Q: Tell us about yourself, Monica! Where are you from/where do you currently live? What does your family look like? What do you like to do in your free time?
MONICA: I live in Atlanta with my husband and five-year-old daughter. We are expecting our second child in October. I love all of the generic hits when it comes to free time – hanging with my family, cooking, reading, hiking (and by hiking I mean casually walking some trails near my house), and binging some good TV.
Q: Personality type and/or enneagram?
MONICA: My enneagram is a 2 – The Helper. With 7 – The Enthusiast, and 8 – The Challenger as a close second and third. I truly get joy out of helping people achieve their goals. I’m warm and outgoing but can be blunt and cynical, which sometimes gets me into trouble.
Q: What has your infertility journey been like?
MONICA: The journey has been emotionally draining. Before getting my own diagnosis, I thought IVF was a cure-all for infertility. A few stomach shots, a butt shot – and boom. Twins! To say I was naïve would be putting it lightly.
I have secondary infertility. My husband and I had no issue conceiving our daughter who was born in 2014. When she was a little over two, we decided to start trying for a second baby. Low and behold we weren’t getting pregnant – month after month after month. Because we had a successful natural pregnancy my doctor wasn’t worried. Flash forward a year and a half later and we still weren’t pregnant. We saw a fertility specialist and after a few months of testing we received our diagnosis. I had a closed tube on the left side, an ovary that barely ovulated on the right side, and my husband had 0% sperm motility. So, either our daughter was a miracle baby, or our age and lifestyle caught up to us.
Q: Which people (famous or not) have influenced you most in your life?
MONICA: My mom is by far the biggest influence in my life. She passed away about five years ago. She was a no B.S. kind of woman who told it like it was, but also had the biggest heart and gave the best advice. Everyone was welcome in her home. She was always ready to sit down and chat over a cup of coffee – no matter what the topic was. The best lesson she taught me is that everyone has their own perspective, and if we could all take the time to do more listening and less talking, we would all be better for it.
Q: What is your biggest piece of advice for someone who is currently going through infertility?
MONICA: You are NOT alone, and anything you think you are the only one thinking is actually being thought by so many other people. Give yourself grace. And remember, if there was a proven combination of drugs, foods, supplements, acupuncture, essential oils and everything in between that led to successful pregnancies, we wouldn’t be spending so much of our time trying to figure this whole thing out.
Q: Tell us a bit about your instagram page: @my_so_called_ivf. Why did you decide to start this page?
MONICA: When I started my infertility journey, I knew a few people who had been through IVF. They all were lucky enough to have children and were so focused on the positive outcome. I know they were trying to be supportive, but there are no guarantees along infertility road. I wanted to meet other people who were going through the journey instead of just talking with people who were years removed from what it was like and were now solely focused on their success.
After a few years of staying silent, I started my Instagram page to find other people who were in a similar stage as me. I desperately wanted to find people in relatable situations who were also in the thick of it. And luckily, I found an amazing community.
Q: What made you want to work for Fruitful? What are you most excited about when it comes to working for Fruitful?
MONICA: I found Fruitful through Instagram and wanted to become a mentor. I wanted to help other people who were starting, or in the midst of their journey because I didn’t find my own “community” until so far into my journey. I loved the idea of being able to provide a true emotional understanding inside the lunacy filled world of infertility.
While applying to be a mentor there just so happened to be a job description for Head of Business Development. My background is in digital business development and as it turned out, Fruitful was looking for someone with experience very similar to mine. It felt very “meant to be” as I was looking for a job that combined my passion for the infertility community along with my business-minded background. I’m most excited about being a part of a company whose focus is helping other people along their journey.
Q: Favorite non-chocolate candy?
MONICA: Sour worm gummies. Or pink Starburst. Or Skittles. Picking one just seems cruel. Also, I don’t want to leave out chocolate, so let’s add Snickers in there as well. (Enneagram 8 — The Challenger coming at you!)
Q: Favorite quote and why?
MONICA: “The greatest gift you can give yourself is time.” -Oprah Winfrey
I can be impulsive, and over the course of my life I have learned that if I give a situation time, whether it be something as simple as a response to an email, or as complicated as navigating the death of my mother or infertility, I can better understand my feelings and do a better job of controlling my reactions.
Q: In your opinion, what is the hardest part about infertility?
MONICA: Oh man – I would have to say the hardest part is the giant unknown and state of limbo you live in for so long. We are taught that having a child is supposed to be as simple as love, marriage and a baby carriage (there are SO many things wrong with that old adage). So, when you learn that having a baby isn’t quite so simple, the emotional and mental toll that ensues compounded with the reality that at the end of the road there may not be a baby is absolutely paralyzing at times.