After five years trying to conceive, Jesse and Doug found out they each had serious infertility issues. A variety of fertility treatments later, their dreams of having a large family morphed into membership of a club they never wanted to join. Uniquely Knitted was born out of this experience and of seeing so many other couples battle infertility alone. Today, the non-profit helps heal the traumas of infertility and end the isolation associated with it through a simple growth model, community, and a more resilient future. Read on for Jesse and Doug’s story, how it inspired them to so generously create Uniquely Knitted to support others, and how the organization truly ‘sees’ those struggling to build their family.
The amazing Jesse and Doug, Founders of Uniquely Knitted
1. You’re so open about your journey to your beautiful family. How did your experience inspire you to take the leap and create Uniquely Knitted?
When we got together as a couple our goal was to have a big family. We were preparing for loads of soccer games, homework, and bedtime stories. So dealing with the reality of infertility was almost too much to handle. Infertility was not the reality that we wanted, but it was the reality we had to accept.
To be perfectly honest, it took years to accept it. We fought it, we didn’t want our life to be as hard as it was. We were rushing forward to the life we wanted and not dealing with the life we actually had.
Eventually it hit us… This life we are living is actually ours and it is time to start embracing it. As we started to embrace our reality we began to share our story. The more we opened up, the more we realized that there is a community of people all dealing with this struggle to grow a family. We truly thought we were the only ones!
This led us to create Uniquely Knitted, a non profit organization dedicated to healing the traumas of infertility and ending the isolation that so often goes along with the struggle to build your family.
We vowed to each other that we would dedicate ourselves to helping create a safe place where people can process their stories, and learn to be in relationships so that they can take ownership over the life they are living.
2. Your Uniquely Knitted Box is so carefully curated. Can you share how you two decided on each piece and what you hope they’ll mean to those on the receiving end?
Once we started sharing our story more, the more people started sharing their stories with us! I still remember the first time I said to myself, I want to do more for these amazing people than just say, “I am so sorry.” I wanted to give something to them to show my love, to prove that I saw them. I wanted them to open a gift and feel a sense of comfort and care.
The only problem… For the life of me, I could NOT find the perfect gift. So I mashed a few things up from the stores I like and wrapped it all up in wrapping paper.
As I dropped this gift off on the doorstep of a beautiful person struggling with infertility I thought, we can do better than this.
That is when the Uniquely Knitted box was created!
We then set off to curate the best items to say, we see you, and we want you to know you are loved. When you open a Uniquely Knitted box it literally says, WE SEE YOU! What you find in the box is a blanket, a candle, a mug, and of course some chocolate. The goal is that you would open them up, and your senses would come alive with the reality that you are cared for.
The beautifully curated Uniquely Knitted box
3. How are you (in new and unique ways – aside from the lovely boxes) supporting the mental health of those struggling with infertility?
One of the biggest problems when dealing with family building is how hard it is to process the traumas from family building, and find a community who actually gets it. Like, actually, actually, gets it.
That’s why this year we launched our Building Resilience Program! For years we researched exactly what we think this community needs. We LOVE support groups, but sometimes they can lack enough guidance to grow and heal. We LOVE courses but sometimes they lack the community required to grow and heal.
The Building Resilience Program is unique in that it combines the growing and the community. It is a 6 week emotionally focused support group based on a specific model of care. Our material is written and taught by therapists who specialize in trauma and anxiety. By combining the learning and the communal processing we think that you can build resilience during this time of family building and create habits of health for years to come.
Uniquely Knitted provides guidance and community to those struggling with infertility
4. What advice would you give to intended parents on GoStork – who are just beginning their family building journey?
The best advice we could give you is to stay grounded and stay connected.
Stay grounded by breathing, and thinking through your options in a safe place. (GoStork is brilliant at helping with this) Sometimes we can start to panic and let the fear take over when we are trying to build a family. It’s ok to move slowly, know your options and feel your feelings.
Stay connected by communicating your feelings to safe people in your life. You do NOT have to do this alone. Reach out to people in your life who love you and want what’s best for you. If you need more community during this time Uniquely Knitted is ALWAYS here to help.
Thank you, Jesse and Doug! Your work is inspiring and sustenance to many who are struggling with infertility.