Posted on December 2nd, 2021by RMANY

Ep 81: Body Betrayal with Dr. Anna Flores Locke

Fertility Forward Episode 81:

Women from Latina and African-American communities are the least likely to seek medical advice when struggling with infertility. Today we talk to community leader, businesswoman, advocate, professor, writer, and mother, Dr. Anna Flores Locke about her new book (Body Betrayal: Understanding and Living with Infertility) and how she came to terms with her fertility struggles as a Latina woman. We hear how the COVID-19 lockdown allowed Anna the time to finally put her experience into writing, and how this was cathartic for her. We break down the stereotypes that are responsible for African-American and Latina women seldom seeking fertility advice, and how family members within these communities unknowingly commit reproductive microaggressions. Tune in to find out how to include men in the fertility conversation, and why Anna feels infertility is simply like a detour during a car journey. Join us to hear why acceptance of things out of your control is key to your recovery, and how to handle your body betrayal.

Transcript of podcast episode

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 for medical professionals, mental health specialists, wellness experts, and patients, because knowledge is power and you are your own best advocate.
Dara: Dr. Diana Flores Locke is an international award-winning author and educator who has worked in the mental health profession for more than 15 years. She holds a doctorate in counseling and is a licensed professional counselor in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Puerto Rico. She currently owns Charlandra Counseling Services, a virtual infertility counseling center and is an assistant professor at Nyack College. Dr. Anna is an active leader in the American Counseling Association and the author of Body Betrayal: Understanding and Living with Infertility and Introduction to 21st century Counseling - a Multicultural and Social Justice Perspective. From her personal and clinical experience with infertility, Dr. Anna created the fertility clarity, an approach to infertility counseling. She is a Latina twin mom from Chicago, currently lives in New Jersey, and enjoys dancing and going to the beach. Dr. Anna is available for seminars, consulting, group book discussions, and speaking engagements. And today we are thrilled to have Dr. Anna on to share her wealth of information and knowledge, and also to discuss her book. So I'm so happy that you're on. Thank you so much.
Anna: Thank you, Dara, for having me, of course. I’m excited to be here.
Dara: I'm thrilled. There's so much to get into today, but I actually wanted to first speak to you with regards to your practice and how you came to, to specialize in counseling for infertility.
Anna: Yeah, well, I came to that specialty because I share in that experience. And so I have infertility because of endometriosis. Having gone through the experience of trying to conceive my children and having faced that sense of isolation and loneliness and depression and anxiety by myself at the time when I went through it, I dedicated my practice to helping others because now I have this passion and drive to help other people going through it because there really is no need to go through it alone and to be isolated and feel ashamed because there is support out there. And so I wanted to be one of those support persons in the community to help others.
Dara: That's wonderful. And I find it so interesting, how so many of us specialize or start to specialize in this area after having our own personal experiences. Myself similar, I was just a regular dietician working in weight management until I faced my own fertility struggles. And now it's, it's, you know, you feel that you, you see that there's a void in many areas in this field and not necessarily feel the obligation, but you know, you feel the drive and, and it's, it's compelling to, to work with the community, especially when, when you can share with them that, you know, you face similar struggles as they have.
Anna: Right. So you kind of mentioned the word obligation and as someone who is Latina, you know, we definitely come from a very collectivistic community based family oriented culture. So there is a little sense of obligation because I have the professional credentials, I have the personal experience and to really combine that to be a resource for communities of color, especially the Latina community. That for me, does feel like an obligation, but more than an obligation, it's actually become my life's purpose. And yes, it really gave my experience of infertility meaning because I went through the heartbreak and the grief and the hatred of other people who can't get pregnant easily. And then, you know, I decided one day or, you know, it was a process of healing to come to a place of, like, I could either stay in this dreadful place of darkness of like I have infertility and this is horrible and awful, or I can make to choose a different path, which really brought me that life purpose and meaning, which is I experienced infertility so I can help other people so I can write about this. So I can talk about this and open doors on this very stigmatized topic and many of our communities. And so that has really brought me just joy in my life and really moved me from that place of depression and anxiety over having infertility to a place of saying, I accept this because now I have this purpose that I never had before.
Dara: Wow. I mean, it's remarkable. And I, I love that you also use like the word choice that we have a choice, because I think that's a lot of times we feel helpless when you're going through such a challenging time. And even like, we have a choice of looking at things in a different way, and we have a choice of getting the support. And I love that word because I think a lot of times we, you know, we don't realize that we do have a choice,
Anna: Right. Yeah. And it's not easy. It's not easy by any means. I mean, I still struggle. It's not like I just miraculously have, you know, no more grief and loss and pain associated to having infertility. However, it's not consuming me anymore. Right? It's like, okay, this is integrated into who I am. It is part of who I am. It's a medical condition that I have no choice in that, you know, I have no say in whether or not we have trouble conceiving. I just do. And so then it becomes, like you said, what do we have control and choice over? And for me, that was my mental health and my decision to say, okay, I can write my story to heal. And now I can actually use that empowerment to help other people along their journey too. So it's really had this ripple effect for me. My own healing process has really brought to me that opportunity to help other people, which then continues to feed my soul right. And continues to help me heal. And when there's a new baby born and I was the counselor along the journey, and I get to meet that baby, it's, it's amazing. I love it.
Dara: It's a win-win. And in some ways like a feedback loop in many ways, which I think is quite remarkable. So, you know, you, you kind of briefly mentioned, you know, the book, but like really your inspiration for the book, I'm assuming partially is, is due to your own experience. Was this during active COVID? Was it prior? I'm sure you probably need an extra chapter.
Anna: Yes. This is, I think it was my COVID project. I think a lot of us found like, Ooh, I kind of have time to finish that unfinished project. And that was mine. It was a story on my heart for a long time. And I happened to come across a writing coach and a publisher. And I said, you know what? Now is the time.When that door opened for me, I walked through and, you know, it took less than a year to write because once I started pouring out my emotions onto paper, it just all started coming out. And, and there were things that I didn't even, I never talked about before. And it was funny as I was writing it, you know, I was not scared about the public reading it. I was more worried about my parents reading my story because, you know, again, being in the Latina culture, we don't talk about sex or fertility or reproductive health. Like all that's taboo. And so my parents didn't know the journey I was on. Now they know because they read my book. And, but, so it was really a healing opportunity for me to write the book and be able to just kind of let it out of my soul and my heart. And then to also offer that to others in a very authentic and genuine way. You know, this book is, it's a short read in some ways. People have read it said they could read it in a day or two, because it's very conversational. So it's like me just talking to you in the coffee shop telling you my story. And that's the model I wanted it to be because I wanted it to be accessible. I wanted it to be a place of validation so people can read the book and say, I relate to that. I get it. Wow. That's what I'm experiencing. And she's being real about it too. And I also infuse in there kind of some psychological concepts from the professional field as well. So it's a nice combination of the personal and professional.
Dara: I was going to ask you if he brought some of your fertility clarity approach within, you know, more of just a discussion of, of your personal experiences, if you also brought some of that counseling aspect to it?
Anna: Yeah. So that's the workbook I'm working on now and will be expanding on, or really putting it to paper that fertility clarity approach, but in the book, it's more so of the theoretical aspects. Like post-traumatic stress related to having gone through the trauma of reproductive medicine and high risk pregnancy and my babies were in the NICU for a month or so, and then becoming a twin mom and how that changed my whole identity and talking about grief and loss as well, because we also know infertility never ends and so you're always facing grief and loss every month when your period comes or every time you see another pregnancy announcement or things of that nature. So the book has more of a theoretical aspects. And then the second book, which is in process will be the fertility clarity workbook that people can pick up and actually kind of be in the counseling room with me on paper, I guess you can say, and, and work through the program
Dara: Great. So more of a hands-on experience?
Anna: Yes, definitely.
Dara: And I know you also use the term emotional roller coaster, which I think is great because that's really how I felt during that time period when I was trying to get pregnant. And I think it's something that like, it's perfectly explained from like that emotional roller coaster, how you can have some of those highs and then those lows and then how it can change so quickly, especially with all the medications that you can be put on how that can further make things challenging.
Anna: Yeah, definitely. And that is where I kind of saw the gap in care was helping people navigate that emotional rollercoaster. And so that's where my job comes in is providing that emotional relief during the ride, during the journey, because that's the hardest part. Sometimes people, a lot of times people drop out of treatment. They discontinue because of the psychological toll, because they're in the low and they're like, I'm done, I'm not doing it anymore. Right? And that's where I come in to help keep their stamina. Not only about hope. It's also about stamina to commit to finish. To commit to get to that end point, whatever it is for you, because parenthood looks different for a lot of people, you know? But talking to reproductive specialists in the medical field,most of them say, we can get most people pregnant. They just have to stay the course. And that's what happens though, is just emotionally it takes a toll and also financially that's a big piece of it too, but at least if I can help to alleviate some of that emotional toll and keep your stamina, then I've done my job.
Dara: You made a really good point because I was thinking about, of course the first thing I was thinking was I feel like you're very important of course, throughout the journey, but I'm thinking right at the beginning, you know, right in the beginning when you're kind of starting to struggle, great to meet, you know, with someone who can really support them with their emotions and with their grief, but you made a really good point that it really, I think a lot of times the crucial part is, is staying the course when you're at like, you know, that low point or at that kind of, you know, determining point of do I give up or do I keep on going that I think is the crucial point for sure, to, to, to reach out. But a lot of us feel hopeless, helpless, and there's this stigma, which is wild. I think, I mean, I'm so happy that therapy, especially in the time of COVID is, is, you know, I think we're, we're learning that now more than ever, we really need to, to get that support, but it's, there still is. There's still kind of new that, that stigma of, oh, I can do it. I don't need any help. And there shouldn't be that stigma. I think it's, I think it's such a strength to reach out
Anna: You're right. Yeah. It takes courage to ask for that support and to be okay with having support because there is nothing wrong with you if you have support, I think that's part of this stigma, right? Like not only is my body betraying me and my body's not working now. I can't even handle this problem by myself. Right? What's wrong with me? I should be able to handle it. Ad you have their support there to help you along. And that doesn't make you any less than, you know, than anyone else. Because you know, for talking about cancer or diabetes or any other medical condition, there's so many resources and organizations out there that you get connected with. And there is not that stigma. However, like you said, even though infertility is also medical condition, there is a sense of shame and stigma to reach out and get the support you need. And you know, and that's why I'm really passionate about doing this because I have also lived with regret because I didn't talk over decision-making throughout my process either. And so infertility never ends. So, you know, I, I conceived, I had my twins, but then I had frozen embryos. Now, now there's another decision point and I didn't talk to anybody. And for years I held onto that regret of donating them. I ended up deciding to donate them because like years would go by and then, you know, then I would feel like, oh man, maybe I did want another child. And now I don't even have that choice because I gave my embryos away. So that regret is just something that burns deep down, you know? And you really feel like a hole is in your heart and it's that wounded feeling. And because I'm a helping professional and because I've gone through it myself, I just don't want other people to have to face that regret.
Dara: And I think also it's so interesting because I'm learning so much about, you know, the therapy side of this through, through all these podcast recordings, but the idea of also like the dichotomy that you can feel two things at once. The idea that you've been feel joy in helping other people with their fertility struggles at the same time as still having that pain of did I make the right decision? What could have been, and that kind of, whether it's guilt or regret feeling, you can feel both at the same time and that's okay and normal
Anna: Right. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that Dara because that is true. I don't think we are taught that that is definitely kind of counseling 101 is yes. We can hold two different emotions at the same time. That makes you human and that's okay. And you're right. I mean, like we talked about that feedback loop of helping others is helping me and believe me, there are times when I get tearful with my clients as well, because I do really empathize and can feel their pain or even share their tears of joy too. Right? It's both of those things. And so yes, you're exactly right. We can have so many emotions at one time and they're all valid and they're all worth the time and space to exist,
Dara: But they're all beautiful. So let's, you mentioned that it was actually more challenging to write the book in terms of sharing it with your family. So tell us more about the cultural implications of being Latina and also having infertility.
Anna: Sure. So, you know, we know that the Latina, Latino, Latin X culture is very family oriented and very collectivistic. And so with that comes a sense of obligation and duty. And so after I got married in a Roman Catholic ceremony, it was kind of an immediate expectation that we would have children and it was mine as well. Right? So, I mean, we were trying from the beginning. Three years went by, and there was no pregnancy. And so, you know, during those three years, I call them reproductive microaggressions, which are these little statements that people say like, you know, the only it takes five minutes, are you shooting blanks? Like, why don't you just relax? All right? You know, where's my grandchildren? Like you're not getting any younger and all these things. So these reproductive microaggressions start impacting your wellbeing, increase your stress along with not being able to conceive. And so for me, it was that sense of I'm failing, not only my husband, but my parents and my family. Now mind you, by this point, I had my private practice. I'm a small business owner. I have a PhD, but no children. So all those other accomplishments were worthless to my family because coming from that Latina culture family is paramount. Children are what counts the most. And so that made it very hard for me because it was a layer upon layer of failure of disappointment. And then again, with it being stigmatized in our culture, it wasn't like I was talking to my mom about it or to my dad or anybody. And now after writing my book and coming to this place of healing, I actually remembered one of my aunts who I'm very close to, she had some fertility struggles and it was just like, during the time I didn't even think about like, oh, let me talk to her. Like she can support me. Like, it just wasn't even in my head, it was like, I think you said, right, I could do this on my own. I could fix this. I could, I could finally be able to call my parents and say, we're pregnant! I met my goal as a Latina wife, you know, and, and it wasn't happening. So, so that's the part about being very family-oriented that complicates the story for a lot of us and the Latina culture.
Dara: Well, I think, you know, there's, there's lots of expectations and it's, it's just interesting how, you know, there's a lot of it has to do with, you know, passed down generational cultural norms, so to speak and the expectations of okay, you get married and then the next chronological thing is, is having a, you know, starting a family. But I, I, I like that you mentioned that you have all these other accomplishments that, you know, were not necessarily in the forefront just because of what, you know, the family and the culture expects of you. And I mean, I can relate to that, you know, being Jewish, that that's, that was an expectation, I think with that was the next question, you know, the first part is when are you getting married? And then you get married. And then the next question is where, you know, when, when you having kids and at no fault per se to the family members, because that's what all they know or that's all they've, you know, they've done in the past. So that's oftentimes people put on you what they've experienced and if they didn't have a challenging time, maybe that's what they would have thought would happen to you. And, and it's interesting, you know, oftentimes only when you're on the other side to go back to them and say, you know, that, that really, that didn't make me feel great, but I think it's great now to be able to, to have the strength or the courage, or even just opening the conversation and saying, you know, how would you feel like that's, that's putting a lot of pressure on someone.
Anna: Right? Yeah. And that's where, I mean, the book is not only helpful for those going through the journey, but for their support network, because they can read a story and, and have, like you said, this understanding because I've even learned. Cause I was one of those people who will be you, who would tell my family or friends, where's the baby, are you having another one? You know, cause again, that's all we knew. And now I know not to have that question right now. I know not to ask. And sometimes, you know, we, we can be that beacon of hope if we can ask the question to our family and friends and say, you know, how can I support you right now? What can I do to be helpful as you're trying to build your family? You know, I've noticed you've been trying for a while and I just want you to know I'm here for you to just talk, if you need my support.
Dara: I think it's great to, to change that narrative. So, you know, this generation and future generations, you know, the, the cultural narrative will be different. I mean, it's interesting too. I just read something recently that really upset me that I believe it's the African-American community and the Latin community or a Latin X community are, are less likely to seek fertility treatments right off the bat. That was shocking to me that it's something that once they do seek fertility treatments, get pregnant at a similar rate to other communities, but actually getting them to seek fertility support. There's often a lag time.
Anna: Yeah. And that's a, I mean, some reasons for that is one kind of the cultural stereotype that Latinas and African-American women are fertile and very sexualized. So they must not have fertility issues. I mean, don't, they all just get pregnant? Like aren't, they all just very sexual, like how can that be? Right? So it's one of those internalized stereotypes of like, I'm supposed to be fertile and I'm not. And then coming to that acceptance piece obviously, but then the additional part too, is that there is a lot of cultural mistrust between communities of color and the medical profession. There's a long history. And like you said, being Jewish, you had the Holocaust as well, right? That history of these doctors committing experiments and horrific things to people from our communities. So it's not in our purview to trust the doctor and to feel like I'm going to actually talk to my doctor about my sex life. Like something that's so intimate, I'm gonna invite the doctor into my bedroom, no way! Like I'm not going to do that. Plus, I don't trust them because they have, you know, in the past sterilized Puerto Rican women. So no, you know, what are they going to do inside me? Right? What are they going to do when they take out my eggs? What is, what is this whether, you know? And then the added layer of the, kind of the Roman Catholic philosophies as well. So a lot of Latinos identify with the Catholic religion. And so there's also that piece of like, God will provide and just wait, you know, God will do it. And I mean, we have research that says that religion is not really a barrier to people getting fertility treatments. Most people I talked to, not only the Catholic, but Muslim religion as well, Jewish religion, you know, share like, yeah, their religious leaders are not prohibiting it or not, you know, against fertility treatments. So there is support there from the religious standpoint, but still that feeling of like, God is punishing me, or I just need to wait for God to do this. Plus, I don't trust doctors, plus I’m stereotypically supposed to be fertile. So yes, those three things. And therefore you get those numbers where people in our communities are not readily seeking out fertility care.
Dara: So that's why it's great. You know, your, you know, your book is a great platform to really help be a part of breaking those barriers. And de-stigmatizing something that in the past, you know, people wouldn't have been discussing as much. And which leads me to the male perspective because men are 50% of the equation. And, you know, in terms of speaking to men and engaging them in this whole process, that also is another level of, of a challenge.
Anna: Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. The men, I help in my practice come with their partners, usually through the support group or, you know, the wife for the woman is usually the one actively seeking out support. So it is hard to engage the men. And I've talked to reproductive doctors as well, and they're like, you know, the woman's there, she's ready and the man is not. So how do we engage them? And so, and then I've talked to my husband and he was one of those that for three years, right, I was like, we need help. We need help. We need to figure this out. And he would always, every month it'll happen, give it time, it'll happen. And so, you know, talking to him, talking to other colleagues of mine as well, who are men who faced infertility, you know, I've learned that men, well, men in general want to feel useful and helpful. And you know, so they're already coming to the fertility clinics, feeling useless and feeling incompetent because they were not able to get their partner pregnant. And for Latino men, there's that added layer of machismo, right? What masculinity means, and really being a man equals getting a woman pregnant. And that's it. And so it's this whole fear of who am I as a man if I can't get my wife pregnant? And so, you know, they're coming very shattered in their identity as a male and what being masculine means. And so that right there is going to create this wall for engaging them because they are just really ashamed. And men generally also are not as forthcoming with their emotions as women tend to be. Right? So they hold on to it. They shut down, they try to go into problem solving mode. And then that creates a communication breakdown between the woman and the man, right? The woman is emotional, trying to get their emotional needs met. And the man is just like not emotional and I'm just going to fix it somehow. And then the woman feels invalidated and it creates this whole negative cycle of communication on top of sex is no longer fun because it's not working and it's become a chore and I'm blaming you in the bedroom because it must be your fault and he's blaming you like, and it just becomes a big tornado of stuff. So that's coming into the doctor's office as well. When we talk about engaging men. So, you know, I've learned through experience that of course, validating emotions, right. And saying, yes, you know, I know this is very hard for you as a man to feel like you have not met your obligation or your role to get your wife or partner pregnant. And now we are gonna get to parenthood through a detour. So my husband likes to call it, you know, we're in the car, we're hitting a detour and you know how that happens, right? The man's like, I got this, I'm not going to ask for directions. And the woman's right.
Dara: That's a great analogy.
Anna: It is a great analogy, right? And he finally is like, listen, then like you're in the car, you're still in the driver's seat. Your wife is next to you or partner. And you're still in this, on the path to parenthood. You're just taking a detour. And that detour is just going to look different for you, but you're still in the driver's seat. So really like empowering men by having them make appointments by having them take care of the medication regimen or the schedule by having them, I know now with COVID, they're not allowed as much into the doctor's offices, right, but having them involved as much as possible to tap into their natural drive to problem solve and to be task oriented. You know, one of my colleagues actually, he would fly to Mexico to get some medication that his wife needed for their fertility journey. So that was what he felt empowered. And like, you know, I'm being a man cause I'm going to Mexico and getting the medication. So those are some examples of how we can engage men is validating the emotion and then helping them engage in the process through tasks. So they can feel like they're helpful and useful.
Dara: I love the validating emotions because that's, I think, you know, it's, it's a challenging one. I think a lot of us are born or raised with those stigmas of a woman as the emotional one, the man has to be tough. Can't show emotion, crying is a sign of weakness. And I think a lot of this education and the support really comes in younger generations and educating, which I'm seeing a little bit more in the school system how, you know, we often see boys do one thing, the girls do the other thing. And it's great now that we are starting that discussion now early on too, to let both girls and boys know that it's okay and actually healthy to express how they feel in words, because that could be part of the step, you know, the steps in really working through some, some challenging moments.
Anna: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. You're exactly right.
Dara: But it's tough because it's true. You know, part of it, we can learn in school, but a lot of it is, is learned from at home and learn from our cultures and it is a passed down, you know, kind of expectation, you know, that that's a tough one to, to, I wouldn't say to break, but to kind of change and, and at least be open to having discussions that are kind of outside of our cultural zone of comfort.
Anna: Definitely. And I really appreciate now as well, a lot more education and outreach, just going out into the public about, like you said, men are 50% of the equation and I think it's like 30%, 40% is male factor related to infertility. And so I think that's helping to, again, normalize it, de-stigmatize it. And you know, I come in my husband because he actually had these conversations with me and he was able to be a voice in the male community. And I also have therapists who are male therapists who have infertility experiences. Cause I wanted men to have men to talk to. I think they feel more comfortable that way as well. So those are ways that I'm trying to at least, you know, engage men and provide them that support. And then also with the support groups, when there's other men there, they start hearing each other and like, okay, this is not so bad. You know, this man, this other guy gets it and hopefully it’s not so abnormal. And that's a weird, like I thought it was,
Dara: I didn't think about that, but that's actually, you made a great point in terms of support groups. I think, you know, when people can share their own personal stories, that's when you can often find, you know, you can relate in some way to what they're saying, and it can also help you open up and share your story and collectively help each other out.
Anna: Definitely. It's very powerful.
Dara: So you, I mean, it's unbelievable that you you've really are working to open up to kind of break this barrier in terms of, you know, cultural norms per se, and also really trying to tap into the male community that also in some ways is what is, I wouldn’t say undervalued. But at this point, you know, it still kind of seems, you know, a little worried or a little bit less likely to reach out. But I think it's great that you're really trying to reach out to people in need. I know you have a lot of advice, but any specific words of advice for any of those people who are, who are experiencing infertility?
Anna: Yeah. I mean, I think acceptance is, and that's the theory that fertility clarity is founded upon is acceptance and commitment therapy. Because I think once we accept, I have infertility, which is a medical condition and there's support out there that I can access to get pregnant, to ride the emotional roller coaster, to not lose myself in the process to keep my marriage strong or relationship. And I think once it starts with that acceptance piece and then once you get to that place of, okay, I can accept this. There's a whole world kind of open to you as far as support that you can access. So I think that would be my biggest piece of advice is acceptance because we don't control whether or not we have infertility. And so it's one of these things of like, okay, I can't make it go away. So I have to face it, you know, and I have to see what I can do to reach my goal of being a parent.
Dara: Yeah. That's beautifully said. Everyone, please check out Dr. Anna's book, which now is already out Body Betrayal and look out for her next down the road for a fertility Cleary approach. But in the meantime, what is the best way to find you, whether it's a website or your Instagram handle, we would love for our listeners to be able to find you
Anna: Sure. So my website is www.charlandra.com And my email is [email protected] And I'm also on Instagram and my handle is fertility clarity. And so through those ways you can connect, we can be part of our community together. And also the book is available on my website and on Amazon now, as well as an e-book.
Dara: Wow. So, many avenues to get more information, which is great and how we like to end our podcast sessions are to discuss gratitude and what we're grateful for today. So Dr. Anna, what are you grateful for at this very moment?
Anna: Oh my goodness. I'm going to cry on this one I think.
Dara: I get emotional too.
Anna: I get emotional because as I share the name of my practice, Charlandra, people wonder where did that name come from? And so it's the combination of my children's names. So my journey ended with boy- girl twins through IVF. And so my son is Charles and my daughter's Alejandra. So Icombined it to make Charlandra. So I'm grateful for them. I'm grateful that they, that, you know, God blessed me with them. And really, like I said, brought me to this life purpose and meaning to provide support for others. And so, yes, that's what I would say. I was, I am grateful for. And of course the time we had today as well, because this podcast and those listening now are hopefully enriched by our conversation and know that there is support out there for them.
Dara: Wow. So nicely said, and I will piggy-back. I'm grateful for you. And I'm grateful for, for the people, for the guests that I have on our, on our podcast, on Fertility Forward for educating me and informing me and making my, you know, my knowledge on infertility expand and for the love and the passion that I see with each person that I speak with. And it's so admirable to see someone who's able to marry something that they, you know, have had education on with something that they've had personal experience with and, and really be able to give back to the community that, that fed them in times of need. And I just, I'm lucky. I'm lucky to be a part of it, and I'm lucky to see it. So really, and I applaud you for how you've contributed and for your approachable and raw and real, you know, way of opening up your experience to help heal yourself, but also to help other people on their path to whatever their, their journey ends up becoming. So thank you so much Dr. Anna for, for being on and for enriching our listeners today.
Anna: You're welcome.
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 at @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.

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