When I got there (super early, thanks nerves!), we kind of milled around for a bit. I was then asked up to the stage area for some photos and some practicing of how the night would go. I was feeling a bit like a fish out of water - you have to remember I won for writing a little blog. Other people were there for doing amazing, wonderful things. But when I met the President and CEO of Resolve, Barbara Collura, I instantly felt better. She greeted me with a big, warm hug and said, "We love our blog winners!". Here she is, and folks, she is honestly one of the most charming, warm people you could possibly meet. She's one of those people who make all social interactions look like a breeze and a joy (how do they do that?!):
So I got my photo taken, practiced walking on stage, and then I was off to cocktail hour. My husband and I knew nobody, and pretty much kept to ourselves, so we wondered how awkward it would be at dinner eating with a table full of strangers.
But off we went to find our table, and almost right away, another couple came over that we instantly clicked with. With our insta-friends, and with the rest of our table filled in, it was actually pretty great. As it turns out, the wife of this couple had been asked to be there to share her experience with the audience. She had a medical issue at 15 which left her unable to have children without the help of medical intervention and she and her husband have been heavily involved with volunteering with the organization. (Perfect example of the the amazing, wonderful things I mentioned earlier).
Another girl at our table was there because she had petitioned her company to cover infertility treatment, as she herself had no coverage and guess what? Someone in HR actually listened to her (imagine that!) and added coverage. (Amazing and wonderful examples 2 and 3).
So get this - when I was speaking with Barbara, she actually told me they had a very hard time finding companies to agree to accept an award from Resolve. There are a lot of companies out there that do a fantastic job of providing infertility treatment coverage and support for their employees. Wouldn't you think they would be proud of it, and happy to accept an award? Nope! Why? Well, it's an awful reminder that there are A LOT of people out there who still disagree with things like IVF, and part of that stems from the Catholic church's continued official stance against it. So companies are leery of press that may show them supporting something that many of their customers may adamantly disagree with. It's really kind of frustrating and depressing to think about so let's move on to a nicer thought:
I had no idea how beautiful I would think it was to be in a whole room of people who either experienced infertility themselves, or have dedicated their lives to helping people who do (or sometimes both). Normally we are the minority, the 1 in 8, but in that room we were the 8. It was pretty cool to have conversations with anyone we met where our experience was so freely asked about and discussed.
And last but not least, the host, Bobbie Thomas was AH-MAZING. She hosted with such ease, and when it was her time to share her own story, she told it was such emotion and heart; she even brought up her doctors to the stage to honor them too.
Oh... and then I got an award ya'll!
For awhile, I had been in denial that I was going to have say anything. I would just walk up, get my award, wave to the crowd, flash a smile, and off I go. In the back of my mind I had a little voice that said that typically people getting awards say a little something but I consistently told that little voice to shut the hell up because I so, so hate public speaking.
But then, about a month or so before hand, I got an email saying I would (of course) be given time to say something (90 seconds) and some tips for what to do (and not to do).
I had so.much.time to write my speech, but there I was a few days before the ceremony, sitting in front of a computer screen ready to start writing. Luckily, it had been on my mind (a lot), and I had a general idea of where I wanted to go with it. The inspiration came from Mad Men (of all places), probably because my husband and I have been binge watching the episodes like it's our second jobs.
In Mad Men, they often use a two way mirror to watch a group of people react to a product. The group on the side that can see into the other side must sit in relative darkness, as turning on the lights would cause the guinea pigs to be able to see these creeepsters watching them. And so my speech was born (no pun intended):
Reactions to my blog can be categorized into one of two groups, and I see these two groups as being on either side of a two way mirror. One reaction was something along the lines of, “I totally understand because I went through it too”. These are the people on the side of the mirror that can see through to the other side. They can see the other group – the group that responded with, “I had no idea.” They can see this group growing their families, while they themselves sit in darkness, struggling month after month with infertility. It’s my hope that in some small way, my blog is contributing to what Resolve has done such a wonderful job of doing, and that is turning the light on the 1 in 8, so that everyone can see through to the other side.
Thank you Resolve for being such a great resource for those dealing with infertility, for advocating on our behalf, and for this award.
And thanks to my husband, who when I started this blog, only asked me for one thing – to keep it anonymous. I obviously failed at that request in a pretty big way, and still he has supported me the whole way, just like he always does.
Picture a girl clinging to the podium, reading in a shaky voice (not to mention a bit stuffed as I was recovering from a cold) and you have a pretty good idea of how it went. Here I am looking much more composed than I actually felt:
It was a pretty great night, and once my speech was over I was able to enjoy it without the jitters.
I'll say it one more time: thank you Resolve. For everything.