Introducing Cynthia Spitalny, the Podcast Host Who Wants to Talk More Openly About Fertility
This marketing consultant and host of Goal Magic has struggled to get pregnant — and wants to share what she's learned along the way.
I viscerally remember the moment when trying to have a baby and trying to work an intense job collided in my life. I was the lone senior sales and marketing executive working for a Philly technology start-up, juggling the pressure of being the sole income generator for my company (and my household), a recent move to a new state, and some related family drama. But the CEO of my former company was mostly concerned that I was only devoting two days to an important business trip.
I could feel the disappointment oozing from him as I confirmed that, yes, that was correct. What I wanted to say was I needed to be home because I was at a critical point in my cycle — about a two-week timeframe per month — for my husband and I to try to conceive. (Hello, ovulation.) And since I was in my mid- to late-30s, we didn’t have time to waste. Except that, “Hey boss, my husband and I need to have regular sex in order to get this baby thing going,” isn’t exactly considered appropriate office talk.
Rewind a few days prior to a discussion I’d been having with a guest on my podcast, Goal Magic, which interviews bestselling authors, influencers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders to provide tools and inspiration for listeners to get unstuck. During our pre-interview chat, I had mentioned my age and that we were trying for a baby. The guest, who I respect very much, told me, in so many words, that I had waited to the last biological minute to start trying, and now I really had to lean into conception and everything that could help me if it was ever going to happen.
I felt anxious and frustrated afterward. It hadn’t been my intention to wait that long to try to conceive. That’s just how life panned out for me — and does for a lot of other young couples these days.
Nevertheless, I began googling fertility specialists in my area as a first line of support to boost our chances. The dizzying amount of information and opinions felt overwhelming, at best. I later asked my husband, a physician assistant who very much recommends and uses both eastern and western medicine when it comes to our own health, what his thoughts were on acupuncture for helping us conceive.
These situations and experiences as well as many others like them — slices of my own life that have left me feeling deflated, nervous, helpless, and lonely —caused me to wonder why we, as a society, don’t often publicly talk about the “trying” and everything that may come with that. I, myself, focused on and asked friends about their own experiences of what it was like during and after giving birth, but I hadn’t spent too much time thinking about the before — we all know how babies are made, right?
However, after a comment from my best friend around some strange physical changes that happened to her while she was trying, which mimicked some of my own, I began exploring fertility more fervently. I learned about the various ways women and men may begin to increase their chances of fertility, like acupuncture, hypnosis, in-vitro fertilization, and stress reduction techniques. I made some calls to homeopathic experts to explore options and price points, chatted with friends and family, watched some Instagram videos, and continued to do research on ways to support my own fertility.
Despite my fervent curiosity, I didn’t immediately try out any of the suggested methods. Why? Because I’m still not sure what “works” or not. So much of the information involves personal anecdotes of what was effective for one woman or her friend or her sister. There are limited scientific studies on various alternative methods of boosting fertility. Not to mention that most western medicine doctors and clinicians aren’t versed and/or trained on complementary modalities of boosting fertility, so any definitive scientific advice on the topic remains somewhat of an unknown.
What I do know is that my husband and I are not interested in in-vitro fertilization or getting a surrogate. We both believe we are capable of conceiving (for many reasons that I will dive into later in this series), and we would like to have at least one child of our own. We both think alternative treatments may be able to help but are figuring out how and when we want to participate in any of those.
My intention with this series is to explain my own conception journey and offer resources that may help you with yours. I’ll cover anything from pelvic floor preparation for pregnancy to exploring nontraditional ways to boost fertility to (gulp) divulging my own experiences and emotions as I navigate this in my own life.
My hope is that other women who are enduring or have endured the pressures of getting pregnant can know that women out there share those experiences. My goal is to help them understand more about different methods of supporting conception as well as how to better manage the physical, emotional, psychological, and logistical aspects of conceiving, thanks to experts and specialists they might not have the money or time to talk to themselves.
Most importantly, readers, I want you to know that whatever feels right for you IS what’s right for you. No one can absolutely tell you what will work for you. But I want to offer what I’m learning along the way.
Cynthia Spitalny is the founder of Catalyst Consulting, a marketing and sales incubator that focuses on the effectiveness of emotional storytelling. She is also the co-founder of the award-winning Philly-born podcast, Goal Magic, on which she has interviewed bestselling authors, successful entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and international influencers. Both her business and her podcast were built out of her, her friends’, and her colleagues’ frustrations working in a patriarchal corporate system. She now spends most of her time working with organizations that are positively shaping the world.
Cynthia met her husband in 2014 in a meditation course during a lunch break, where she was discussing how she was calling senators and harassing them about ending the government furloughs. She hadn’t realized politics was the equivalent of “dating porn” to her now husband, and the rest is history. She currently splits her time between Florida, Pennsylvania, and Nevada with her husband and adopted tuxedo cat.