My Personal Journey as Chief Researcher and Why This Matters

Uncategorized Mar 09, 2017

My names is Kate Webster, PhD. I am the Chief Researcher at Organic Conceptions.  I specialize in social psychology and multivariate research methods. I have over 20-years-experience conducting research for companies from fortune 500 companies to non-profits to small startups.  In addition, I teach statistics, developmental psychology, and social psychology with an emphasis on culture and gender studies at the University of Rhode Island.    

Organic Conception’s story begins with Marc and Erin’s (Founders) personal struggle with infertility that spanned close to a decade.  During their struggle they would hear or read stories about couples who had conceived naturally after adopting a child, choosing another path, “letting go”, accepting what was, etc.. Hearing these stories was always a painful and frustrating experience for Erin and Marc, until, they became one of them, not just once, but twice.   

Marc and Erin were convinced that there had to be more behind these stories and had a nagging curiosity to understand what was happening.  Approximately 2 years ago, Marc and Erin approached me and asked if I would help them conduct research to examine stories from couples who had overcame infertility after enduring months and sometimes years of treatment without success, who then decided on some form of “stepping back” and exhaling.  Then much to their surprise, found themselves unexpectedly pregnant.  

Knowing Marc and Erin’s passionate desire to understand if there were credible patterns within these stories that could be mapped to help others struggling to achieve parenthood, I accepted the challenge!   As a social scientist, I was unsure if there would be any significantly overlapping patterns that would be meaningful to scientifically mapping the process.   I cautioned them that we needed to accept whatever the data would tell us.  If there were no patterns, then there were no patterns.     

For data capture we included both survey data and qualitative interviewing strategies (storytelling) with couples who had experienced infertility (carrying differing types of diagnoses and informed of crushing probabilities of success) who then tipped out and after some time experienced a natural conception.   

I was completely moved by the stories women shared with us.  They were simultaneously raw and beautiful ringing with hope and despair, but all anchored in fear and disappointment.   As a researcher and a woman, I was hooked.  I adjusted my professional life and was honored to be play a prominent role in undertaking Organic Conception’s research practices and eventually developing our audio program.  

 

What emerged from the data of this multi-year research project was that the struggle of infertility followed predictable patterns.  The overlapping themes in couple’s stories gave powerful evidence of shared commonalities in thoughts, feelings and behaviors.  Predictable stages emerged with identifiable tipping points or paths.  For example, once delay in conception occurred couples moved from a place of concern to self-doubt, then driven to find answers tipped into mainstream treatment and felt the heartbreak and loss that accompanies  treatment without success.   

 

Couples at some point had endured all they could and needed to stop their pain and isolation.  They halted their journey and reframed their situation to some form of acceptance with a true and deep intention to allow what was meant to be. . .to be.  They never gave up their need for parenthood. They just knew they needed to take time to heal.  For our participants, once they found a true peace in their decision, and then began to live that peace, 91% of these couples experienced a natural conception within 12 months.  

 

We continue to try and understand how this might happen.  We do know that it is not about the “just relax”, “go on vacation”, or “adopt” and it will happen that we hear from well-meaning others who have not experienced the devastation infertility can bring.  No!  That was not it at all.  There was a definable cognitive shift in the way they viewed life.  They spoke of finding wholeness, became kinder to themselves and talked about a feeling of gratefulness for what was now in their life.   They were letting go of past disappointments and not needing to try and control the future. We heard them say that they were living in the now of their life, trusting it.  It is what it is, and whatever it is, we’ll be ok.    

Our program is designed to facilitate awareness and bring couples to a place of peace within their journey, find hope in reframing and seek the courage to know that we cannot control what is to be.  With that said, I wanted to share with you our journey map that highlights the core stages that we found in our research.  I will ask you to review and reflect and see if you can find yourself in one of the tipping points on your journey.   Finding and seeing ourselves is one of the first steps in healing the hole that comes from a desperate need for something that we can’t control. (Organic Conceptions’ Journey Map). 

I now the vulnerability that comes when we search our heart for answers.  But if you’re feeling courageous and want to learn more, I you would love to hear from you!  If you would like to reply to this note and share with me where you think you are on your journey and why, I will commit to responding with a few suggestions that might help you progress forward on your journey or help you identify an advocate.  Please know that there is NO right or wrong way to move through this journey: though through movement and mindful choices healing happens.   Even though your journey may feel uniquely yours, it is. nonetheless, shared by millions of couples and there is great empowerment in knowing that you are not alone.  

I sincerely look forward to earning your trust and working with you on your journey to parenthood.

 In Kindness, Kate Webster

 

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