Infertility Warrior: Brandi

Brandi Lytle, founder & owner of Not So Mommy…and creator of the olive green Childless Not By Choice Awareness Ribbon, is a wife, dog mom, aunt, host mom, infertile woman living an imperfectly perfect life in South Carolina, USA with her husband, Dane, and fur baby, Maddie.  She is redefining what momhood means to her and strives to focus on the bright sides of being childless.  Her hope is to inspire others to be their authentic selves and discover a Plan B that brings them joy!

Q: Tell us a little about your infertility journey.
My husband and I tried to have a little for 10 years, from 2003 – 2013.  We had seven failed infertility treatments and researched all kinds of adoption—from domestic to international to embryo.  Ultimately, no path ever felt right for both of us.  So, at the beginning of 2014 (at the request of my hubby), our journey shifted from infertility to trying to accept our childless not by choice life.

Q: What has been the hardest part?
For me, there have been two very difficult parts of this journey.  One, the heart-breaking, gut-wrenching grief month after month of not being able to have what you so desperately want.  And two…  The loneliness.  I felt as if no one else understood what I was going through—not even my husband.

Q: What has been the best part?
The best part of my journey came when I finally embraced my infertility and began to accept our what is…  As I began to focus on what we have, I found “the bright sides of infertility.”  I opened my heart to new possibilities, which allowed me to fully embrace my dog mom role.  Plus, when the opportunity to host a foreign exchange student crossed our path, I accepted my host mom role completely!

Q: Where are you now on this journey?
I am in year 7 of accepting our childless not by choice life and, dare I say it, even embracing being childless. 

Q: How and when did you know you were ready to stop trying?

To be honest, I wasn’t ready to stop trying.  I thought we were going to adopt.  But on 26 December 2013, my hubby asked me if we could please just accept our life as it was.  We had spent 10 years trying.  He didn’t want to spend another 10 in the midst of the battle.  Despite tears and uncertainty, I walked into 2014 attempting to accept that we would indeed be childless.

Q: What is one thing people kept/keep saying or asking during your journey you wish they wouldn’t have?
Oh, my gosh!  I actually write a blog about our infertility & childless not by choice journey, and I wrote an entire series entitled, “Not So Helpful: Things You Shouldn’t Say to the Childless.”  The piece of not so helpful advice that I truly loathe…  “Just relax.”  Seriously?!  Relaxing and “not thinking about it” does NOT cure infertility! 

Q: Anything you have learned that you would like to pass along?
Living a childless life isn’t the end of the world.  While in the midst of our infertility battle, I was so scared that a life without littles would be bleak and sad and empty.  But that could not be further from the truth!  I live a vibrant, joyful life full of adventures! 

To those wondering if they should keep trying or let go (what I call “the in-between”), please know that there is a loving childless not by choice community ready to support and encourage as you try to accept what is…

Q: Anyone or anything that has inspired you along your journey?
I would not be where I am today without the unconditional love and support of my husband, Dane.

Q: What has been the biggest shift in your life after deciding to live Childfree?
Well, first, I must say that I do not consider myself “childFREE.”  As you have probably noticed, I say that I am “childLESS not by choice.”  While some do not like the word “childless,” I find that it best describes who I am.  I do not have biological nor adopted children.  I do, however, have fur babies, nieces, nephews, and an exchange daughter.  So, I am not childfree.  I never want these kiddos to feel that I want to be free of them. 

That being said, the biggest shift in my life after deciding to accept being childless…  A weight was lifted.  I no longer felt that I didn’t have control of my life.  I could decide what I was going to do and who I was going to be.  For me, that meant I fully embraced my roles as wife, dog mom, aunt, host mom.  I fully embraced uniquely me.

Q: What is the best part of your childfree lifestyle?
The best part of my childless lifestyle is getting to redefine…  I’m redefining momhood as a dog mom and host mom.  My husband and I are redefining our home, our holidays, our expectations, our life…

Q: Any advice for those grappling with the decision to be childfree after infertility?
Let go.  It is scary, I know.  But please, just let go and embrace what is…

Q: Any resources or other accounts you would like to share that you found helpful during or after your journey?
Over at my blog, Not So Mommy…, I have 70+ links to blogs, closed Facebook groups, websites, books and more on the Resources page.  Plus, my site includes over 20 pages of information, as well as 250+ blogs.

Q: Where can people find out more about you? (Instagram, Facebook)
You can find me at…
my blogsite, Not So Mommy…
Instagram, @notsomommy
Facebook, @notsomommy

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