This month, take some time to prioritize you. September is PCOS Awareness Month, a national event to support the millions of women in the United States who...
When Alexis decided she was ready to have kids, she knew her family building journey would be different than most. She works active duty in the military, so she’s frequently moving around, and working in industrial, potentially dangerous environments. “Because of the ways our careers work, we have a very little window to have children. We can’t be actively trying to conceive, or be pregnant, while we are in what’s called an operational status,” she says. “The way that it works is that you go to sea for a couple of years, you work in an office for a couple of years, then you go back out to sea. We end up going back and forth for most of our careers.” The only time Alexis could really get pregnant was when she was working her desk job. This is a limited window, so Alexis had to plan accordingly.
The process of trying to conceive, going through pregnancy, and recovering postpartum can take years. “As most women know it’s not quite like we were taught in high school. We can’t just have sex one time without a condom, and have a perfectly healthy baby 9 months later,” Alexis says. She couldn’t spend years trying to conceive unless she wanted to interrupt her career track. Alexis wanted to figure out a way that she could continue thriving in her career, while growing the family she dreamed of.
Although she was hopeful, Alexis was nervous- she wanted to excel in her career, but she also wanted to be a mom. It was stressful to know she had such a short period of time to do it all. If she couldn’t, she would have to sacrifice either the career she’d been working towards or the family she dreamed of. She decided to take an active role in the process by taking steps to learn about her body. Alexis began using traditional OPKs that she found online to track her cycle and try to understand her fertility. However, she found these tests frustrating. She couldn’t figure out what the results meant, and how they fit together from day to day. They were subjective, and Alexis got tired of constantly having to interpret the lines on the test. She started searching for different tools.
She wanted something efficient and reliable to help her better understand her body, and ultimately, build the family they wanted. “That’s how I found Oova. I was looking for something I could do at home, that was cost effective, and wouldn’t require a lot of doctors appointments or time off of work, but could still help us reach our goals,” she said. To Alexis, Oova was a perfect fit. She knew exactly when to use a test strip, and what the results meant. “I set my alarm for 10 minutes before my husband got up, went to the bathroom and peed on my Oova strip. It was super easy and quick,” Alexis says. She explains that Oova was “low impact” on the rest of her life. She didn’t have to use a strip more than once a day, or take anything to work. Oova didn’t interrupt her busy schedule.
Alexis also felt like Oova gave her a new sense of control over her own health. “Our command knows more about our medical status than most civilian employers,” she explains. Because of the nature of her job, she needs to keep her command updated on health issues, as they could impact her work. With Oova, she didn’t have to tell anyone that she was trying to conceive, because the testing didn’t take away from her day to day work routine. “I just woke up early, got my answer, and knew what my body was doing that day. Then I could work our fertility journey into that,” she said. It was empowering to be able to make decisions about her journey without needing to ask for permission. Oova provided her with the same results as a blood test, but she was able to do it at home and on her own time.
With Oova’s help, Alexis was able to conceive her son. She and her husband are so happy, as they were able to make their dreams a reality. Looking back on the process, Alexis said that having reliable data in her hands alleviated a lot of her anxiety. She was sick of hearing advice like, “just relax”, or “have a glass of wine”, and she appreciated that Oova gave her the information that she actually needed to reach her goals. She felt in control and calmer about trying to conceive, and she was able to fit it all into her limited timeline.
“Serving in the military as a woman definitely brings some different challenges than our male counterparts,” Alexis said, “If one of my male coworkers had a pregnant wife, it wouldn’t affect his ability to do his work.” She felt like she had a different set of boundaries than men when it came to finding work/life balance. Women often feel caught in this issue- they’re told over and over again that their ‘biological clocks’ make it harder to conceive later in life, yet feel pressure to delay childbearing in order to become established in their careers. When women have the right information about their fertility, they don’t have to choose- they can reach their career goals, while growing the families they want. Alexis is grateful that even though she did feel pressed for time while trying to conceive, she was able to get the data she needed to make her dream family a reality. Armed with information about her body, Alexis was able to confidently make decisions about her fertility journey.
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