HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, DETOURS! 365 Days of AWESOME!
It has been one year since I launched my first infertility support book titled Detours: Unexpected Journeys of Hope Conceived from Infertility. WOW! What a year it has been! I have learned so much in a year's time and still have a lot of goals ahead. In honor of the anniversary of my book, I'd like to share some of highlights of this past year.
One year ago on March 11th, I launched Detours: Unexpected Journeys of Hope Conceived from Infertility. Within one week's time, Detours climbed to #1 Bestseller on Amazon in its category (over 7500+ fertility books).
Just eight weeks after I launched Detours, I attended my first Infertility Advocacy Day in Washington D.C. Hundreds of fellow advocates lobbied Congress to help pass or prevent bills that impact those who are trying to build their families. Our voices were heard as we were able to maintain a tax refund for adoptive parents AND we were able to get temporary IVF coverage for wounded Veterans. But there is still much work to do for those who wish to build their families. I will be returning to Washington D.C. again in May for my second Advocacy Day.
When I was in Washington D. C. I learned that my home state of Michigan was rated a "D" for infertility support. Being a former school teacher, I knew that grade just wouldn't do. When I returned home, I immediately started a RESOLVE Peer Led Fertility Support Group in my hometown of Brighton. My group started with just one participant and now I’m up to 9 members. We meet monthly on the third Monday at the Brighton District Library from 6:30 – 8:30 PM.
Once I set up my support group, I realized that people need help in between meetings. So I volunteered to participate weekly on a RESOLVE Helpline answering questions and providing support from people who call in with infertility questions and concerns.
After publishing Detours, attending Infertility Advocacy Day and starting my RESOLVE Peer Led Support Group, I created my own brand and website: www.theinfertilityadvocate.com
One of my favorite aspects of my website is my blog, which I titled “In-Fertility & Friendship.” I find myself writing positive messages to the fertility community who follow me. My blog is a form of therapy to me, too. I understand what those who are struggling with infertility are going through because I walked for a decade in those infertility shoes. I feel that my experiences... both the failures and the victories... provide a sense of encouragement and inspiration for my readers. I welcome you to peruse my blog, post comments and perhaps we can start a dialog among us. By sharing our thoughts and feelings, I hope I am able to support for my fellow fertility warriors.
During the production phase of Detours, I kept imagining cute little comics while editing the chapters of my book. I worked together with my dear friend, Maddie Kimble, who designed the cover of Detours and created all the artwork in the book. I hired Maddie to illustrate the comics I had envisioned in my head. She worked tirelessly to collaborate with me and made the comics come to life! I fell in love with Maddie's illustrations and decided to turn them into greeting cards. They delightfully address the sensitive issues facing people who struggle to build their families and combine a little humor. My line of fertility support greetings, also named “In-Fertility & Friendship Cards," are an ideal way to show how much you care to those you know who truly want to love a child.
Over the past year, I have worked very hard to learn about various social media platforms in order to market my book and cards. I truly am NOT a master of technology, but I taught myself most of everything I've learned about my SquareSpace website and social media platforms through watching YouTube videos and Googling articles. Since I've started my own Facebook Page, Instagram, Twitter, Linked In and Pinterest Business accounts, I gained an international following in the global fertility community. I have been interviewed on podcasts around the world, including the Beat Infertility in the UK, Your Fertility Hub in Australia, Creating a Family in Canada and here in the USA.
I have connected more closely with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association since the release of Detours. I donate all my net proceeds from the sales of Detours to RESOLVE, which was my lifeline when I was in the thick of my battle with infertility. It is my way of giving back to the organization that helped me during my decade-long struggle. I have become a professional member of RESOLVE and recently was selected to be a RESOLVE mentor for the Midwest United States.
Not only have I been interviewed on podcasts and radio shows, but I have been a guest speaker at various fertility support groups in Michigan and Seattle, Washington. If you are interested in having me come to your neck of the woods to share my story and inspire hope for others, I would do my very best to come to you... either personally or virtually.
There is a store in my community that features the artwork of local artisans. You will find incredibly beautiful pieces of art at Finding Roots in Howell, Michigan. Just last month I was selected by the store owners to have my cards and book featured for April (Infertility Awareness Month) as their Charity of the Month. I will be donating my proceeds from the sales of Detours to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.
Just last month I had my grand opening for own online ETSY store called “FertilitynFriendship”. I am now able to sell my line of fertility support greeting cards online. I would be most appreciative if you would visit my Etsy Shop online. You'll be able to select the perfect support greeting card for those who are trying to build their families.
As you can see, I have been very busy trying to support the infertility community. One in eight couples who are trying to build their families struggle with infertility, which can be as devastating as a cancer diagnosis or even the death of a loved one. If you can help me spread the word about my book, cards and advocacy work to support the infertility community, I would be so very grateful. Awareness sparks action and change.
I look forward to the next 365 AWESOME DAYS!
In-Fertility & Friendship,