“You need to relax.”
“Just stop trying, and everything will be OK.”
Women struggling with infertility hear a lot of bad advice. Too often it’s inaccurate, showing an ignorance of the causes of infertility, and too often it’s hurtful, showing a lack of understanding for the difficult struggle against it. But Joanna McCall, BSN, RN, a nurse at Atrium Health’s CMC Women’s Institute, understands all too well. Before Joanna was a nurse at a fertility program, she was a patient at one.
Joanna and her husband spent six years trying to have a baby. Exhausted, frustrated, and emotionally drained, they stopped trying. They grieved for the life they expected to have and accepted a future as a family of two. But Joanna’s life didn’t return to normal; she switched her nursing focus to fertility.
“I was intrigued by everything I had gone through, and I was curious about a lot that I still didn’t know about infertility,” Joanna says. “Part of my grieving process was to understand what I didn’t know and to share my heart with other women going through this process.”
When she moved to Charlotte from New York, Joanna joined CMC Women’s Institute as an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) coordinator. Getting to know the program and the staff gave her the encouragement to try again. Now, nine years later, Joanna has a family of five: an eight-year-old son Jacob and six-year-old twins Isaac and Caleb. She still marvels that her dream of children came true.
“This past Saturday was a rainy day, so my boys and I cuddled on the couch to watch a show. They piled on me, and I just looked at them, looked at their ginormous brown eyes, and I felt grateful they’re here and that they’re real. I still can’t believe some days that they’re here – that I can actually reach out and touch them.”