What a difference a year makes!
The day started wonderfully with Melissa Ford delivering the keynote speech over breakfast and coffee, announcing that it was the “earliest conference in the history of the world.” She delivered a touching and very thoughtful speech. Recalling the fact that the last thing people want to hear is “just relax” (“the road to hell is paved with just relax”)…she recalled a touching example in her life when she was dealing with infertility, and how she was invited to speak at Politics and Prose, a well-respected book store in the DC area. Wanting to be fully prepared, she had notes of her speech, but due to a mishap, realized with 30 seconds to go on stage that she had nothing with her. The owner of the store said to her – with some tough love – it’s time to “just wing it” and go out there and deal with it. Relating this elegantly back to infertility, Melissa’s speech was moving, thought-provoking and of course humorous.
“Just wing it is the anti-just relax. “Just relax” dismisses the problem. It says: it’s not such a huge deal, just relax about it. It’s negating the problem: it’s not a medical issue; it’s just your stress getting the best of you. It’s belittling the problem: that infertility can be solved with a vacation or a good massage.
Where as “just wing it” acknowledges the problem and reminds the person that they need to find it somewhere within themselves to cope. The only way out of infertility is through infertility. You have to resolve it; you can’t live here indefinitely.” – Melissa Ford
I suppose good writers are like that – they can take relatively diverse experiences and see a new connection or a deeper meaning. Earlier on, she commented on the numerous miscarriages she endured and the fact that she didn’t feel a right to mourn from an early-stage miscarriage or a chemical pregnancy – but at the time feeling distinctly that she could not give herself the time or space to mourn the loss. What loss? You were never technically pregnant, or miscarriages happen all the time, right? She summarized that feeling so well – and how important it is to give yourself the time and space to be good to yourself first and foremost.
The rest of the day was jam-packed with some excellent seminars and workshops covering all aspects of infertility, egg donation and adoption. Exhibitors included the likes of Boston IVF, EMD Serono, Village Pharmacy, Prospective Families – among many many others.
In the late afternoon, I had the opportunity to lead an interactive mind-body session where we did a live progressive body scan and relaxation session with the intention of teaching this technique for stress reduction. We dimmed the lights, played some relaxing music, did some deep breathing exercises and together relaxed every part of our body. It was a wonderful way to end a long day.
We also appreciate the work that everyone put forth to create such a special event. From the leadership team to the volunteers, it was a spectacular showing that I’m sure provided education and that “one piece of advice” that could help these couples on their paths to parenthood.