In Celebration of Those Who Tell Us We Can’t: Fertility From Ferocious Determination

Share your story for our Advocate For Your Health Contest and you might win a $250 AMEX Card, click here to learn more!

Here is Shannon’s story of how she advocated for her health and infertility. She also writes a blog InfertilityAwakening that you should take a look at. If you like her story be sure to leave a comment below to help her win the $250 AMEX card!

In Celebration of Those Who Tell us we can’t: Fertility from Ferocious Determination

When I was a junior in high school my Spanish teacher, to the entire class, announced that she knew what I was going to be when I grew up . . . a housewife. Now she meant this as a dig because I wasn’t paying much attention in her extremely boring, and very unchallenging, class. She said it to me in the way of, “you will never amount to anything.” (note: housewives work very hard, so this mention is not to put them down, just pointing out how she was trying to put me down)

That awful woman uttered those words to me 20 years ago, and to this day I STILL hear them in my head.

I heard them when I pushed myself to graduate from college with honors.

I heard them when I applied to graduate school and finished a Master’s degree, while working full-time and supporting myself.

And I hear them in my head as I spend the next nine months of my life finishing the last part of my PhD.

I hear those words every time I doubt myself, feeling not smart enough, not capable enough to follow the career path my heart leads me down. And I say “thank you” in my head now each time I hear them.

One year ago a doctor who had only met me for five minutes, knew nothing about me, my lifestyle, my condition, my stress level, potential toxins I was exposed to, etc. called to tell me that I would never conceive a child. Now I hear those words in my head every day.

I heard them when I researched and read all that I could on holistic and natural healing.

I heard them when I searched and found the best acupuncturist, born, raised, and trained as an MD in China, to work with me.

I heard them when my hormones got much, much worse the third month into acupuncture and diet changes, before they rallied.

I heard them when I got so depressed I could not get out of bed, could not eat anything, and could not function (thanks to my hormone free fall).

I heard them when I made one lifestyle change after another.

And I heard them a few months ago when another doctor called to tell me that my FSH had dropped 44 points, something no one in the medical profession I have spoken to had ever seen. I mean sure, FSH fluctuates five, maybe 10 points, but it never drops over 40 points.

So today, I pay homage to the few in my life who have told me where the boundaries were so that I could blow right through them.

Today I say a warm and hearty “thank you” to those people whose small minds, and limited vision of my capabilities, have erected a fence that was fodder for me to blow right through.

And today, I say to each of you, take my hand and run through the fence with me!

No one can tell you what you can and cannot do, nor what your body is or is not able to create. No one person out there has the power to hold you down. So when a naysayer comes your way, for they will–most especially the louder you sing of your determination and joy–give them a wink and put your head down and keep going!

I will see your beautiful faces at the finish line!

{ 60 comments… add one }

  • Nicole Riseley Ketchum October 26, 2011, 4:54 pm

    Hi Shannon, same thing here…still working on everything though. Tomorrow I go in to remove 3 cysts or as I say pain and drama that needs clearing, and even though doctors tell me too, I will never have a child, I could care less now. After feeling sorry for myself, I picked myself up, dusted things off and I am going full force ahead, with the belief it will all work out. Good luck to you!

  • Rachel October 27, 2011, 12:54 pm

    For the ones that did not cheer your way, I hope you find 1000 more that will cheer for you. You have my vote. I know I will see you at the finish line because you have the fight in you to make it there.

    All the best on your journey.

  • Prairiehousewife October 27, 2011, 1:41 pm

    I have often let people bring me down and tell me what to do and walk all over me. I’m 30 now and last year as I approached 30, realizing my life was not what I wanted it to be and I had no one to blame but myself, I got very depressed. In the last 6-8 mos I have finally allowed myself to be heard and respected. I work on it daily as it’s not an overnight fix. I’m learning to say “No,” or “You’re wrong,” and stick to my guns! I still have no idea why I cannot conceive, but at least I’ve ruled more things out and found a doctor who’s willing to try the non-traditional route with me, as I’m ready. I have grown in ways I never knew I would, but I have a long way to go. I still feel very isolated with my infertility, but when I read things like this blog, I feel inspired to keep pushing forward and keep talking about it so that people can better understand infertility is not a life-choice, it’s the hand we’re dealt.

  • Renee October 27, 2011, 6:12 pm

    Wow…inspirational! Your motivation seems to come from within, and that is something that no person, comment, or judgement can take away. Good for you. I’m glad there are people like you in this world. Continue your journey. Fingers crossed for the $250. Good luck!

  • Verna Tweddale October 28, 2011, 7:16 am

    This blogger would be in my heart space even if she WEREN’T a dear friend . . . I’ve been privileged to share her journey up close and personal for a decade now, and although we have shared many laps on our individual and shared journeys, recently I have been inspired by her eloquence and moved by her posts, even though I’m a grandmother now! Shannon shows up as she IS, which gives the rest of us permission to be fully human too. Her quiet courage and fierce determination assure me that she and her beloved WILL co-create their hearts’ desire: a wee one born of their bodies and conceived in their love. This woman speaks for universal human longing and hope eternal, so hands down, my friend Shannon is most deserving of the $250 recognition of all that she brings to the world. Sincerely, Verna

  • Katherine October 28, 2011, 9:52 am

    While some days it’s easier than others to find the determination to push forward on this long, uncertain journey, it’s always easier to forge forward when there are other women cheering you on and sharing their journey with you. I look forward to being inspired by Shannon’s blog every day.

  • Bell October 28, 2011, 2:31 pm

    Oh Shannon, Thank you for sharing your story! I can totally understand how you feel. And you sound so strong. Thank you… Thank you… Thank you for writing this!

  • Suzy October 28, 2011, 5:04 pm

    Infertility and TTC soooo need to be talked about more. I struggle everyday to deal with my infertility. Thank you for having the courage to post this and share your story with the world.

  • Alison October 28, 2011, 5:41 pm

    You are so brave for putting it all out there when it comes to infertility. If more people were like you, infertility might be covered by insurance and we wouldn’t have to suffer in silence.

  • Ray October 28, 2011, 6:22 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful article. I know exactly how you feel. My husband and I are going through this struggle too. Good luck with everything.

  • Victoria October 28, 2011, 7:33 pm

    That was very inspirational. Thank you!

  • ronnig October 28, 2011, 10:12 pm

    Thankyou for posting such a inspirational piece. I love your strenght to keep moving forward. Infertity isnt for the weak. Good luck to you. You deserve to win.

  • Misty October 28, 2011, 10:27 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Good luck!

  • liza October 29, 2011, 5:38 am

    As always so inspiring shannon I`m right behind you and i wont give up either. Thank you for the great article!!

  • JT October 29, 2011, 8:24 am

    Thank you for your courage and grace. Many blessings

  • Leslie October 29, 2011, 8:33 am

    Thank you, Shannon. As always, I look forward to your blogs and have them sent weekly to my email. You continually encourage me with your words, insight, determination, and courage to speak out and educate others about infertility. I’m ready to charge through that fence with you!

  • Jen October 29, 2011, 8:52 am

    I read your blog all the time. You put my pain, hope and frustration into the words I can’t seem to find. Thank you for being a voice for so many women struggling with infertility.

  • Gwen Armstrong Barker October 29, 2011, 10:09 am

    Thank you Shannon, beautifully put.

  • Linda October 29, 2011, 10:39 am

    You are so strong and courageous. Anyone who gets the chance to read your beautiful words is truly inspired. Anyone who is lucky enough to know you and love you is truly blessed.

  • Debbie Lepo October 29, 2011, 10:46 am

    Shannon, I have always enjoyed your wonderful gift of being able to express yourself in your writing but your heartfelt message here, blows it out of the water! I am always praying for you in this quest and I commend you for being so tenacious in following this great goal. xxoo

  • Jody October 29, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Well said, Shan. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  • Heather October 29, 2011, 2:14 pm

    A beautiful post. Thank you for going past the voices and believing in yourself.

  • Deirdre October 30, 2011, 10:55 am

    Thank you! This is amazing!

  • Lilith Rose October 30, 2011, 2:16 pm

    Blessings on your journey, Shannon. Some 40 years ago, I was in this place. My daughters are now 39 and 36!

  • idem October 30, 2011, 2:17 pm

    truly amazing & encouraging !!

  • Stacey October 30, 2011, 3:40 pm

    Very well said, thank you

  • Melissa October 30, 2011, 3:55 pm

    I follow Shannon’s blog and have had the pleasure to get to know her through an infertility support group. Her words always hit home with me. Thank you and best wishes Shannon!

  • Dennis October 31, 2011, 12:28 pm

    My Wife & I struggle with IF. It is not easy for anyone involed. Thank you for talking openly about it.

  • annie October 31, 2011, 1:30 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Shannon. After more than a year of trying to conceive, I feel that John and I are just taking those first steps. I have been poring over your blog this afternoon (when I should be working!) and am so thankful that you have decided to share your gift with us all. You are a blessing.

  • Naila October 31, 2011, 2:13 pm

    Thank you, as always, for your courage, your authenticity, your wisdom and your heart. That you have chosen to use this journey to inspire others, while healing yourself and tending so diligently to hope, is such a gift to the world — and to me. You are PHENOMENAL.

  • Jenn October 31, 2011, 9:36 pm

    Shannon, wow. I don’t even know what to say. I will pray for you and Jerry, sweetie. You are an amazingly wonderful and strong woman. I love you. xoxox0, Jenn

  • Jean November 1, 2011, 2:47 pm

    This was a very powerful read… Good to see a DS girl speaking up about IF and the courage it takes to deal with it. You are strong!

  • Cameron November 1, 2011, 5:05 pm

    What an inspiring story! I needed to hear that today. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Maurine November 4, 2011, 9:44 am

    Your messages are an inspiration to everyone! My heart holds promise, anticipation and joy when I read your words. Thank you for your insight and loving presence. Your smiley face shines through.

  • Liz November 5, 2011, 7:22 pm

    Your blog is great. You have consistently posted interesting and insightful things that have allowed women to check up on it whenever they felt like it. It’s from a point of view that I was really able to relate to, and your blog was the only one where I’d be interested to see what was new. What you wrote above is a good example of the inspiration you spread with love and strength. Your blog and your writing always supports the strength of a woman and the strength it takes to go through what many women are experiencing. Infertility is not easy, to say the least. Thank you!

  • Jill November 5, 2011, 9:54 pm

    Awesome blog!

  • Jack November 6, 2011, 1:25 pm

    Amazing Blog With much Insight and understanding……..

  • Sally November 6, 2011, 3:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing your determination. I needed a reminder to never give up–some days it can be tempting. Thank you!

  • Brandy November 6, 2011, 8:53 pm

    Shannon is absolutely correct and shame on those who live on permanent autopilot with their immediate assumptions! I believe that if woman can create life, then her body can overcome even greater challenges such as allowing negative voices to invade her mind. I am aware of many friends who have no explanation for their miracle children. Two friends with endometriosis among other obstacles, found out they were pregnant when they were in the midst of discussing their next options. Another two friends found out they were pregnant soon after adopting a child. I could go on, but I would rather place all of my energy towards the positive and that is that a strong woman can accomplish anything!

  • Becky November 6, 2011, 11:32 pm

    I love your blog Shannon, your positive attitude is contagious & inspiring. I am right there with you cheering you on! xoxoxoxo

  • Mirabai Galashan November 7, 2011, 9:35 am

    Your courage and the beauty of the wisdom that you are finding along the path is breathtaking,
    Thank you

  • Melissa November 7, 2011, 11:35 am

    Your determination and positive attitude in inspiring! When life gives you obstacles, you have a choice on which way you can spin your perspective on it. Good for you for spinning it positively….only good things can come out of that!

  • Phyllis November 7, 2011, 3:41 pm

    So exquisitely spoken. I’ve been down this road. I have 3 children too. Your fire and determination will carry you. Much love to you, much applause. Hear me cheering you on.

  • stephanie November 7, 2011, 7:02 pm

    Wishing you well! I am cheering you on!!

  • Nina Tag December 17, 2011, 10:41 pm

    Hey Aunt Shannon,
    I am cheering you on big time! I hope you win the contest! I love you soooooooooooo much and I hope one day I can have a little baby cousin. Just believe in yourself you can go very far. I believe in you! I hope to see you soon.
    your niece,

  • Linda December 17, 2011, 11:58 pm

    You are so inspiring…we love you!

  • Shannon December 18, 2011, 10:17 am

    Whether I win or not, I have truly won. Thank you all for your support. Reading through your comments you’ve touched my heart more than you know. My humble gratitude. Thank you.

  • Julia December 18, 2011, 10:59 am

    You are very inspiring Aunt Shannon. I hope for the best for you and Uncle Jerry. I’m praying for you guys! I love you!
    Julia Tag(:

  • Jessica Love December 18, 2011, 11:11 am

    Your words are true to the heart and contain a beauty and strength that is hard to come by. All I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am one of the women that your words touch deeply on a regular basis. Go Shannon Go. Keep sharing, it is your gift to this world.

  • Delicia December 18, 2011, 11:24 am

    Great job Shannon.

  • CarunnerRunning December 18, 2011, 2:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story and reminding us to break through fences! So inspiring!

  • Jen December 18, 2011, 4:21 pm

    As time goes by your story still strikes me like it is the first time I read it. You allow others to keep fighting for their health and their hearts. Beautiful.

  • Country Wife December 18, 2011, 8:21 pm

    Thank you for the reminder. You and your blog are a blessing to many. xoxo

  • Tenacious December 19, 2011, 9:58 am

    Shannon – I found your blog through the Circle+ Bloom website and I’ve now become a regular subscriber. I love getting your little pieces of inspiration in my inbox!

  • CK December 20, 2011, 10:28 am

    Shannon – your inner strength and tenacity is an inspiration to us all.

  • Laura C. December 31, 2011, 10:14 am


  • Michelle A December 31, 2011, 10:41 pm

    Shannon – Thanks for sharing a little piece of this terribly difficult experience you are having. Best wishes!

  • stephanie December 31, 2011, 10:59 pm

    Love and best wishes to you, Shannon.

  • john December 31, 2011, 11:10 pm


  • jamie January 24, 2012, 11:31 am

    I have experienced many forms of motherhood for just as many different reasons… even on the “other side of the fence” I find your story truly a shared feeling between us all…your way with words are a movement with beats of a drum, slow melodies, and the harmony that joins us to be inspired like that of a great ballad of life. Thank You for the music of your story! I will join you in “running the fence ” ,on the other side… <3

Leave a Comment