How do you get through the hardest moments of infertility? Sarah Bruna and Kaela McDougall of The Infertile Mafia believe that it helps to laugh. Even though they’ve never met in person in the six years they’ve run their podcast, they both feel that finding the funny in fertility has helped them get through their own worst experiences, and helps them bond with men and women feeling burdened by their TTC journeys.
They are deeply committed to supporting and engaging with people dealing with the crazy, horrible world of infertility treatments, meds, doctors, and many disappointments. In the process, they can’t help but address the absurdity of things like useless fertility advice people offer and the “jerk-off” room at clinics.
We caught up with Kaela and Sarah to learn about their paths to having families, why they stay fiercely loyal to the infertility community even after having children, and why they have to laugh.
Q: What are your fertility/infertility stories in a nutshell?
After discovering from an ultrasound that her fallopian tubes were swollen, Sarah had them removed during an exploratory laparoscopy. This fast-tracked Sarah and her husband to IVF, but it failed. After seeing a new doctor, and getting a new diagnosis of PCOS, they tried IVF again. This time, they ended up with one embryo (her three-year-old son) and one morula (her 6-month-old daughter).
Kaela was initially diagnosed with MTHFR deficiency and her husband with male-factor infertility. After two failed IUIs, they moved onto IVF. Two transfers and two miscarriages later, she was referred to a reproductive immunologist where she started immune therapy to treat high inflammation. One more transfer later, and now she has two-year-old twin daughters.
Even after having children via IVF, we found ourselves feeling deeply connected to the infertility community. We didn’t really identify with the ‘Mom crowd’ and still felt very much…infertile
Q: How did you connect with one another?
We “met” seven years ago after we befriended each other on the internet. We both had started YouTube channels (“Sarah Loves Peter” and “Heartships of Hope”) to document our experiences with fertility treatments and gain support from the infertility community. Fast forward six years, with dozens of fertility treatments between us, we decided to launch a podcast: The Infertile Mafia. To this day, we still have not met in person!
Q: Why did you decide to document your infertility experience and create The Infertile Mafia Podcast?
Even after having children via IVF, we found ourselves feeling deeply connected to the infertility community. We didn’t really identify with the “Mom crowd” and still felt very much…infertile.
We wanted a way to stay connected to the infertility community and, more importantly, we wanted to give a voice beyond themselves to the many men and women struggling to build families.
We also wanted to help people laugh! We knew, from our own experience, that finding the humor in life’s darkest moments is an especially powerful way to cope.
The most common feedback is appreciation for laughter through what is often an extremely difficult time. Listeners also share the immense comfort they receive in hearing from others going through a similar experience. The solidarity of sharing the burden of loneliness and isolation, collectively, is irreplaceable.
Finding the humor in life’s darkest moments is an especially powerful way to cope.
Q: Why do you recommend having a sense of humor about infertility?
Infertility sucks. Laughter makes people feel better. Especially if it’s laughter around a shared, hilarious, and absurd circumstance, ie: adventures in the “jerk-off” room, or the asinine TTC advice your aunt gives you over Thanksgiving turkey, or the stories about shooting up progesterone in public places! This shit sucks, but sometimes, it’s also really funny!!