By: Isabella Brown
Kristyn Hodgdon wants to talk about all things fertility. Her blog, The Fertility Tribe, covers a wide range of topics surrounding infertility, pregnancy, and motherhood. Kristyn had the idea to create this platform when she herself struggled with infertility, and felt that she had no idea what to expect upon starting her journey. “I always had an inkling that I wanted to do something like this,” she said while reflecting on what led her to start the blog. She was 27 when her infertility journey began, and doctors told her she would have a relatively easy time conceiving because of her young age. However, she ended up going down a winding and tumultuous road that left her wanting to help others understand their fertility, cycles, and hormones.
Kristyn stopped taking birth control before she was ready to try to conceive, because she had always had irregular cycles. She suspected that her cycles would go back to being irregular once she went off the pill. However, they were even more unpredictable than she could have imagined. “My cycle never came back,” Kristyn explained. Three months after going off the pill, she still had not gotten her period. After hearing about this, her gynecologist sent her straight to a fertility doctor, and Kristyn was rushed into treatments. Kristyn began to feel stressed out, realizing she didn’t know how long it would really take her to conceive. All of a sudden, her life was overcome by treatments, hormones, and confusion.
Kristyn wished she could have known more about her own body and fertility before starting her journey.
Many doctors told her that since she was only 27, she would not have a hard time conceiving. However, many of the methods that she tried to help her conceive were unhelpful. Clomid and femara didn’t work for her, and she didn’t respond well to injectables. “At every stage, I was shocked that nothing was working,” Kristyn said. Looking back on her journey, she would have liked to have been able to better understand what would have worked for her body. Her irregular cycle made it hard to know exactly what was going on with her cycle and hormones. “I didn’t just have an irregular cycle, I didn’t have a cycle,” she said while reflecting on her fertility journey. Kristyn explains she did not even try to track her cycles with the options available, because she knew they wouldn’t work for her. She said she wishes she had a tool that tracked her hormones in a personalized way, allowing her to gain more insight about her body. Information about her cycles would be helpful for Kristyn, both while she was trying to conceive, and now. She says it would be interesting to know, for example, if she got her period did it mean she ovulated?
Kristyn realized there was a lot missing when it came to resources, information, and support for the fertility community.
The gaps that Kristyn noticed in the fertility space inspired her to start The Fertility Tribe. “I felt like I was thrust into [infertility] with no expectations,” she said. She strives to lessen this overwhelming feeling that many women experience. Many feel unsure of what to do when they begin facing obstacles in their fertility, and lack the support they need. Kristyn wants her platform to provide helpful information and compassion. She wants to help women understand what could happen on their journeys. “It’s a marathon not a sprint,” she said, while reflecting on things she wished she knew on her journey. She expresses that she was frustrated when the treatments she tried were not working, and would have liked to know more about her options when it came to all fertility treatments. Kristyn writes about her own story on her journey on her blog, as well as other women’s stories. She explains that she wants to get as many different experiences on the blog, so that women going through infertility can feel less alone.
Kristyn ended up going through with IVF, which ended in pregnancy. She is now the mother of one-year old twins. She is so happy to be a mother and very grateful for her children. Yet through all the positive aspects of motherhood, she still feels the scars of infertility. She explains that nothing was easy about her journey to being a mom: after struggling with infertility, she also had a high risk pregnancy and a difficult birth experience. “The scars of infertility don’t fade the minute you find out you're pregnant,” Kristyn believes. “It carries on, even into motherhood”. After the hard time she had during and directly after giving birth, Kristyn began reading about other womens’ similar experiences. This made Kristyn feel that she was not alone, and that other women have faced similar obstacles. After Kristyn realized this, she decided to focus her blog on all things fertility, instead of just infertility and trying to conceive.
Sometimes she feels that she shouldn’t be complaining about, or having any negative feelings surrounding motherhood, because she worked so hard to have her children. “There’s still hard parts of motherhood,” Kristyn said. She experiences “mom guilt”, likely because she went through infertility. She wonders if she is doing enough with her kids, or is happy enough that she has them. Kristyn must remind herself of the truth every day, that she is her own person, with passions, needs, and goals.
She now writes about all her experiences, as well as others’ experiences.
She wants to create a space where people can read about many topics and realize they are not alone. She hopes to impact the community of women who follow her blog by spreading positivity and realness. There is a balance between these two, because sometimes to be completely genuine and real, you can’t always remain positive. Kristyn navigates this by being sensitive to everyone who reads her blog, realizing that everyone’s journey is different. There are women who feel that they have no one to turn to when facing fertility obstacles. They feel lost when trying to find support, or connect with people on similar journeys. Kristyn wants her blog to be a safe haven for people to learn about other women, make friendships, and feel supported by the community.
Kristyn Hodgdon lives in Island Park, NY with her husband Dan and their one-year-old boy/girl twins Brooke & Charlie, who were conceived via IVF. After struggling with infertility, Kristyn founded an online community called The Fertility Tribe (www.thefertilitytribe.com) to give a voice to all things fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood after infertility. The Fertility Tribe’s mission statement is, “Redefining Fertility Together,” because honestly, who can do this alone?! Follow @thefertilitytribe on Instagram to join in on the conversation!