Simplified: Infertility can be a long and lonely journey for couples looking to start a family. That's why two Sioux Falls women – who've been there themselves – are working to make couples on that journey feel a little less alone. Meet Kelsey Lesnar and Jennifer Eisenzimmer.
Why it matters
- Lesnar and Eisenzimmer have been friends since kindergarten, so they've seen each other through many of life's challenges – including their individual infertility journeys.
- Both women have healthy toddlers now, and over the past year they've been working to offer support to other couples who are facing infertility. They began giving out gift bags last year, and they're doing it again this week at Sanford in recognition of Infertility Awareness Week.
- Infertility isn't something people often openly discuss – often because it's such a personal topic but also because there's a stigma around it, Lesnar said. She's found that by sharing her experience, she's seeing more people open up about their own infertility stories.
"It's more common than people think – it's just not talked about," she said. "That's why we need to bring awareness to it."
Tell me more about the gift bags
The idea is to have a small surprise for a couple or individual during a doctor appointment where they may be used to hearing bad news, Lesnar said.
"It's something you get to maybe put a smile on your face and maybe give them some hope," she said.
Bags include things like healthy snacks, a notebook, hand sanitizer and tissues.
- Last year, the women gave out 43 bags, and this year they raised donations for another 47.
How can I support a friend dealing with infertility?
"Just being a listening ear and not giving your experiences," Lesnar said.
It's also important to not ask questions that might be hard or painful for people to answer, Eisenzimmer.
"Don't ask people when they're going to have a baby because you just never know what it could be," Eisenzimmer said. "People could just not want children, or they can't and that (question) is triggering for depression. I struggled with depression for five years. It was horrible."
How can I help with the gift bags?
Right now, the two women gather support and donations through their personal Facebook pages, but their long-term goal is to see their project expand to reach more people.