying inconsolable. Just feeling so much like the world was unjust because I have this great relationship. For the first time in my grown-up life with a job and a place where I felt like I was in a good space and I’m feeling that the one thing that everyone thinks that you’re supposed to just be able to do I can’t.
Lissa oversees the Patient Care Advocates and the Provider Relations Team. She worked at Columbia University Medical Center for several years in the division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Involved in Patient Services and the Donor Egg Program, she loved working with patients while they underwent fertility treatment. Lissa graduated with a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University.
Previously, Cristina directed content for an international think tank and worked for the NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. She holds degrees in Rhetoric and Social Theory from UC Berkeley and New York University, minoring in Trauma Studies and Psychology. In her spare time, Christina is an advocate for survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual abuse and career mentor. She is proud of her Cuban-American heritage and lives outside of Austin with her partner and two dogs and is expecting a baby girl in April.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Breath Before the Purge
Track: End of All Things
Artist: Lee Rosevere
Artist: Philipp Weigl
Track: Western Shores
Track: Stage 1 Level 24