Our blogger of the year, Colleen Drenth, sat down with us to discuss everything about infertility, gestational carriers and what she has been up to in 2014.
Colleen, it has been a whirlwind year for you! Please update our readers on what you have been up to in 2014…
2014 has been amazing thus far. Well, as the saying goes, “First comes love, then comes marriage…” Started off the year by getting married in April, this Miss became a Mrs.! Lou and I just purchased our first home together and are then ready to finish off that saying with “then comes the baby in the baby carriage.” 😉 My husband and I also had an amazing opportunity to film an interview about my blog, What to Expect When You’re NOT Expecting on our local news channel, WTNH. This year has been full of such wonderful and amazing joys so far, and I cannot wait to see what else this year brings our way.
Tell us a bit about your fertility journey…
This journey has and is such a crazy ride. The only thing I can compare it to is just that, a ride. A rollercoaster, with its ups and downs. Some parts, the financial burdens and stress the high cost of having a child through IVF and surrogacy are not the easiest. But just like on a rollercoaster, if you hang on and ride it out, it gets better. The highs have been the exposure my blog has been getting and all of the support and positive feedback I have received from my writing. There are two ways to ride a rollercoaster, you can squeeze your eyes shut and let the ride just happen; or you can throw your hands up and laugh and scream at every twist and turn, enjoying it. My hands are up and I am loving this ride, no matter how crazy it might get.
Tell us about your interview with Ann Nyberg at WTNH.
I cannot express the amount of respect and gratitude I have for Ann Nyberg at WTNH. When approached with the invitation to film an interview for her, I was extremely hesitant. I am not comfortable speaking about such vulnerable topics in front of such a wide audience. Behind the computer screen is much more comfortable and easy for me. But an opportunity as amazing as this one, is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. I chose to go and courageously blinked back my tears and attempted to keep my emotions in check. This interview reached thousands of viewers, and offered a chance to expand my blog’s audience. I received numerous emails and messages from strangers, as well as friends, thanking me for sharing my story and being brave enough to talk about it. Those words of encouragement are what my writing is meant to do. To help, to help myself share my feelings, and for others to know they are not alone. Every roller coaster has room for more passengers 😉
So many men and women are scared to talk about infertility. How important is it to speak up?
Each and every one of us has a story, a battle we are fighting. Whether large or small, communication is the key to not losing that battle. Being able to share yourself with others, is a necessity. To know you are not alone, and that there is support out there. Everyone needs someone to lean on, someone to remind them they aren’t alone in their battles. A soldier is strong, but the army he is part of is stronger. Infertility has taken so much from me, but left me stronger as a person. To be able to share my story, even my weakness and most vulnerable and painful moments with others, strengthens me that much more.
In your opinion, are there enough resources for men and women who have fertility issues?
Sadly, there are not. There are a few publications, and support groups, but any pregnant or expectant parent can find ample information and or talk to anyone to get the answers to questions they may have. We need more. We need each other, we need to support one another, share our stories, our fears, our upsets, and most importantly our success stories to encourage each other to keep going.
What are some quotes you live by (if any)?
“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” –Reagon. This quote sums up my life and my journey perfectly. Although I have been through so much up to this point, every single situation and every single moment has led me to where I am today and I would not change it. Sometimes life happens to us, and other times it happens FOR us, and every challenge has happened to lead me to today and provided me with the opportunity to share my story through my blog; What to Expect When You’re NOT Expecting.
What does 2015 have in store for you?
2014 allowed me to change my last name, and 2015 can allow me to change my title. More desired and important to me than any other letters that could follow my name, Colleen, Mom would and will be the best. 2015 will be the year we become parents. My husband and I are hopeful and optimistic that we will be successful in our attempts with a gestational surrogate to have a biological child of our own. Simply put, 2015 will be the best year of my life.