Infertility is a grief that can be overwhelmingly painful and isolating. While all around you friends and family are celebrating with baby showers and bump announcements, the frustration and loneliness on the path to having a family can be heartbreaking. I know. I’ve been there. One in eight couples experience infertility, yet each journey is unique. Ours was a case of secondary infertility – easily having one child, but not a second. It took years for our hearts to heal, to grieve the dream we had for our family.
One of the saddest parts of infertility is the feeling of being alone in your struggle. It took months for me to find the resources I needed, friends who had been there who were willing to talk about their own experience, and to get the support I needed to start to feel like I was coming out of the chasm.
Yes, my arms are full now. But they weren’t always. I’ve been in that deep darkness, and now I’m trying to be a light for all who face infertility by talking about my journey through it and reaching out to those who share they are going through it, too.
To help those who are going through infertility, the First Coast DIY Walk of Hope will be held at the Jacksonville Landing on Saturday, September 30 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Walk of Hope is a community event that supports those with infertility and benefits RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. The Walk of Hope event represents the infertility journey so many experience — a series of small steps, each one filled with hope and a reminder that no one with infertility should walk alone. One Morning, One Mile, One Community.
The First Coast Walk of Hope Organizers Laura Parada and Wendy Khan created the event because they, too, have faced infertility.
“In 2015, I was deep within my own infertility journey when I participated in a Walk of Hope in Tampa. It was a powerful and moving experience and just what I needed during a very difficult time in my life. I wanted to bring this powerful event to Jacksonville to show support for the infertility community and most importantly, to help break the silence surrounding infertility,” shared Laura. “There are so many reasons why I believe the Walk of Hope is such an important event. I want to see an end to the stigma and the shame that comes with infertility. I want to see a change in legislation, so that fertility treatments are covered by insurance companies in ALL states. I want to help educate the public about infertility, so that the inappropriate and hurtful comments will stop.”
If you would like a registration bag, register for the First Coast DIY Walk of Hope by Saturday, September 16. September 29 is the final day to register.
“After struggling for many years with infertility, my husband and I were blessed with our daughter. At many points in my journey, I felt isolated and overwhelmed. To say it was difficult would be an understatement. I wanted to show support for the infertility community and break the silence surrounding an issue that effects so many by organizing this walk. I want to be that small glimpse of hope and encouragement for someone who is facing the same struggles as myself,” Wendy shared of her decision to organize the walk.
The event includes great fundraising prizes and free raffles to giveaway at the event and amazing business sponsors that will be at the walk. There will also be a raffle for a free IVF cycle offered by Brown Fertility.