Since our “birth” nearly three months ago, all of the content, opinions, and thoughts have been exclusively our own. Sure, we have looked to several reliable medical resources (particularly ACOG and ASRM), read a lot of medical journals, and spent many years training, but the sentiments have been from Yours, Truly. Now things are going to change. We are going to feature an individual who has something important to say. Someone who has passion, someone who wants to make a difference, and someone who hopes to empower other women with her words.
We begin this series with Nikol Johnson-Sanchez. Nikol started the blog Not Just A Beauty Blogger: My Fashionable Journey Through IVF. Through her experiences and her honesty, she has connected with many women who, like her, are having difficulty getting pregnant. Combining her passion for beauty and fashion with her struggles with infertility, she has created a “beautiful” blog that is devoted to helping women who are struggling with infertility. In Nikol’s words, she wanted to “put her stamp on IVF. Not the other way around.” And as an already well-known figure in the beauty world (Nikol has a YouTube channel and a blog devoted to beauty and skin care), she was inspired to share her fertility journey. After watching Bobbie Thomas chronicle her journey through IVF (both Bobbie and Nikol are in the beauty industry), Nikol started her blog.
Pretty quickly, Nikol became pretty popular. She attributes her popularity to the way in which she chooses to address infertility. She has put her personal “stamp,” or shall we say “shade”(for all of you beauty fans), to address difficult topics. As Nikol says, “Infertility can be a dark and depressing place. If putting on a bright pink lipstick gets you out of bed and to your monitoring appointment, then I have accomplished my goal.” Her posts are also devoid of “cover-up” (i.e., she doesn’t hide what is really going on). “I am completely transparent, and I love that I can be so free and raw.” So do her followers!
Sticking with the beauty theme, Not Just A Beauty Blogger, is NOT coming in wearing a colorless lip gloss and beige eyeshadow. Nikol is bold, honest, and direct. She constantly urges women to “fight for themselves and not to take no for an answer. You know your body best. Do your own research and be your own advocate.” Had Nikol not adopted this attitude, she might have never had the surgical procedure that ultimately led to the diagnosis of endometriosis. This discovery not only led to the cause of her infertility but also helped tailor the treatment outcome.
And while it may be hard to find anything positive about the fertility journey (needles, blood draws, and vaginal ultrasounds are not fun), Nikol shared with us how this experience has strengthened her marriage. “My husband is my rock. We have grown so much closer; without him, I wouldn’t have fought as hard as I did.”
In parting, we asked Nikol to give us five words of advice that she would like every woman with infertility to hear. She responded, in capital, bold, red letters, with the following: YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU KNOW…KEEP GOING.