Finding Strength through Infertility, Maybe I Can't, but YES I CAN!

by Jennifer Ebbitt – Warwick

In April of 2013, a nervous and weak young woman took up an offer of free kickboxing for 1 month. Unable to do one solid pushup or complete one circuit, she began the program. One year later, that same young woman is as strong and confident as she has ever been. She pushes her body to do things it has NEVER done and seeks out additional challenges as previous ones are mastered. And she still only has one child.

So goes the infertility battle. But that battle is no more won than it is lost, nor more lost than won. Either way, this article isn’t about what this body can’t do; it’s about what it can.

There is a power inside that I have never known, never embraced, and, to be honest, never thought much about. In the spring of last year, I was coaxed into taking my first kickboxing class. Knowing that in just a few weeks we would embark on the strangest adventure of our lives known as “infertility,” I took up what I was sure to be just a temporary diversion to pass the time until our first cycle—a “temporary” diversion that in one year’s time had literally changed my life. And keeps changing it.  I am a powerhouse. I am a warrior. I am surrounded by some of the strongest and most influential people I have ever been blessed enough to know. These amazing men and women have taught me to be stronger than what hurts, push harder than the resistance, and stand taller than I did yesterday.

My family and I have experienced 4 failed IVF attempts at growing our family and have been diagnosed with what is called Unexplained Secondary Infertility.  As a young woman freshly married and enjoying her social life, my body felt that it was the appropriate circumstances to easily conceive our first child.  But our second child has yet to be, in spite of our efforts to move towards a healthier lifestyle and use modern science for help.  For anyone who has experienced the unique pain of infertility, you understand the void and hopelessness that comes along for the ride.  This was amplified by my beautiful young son pleading with us to let him be a big brother. This is what crushed me. My body wasn’t failing me, it was failing my family.

So off I went to kickboxing. A distraction, a trial for my body to see what it could do in light of what I already knew it couldn’t. I will be honest with you; it couldn’t do much in the beginning. Ski jumps and line drills and *gulp*…pushups.  Big nope on my abilities to do more than a few of those before my body threw up the white flag.  But after time, I saw results.  Not skinny results, not chiseled muscle results, but results into my mind and my soul.  I can’t make a baby, not with the best of science or modern medicine’s help.  But I could keep pace with the women I identified as the leaders in this class.  I could run, I could drop a bag with my front kick, I could complete a circuit and be hungry for more.   And it all felt amazing.

Over time I have etched my way into a die-hard fitness family.  I kickbox 2-4 times per week, do martial arts with my son 2 days a week, and actively train daily for OCRs on the weekends.  There is nothing I love more than beads of sweat hitting the mat before me, or getting down and dirty on a Mud Run.  Many tears have been shed in our journey to complete our family, but much more blood and sweat have been shed along the way.  This journey has found me on a mat with sweat flying and Burpees dropping all around me. It has helped me complete my family.  Not with a pregnancy or a baby brother or sister for my son, but with the Mastery Martial Arts family I am so proud to have become a part of.  If not for these trainers, families, and MOMs, I don’t know where this journey would have landed us.  There may never be another new life inside me, but I am confident that the family I’ve built around me will sustain me through all of my trials.

All this because of one free month of kickboxing.


Jennifer Ebbitt is a 31-year-old married mother of one beautiful son, Liam.  Through finding her fitness, she has found herself, her strengths, and some of her dearest friends.




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