Ep 107: Make IF Make Sense with Regina Townsend
Fertility Forward Episode 107:
Our guest today is Regina Townsend,, an award-winning youth librarian, infertility advocate, and founder of The Broken Brown Egg, an internationally recognized reproductive health blog and non-profit organization. She’s passionate about bringing light to the nuance of infertility in the African-American community, and the unique needs of teens and adults, and believes in connecting people to resources they need to make informed decisions. She has most recently, authored a book called Make IF Make Sense, a part memoir part guided journal, with the goal of empowering readers to push through to the goals they have in mind for their family-building or reproductive health journey. As you tune into this episode, you’ll hear about the inspiration for her book, what her infertility journey was like, and her experience navigating through the wrong doctors to find the right one. We talk about the intertwined nature of infertility and mental health and why it’s okay to admit that things may suck! Her heart is to put forth a resource that brings ease to other people’s journeys through guidance and support. You don’t want to miss this insightful conversation, so start listening now!
Rena: Hi everyone. We are Rena and Dara, and welcome to Fertility Forward. We are part of the wellness team at RMA of New York, a fertility clinic affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Our Fertility Forward Podcast brings together advice from medical professionals, mental health specialists, wellness experts, and patients because knowledge is power and you are your own best advocate.
Dara: Today we have a wonderful woman on our podcast. It's Regina Townsend, who is an award-winning youth librarian, infertility advocate and founder of the Broken Brown Egg, an internationally recognized reproductive health blog and nonprofit organization. She's passionate about bringing light to the nuance of infertility in the African-American community, the unique needs of teens and young adults, and believes in connecting people to the resources they need to make informed decisions. Regina's heartfelt and humorous work has been featured in USA Today, Slate, and the New York Times. She's also appeared on BBC News and Fox Soul. She has most recently written Make IF Make Sense, part memoir, part guided Journal. Regina, so happy to have you on today.
Regina: Thanks, for having me. I'm excited. Anytime I get to talk about this, it's like my preferred soapbox, so I'm, I'm excited.
Dara: And you are a busy woman, actively working as a librarian. I love it.
Regina: Yeah, you can see behind me, you know, I've got like full library stuff happening all over the place.
Dara: I have total respect for librarians. My mother when I was in school, used to help out in the library, so it was one of my favorite places to spend my days growing up.
Regina: It still is a pretty cool place to spend a day, I gotta say
Dara: Totally agree. So happy to have you on and so you can share with our listeners about this new book, which did I pronounce it properly? Is it make I-F Make Sense or Make IF makes Sense?
Regina: I've heard two different versions. I envisioned Make if makes sense. because one of the phrases that people say when things are just, like, confusing and stupid is make it make sense. Make it make sense. And so I kept thinking about that and so that's why I
Dara: A play on words. Yeah, I love that.
Regina: But I've heard a lot of people say make I-F make sense in that, that works too. Hey, you know, that works too.
Dara: I love that you can interpret it the way that kind of resonates with you.
Regina: Yep. Whatever works for you.
Dara: So what was your inspiration for this book?
Regina: Originally I wanted to have a guided journal. I did, I wanted a journal because I know journaling was helping me. That's how I started the blog, was journaling. And I really wanted to be able to give people some of the tools that I've kind of developed for myself. And then as I was doing that, I saw somebody's Instagram about this class about how to make journals and I sat in the class and I thought, hmm, if I can do a journal, I could just write the story. And so I just started doing both and it just made sense to me because that was my process during the deepest parts of my infertility, was writing about my feelings, but then coming up with what I was gonna do to work through those feelings. And so this way I could do a little bit of both and encourage people to kind of get back to themselves while they're doing it so that it's an activity that's for you. So much that you're doing during the process feels for this goal, for this doctor, for this thing, this is for you. This is something that you look back on or if you wanna color on one of the coloring sheets or if you just wanna laugh at some of the, like the jokes or whatever. I thought this way it's like a friend being with you.
Dara: Well, your fertility story, reading it my heart, like I, I felt for you, I know we all have our own unique path, but you went through quite a bit. Would you like to share with our listeners anything in particular?
Regina: Confusion. Yeah. Starting with just confusion of like feeling as though I have no idea what, what is happening. I had issues with my periods and I didn't get any information about them. And then the next thing I knew I was going back and forth to these doctors and they were just saying, well, you just lose weight and you get your thyroid under control. And I was like, well, I don't even know what that is. And feeling as though I wasn't getting the full story and not connecting. It's crazy. I wasn't connecting fertility issues to the period issues. I was constantly feeling like if I can just get my period to stop, everything else is fine. And it didn't dawn on me that the period was an indicator of what could be going on fertility wise or reproductive health as a whole. Because what I learned through this process is that we're taught about sexual health more than reproductive health. And I just didn't think at 23 that there was gonna be an issue. I didn't think that there was gonna be a problem. I didn't think, you know, because I have relatives who've had kids and I'd always heard my grandmother had nine siblings. And so I'd always heard these things and so I thought, well that'll be easy. It was not easy. And it just started to open up all these other layers of how I felt when I went to the doctor's office and these feelings of like, why do I feel shame when I go? And that started to make me think more about the cultural nuance of it. Of like, I had friends who were not black who were, like, well, you just tell the doctor this is what you're thinking. Or you just, you just ask the question and I'm like, I don't know what to ask.
Dara: Yeah. You felt helpless, it sounds like it.
Regina: I felt totally helpless and like an anomaly. Like I'm the only one dealing with this. I'm broken. I don't know where to go. I don't know who to say this to and I wanna kind of be perfect. So I wanna like, let me ask the right questions the first time and let me go in and make them think that I'm, and then it just started to dawn on me like, these are not my own feelings. If I'm feeling like this, someone else is feeling like this too. And that's part of why I started blogging about it, to try to get those feelings out. And in the midst of all of that, you know, we looked at foster care, we looked at adoption, we had a disrupted adoption experience. And then when we finally got to IVF, it was crazy because everything moves so fast all of a sudden.
Regina: But it really taught me the importance of having a team that you can trust. Because as I started to develop the ability to speak in these doctor's appointments or even to self-advocate and say, you know what? I think I want another doctor. That's when I started to get the answers that moved me to where I needed to go to finally get to IVF because before that I would just go, they would tell me, lose some weight, I would leave, I'd feel bad about myself, I'd focus on losing weight and then nothing would happen. When I got a doctor who could talk to me and say, well maybe it's this and maybe it's that and I agree with you if you think it's PCOS, let's look into that. Then it started to move and I started to actually get the test that could tell me what was really going on, which was my tubes were blocked. We had a semen analysis, things that came up. So there was a lot that if I had known how to communicate with my doctors and they had known how to communicate with me, we might have gotten farther sooner, but grateful that the journey went the way it did cause then I could help somebody else.
Dara: It was heartbreaking, you know, reading your story in that hearing that took many doctors until you found a doctor who heard you, who got you, who gave you the time to ask the questions that you had. And it's interesting, Rena and I on this podcast, we talk about being your best advocate and you are like the epitome of, of really of teaching others of how, you know, sometimes it does take the trial and error. Unfortunately, sometimes it does take those situations where you don't get what you need. And then when it does click - okay with the right doctor, the doctor's listening to me, letting me ask the questions. And that's interesting how that's often when it unfolds.
Regina: Then it starts to move, then it starts to, and it's, like, you…fireworks start going off like oh yes. The anxiety of going to the doctor had started to rise. Whereas now, even though I'm still a little anxious cause that's a lot of doctor's visits and things like that. But now I know I'm going to talk to somebody who knows me.
Regina: Who is going to realize, oh this is what Regina and I have worked on in her case. And I feel confident going because I know, oh this is a doctor who respects the person that's coming. And not just their 10 o'clock. And that means the world and I've now been able to take that same mindset into going to the dentist, going to the eye doctor, going, you know, all of those other areas. You start to really value building that team and looking at it as a team. And not just the doctor's gonna tell you what to do and you just do it. But no, what is personalized to me and how important that is. Cause we're all unique.
Dara: We are. I was thinking about it, I think with my fertility journey and my fertility struggles, that's when I started using a note section on my phone to start writing down questions to ask the doctors. And I, it's funny that you mentioned that I do that too for my annual physical, for my OBGYN appointments, for my dentist. It's great to have those questions on hand.
Regina: Yeah. I learned a pen, a pad, and a plan every visit, every time. If I don't…
Dara: A pen?
Regina: A pen, a pad and a plan. I always have a pen, a notepad, and then my own ideas of what I think would work. And then I tell them and I ask them from their expertise, what do you think would work and how can we make that work together? Because you are the expert medically, but I'm the expert on me cause I've been living in me for 40 years, so I know me. You know, medicine. How can we work together to make those things work?
Dara: Exactly. Exactly. It's true in terms of, you know, a lot of times we go to doctors and it's no fault necessarily from a doctor, but when they're meeting with a lot of patients, they also don't necessarily know what patients understand. So even like when you mentioned like, I don't know anything about the thyroid. Where is the thyroid?
Regina: What does that do?
Dara: What does it do? Why do I, what's, what's important? How, how is that linked to fertility?
Regina: Yeah, is that like my appendix? Could it come out and it’s not needed? What does that mean?
Dara: Yeah. You know, it's great for my profession too. I think it's good for any profession that sometimes we make these assumptions and it in some ways it's always better to have the expectation that someone doesn't know or even ask. You know, would you like me to explain what this does and why it's important. And I also really appreciated reading that you started your blog based on your bridal blog. So you went on like this bridal network?
Regina: Yeah. Chocolate Brides. chocolatebrides.com. It was founded by Keisha Monk who is an amazing voiceover personality and she was a radio personality and when she was getting married she couldn't find a safe space to talk about some of the cultural things that we do in weddings. And she started this message board and we would find it happenstance. Each person had a whole thing about how they found it and people would stay because it was community. You would be able to discuss those things without feeling like the other in the room. And there were a couple of women on there who would talk about fertility and I thought, Hmm, that's very interesting. I hope that works out. Do do, do. And I just, yeah. You know, you don't think that way. And then when it started happening to me, it clicked to me that it was like, oh yeah, that's what that person was talking about. Oh this is that doctor question that they were talking about. And it's been amazing because so many of the women that I met on Chocolate Brides I'm still close to and now it's been 16 years or so. Almost more than that. But like that ability to build community was something I learned from Chocolate Brides. And the importance of having people to ask questions to glean information from, to actually share that confidence with was a big deal. Because it was even to the point of like when I realized we had meetups and get togethers and I thought wouldn't it be cool to have somebody to like sit in the waiting room with you and just help you when you're feeling like, I don't wanna go to this appointment, there's somebody sitting there. And like, so a lot of those ideas and those concepts of sisterhood and community I got from Chocolate Brides and I'm still grateful to them and I and Chocolate Brides members still even now, the message board is defunct and everything, we still check in on each other. We actually have someone who had been dealing with infertility for years and years and she just gave birth to triplets in November and a couple of the Chocolate Brides members went to The Bahamas where she lives to see and meet those triplets. So we've still been supporting each other and being that village and it has just been such an instrumental part of how I learned how important it is to have community. And culturally I think that people forget, that is how medical understanding and physical understanding used to be disseminated, is that it was a community that would say, even when someone would have a baby, it was the community that would surround that person and say, all right, you get some rest, we'll do this. We're cooking, we're doing… Now all of us feel like we're on an island from preconception to family building to all of it. Whereas we still need that community of who do I ask this question to and what do I say when I go to the doctor and can you come with me? And all of those things. We still need it. And so I'm eternally grateful. I tell Keisha every time I see her on Facebook, thank you so much for what Chocolate Brides has been and I make sure to mention Chocolate Brides when I mention the Broken Brown Egg cause without chocolate brides there would be no Broken Brown Egg.
Dara: It's so fascinating how things, you know, come up in our lives when they need to. And it sounds like chocolate bribe was like the perfect thing to really help start your whole journey and I'm with you. I think having a community is so important and finding those people who understand you. And it often happens when culturally similar groups of people. I think it's important to have that. I feel like the fertility process can be so lonely. And I know you mentioned that in your book. I feel you. And also there could be pressure from the outside, from family members, from close friends and of course they have your best wishes and you'd hope. But finding the people who are going through similar experiences in you, you know, can be really comforting.
Regina: Yeah. Cuz you can also start to self isolate. Because one of the other things that I learned in the journey is that it is intrinsically connected to our mental health. It just, there's no way to get around it. Even if you know, you find out that there's an issue, do IVF right away, get triggered. Right? It's still, there something subconsciously where you're like, but why did I have to deal with that? And those issues of self-image and those things, when you combine that with, Hey, when are you guys gonna have a baby and what are you guys waiting on and Oh, and I'm having a baby shower. Can you come? When you add all of that together, you start to be like, you know what, I'm just gonna sit in the house today and watch tv. I'm just gonna work, work, work. That was one of my issues. I found that I would just pile on work to myself. Just sure I can do that. You need me to do it? All right. You need me to come in on Saturday? I'll be…because I just felt this need to be busy so that I didn't have time to sit in the feelings. And now I realize that when I explain to other people, they don't realize sometimes that the, the mental health is manifesting when they're just like, oh, but I'm so busy. I'm like, yeah, but are you self-isolating? Are you overcompensating? Are you trying to look or appear busy to yourself so that you don't sit in this? Because that's not healthy and we want you healthy. We want when you meet that child, however they come to you, that you're giving them all of you. I don't want you to lose half of yourself in this process and then when you get that family, you've lost so much, you’rr battle scarred. And so I've really tried to shift what we talk about in the Broken Brown Egg to the fact that it's okay to have your feelings. , it's okay to be down. It's okay to say, you know what, I'll get up and be resilient tomorrow. I don't wanna be resilient today because those things I was beating myself up about so, so much. And it's with infertility already being so lonely and isolating, it was not helping me to then further say, okay, I'm already lonely in this space and I don't think I'm going to anybody's birthday party for the next two months. And I think, you know, that work thing, I'm just, I'll send a card. I just, just don't wanna, there were a lot of moments like that that looking back I'm like, man, I should've or I try not to should myself too much. But looking back I see where I could have done more to support myself if I felt the freedom to be honest. And so I really try to encourage people with that too. Of just like, it's okay to say it sucks. Yeah. That's okay. You're not gonna like bad karma yourself out of what you're trying to accomplish by admitting this is hard for me today. And I know that was a big one for me, too.
Dara: And I think what's great is that you give resources and you provide support for people who don't necessarily know what to say or how to approach things. And I also applaud you that you are recognizing that maybe when you were going through that you didn't necessarily know how to do it. But now looking back, you are helping the people behind you.
Dara: Which really is so beautiful.
Regina: Yeah. Thank you. I just don't want anybody to feel that weight because I also know what it's like on the other side of it and there are so many points of just angst that I'm like, man, I wish I had had a little bit of peace in that. And I don't want anybody else to get on the other side be that, that they resolve not to have children that they do adoption, whatever, but I'd like for them to be whole on the other side. And so if I can provide any kind of, let me show you what I did so that you don't have to do that. Or even if it's just, I can just listen and you can be as honest as you wanna be without any judgment. And I also felt, and this is something that might just be me, but probably isn't. I felt like when I first started looking for blogs and things about infertility, I kept seeing everyone would list all the treatments that they'd had. So I felt like, well if I haven't done four IUIs and three IVFs and this then I'm not really struggling. Or I would go to a site and they would talk about how much money they had spent already. And I'd be like, well if you haven't spent all of that already Regina, then what are you complaining about? And so there was this moment of like, you're already feeling low and then you would just kind of make yourself even smaller. And so part of what led me to start just being honest and telling people, Hey, don't, don't beat yourself up. Or Hey, here's what we would prefer you say is because I didn't want anybody to feel like their story has to look like anybody else's. Because that was another part of like the weight of it was, oh shoot, well if I haven't, maybe I don't have it as bad, or maybe I shouldn't. And no, how I feel is how I feel. I would like to not feel this way, but since I do the least I can do for myself is respect myself enough to have grace for me. And I realize that sometimes when you're in the lowest place, it's very hard to have grace for yourself. And so what I've tried to do is, or what I hope I'm doing is be that grace. When you can't give it to yourself, you can at least go to Broken Brown Egg and say, oh well this is what Regina said. And then you feel a little bit calmer knowing that there's somebody out there that's like, it's okay, you can breathe. It's all right. Yeah.
Dara: I got you. I understand you. I love that term. Great.
Regina: You’re not ctazy. Yeah.
Dara: Yeah, it's true. Everyone is unique. We all have our unique stories and it's very easy to get into that comparison game, which never leads anywhere good. It never makes you feel good.
Regina: No, no. You feel worse than you did in the first place. Bad, bad, bad.
Dara: And I also like, you know, just the notion of we all wanna be heard. And you know what I love about your book too is that there's so much room for journaling and for you know, questions, you know, to ponder. It is a great outlet to tell your own story, to have your own unique path.
Regina: Yeah. And to think about some of the things that you didn't know you were gonna have to think about. I remember when they first started talking to me and my husband about the cost of everything and I was like, oh, okay, we're in this conversation. How did we get here? Or you know, once they start bringing all those forms in of like, okay, and who gets custody of this? And you're like, wait a minute, I didn't even think about all of that.
Dara: Yeah. I remember that.
Regina: So having those moments to read about it in advance and kind of talk yourself through it, that helps you to ask those questions before you're deer in the headlights in the clinic going, wait a minute. Custody?
Dara: What? I didn't know this was part of it. I didn't know how to to find this.
Regina: Yeah. All of those…
Dara: Very deep questions.
Regina: Yes. Yes. It's like, well how do we get here? All of a sudden this took a turn that I wasn't expecting. Wow. Okay. And I remember that day we both got in the car and we looked at each other like you want, you wanna get something to eat? Like, it was just like,
Dara: It was an awkward like maybe we need to take our mind off of this cuz this is a heavy subject.
Regina: Yeah. This is a deep subject. Like what do you want to do with your embryos? And I was like, wait a wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. What?
Dara: But it was like incase it doesn't survive. Incase both people survivee.
Regina: Oh my gosh! Intense! Intense.
Dara: It's so fascinating. Like it actually, you know, it makes me think now even like look in school philosophy was one of those topics that was way too big picture. But now I'm like, ooh, this is like getting to the nitty gritty.
Regina: It gets deep, deep. Stop it. It gets deep and it gets overwhelmingly deep. Yeah. And I wished that I had had somebody be like, I, I thought nobody mentioned this part, nobody said this part. Where did this part come from?
Dara: I think it's nice to give people the heads up. I think there's a lot of unknowns and a lot of things that I'm sure evolve and change. And depending where you go and what support you get, it's different. But it is kind of so nice that you lay it out as a possibility. So when people potentially, you know, are at that point and won't be like, what? Wasn't expecting that.
Regina: Yeah, yeah. Didn't come prepared for this at all.
Dara: Yeah. And it's good you talk about goal setting. So a lot of also the deeper conversations of okay, what do I want from this?
Regina: Yeah. What is it that I see myself as? Or in some cases, you know, I learned that a lot of my stuff was self-worth stuff too. Is how do I break down what my self-worth issues and separate them from my goals as becoming a parent? Because if I tie those into closely together, I'm setting myself up for failure as a parent and just individually. And I think that a lot of that came to play when I was writing the book too, of like, how do I encourage people to really just think about who you are and what you want to be and what you see this as so that maybe you can identify, hey, this isn't even about the baby, this is kind of about me. Or vice versa where you're thinking, you know that it's not about the baby but really you are, you have a great instinct about parenting and that's a good thing. But all of those things, once you have the opportunity to write it out and see it laid out in black and white, you can internalize it in a way that's helpful for you rather than damaging. And so that you're not constantly feeling like you have to prove why you deserve to want this. Because that was another heavy one for me was like, oh, I need to have a reason. Why do you wanna have kids? Why do I have to have all of that? Other people that just get pregnant on a Tuesday? They don't have to think about all of this. Why I gotta think about all of this? And so a positive reframing for me was to say, well what are my goals? What is it that I feel strongly about? What are my values? What is it that I wanna pass on? What is it that I wanna become and how can I do that? That was what was more important and it took me a while to look at it that way. But hopefully having a resource like this will help other people so that it doesn't take them a while to see it that way.
Dara: How beautiful. That is really, really wonderful. And then I'm like flipping through it. I love that throughout, there's all these fun activities to do, but let's talk about the end where, okay, I don't know about you, which I'm sure you do - those waiting rooms sometimes are waiting so long. I mean you're crosswords, your doodles. I wish I had this when I was going through, you know, my fertility journey. Like it was
Regina: Avoiding each other's eyes in there. Everybody was kinda like into their own like head space, which I get, I get it. But I also felt like, you know, we're all in this together right now. The least we could do is just say, Hey, good luck today. Or just to kind of bring some humor to it, like waiting room bingo. It really is, you know, like there's certain things that you see every time. There's always gonna be an outdated copy of us weekly. There's always gonna be a flower that somebody hasn't watered that just, just happens to be enough. And so that was a really fun way to just kind of like take your head off of,
Dara: I think it's brilliant. I mean if, if you see this book, there's beautiful, beautiful artwork and really fun games, Sudoku and Bingo. And then at the end also there's every couple of pages, there's a section for your appointment information and the goal for that information, how you're feeling going into the appointment and then waiting room affirmations. Like how beautiful is that? What a great idea. And it's also, it's amazing how that that alone can change or help you reframe whatever
Regina: Sitting in those appointments. Sitting in those appointments. And that's honestly hard fought hard one wisdom from sitting in a lot of waiting rooms a lot of times. And wishing that I had, you know, just some encouragement while I was sitting there. And also just to help with the anxiety of appointment and the stress of like, oh because it becomes almost PTSD. You go and you're like, what are they gonna tell me this time? And what do you,
Dara: And you often go to the worst possible place.
Regina: You go straight from zero to a hundred, which I'm bad at anyway, just with my anxiety in general. But when it comes to medical stuff I go straight to, oh no, my back hurts, I'm dying. Like it's just, you go
Dara: Isn’t that horrible that's where our minds go?
Regina: Boom straight to the end. And so I also started to realize that when they come in just being observant, I noticed when they come in and they give me my blood pressure and all that other stuff, they don't really wait to see if I know what that means. They just tell you, oh it's this. Or they go ‘good’ and they start wrapping the stuff up and you're like, so I had gotten to the point where I would start to go, is that good? Is that bad? Like what does that mean?
Dara: What does that mean?
Regina: I did not go to school. I don't know what blood pressure's supposed to be. I didn't go to school for this. I do library stuff, I don't do this stuff. And so now of course most doctors have the MyChart where they can send you the paper afterwards but at the time I would just leave and be like, I don't know what,
Dara: What did that mean? Yeah, is no comment a good comment. Good comment.
Regina: Is that good, bad? I dunno. Or even if I just wanted for myself to track whether or not I'm getting better. I don't know. So that's why I added that to the book so that you can kind of see like, okay, when I went to this appointment I felt yucky. But the way that I was treated when I left I felt better and my blood pressure last time was this, but this time I went and it was this, I'm doing better. Just so you can kind of see the positives cause it's hard to count the wins. It's very hard to count the wins when you feel like you are not getting to the goal. And sometimes it's like, no. But each time you go you might be getting a win. You just may not realize it. So yeah those things help me now. I keep notes in my phone still or I have a copy of my book myself that I keep in my bag so that when I go I can just kind of take notes to myself and I can ask questions and feel like they're no dumb questions. This is, I have this giant piece of machinery, I need to understand how it works. How can we…
Dara: I appreciate you saying that there are no dumb questions. And I think sometimes the ones that we're the most afraid to say are the ones that really are the most important.
Regina: And usually the most common.
Regina: The ones that we're most afraid to say, cuz we're like, that's stupid question. When you ask it, you usually find out lots of people ask that question
Dara: And so it's not that stupid then if
Regina: Not that stupid. Very common question. Yeah. And I, I've really tried to get better about just say it, just say it. If the answer is simple
Regina: That’s great! But it doesn't mean it was a stupid question. Yeah.
Dara: But I have to tell you Regina, you are a woman after my own heart. I think my favorite page of the book, there's a section in the back, so when you're waiting in the waiting room, there's this full page of people watching notes.
Dara: I was like, what a fun activity. Cause that's when people watches.
Regina: Oh my gosh. It's the best thing. It's the best thing. I once went to an appointment for an ultrasound or something and there was a lady in there and I fully believe she had on like a prom dress and heels. And I just, you know,
Dara: I wonder where she was coming from.
Regina: I wanted to know the story.
Dara: Right? So then you can create your own story. Okay. I have a feeling I know exactly where she was coming from or where she was going to…Yeah. You know, I think those are great ways to help, even if it's ease a little bit of your anxiety just a little bit. I think this book and your online resource, the Broken Brown Egg, are two fabulous ways to really give some guidance and support and some love to, you know, all of us who are really on that path.
Regina: Thank you. That is absolutely the goal is to just give a hug where I could have used a hug and Right. Give some you not crazy because I feel that there are so many moments where you just go, am I losing my, I must be losing my mind because I was sure. Or there's so many heralding moments too where you have these like cinematic moments. Like I remember I was at a library conference and I was on every break between sessions on the phone trying to get my insurance to connect with my doctor and trying to get the call-in information for where I could get. And it was crazy. And I thought if somebody was filming me right now, this would be like an episode of Parks and Rec or The Office
Dara: Or like the Truman Show. Or Regina show.
Regina: Yes. And I was just, this is craziness, but I was just constantly like, okay, well let me call you. Okay, well okay, have him on hold, can I put you on? And then when I got off from all of them, I still had to drive across town, pick up the physical letter, take it, and I was like, who? Who thinks of this stuff? And then you know, you've got friends that are like, you didn't call me back or you didn't come to my party party. And you're like, do you know? I just ran a marathon yesterday basically. And so it's just being able to tell somebody else, you have not lost your mind. This is not crazy what you're doing. I hear you. I see you. It makes perfect sense to me. You don't have to be perfect when you say how you feel. It's not gonna kill your karma to admit that you're feeling down. It is not gonna kill your karma to admit that this feels like it sucks and that it's okay to hope. It's okay to dream. You have the right to do that. You don't have to earn that to be enough. Like those are all things that I really struggled with. And knowing that I struggled with them so deeply, let me know - gotta be other people feeling the same way. Gotta be not to be. And I would hate for them to feel this way knowing that I could do something about it. So that's what I hope to do is try to be that, do something about it.
Dara: How wonderful. I really do feel like you're paving the way for people who are going through this now and beyond to be more open, to feel more supported If there can be a little bit more ease in their journey.
Dara: Because of your guidance and your support. I mean, how wonderful is that?
Regina: I hope so. What I've also learned what was just unexpected, but really great outcome. I have older women who read the book and tell me these resources weren't available to me when I was in the throes of infertility. And I would've loved to have this. And I appreciate these things being said because this wasn't available to me. And even though it's beyond when they could choose to do IVF or anything, they're just grateful to see somebody put those feelings into words. And that has been like really heartwarming for me to hear from older women who feel like I, I really appreciate somebody speaking for the part of me that I felt like got silenced a long time ago. And that just,
Regina: Talk about humbling. That was like
*Dara: Well I'm sure you're gonna be getting a lot more messages like that after our listeners.
Regina: I hope so.
Dara: Hear this story.
Regina: It's one that I tell people is it's cheap enough that you can buy two and get one for yourself and give it to somebody else. And I'm not saying that cause I wrote it, I'm saying it causeI would've needed it and I would've loved for somebody to just give me one and
Dara: Well what was I thinking? I'm like, I could give this to so many people. So where is the best place to find you and to find your book?
Regina: Well, the book is available on Amazon: Make if Make Sense. And it's in paperback right now, but I am looking in the future to make it an e-book. So you can even download it. You won't get do to do the activities but at least the reading part you could do. Librarian - I feel like I have to have multiple formats. And then in terms of finding me, you can find me at the brokenbrownegg.org. You can also find me on Facebook and on Instagram at BrokenBrownEgg.
Dara: Wow. I am so happy that we had you on really what a, a beautiful story and what a kind soul, like, look what you're doing that you have, you know, gone through so much and look at how you're giving back to so many people and really helping support this community. We're so lucky.
Regina: Thank you.
Dara: So how we end our podcast is always with words of gratitude. So Regina, what are you grateful for at this very moment?
Regina: At this very moment, I am extremely grateful for all of the things that I thought made me weird and isolated, have somehow converged to make this perfect storm of like just great things that I get to be a part of from the Broken Brown Egg and helping that community to even being here in the library and helping people. That has been just, it's almost awe inspiring. So I'm, I've been almost grateful to the point of tears the past few days about that. So that's where I'm at.
Dara: That's beautiful. Yeah. I'm, I'm grateful. Similar lines. I'm grateful that for all those things that happened in the past, all of the challenging moments, how, you know, when you're going through it, it seems like it will never end. And that, you know, no one understands you and, and you're in it alone. And it's beautiful that you can look back on it and come to recognize that all of those things happen to get you to where you are today.
Regina: Yep. Exactly.
Dara: So, so lovely to meet you and so excited for people to grab a copy of your book or copies. Really such a joy to have you on. Thank you so much.
Regina: Oh, thanks for having me. I appreciate it being invited. I hope that it is a blessing to somebody.
Dara: Thank you so much for listening today. And always remember: practice gratitude, give a little love to someone else and yourself, and remember - you are not alone. Find us on Instagram @fertility_forward and if you're looking for more support, visit us at www.rmany.com and tune in next week for more Fertility Forward.