Living in the Wait hosting online infertility summit

Courtesy photo: Melissa Vande Kieft

BROOKINGS – Living in the Wait LLC is hosting a virtual event Saturday called the “Living Through Infertility Summit,” where speakers from all over the country will speak on how to live with and through infertility.

The online event begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at noon; admission is free. To reserve your spot, contact owner of Living in the Wait, fertility coach Melissa Vande Kieft, through the event page on Facebook or through her website at livinginthewait.com.

“It’s simply going to be a conversation. We’re going to be asking these speakers questions about certain things on the infertility journey. But I also want to invite people to just talk. I want people to just unmute themselves or share it in our chat and let’s talk about those things. I want this to be a group conversation where people feel safe and open up and really feel like they are heard and seen on their journey,” Vande Kieft said.

Vande Kieft has invited Mary Bruno, a Creighton practitioner who specializes in women’s health and fertility education; Erin McCollough, a yoga instructor who specializes in fertility yoga; Kimberly Keiser, a psychotherapist who works in the sexual therapy and trauma therapy fields; and Shelley Furtado-Linton, a poet and author; to all speak at the summit.

Vande Kieft, of Brookings, started the business originally as a blog in 2018 about her own personal experience with infertility and the toll it takes on a woman and couple, but since then it has grown into much more.

“I started Living in the Wait as a blog. I would write different blog posts, just kind of sharing my personal experience with it – because that is honestly something that people relate to more is watching and hearing someone about their story, … so really I just started sharing some personal and heartfelt stories and posts from my own life and that’s just how it started. But as I saw there was more of a need for it and saw it just kind of evolved with hosting more speaking events, potentially writing books, just being able to spread that message even more,” Vande Kieft said.

She said the focus of the summit “is to have heart-level conversations with people who are navigating infertility and in wanting to help them get off the emotional roller-coaster and help them break their limiting beliefs and live through infertility. Because often times I’ve seen, like myself, when you go through a season of waiting or something like infertility, we often can forget to live life because we’re so busy trying to bypass or purchase our way out of the situation that we’re in.”

Vande Kieft is a fertility coach, helping women/couples cope with infertility on a day-to-day basis. She is “an extra layer of support that can provide guidance and compassion,” Vande Kieft said. She offers her own personal experience of infertility and wants to “help ease the weight of infertility, so you don’t feel like you have to carry it alone.”

“I wanted to address those things that aren’t typically asked in a doctor’s office because infertility is more than just doctor’s appointments. So I’ve brought in four speakers talking about anything ranging from living with acceptance and the hope it brings to building a connection with your partner to the power of owning your story,” Vande Kieft said of the Saturday event. “I’m really excited to just give people an opportunity to have those conversations, because I know they’re having them because they’re dealing with these things on a day-to-day basis.”

Vande Kieft said that there is a stigma around infertility and that she wishes to remove that idea through conversation and with understanding how to live through and with infertility. 

“We’re not prepared to handle something like this. So how can we help people feel a little bit more prepared, more empowered, the journey is still going to be extremely difficult – that pain will always be there, but how can we make that process better for them? That’s what I want to open up with this summit,” Vande Kieft said.

She also addressed a broader topic when it comes to infertility: patience. She said there is value in figuring out how to live through and grow in waiting for whatever it is that someone is waiting for.

“Waiting is something we all experience, and that is definitely a universal message. Case-in-point: we’re all waiting right now for COVID to be done. That’s kind of that universal message of living while waiting of what living in the wait looks like. Instead of just trying to wait as fast as possible, how can we mine out and be refined by that process and how that can prepare us for that next step?” Vande Kieft said.

“Everything is so quick nowadays, that we just aren’t used to waiting, but that’s not how life works. The things in life that we value the most, we typically have to wait for. You think of that job, a spouse, a house, family, healing, forgiveness, love – all of those things have so much value and they take time, but we don’t like that,” Vande Kieft said. “How do I live with that reality and move forward? This choice isn’t easy.”

Vande Kieft has seen an overwhelming amount of people reach out to her to figure out how to navigate infertility and waiting. Currently, she is working on writing a book about her experiences and findings from people she has worked with and is planning more speaking engagements. 

“There is some ministry-aspect to it as well in a sense. But I think the whole goal of the business itself is multifaceted: where there’s the coaching element of it, there’s the speaking aspect of it, and there’s the aspect of our faith that plays into it,” Vande Kieft.

“That is that process of living in the wait, of where you find that passion or interest that you didn’t know that you had before,” Vande Kieft said. “And that was what helped me start my blog and get to where I am today. If we allow ourselves to live while waiting, that can create new opportunities for us that we would have never thought of or imagined.”

For more information, visit livinginthewait.com or visit her Facebook and Instagram pages.

Contact Matthew Rhodes at [email protected]ingsregister.com.

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