Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tonight my husband and I are going to do one of our favorite V Day traditions – make a delicious surf and turf with filet mignon and lobster tail from our local butcher.  Seriously, this is one of the highlights of our year!

I hope you’ve got some great plans too.  I also hope more than anything that between going out for the fancy dinner and enjoying the chocolates, you find the time to give love to the ONE person in your life who’s been with you through thick and thin.

I’m not talking about your partner. I’m talking about YOU.

Yes, our relationship with ourselves suffers, but it’s the most important relationship that we have.

Think about it. You’ve been with yourself every minute since you were born. You know yourself better than anybody. Think about the amazing ups and downs you’ve been through with yourself through your life.  Things like going to school. Getting a job. Getting married.

And trying to have a baby.

This week I’ve been hosting a virtual online event, the Love Yourself Challenge, where 70 women from all over the world have been exploring the very special connection that they have with themselves. In addition to hosting, I’ve been participating in the challenge too.

I had one person tell me that she wasn’t sure she needed to sign up for the challenge because her self-confidence was already very high.

I just smiled.

But self-confidence and self-love aren’t the same thing.

People who are self-confident often trust themselves, in particular, their ability to do and accomplish things. A self-confident person is ready to rise to new challenges, seize opportunities, deal with difficult situations, and take responsibility for their actions.

Self-love is about how you connect with yourself as a person. How you feel about and value yourself.   It’s your own appraisal of your own worth.

A person can be very self-confident but be sorely lacking in the self-love department.

I know this because I was one of them.

When I was younger and getting started in my career, I was very confident. I’d excelled at school and gotten a great internship that opened lots of doors to me professionally. I came out of school with job offers to pick from and confident that I’d make my mark on any job I wanted.

Once I was working, I made smart career choices and earned great perks like respect in my field, a nice office with a window, interesting work, travel to fun places, invitations to join committees and boards, speaking engagements at conferences. In a word, I was driven.

View of Independence Ave., Washington DC. US Capitol Building to the right.

View from my office window. Independence Ave., Washington DC. US Capitol Building to the right.

But I was dying inside. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of any of it and that it would only be a matter of time before everyone else would figure me out.

I discovered this in 2002, when I went on vacation to Machu Picchu, Peru. I’d dreamed of seeing this amazing place for more than 10 years. I went with a group of friends, and the view was obstructed while we were hiking to the top.

After we got to the summit, our guide, a Peruvian shaman, had us close our eyes. Before he let us open them and marvel at that amazing view, he told us that to find true spiritual freedom we didn’t have to look any further than ourselves.

Stephanie at the top of Machu Picchu, 2002

Here I am at the top of Machu Picchu, 2002.


I burst into tears.  Overwhelmed by his words, I didn’t believe that I was good enough to unlock the key to my happiness.

It’s not uncommon for people who are brimming with confidence to be lacking in self-love. Many self-confident people often think that they can avoid facing their imperfections by loading up on achievements, abilities, certificates, and awards. They can hide behind those, and use those to define them as a person.

People who are well grounded in themselves don’t need those externals to prop themselves up. They get their strength from within, and because they’re so well grounded and true to themselves, they’re able to give more freely of themselves to others. They don’t fear rejection or failure.

So what can loving yourself do for your fertility?


I decided to host the challenge because on the fertility journey, we start to hate ourselves.

We tell themselves horrible things about our bodies and their worth.

We trash talk ourselves in a way that we never would speak of another person.

We treat ourselves with a disrespect that we’d never dream of inflicting on somebody else.

We feel like we’re at war with ourselves.

I told myself that my body was crap, and that I didn’t deserve to be a mother.

Living with infertility is a gut-wrenching, emotional, brutal reality. It’s laden with triggers to our emotional well-being.

It strikes us at our very core of womanhood. We feel like if we can’t do the one thing that we’re created to do, the one thing that sets us apart from men, then we’re not worthy as women.

Through the challenge this week, we’ve been exploring ways to reconnect with ourselves. We’re nourishing our physical bodies, giving ourselves reaffirming positive self-talk, spending time in quiet contemplation, and freely sharing our love with others.

This isn’t about building up our confidence.

What this is about, and what we’ve been doing, is paying attention to and learning about ourselves.


We’ve been giving ourselves the care and attention that we need to thrive. We’ve been lifting ourselves up. We have been nurturing that very special relationship with the one person who is with us every single minute of every single day, for our entire lives. The one person who’s never turned her back on us.

This doesn’t have a tangible medical benefit to fertility, i.e., it doesn’t lower our FSH level or cure our PCOS.

But it does give us strength to continue on our fertility journey. To find a little more hope when we’re ready to give up. To find inner power that we maybe didn’t know we had.

To know that we are worthy.

We’re doing the best we can.

We deserve all the good things in our lives.

We’re beautiful, strong, powerful, resilient women. 

Through loving ourselves we can maybe see, and really believe, that regardless of what happens on this crazy path of fertility, we are enough.

I’m sending lots of love to you this Valentine’s Day – now go love on yourself.

Stephanie xox



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