Mother of Her Inner Child
Selfie - resilient
Her Inner Light - faith in God
Her message to women everywhere - “Don’t be afraid to speak your truth even if it takes you out of your comfort zone. Through sharing we receive.”
Warmth is Aleli Crutchfield’s trademark. As is her smile and hearty laugh. Approaching each day with a sense of discovery, Aleli says, “I may not understand my struggles in the moment. But I hold on, knowing that in good time, I’ll gain the wisdom."
Aleli’s road towards motherhood has been arduous. For five years, she and her husband have struggled to start a family. She was able to conceive once, but her hopes were dashed when at six weeks, the doctor couldn’t detect a heartbeat in her precious bundle. She became deeply depressed, and there was a lot of self-blame. “Maybe I am not relaxing enough. Maybe I did something to my body to cause this. Wasn’t being a mother the reason I was put on this earth as a woman?”
Though not openly discussed, infertility is a common problem. According to the CDC, infertility affects about 10% of women in the child-bearing age. Infertility is not just a woman’s problem as generally perceived. In cases treated for infertility, problems traced to men versus women are found in equal numbers. But because infertility is such a personal matter, many women suffer in silence as Aleli did in her earlier years. “I didn’t know anyone going through it. All I kept seeing were babies and pregnant women.” Not having anyone to turn to was extremely isolating. Even now after she has gone through several cycles of infertility treatments, the emotional rollercoaster and month to month heartbreaks have not gotten easier.
Since grieving her miscarriage, Aleli put herself on a healthier path. Today she chooses hope rather than self-doubt. Even though infertility has shaken her to the core and tested her marriage, she is not ready to give up. “I know God has a plan for me, and maybe I will have to make peace with not being able to get pregnant. But I know one day I will be a mother.” She is also learning her limits. “We women, we're so hard on ourselves, so critical. We are wives, mothers, or mothers-to-be, all these different roles to different people, and we're always trying to be perfect. But who and what am I trying to prove? Why am I constantly so competitive against myself?” Aleli is moving towards a peace of knowing that she is enough as she is.
Speaking out about her infertility has also charted Aleli towards her healing path. She has seen how she can help others gain clarity on their experience and take away some of their sadness. With her trademark smile, Aleli says, "Even though our paths are hard and unclear, sharing our stories allows us to be blessings for one another.”
*** Since Aleli shared her story with HERliograph some months ago, she went through another round of IVF. Breaking News: She is now healthily sixteen weeks pregnant! Mamas and Mamas-To-Be everywhere, let’s send our joyful, nurturing energy to Aleli!
Aleli is a proud member of Sol Sisters, a nonprofit organization that provides holistic health services to empower women of all backgrounds.
Photo provided by Mandy Arlene Photography. @mandyarlene