At RADfertility, we understand that infertility can be a very isolating disease to face. It is important to know you are not alone. The purpose of the Making a Difference series is to highlight the dedicated organizations and individuals in the community available to help you on your journey.
Sondra Wyckoff, Founder
Our patient community is filled with extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. Since her official diagnosis, RAD patient, Sondra Wyckoff, has been an advocate for the infertility community, determined to help other women feel less alone. In addition to launching the Fearless Femmes Facing Fertility community on Facebook, she has also documented her journey as a co-author in the book, Women Who Illuminate.
We had the opportunity to chat with Sondra to gather insight from her personal journey and learn more about the Fearless Femmes Facing Fertility.
Sondra Wyckoff hosted a Fearless Femmes information table at RAD’s Family Re-Zoonion in September 2019.
What inspired you to launch the Fearless Femmes Facing Fertility Facebook support group?
Sondra: National Infertility Awareness Week was right around the time of our second FET and I realized there was a large, online community for women on their path to motherhood, whatever that may be. There is a Facebook group for almost everything these days but I wasn’t aware of anything local at the time so I was inspired to start one.
How did you come up with the name “Fearless Femmes?”
Sondra: Going through IVF was the most challenging experience of my life (I can honestly say that now after going through labor, a c-section, and week in the NICU with my son). Even though you are scared, you do it anyway, so that’s what makes you fearless. I added the “femmes” because I was shopping at the mall one day after work (another coping mechanism of mine!) and I saw a t-shirt that said FEMME and I thought it was such a strong word. I believe there are no coincidences in life, and thus the name Fearless Femmes Facing Fertility was born.
What are some resources that helped you on your fertility journey?
Sondra: Honestly, I didn’t have too much to turn to other than two people in my personal circle that I knew had gone through their own struggles with fertility. This drove my desire to start the group even more. I journaled a lot, did a lot of meditation (especially sleep meditations) and started to strengthen my yoga practice. Yoga was especially great because it gave me something to focus on other than when my next transfer would be and whether it would work.
What advice do you have for women facing infertility challenges?
Sondra: There is no right way to navigate this journey. You have to do what is best for you. If that means skipping a baby shower, or going all in on a project at work, or staying home and watching hours of Netflix to get through it, that’s what you do. It’s also ok if the people closest to you don’t get it. That is why the Fearless Femmes group is so helpful, because we can all relate to each other.
How do you want women to feel when they are a part of Fearless Femmes?
Sondra: I want them to feel like they are with their girlfriends at brunch where they can talk freely with no judgement. I want them to feel that they are not alone, that there is IVF success, IVF failure, and something in between. Everyone’s journey is different with some shades of the same.
Can you tell us more about the book Women Who Illuminate, of which you are a co-author?
Sondra: Women Who Illuminate is a collection of 30 personal stories from women all over the world including places like New Jersey, Australia, California, and London, just to name a few. Each author shares something that impacted their life and shines a light, or illuminates, something that has made an impact on their life.
Sondra documented her infertility journey at RAD as a co-author in the book, Women Who Illuminate, which was released on August 28, 2019.
What are some of your 2020 goals for the Fearless Femmes support group?
Sondra: I would love to see the group continue to grow in membership, and continue the nontraditional in person meetups that we have (that really do include brunch!). There are a handful of original members that have had IVF success and we are going to start mommy and me meetups. It’s great to see the friendships that are forming and that is something that I hope can continue. Last year I hosted an in-person half day wellness retreat in October at my home and I would like to do it again this year, with greater attendance.
Can you tell us something people might not know about Sondra Wyckoff?
Sondra: I used to be anti-social media and went off the grid for a good 5 years! Now I share the most personal details about my IVF journey through my social channels.
Sondra Wyckoff with her husband Daniel & their son Jordan Paxon.
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