Infertility: Fighting the Stigma

InfertilityMost women, especially women who wait until later in life to have children, know about the infamous age-35 rule. Once you turn 35, there is a higher risk of babies born with birth defects but, more importantly, a higher risk of never getting pregnant at all. As a barely-30-year-old woman, I never imagined that I would have difficulty getting pregnant. I also never imagined that I would have so many friends and associates that were battling with the same issue, but who were too afraid or embarrassed to share their stories.

What is Infertility?

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, "infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive. If you are over the age of 35, the time frame is shortened to 6 months." There are a variety of issues that cause infertility, most of which won't be discovered until a couple fails to get pregnant.

The Stigma

As I walked into the fertility facility for the first time, there was a dry erase board conveniently placed right next to the elevator. On the board was a list of the top 10 strategies on "how to deal with infertility." Some of the strategies included avoiding baby showers and deflecting the conversations about conception, primarily because people can be insensitive about the issue.

My husband and I thought some of the strategies seemed a bit extreme, but there had to be a reason they needed this board. We entered the lobby and it was filled with women who looked like me. They were my age; some dressed professionally, stopping in before work and others were with their husbands.

The one commonality was that no one dared to make eye contact. Everyone was anxious or seemingly on the verge of tears. No one said a word, and as my husband and I conversed about what to expect we received side glances by those who assumed that we didn't know the proper decorum. It was admittedly unsettling. Why did these women feel this way?

Fighting the Stigma

Regardless of how much you accomplish in life, there is still an expectation of becoming a mother. If that doesn't happen quickly, then you must be doing something wrong or there is something wrong with you.

Once my husband and I were married, I was immediately bombarded with questions concerning the creation of miniature versions of ourselves. After a year of no baby, I was then bombarded with questions about why I didn't want to have children - a grossly misguided assumption. Despite the inappropriate comments by those who weren't privileged to know the complete rundown of my medical history, I wasn't prepared for the reactions I would receive once I started sharing my story.

Despite initial reluctance from loved ones, I decided to be completely open about my journey to motherhood. Initially, I started to blog about my journey as an alternative to stressing over pills and shots, but it quickly turned into so much more. I wrote candidly about my struggles and the path that I was taking to become a mother.

As I began to share my story, I immediately received emails from women who thanked me for being so open about my journey. They expressed how they had been struggling for years and felt alone, but were too embarrassed to talk to anyone about it. I realized that my candidness was not for me but for those women who couldn't speak for themselves. There is no shame in your struggle and there is no shame in fighting to become a mother.

For more information about My Journey to Motherhood visit my blog www.fiercefabulousflawless.com.

Tenisha Patterson Brown, Esq.

Forever Fierce, Fabulous & Flawless!

Health is Balance


At work I am considered to be a "fitness professional", a go-to person for all things pertaining to exercise. Although I do not counsel, It is natural for me to be concerned about each client's emotional and mental well-being, and that's simply because I do not believe that vigorous exercise is the answer to all fitness-related issues. I strive to understand and consider stressors and self-esteem as it relates to a person's motivation, their habits and any barriers that may prevent us from seeing progress. Many would agree that in order to be healthy, one needs much more than just the perfect combination of diet and exercise.

In fact, I boldly believe that in order to maintain good long-term physical health, we have to have good mental health that sustains our efforts. Sometimes exercise is the direct cause to bettering our mental health, and other times better mental health is the spark that enables a person to get moving!

What does mentally healthy look like?

People who are emotionally and mentally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behaviors. They are able to handle life’s challenges, build strong relationships, and recover from setbacks. They have a sense of contentment and a zest for living, and also the flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change. They also have a sense of meaning and purpose and they value balance between work and play. Self-care is a priority to an emotionally and mentally healthy person.

Do you know that you could be emotionally and mentally healthier?

The key word here is BALANCE. 

Improving your emotional health is possible and it can add to your overall enjoyment of life. Our mental and emotional health has been and will continue to be shaped by our experiences. Early childhood experiences are especially significant. Genetic and biological factors can also play a role, but these too can be changed by experience. Here are some red-flag feelings and behaviors that indicate poor mental/emotional health and may require immediate attention:

  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Feeling down, hopeless, or helpless most of the time
  • Concentration problems that interfere with your work or home life
  • Using drugs, food or alcohol to cope with difficult emotions
  • Negative or self-destructive thoughts or fears that you can’t control
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

The good news is that not all negative thoughts and feelings require medical attention. Oftentimes, we just neglect certain areas in our life to focus on others, but we don't realize the harm being done. These negative thoughts and feelings can actually serve as a great indicator of an area in our lives that may need some extra attention, or some more "lovin'", as I like to say :)

So, join me in improving mental and emotional health! Here's how:

To build self-esteem: Do things that positively impact others. Helping others can significantly make you feel important, and help create a sense of meaning.

To overcome helplessness: Practice self-discipline. (ex. wake up 30 min earlier to prepare breakfast, volunteer time)

To feel more productive: Engage in meaningful, creative work regardless if you get paid for it. (write a blog, organize a charity event)

To beat boredom: Learn or discover new things. Try taking a class that helps your everyday life (ex. sewing, cooking), join a book club, travel, listen to a podcast.

To stop worrying: Limit unhealthy mental habits . Try to avoid becoming absorbed by negative thoughts about yourself and the world that make you feel anxious, fearful and depressed.

To feel complete: Appeal to all five senses (doesn't have to be all at once). Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers or art work where you will see it, have scents burning in your home, make a special dinner, get a massage.

To overcome loneliness: Get a pet. Its obviously not an option for everyone, caring for one can make you feel needed and loved.

To keep your smile alive: Enjoy some leisure time. Make it a priority.

To avoid bitterness: Make time for gratitude. Mediate, pray, or simply take a moment to pay attention to all that is good, positive and beautiful in your life.

♥ "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it" - Proverbs 4:23 ♥



Top 5 Things to Live Fit and Healthy


Fat burners. Crash diets. High self-esteem. Low self-esteem. Quitting. Overtraining. Sedentary lives. Active lives. Excuses. Anxiety. Stress. Endorphins. Binging. Weight gain. Weight loss.

I have seen it all! Here are my TOP 5 things that you can do TODAY that will help you stay consistent in living a healthy & fit life:



One of the biggest mistakes I see people make, especially as a beginner is that they neglect

their need to get help, so instead of witnessing them achieving their goals, I see a lot of

disappointments and discouragement. I would consider a lack of time to be the #1 complaint I hear amongst clients as it relates to their exercise routine. Unfortunately, what many people fail to realize is that 30 minutes of exercise a day is substantial. It is only when we allow ourselves to get so far behind that the mountain looks too big to move, and the goal seems unachievable. After all, nutrition really is the biggest battle (so they say). So when the goal seems too great to tackle alone, seek help and support. There are many professionals, like myself, who are more than willing to help you take the next step.

I understand that personal trainers, new apparel, gym memberships and good quality food can be very expensive and inconvenient! Oh, how I know. But I sincerely believe that investing in

your personal health and wellness is the best investment a person can make. Exercise and good nutrition not only makes you look great but it also makes you feel

great which can lead to more joyous lives and more productivity on your job, whatever that may be.

Sure, it make take a little time to get your metabolism working to your advantage and get your schedule under control, but I encourage you to be careful next time you say that there isn't enough time or resources to do what needs to be done. Taking care of your body is an invaluable life-preserving strategy that drastically improves quality of life. When you put a little in, I believe you will be surprised at what you get out :)


Of course, it depends on your goals, but a lot of people desire to have a lean, toned body. Even those that desire a bigger, more muscular physique should know the importance of mixing cardio and strength training in their workout routine. Many women shy away from strength training out of fear of looking “manly” or too muscular, like a body builder. Most of these women fail to realize that in order to experience that kind of muscle hypertrophy, a LOT of heavy lifting is needed, and in some cases, supplements that alter a woman’s hormones to promote muscle growth. To gain lean muscle and have a lean and toned body, it is recommended to do 2-3 days of strength training per week along with cardio, most days of the week. I will dive a little deeper in programming and exercise routines in later posts.


Three commonly overlooked aspects to a well-rounded fitness program are: stretching, resting, and drinking water. These three factors can be the difference between you sticking to a program for

3 months at a time and living that lifestyle for the rest of your life. Proper stretching, rest and water consumption can significantly reduce chances of injuries, training-related pain and inconsistent results. Adequate amounts of water is not only an aspect of great nutrition, but also plays an important role in building and repairing muscle. Water is an ingredient in synovial fluid, which protects our joints, especially during times of stress while weight lifting.


Lao Tzu said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. He sure hit the nail on the head when it comes to fitness!

Goal setting is a very important aspect for me personally and professionally. When I start working with a client, it is important for me to understand his or her expectations. A lot of times, people underestimate how difficult it can be to lose weight or to obtain the physique of someone else. I like to take the time to help people understand what realistic goals are, as well as help them set measurable, short-term goals that can keep them motivated and keep their eyes on their overall health and fitness (as opposed to aesthetics only). For example, one of my first goals for many of my clients is that they be able to run a 10 minute mile. I have them work on that during their warm up.

“Little by little, a little becomes a lot.”


Genetics play a huge role in how our bodies respond to exercise and nutrition. Some may even say that genetics dictate habits. But fortunately for us, our bodies and the way they respond to exercise and nutrition can indeed change. We have the ability to train and eat in such a way that makes our body burn fat more efficiently, even at rest!! We also have the ability, with a little will power, to overcome food and lifestyle addictions that keep us from our goal.

The power is within you to make the necessary changes. You deserve to give yourself a fighting chance. Forget what others say. Forget what your parents did, what your friends do, and what you’ve always done!! Find what motivates you, find your balance, and fight for your health.