(KSFY, Sioux Falls) – This is National Infertility Awareness Week. It’s something that affects more than six million Americans each year.
A Morningside College graduate – now living in South Dakota – is bringing her nearly three year struggle with infertility out in the open to help other families.
“With this blog that I’ve started, it’s really been an outlet for me to be able to write my thoughts and feelings down. My husband and I are trying to find that balance of life where how do we keep living while we’re waiting and trying to figure out what’s our next step to be able to expand our family,” said Melissa (Keiper) Vande Kieft of Brookings.
Through her blog called ‘Living in the Wait,’ Vande Kieft wants to offer support to others who are on their own infertility journey.
Vande Kieft and her husband Ryan have been trying to start a family for three years and were diagnosed with unexplained infertility.
“You ask yourself, how am I supposed to continue? How do I keep going every month when I’m experiencing this? And having this blog and finding other resources that I did find online really helped me just cope with those emotions and just really not feel alone in this process,” said Vande Kieft.
It’s been so near and dear to my heart to be able to help out women in this community,” said Courtney Heynen, fertility care practitioner and certified nurse midwife at Avera McKennan.
Heynen can empathize with families going through infertility because she’s lived it.
“I’ve had a personal relationship with infertility myself for several years which wound up being successful, which is great, but has also helped me on so many different levels of knowing what it feels like to get all the blood drawn, knowing procedures, just knowing all of that — it’s really helped me tune in to those different feelings that they’re having or maybe little clues that something else might be going on,” said Heynen.
Heynen says emotional support plans in important role in infertility which can be different for each person.
“Some people are going to do it through blogs which is great because that’s how she’s healing, that’s how she’s getting through what she needs to get through at this point in time in her life or where she’s at in this situation she’s at. Other people, like me, are going to try and help other people as I’ve been through it myself. Then, there are going to be people who are going to have support groups just so they can help be that support for other people,” said Heynen.
“I love the feeling of knowing I have all these people praying for us and that’s what I think is so great when you share your story, people can help you. It’s scary at first but people can actually help you while you’re going through this process,” said Vande Kieft.
If you’d like to check out Melissa’s blog, you can follow this link to Living in the Wait.