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8 Ways to Support a Loved One Navigating Infertility

Trying for a baby can be such a fun and exciting time in our lives, but for so many, it has instead become one of the toughest. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 6 people of reproductive age are impacted by infertility globally. And according to Piedmont Healthcare, approximately one-third of infertility is attributed to the male partner, one-third to the female partner, and one-third is caused by either a combination of problems in both partners or is unexplained.

It can be a challenging journey, not just for those who are experiencing it but also for their loved ones. The emotional roller coaster, endless appointments, financial stress, and uncertainty can take a toll on both physical and emotional well-being. If you have a loved one navigating infertility, it can be hard to know what to say or do to help.

Here are some of the top ways you can offer compassionate support during the challenging infertility journey.

8 Ways to Support a Loved One Navigating Infertility

Be mindful of your words; stay away from giving advice.

Words have immense power, especially when someone is struggling with infertility. Something that may have worked for you, may not work for them. Avoid making insensitive comments or offering unsolicited advice. Phrases like, “Stop stressing and it will happen,” or, “Just relax and have some drinks, that’s what I did,” may come from a well-meaning place, but can be hurtful. Instead, offer words of support, such as, “I’m here for you”.

Check in with them.

Some may think it may be bothersome or annoying to keep checking in with their loved one who is navigating infertility, but oftentimes it’s not! The best way to know whether they would like to be checked in with or not is to just ask. I know personally I really loved when my friends remembered important days like my ultrasounds, appointments, or transfer days. It can help them feel less alone and can help ease their nerves. Of course, always check with them first to make sure it’s okay that you check in with them.

Educate yourself.

Another way to offer support during an infertility journey is to take the initiative to educate yourself about infertility and the various challenges associated with it. This is especially important if they are going through treatment. Try not to drill them with a million questions that can be found on google. Understand the different treatment options, medical procedures, and emotional impact. This will not only help you offer more informed support, but will also show your loved one that you’re invested in understanding their experience.

Offer hope + encouragement.

While navigating infertility can feel overwhelming, offering hope and encouragement can provide much-needed comfort. Remind your loved one that they’re not alone in this journey and that there are support networks and resources available to them. Encourage them to stay positive and resilient, focusing on the possibilities that lie ahead.

Offer practical support.

Believe it or not, there is actually one key phrase that can be absolutely life-changing for someone going through this: “How can I best support you as you go through this?” These could be the exact words someone needs to hear. Whether it’s taking some tasks off their hands as a co-worker at work, or helping with household chores as their partner, any small gesture helps. As a friend you could even offer to cook a meal, send a thoughtful text, or deliver a gift to make them smile and remember that they have your support.

Respect their privacy.

Infertility is a deeply personal journey, and not everyone may feel comfortable discussing it openly. Respect your loved one’s privacy and boundaries regarding sharing their experience. Avoid sharing their story or asking intrusive questions without their consent. Let them lead the conversation and share as much or as little as they’re comfortable with. Letting them know that you are there when they are ready to talk is another great option.

Take care with pregnancy announcements.

If you are a friend and become pregnant, text them instead of surprising them with the news to allow them time to process. Acknowledge their journey too, and understand that they may need some time to digest things before they get super excited. Know that she may not be ready to attend things like baby showers and gender reveals, so try to be understanding about these too. If you see that one of her friends has recently announced their pregnancy, don’t be afraid to check in with her and just let her know you are here to talk/vent if she wants to. 

Take time to learn about their experience.

Empathy is key when offering support during an infertility journey. Take the time to understand what they are going through. Make sure to acknowledge the emotional ups and downs they may be facing. Listen without judgment and validate their feelings, even if you may not fully comprehend what they’re going through.

Resources for Support During an Infertility Journey

Facebook groups

Search for infertility support groups on Facebook. Once you join, check out the vibe and know that it’s okay if you don’t resonate with that specific one. There are tons out there, keep trying and don’t give up! 

Friends in real life and on social media

Believe it or not, some of the people that helped me the most were ones that I barely knew from social media. Some of us may not have friends in-person that have gone through this, but on social media it may be easier to connect. 

Chosen Infertility + Lauren Clements

Lauren is a good friend of mine who founded this incredible non-profit for infertility right here in Michigan. Chosen Infertility Group helps individuals and families make their way through their own infertility journey. Whether they are helping with resources or financially, it is their mission to help bring awareness to the infertility journey. This year they are offering nine grants to help couples cover the cost of fertility treatment including IVF, IUI, Surrogacy, Therapy, and Acupuncture. 

If you are looking for assistance with how to navigate infertility, please e-mail Lauren at [email protected] or Samantha at [email protected].

Infertility Clinic Recommendations

Acupuncture Recommendations

Clinical Therapists That Specialize In Infertility

For more information on infertility, visit https://resolve.org/.

-Guest post submitted by Samantha Dawson/samanthadawson_

It Made Me a Stronger Mom: Merry’s Infertility Journey

My husband and I met and got married in our late 20s. We knew that starting a family was a top priority once we were married, and we started trying right after our honeymoon. Things were going well, at least in the fact that my cycle was coming regularly. My cycle has always been irregular; sometimes it would be two weeks apart, and sometimes two or three months apart. But then it didn’t show up, so I thought maybe I was pregnant!

So I waited and waited. I reached out to my primary care doctor for a blood test, but it was negative. However, I knew something wasn’t right. I found an OB/GYN and just before my appointment, my cycle started. She didn’t really think much of the fact that it was missing for three months and since I was 29, she said to just keep trying and come back when we had been trying for a year.

Photo by Melinda Louise Photography

I should have asked for at least my bloodwork, to see where my hormones were. But I didn’t. During that three month period I remember having a dream about having triplets. I woke up with a start! I had no clue what that could mean, so I just shrugged it off.

By month ten, I had a few more negative pregnancy tests.

I made a vague post on social media and one of my husband’s cousins reached out and asked if we were having issues conceiving and she told me that they were, too. It was nice to hear from someone who had been where we were. By this point I was really starting to feel like a huge failure. No one in my family struggled to conceive. We were young and healthy. Why weren’t we pregnant already?!

When we were close to the year mark, I called a new clinic and met with an OB/GYN and they ran some bloodwork and my hormones looked good. My FSH was 2. We discussed our options and decided to start Clomid, and I was feeling pretty optimistic. One month later though, I had no period and was NOT pregnant. By now, this was negative pregnancy test #9 or so. So I waited, and waited, and waited. Still no cycle. I had really started feeling bad for myself.

Other people who got married the same year we did were pregnant, so why weren’t we?

It had been three months and still no cycle, so I called my clinic and they had me come in and have my hormones tested. The results came back with high FSH–64 to be exact. This is extremely high for a 20-something woman, even mid-cycle like I was. I was surprised but also relieved to have some answers.

At this point my OB/GYN referred me to an IVF clinic. I was scared and anxious but also a little excited and hopeful. The world of IVF was pretty new to my husband and I. We didn’t think we knew anyone who had done it. Turns out, though, we did–but so many people kept it hush, hush that we had no clue.  

Once all of the testing at the fertility clinic was done, I was diagnosed with high FSH and low AMH (egg count).

Essentially, I was pre-menopausal. My Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) suggested we do IVF as our best way to conceive. I was put on estrogen and progesterone to help lower my FSH and to bring on a cycle in a timely manner. Every month when my cycle came, I went in for bloodwork and an ultrasound.

During the first three months, my FSH was too high. By month 4, my FSH was 23! In healthy women of child bearing age, FSH should be well under 10 on Day 3 of your cycle–my RE wanted it under 20. We were so close. My RE said they were willing to try a medicated cycle if I was. And I was definitely ready, so I said yes!

I started injecting myself with a low dose of two IVF drugs, Menupur and Follistim.

Things were looking good: I had a few follicles growing, and my body was working the way it was supposed to. A few days in, they have you add an injection to help keep you from ovulating too early. My LH started to surge on Day 10 (typically they like day 12 or so) and so instead of canceling the cycle, they had me do a trigger shot (HCG) and go into retrieval early. Retrieval is typically done under anesthesia, so they put me under and when I came to I was told that we were too late. No eggs to collect. I was devastated!

My RE suggested that we go home and try the old fashioned way, just in case. After this cycle I started doing a deep dive on all the ways to try and lower FSH. Wheatgrass and  acupuncture were some of the biggest things. After a bunch of too high cycles, I decided to finally give acupuncture a try. My FSH went from 26.7 to 19! It was time to try another medicated cycle. And this time we knew I may ovulate early, so we were all prepared.

Everything went great. I responded to the meds, I triggered, and I went into retrieval– although this time I was awake. My nurse suggested it, especially since we only had one (maybe two) follicles. It was a very cool experience! My husband had to wait outside; I’m sure he was a nervous wreck. It felt like a really strong pinch and you have to stay super still. But it was so worth it.

As my RE placed the needle in to collect the eggs and then handed it off to the embryologist, we were all waiting on pins and needles to hear what we got.

I got two beautiful eggs, both mature and fertilized. We did a 3-day transfer; I think that with having only a couple of embryos, this was giving them the best rate of survival. And then, the dreaded two week wait.

It had only been 12 days, but I went in for bloodwork. I didn’t even make it back home and they had called to tell me I was pregnant. It was the best phone call! At 5 weeks 6 days, we went in to see if one or two embryos took. Remember that dream I had about triplets? I was kind of freaking out that there may be three in there. It was only one, and their heartbeat was strong. It was a little boy, and he turns seven this summer!

After having my son, I never went back on birth control.

I figured if it was meant to be, it would happen. A year later, though, nothing had happened. I stopped breastfeeding and started supplements to help lower FSH and boost egg quality. And, I started seeing my acupuncturist and even took some Chinese herbs. I went back to my RE and we tried three cycles, but all were canceled for various reasons. Right before the final medicated cycle, we had met with the RE and he said that he was willing to try one more cycle but if it didn’t work out, it might be time to try something else.

Since he didn’t offer donor eggs, we would have to move to a new clinic. I started looking for places that offered donor eggs in the area. I had to come to peace with donor eggs; it had actually been suggested way back with our original RE’s associate. Back then I was definitely not open to it at all. But four years later, after a lot of research, I had come to the conclusion that it was more important to me to have my child be at least biologically related to my husband and son, and I would still be able to carry a baby and bond with it that way.

Once we met with the new clinic and RE, he had me do a few different tests and procedures and just as we were preparing for a donor egg transfer, we found out we were pregnant naturally. We were shocked! My daughter just turned three.

A few things helped support me through this experience.

These included my husband, my mom and sister, and infertility support groups–and especially my faith, I prayed every night! This is not the journey I expected to take to motherhood. But it definitely made me a stronger mom. I’m so glad I went through all of this. It made me understand that everyone’s journey to becoming a mom is different, but in the end we are all in this together. So if you are struggling to conceive, open up to someone, find someone who has gone through it before, join support groups, and remember that you are not a failure.

–Guest post submitted by Merry Groen

Black Maternal Health Week Resources

Black Maternal Health Week is critically important. It raises awareness about the alarming disparities in maternal health outcomes faced by Black women in the United States. During this week, advocates, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and community members come together to address systemic issues such as racism, bias, and unequal access to quality healthcare that contribute to disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity among Black women.

By highlighting these disparities and advocating for change, Black Maternal Health Week aims to drive policy reforms, increase support for maternal health initiatives, and ultimately improve the health and well-being of Black mothers and their babies.

There are persistent disparities in healthcare.

There have been improvements in healthcare access and outcomes nationwide. However, Black maternal health outcomes in Michigan–particularly in Detroit and Metro Detroit–continue to lag behind. Black mothers are disproportionately affected by maternal mortality. So, they’re facing higher rates of pregnancy-related complications and deaths compared to their white counterparts.

Black women face barriers to accessing healthcare.

Structural inequities such as lack of access to quality healthcare, racial bias in medical settings, socioeconomic factors, and inadequate insurance coverage contribute to the disparities in maternal health outcomes for Black women in Michigan. These barriers often result in delayed prenatal care, increased maternal stress, and limited access to essential resources and support services.

There’s also the impact of historical trauma.

Historical injustices, including systemic racism and discrimination in healthcare, have deeply rooted effects on Black maternal health in Michigan. The intergenerational trauma stemming from experiences such as medical experimentation, forced sterilization, and neglectful healthcare practices continues to shape Black women’s experiences during pregnancy and childbirth.

However, community-led solutions are out there.

Grassroots organizations and community initiatives in the Detroit area are actively working to address the disparities in Black maternal health. These efforts focus on providing culturally competent care and advocating for policy changes. They also offer support networks for expecting mothers, and promote holistic approaches to maternal well-being.

A Black Maternal Health Week Call to Action

Black Maternal Health Week serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need to prioritize and invest in Black maternal health in Michigan. It calls upon policymakers, healthcare providers, community leaders, and individuals alike to take proactive steps to dismantle systemic barriers, amplify Black voices, and ensure equitable access to comprehensive maternal care for all women, regardless of race or ethnicity.

Improving black maternal health outcomes is crucial. And, there are several resources available in the Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor areas that specifically cater to this need. For those seeking to get involved or access support services for Black maternal health in Michigan, consider reaching out to:

Birth Detroit

Birth Detroit values love, justice, safety, and trust. This organization is working to create a birthing center in Detroit that is providing quality, loving, safe care from pregnancy to postpartum and everything in between.

Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association

Based in Detroit, this organization provides breastfeeding support and maternal health education tailored to the needs of Black families.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – Maternal Infant Health Program

This organization offers resources and support services for pregnant and postpartum individuals, including maternal health education, home visiting programs, and breastfeeding support.

Shai Doula Services

This organization is providing reproductive care to birthing people in the Detroit area and surrounding communities, and is a Black-women led organization.

Sister Song

A national organization that focuses on reproductive justice, including maternal health advocacy.

The Mom Wellness Cave

This organization provides experiences to help mothers enhance their motherhood journey and is created for and by moms.

When seeking support and resources, it’s essential to look for culturally competent care that acknowledges and addresses the unique challenges and needs of Black mothers.

Caring for your mental health is incredibly important. If you’re looking for support, please check out our Guide to Therapists In + Around Detroit.

Detroit Mom’s Infertility + Loss Support Group

infertility resource

Trying to navigate life during infertility or after miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, or TFMR can feel terribly lonely and extremely difficult. Here at Detroit Mom, we want you to know that you’re not alone. We are here to support YOU.

Did you know that we have an Infertility + Loss Support Group on Facebook? Started in 2019, it is run by local women who have had similar struggles. They are hoping to now offer you support in your journey. The goals of the support group are to offer a safe space for you to share your feelings, connect you with others going through similar situations, and to help you feel less alone and more understood.

photo taken by Rachelle Welling Photography

The Detroit Mom Infertility + Loss Support Group is a peer-led, volunteer-based support group. The local women who run the group are strong believers that no one should suffer alone. They would love to support you along your journey. In addition to the support group on Facebook, these women also hold monthly Zoom meetings, and encourage you to attend if you feel comfortable doing so. To date, the group has supported over 190 women as they navigate through this difficult journey.

Meet the local women who proudly run this group:

photo taken by Rachelle Welling Photography

Steffanie Marshall

Steffanie is a wife, Detroit Mom writer, and fellow infertility and loss survivor. After a year of taking various supplements, charting temperatures, and peeing on ovulation sticks she was finally diagnosed with infertility. The next three years were filled with numerous medicated cycles, an ectopic pregnancy, five rounds of IVF, and four miscarriages before being blessed with three rainbow babies–Jonathan, Nicholas, and Lucas. Throughout her four years of infertility, she felt extremely isolated. She turned to support groups to help cope with her feelings of grief and hopelessness. Steffanie is passionate about paying it forward by building a community to support our local infertility warriors and loss mamas. No one should struggle alone.

photo taken by Rachelle Welling Photography

Emily Nelson

Emily is an advertising guru momma working full-time in Detroit who leads a vegetarian lifestyle. She and her husband met in high school. They now live in Northville with their sons Asher and Milo and rescue pup Monk. Their lives took a tragic turn when they lost their first child, Veda. With the outpouring of support from family, friends, and a community of other women sharing similar devastation, she was able to piece things together and begin healing. She hopes to create a safe place to help others since learning first-hand the positive impact that can have. In her free time, she loves to enjoy the outdoors and the little moments in life.

photo taken by Rachelle Welling Photography

Jesse Sutherland

Jesse is an infertility warrior and loss mom who lives in Royal Oak with her loving husband, Nick; rescue pup, Clyne; double rainbow baby, Gus, Otto, and their latest addition, Mabel. Between being terrified her entire pregnancy (her fourth after two previous losses) of losing the baby while also navigating the ever-looming global pandemic, she totally understands how complicated this journey can be. She hopes to create a safe space for women to feel supported and able to honor how they’re actually feeling without anyone telling them how they should be feeling.

photo taken by Rachelle Welling Photography

Lilly Pritula

Lilly lives in Farmington Hills with her wife Rachel, rainbow babies Josie and Leah, and three cats (Pumpkin, Bow, and Arrow). She is no stranger to all things fertility treatment-related. Lilly is also an empathetic listener and supporter for those that have experienced pregnancy loss. After losing her first child, Cole, at 38 weeks, and then suffering a subsequent miscarriage, she deeply understands the delicate balance of grief and love. She has a greater appreciation of the unique challenges faced during pregnancy after loss after going through it herself during the pandemic. Lilly is passionate about supporting those in their grief, and advocacy to bridge the disconnects between loss parents and their experiences in the healthcare system.

To join the Infertility + Loss Support Group, please click here.

For more information on the Infertility + Loss Support Group, please click here.

For more information on the Pregnancy After Loss Support Group, please click here.

Detroit Mom’s Local Love Spotlight: Neehee’s

Detroit Mom’s Local Love series highlights local women and the businesses they have built. We love supporting small business! Today’s Local Love Spotlight belongs to Dipali Patel, one of the owners of Neehee’s!

To start, we asked Dipali to share a few fun facts about herself with us!

  • She has her Bachelors in Accounting.
  • She is a very creative person and has experience working in fashion design.
  • She is always curious about learning more, especially about marketing in regards to the business!

We asked her to share a little bit more about her business with us, too. Get to know Dipali and her business, Neehee’s, below!

How did you come up with the idea of your business, and how did you start?

“We were actually in a grocery store business and then we decided to add some snacks in our grocery store… so we started with [samosas in] that small, little corner in our grocery store. From there, we decided to move full-fledged into the restaurant business.

“My husband and my brother-in-law and his wife and I, the four of us, started this restaurant business together back in 2006… I was pregnant and my sister-in-law was also pregnant, and we both had girls. And [the meaning behind Neehee’s] is behind our girls’ names: my daughter’s name is Niyati and my sister-in-law’s daughter’s name is Heeya. Niyati means honesty and Heeya means heart… So the name was branded behind their names… in 2009.

“Customers [of the grocery store] did enjoy the snacks that we were selling… so then we decided to add a full-fledged grocery store and a food corner in one grocery store, that was in 2006 when we started the first restaurant along with [a] grocery store. And then from there, we saw that people were coming actually just to eat–not to purchase any groceries so in 2009 we decided to open Neehee’s–just itself, as a restaurant.”

Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently when you were first starting out?

“So, in the beginning it was really a struggle full-time… I was pregnant while I was working in the restaurant, so… being a woman and working in the restaurant [was difficult]. Initially we did face a lot of struggle because we did not have any restaurant skills, we [didn’t] have any restaurant background… there were some struggles finding good people, skilled people, at that time, which we were not able to find.

“We have developed the recipe[s] from scratch, so that’s something that’s very appreciated right now. So the people who have eaten at Neehee’s, let’s say back in 2009-2010, they know how we have our consistency in the restaurant. Overall we have evolved so much, in not only keeping the quality and consistency in quality, but overall the restaurant itself, we have evolved in how it was like a small restaurant–40 people sitting–to now it’s like [a] 120 [person] sitting area.

“We always believe in consistency in quality, and quality in growth. So we [didn’t] find ourselves opening a bigger place right away. We want to expand it as much as we can based on our capacity.”

What is the best business advice you’ve ever been given?

“I think the best advice I would say is ‘serving happiness.’ That’s our tagline of the business. It’s like our internal mantra we have here at Neehee’s. We share what makes us happy… what we have found is if you can provide a product that serves happiness to your customers, you’re giving good customer service along with your good-quality products. So ‘serving happiness’ is something that we have gotten advice for–good customer service. And that’s what I would really pass on. People used to come to see us because we were the face of Neehee’s… they’ve known us from the beginning. So giving a good customer service brings your customers again and again.”

Have you faced adversity in business due to being a woman? How did you navigate that?

“No, not really. I mean, there might be one or two but I don’t really feel [like it] because our business has 75% of women working in our restaurants… and there is no language barrier in our restaurant. If [an employee has] difficultly following our manual, we try to help them out and translate our manual in their language to provide them [with] a good workspace.”

How do you persevere in challenging times?

“Being authentic to what you have, stick with your gut, [and] what you have come far for. If you stick with that in your difficult time, stick with your gut that yes, this will be over soon.”

What impact do you want your business to have?

“We want to see Neehee’s in every other state, almost. Our goal is to expand slowly from [the] midwest all the way to Dallas. That’s the goal, at least: 50 Neehee’s in 50 states… We are a part of our community. We are supporting our community in temples, and some other places… We believe in supporting our community and we are heavily into support for our community… ‘Serving happiness.’ That’s our tagline of the business.”

What are the pros and cons of being a woman business owner in 2023?

“We have my husband and my brother-in-law, me and my sister-in-law. We work together very well… My kids did not go to daycare, so we were growing the business at the same time my kids were growing, or my sister-in-law’s kids were growing. So that is something that I have never found challenging in my particular career… We also live together [which] I guess could be the reason we did not find that challenging, because we had enough support to raise our kids, to raise our business and our kids at the same time because we had each other’s back.”

What knowledge would you share with someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?

“I would encourage [to] follow your dreams. I would definitely encourage any woman who’d like to pursue their business: follow your dreams. We women underestimate ourselves a lot. And I would say just go for it!

What do you do for personal and professional development?

“I’m a learner. So I… watch a lot of YouTube videos, I do a lot of experimental things myself and learn from my own experience.”

What mantra or quote do you live by?

“Follow your dreams, and do what makes you happy. Our mantra, and our goal, and our internal mantra you could say, you’ll see a lot of things about happiness. So do what makes you happy!”

What’s your favorite place in Detroit or Michigan?

“Ann Arbor is very cozy!”

Where can our readers find you on social media?

You can follow Neehee’s on Facebook, Instagram, and on their website!

We hope you loved getting to know more about Dipali + Neehee’s. Be sure to check out our previous Local Love Spotlight featuring Shea + Soul Roots Wax Co.!

Detroit Mom Connect: The Art of Being Authentically + Vulnerably Yourself

We are so excited to announce a group designed specifically for moms who are also motivated to take the next step in their business or career: Detroit Mom Connect!

Detroit Mom Connect is where moms can come together to build community and network with other women in the Detroit area. Community and connection are the foundation of everything we do here at Detroit Mom. We want to nurture relationships between women, be their cheerleaders, and lift them up. In a world where competition and comparison are the norm, we want to shatter those ideas with compassion, encouragement, and sisterhood.

Networking

The vision behind Detroit Mom Connect is to connect women together. This is a networking group unlike any other because we are focused on supporting moms who are also working towards their career goals every day. We know working moms face a lot of unique challenges in the balance between career success and motherhood. That’s why we want to help you create relationships with other women who are experiencing the same things you are–so that you can feel supported not only in business, but in motherhood as well.

Detroit Mom Connect is for…

  • Moms who are entrepreneurs or own their own business.
  • Moms who work for an employer either at an office or from home.
  • Moms who have been raising their children and are looking to reenter the workforce either with employment through someone else or by starting their own business.

DM Connect April Event

Our next Detroit Mom Connect event will take place on Tuesday, April 30 in Ferndale. We would love to see you for an evening of food, learning, and networking with other women. Detroit Mom founder, Elizabeth Lewis, and Citizen Yoga founder + Fourth Tri Sanctuary co-founder, Kacee Must, will be focusing on all things vulnerability and authenticity–two things we are super passionate about here at Detroit Mom. 💜

Your ticket includes:

  • Charcuterie by Carm 😋
  • Surprise fun drinks 🍹
  • KB Event Co. will be joining us with another truly magical setup 🌟
  • Gluten free and vegan treats 🤗
  • Snacks from The Channeled Baker 🤩
  • Sweet treats from Toots Sweets 🍪
  • Photo booth from Modern Social 📸 🙌
  • And so many more surprises on the way . . .

Tickets are limited and will sell out quickly! Oh, and they’re only on sale until April 27th. 🤩 To buy your tickets, click the button below!

We can’t wait to see you there!

The NFL Draft in Detroit: What Families Can Do Downtown

A super exciting event is happening within our city of Detroit during this last week of April. We’re hosting the NFL Draft from April 25-27! The Draft itself is free, as are many of the activities, though you do need to sign up for attendance on the app. Each adult may sign up individually, as well as for their kids. So while I was able to sign up with my kids, my husband had to sign up separately. 

The Draft will be taking place at Hart Plaza and Campus Martius in downtown Detroit. And, kids activities will be taking place at Corner Ballpark in Corktown. Both locations are beautiful, not only for the fun downtown Detroit atmosphere coupled with all the sports happenings, but the weather is perfect this time of year to be downtown! 

Whether you’re from out of town or you’re a Detroit native, there is so much happening in our gorgeous city. Read on for some ideas of family-friendly places to visit in downtown Detroit, close to where the NFL Draft is taking place. 

Places for Fun Photo Ops

There are some incredible photo opportunities taking place because of the NFL Draft. At the Draft location fans young and old can take photos with the Vince Lombardi trophy along with many other fun football spots. Plus there are a myriad of other photo opportunities available. I can only imagine how fun these pictures are going to turn out!  

Hart Plaza itself has a lot of natural photo opportunities as well, including the gorgeous Detroit skyline. This beautiful background has made some of my family’s most picturesque photo backgrounds over the years. Hart Plaza is also located along the Detroit River, which boasts its own naturally beautiful scenery. 

This area is also close to Campus Martius, which is one of our personal favorite spots in the city. We love walking around among the hustle and bustle of this spot. It’s also been known to host some of the best seasonal and event activities. Right now it’s decorated both for spring and the NFL Draft. There are so many fun photo spots and walking destinations to snap some pictures! 

Places to Eat

One of the best things my family and I love to do in downtown Detroit is EAT! There is such a variety of cuisines and delicacies available. From date nights to family fun, there’s truly something for anybody at any time. Metro Detroit is a melting pot of cultures, and our cuisine definitely reflects this in a plethora of delicious food choices! 

Many local Detroit restaurants have amped up their food game in anticipation of all the Draft crowds attending. Detroit has been busy as of late getting ready for the upcoming crowds among the food scene. In fact, according to local news sources, it’s estimated that at least a dozen new restaurants have either opened brand new, or have expanded their spaces to accommodate! 

Some of my family’s favorites in the Hart Plaza area that I can count on my kids eating and loving are Cannelle Pastry, Chipotle, Andiamo, Buddy’s Pizza, Coney Islands, and a plethora of fast food, pizza, and coffee places. There’s definitely something kids of all ages will find! 

There are also a ton of food trucks that are going to be available near the Draft locations. From right outside Hart Plaza, to around the parks and districts surrounding, dozens of food truck vendors can be found. Many are locally owned by favorite Metro Detroit restaurants! More information about this can be found in the NFL Draft app or on their website

If you’re looking for a date night spot before or after the Draft, some of my and my husband’s favorite restaurants include The Apparatus Room, Selden Standard, Andiamo, Maru Sushi, Leila, Shewolf Detroit, and Joe Muer Seafood.  

Draft-Related Activities

My kids and I will be catching all the kids activities that are taking place for the Draft that weekend. Some things we plan to do are see the Lombardi trophy, as well as many of the sports and football activities they have going on. More information with exact times and locations of all the kids events can be found on their website. We’re so excited for all the fun things coming! 

Other Places to Play

Besides just being there to play and hang at the NFL Draft in Detroit, maybe you’re also looking for other family-friendly places to hang out while you’re here? Perhaps you want to take your kiddos to see more of what Detroit has to offer besides just an incredible food scene, gorgeous scenery, and masses of football fans?

There is so much to do in downtown Detroit that boredom won’t even be an option! Which is perfect for Draft weekend, which takes place over multiple days. My kids love visiting the Michigan Science Center—which was actually voted one of the top ten museums in the country by USA Today this year! If you have little art lovers you could also visit the Detroit Institute of Arts next door. If you want to catch another favorite Detroit sport outside of football, head over to Comerica Park where the Detroit Tigers will also be playing during the same weekend! 

My family and I also plan on catching the music and entertainment that has been prepared for the Draft weekend. There are many musicians and entertainers planning to perform in the “Draft Theater”, a special stage that has been erected in Campus Martius specifically for the Draft itself. More information with exact times and performers can be found on their website. Some of the performers are local Detroit favorites! It should also be noted that viewing is limited to a first-come basis.

The Detroit NFL Draft experience promises to be one of the highlights of the year. Whether you catch the Draft, or the surrounding activities and local adventures downtown Detroit has to offer, the weekend is sure to be a super fun and memorable one!

Thinking of heading to Corktown during the NFL Draft in Detroit? Annie shares a guide to the area and includes her best options for a date night or family-friendly day!

Detroit Mom’s Travel Series: Yosemite National Park

Our national parks are a true treasure. The diversity of landscapes and recreation can offer even a city-lover an opportunity to enjoy nature. The question is, with over 60 national parks to choose from, where do you start–especially, if you plan to visit with kids?

That was my question, as our family set a goal of visiting at least one national park per year. Yosemite National Park quickly rose to the top, as we discovered the family-friendly options the park offered. Additionally, we felt that this park would allow my six-year-old daughter to experience a variety of scenery and activities, helping to keep her interest during a week-long vacation. Here are some options to enjoy our nation’s third oldest national park!

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National park
Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park

Know Before You Go

Plan Ahead for Lodging

Lodging inside Yosemite fills up fast. If you want to stay in the park (which I highly suggest to avoid long, windy drives in and out of the park each day) look to make your reservation a year or more before your planned visit, especially if your travels place you in the park between April and October.

Consider Visiting in the Shoulder Season

Over 3.5 million visitors entered Yosemite park in 2022, with the majority of tourists coming between June and August. If you are looking to avoid the crowds, consider visiting in the spring or fall. Spring brings roaring waterfalls and fall offers temperate weather with beautiful foliage.

Winter is the quietest season and the park remains open with unique experiences to be had. Just know that tire chains are required where posted, even for four-wheel-drive vehicles.

America the Beautiful Annual Pass

Entrance fees are required to visit Yosemite. You have two options to consider: you can pay $35 per vehicle, which is good for seven consecutive days to the park, OR the second option is the America the Beautiful Annual Pass for $80. This is a great option if you plan to stay longer than a week or if you plan to visit another national park or federal recreation site in a year. The annual pass is valid for 12 months from the month of purchase. If purchased online, allow for shipping time.

Check for Trail/Road Closures

Be aware that trails or roads may be closed due to construction or natural events, so check ahead to see if your plans may be impacted.

Half Dome Hiking Permits

Permits are required to hike Yosemite’s iconic Half Dome. You can apply for a permit during the preseason lottery, which is held in March, or you can try your luck in the daily lottery (applying for a weekday in the daily lottery gives you a better chance of success). Note that it is a very strenuous hike, and is not suitable for kids!

Top of Lembert Dome, Yosemite National Park

Hikes to Do With Kids

Lembert Dome

If you have an older child (or an adventurous younger child), Lembert Dome offers sweeping views from the top of its granite peak. It is a moderate hike, with an elevation change of 850 feet, but it really gave my daughter a sense of accomplishment once she made it to the top!

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias was my daughter’s favorite day in Yosemite. We walked the two-and-a-half mile Grizzly Giant Loop, which took us past some of the famous trees in the grove such as the Bachelor and Three Graces, the California Tunnel Tree, and of course the Grizzly Giant.

Sentinel Dome Trail

The two-mile Sentinel Dome Trail hike offered panoramic views of the park, including Half Dome and El Capitan. Plus views of Yosemite Valley!

Vernal Falls

We accessed Vernal Falls using the Mist Trail. There are many options of trail length and elevation gain, depending on the ages and endurance of your kids. My husband and I continued on past Vernal Falls (thank you, grandparents!) up to Emerald Pool, then to Nevada Falls, and looped back to our starting point via the John Muir Trail.

Yosemite Lower Falls

This is an accessible one-mile hike that takes you to the base of Yosemite Falls. But bring rain gear if you are visiting in spring or early summer (which is the best time as the waterfall is flowing at its peak) as the mist from the falls can leave you drenched!

Best Views

The best views of Yosemite can be found at:

Activities That Are NOT Hiking

Ansel Adams Gallery | open year-round

This fine art and photography gallery boasts a beautiful collection of prints and artwork. It also offers photography workshops.

Tenaya Lake | open late May/early June through November

The crystal clear waters of this alpine lake are the perfect spot for a picnic. Michiganders can probably brave the chilly waters for a swim!

Yosemite Valley Bike Path | open March/April through October 27

Explore the park from a different vantage point via the 12 miles of flat, paved bike trails. Bikes, helmets, bike trailers, and tag-along bikes for kids are available to rent at Yosemite Valley Lodge and Curry Village Recreation Center.

Yosemite Valley Floor Tour | open year-round

We found this to be a great introduction to Yosemite on our first full day in the park. The Yosemite Hospitality naturalist, who led our tour, highlighted the history and nature inside the park, in-between designated stopping points. Depending on when you visit Yosemite, the tours are offered in an open-air tram or a heated motor coach.

Bonus Tips for Yosemite National Park

  • Print the Yosemite National Park Junior Ranger Handbook for fun and informative activities for your child to complete during their visit.
  • Depending on where you are in the park, cell phone reception can be spotty. Download any maps or information to your phone before entering the park.
  • Get to the park early to beat the crowds and the traffic!

What’s your favorite vacation spot? Check out our previous Travel Series location–Sturgeon Point Lighthouse!

Your Guide to a Night Out in Corktown!

It’s not every day that you can encounter authentic cobblestone streets. Yet, Detroiters have this rarity available just west of downtown on the edge of the Detroit River. CORKTOWN: the oldest neighborhood in Detroit!

Named after the Irish immigrants of the 1800s and still holds the annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities. This beautiful pocket of Detroit is a perfect place for a date night or a family outing.

The landmark of Corktown is the Michigan Central Train Station. This epically stunning building is a staple to the city of Detroit. Trains haven’t run through this building since the 1980s. However, the structure has stood the test of time and is ready to reopen this June. With plans for food and retail shops as well as corporate offices, this building is a must on your “to-visit” list come summertime.

Corktown Food + Drink

Situated just in front of the train station is Cork and Gabel, a restaurant with a unique blend of Irish, German, and Italian meals. The indoor space is great for large or small groups (some tables are communal). The menu variety makes this place appealing to many.

Drink-wise, I recommend the Interstate 75 for those that love fruity-bubbly drinks or the Manhattan for dark-liquor lovers. Food wise, do not pass on the Dip Trio; I was obsessed with the sun-dried tomato portion (and a word of advice–just ask for double bread from the start). The Mushroom Ravioli was a delight and is covered in cooked veggies. This dish is a perfect blend of pasta and freshness!

Post-dinner, take a short walk next door to Two James Spirits, the first licensed distillery in Detroit post-prohibition. This tiny gem off Michigan Avenue has a view of the train station through the top window. The walls are full of local artists’ work for sale, and the circle bar provides many seats to belly-up.

A flight is the way to go at this space if you are a “neat” lover. If that isn’t for you, I recommend the Negroni.

A view of the train station from the bar at Two James in Corktown.

A Corktown Bonus Spot

If you have one more spot to visit in you at this point, head past the train station to The Sugar House. With over one hundred drink options, everyone in your party is bound to find multiple drinks to fit their tastes. But if you find the menu to be overwhelming, the bartenders are ready and willing to pinpoint a drink that fits your preferences!

I went with a specialty holiday drink called I Can’t Believe it’s Not Bath Water (floral flavors with gin). My husband enjoyed the Suffering Bastard (bourbon, gin, lime, and ginger). The ambiance of this space is very dark in a romantic way–perfect for a date spot or a girls night out!

Venturing Corktown With Family

Walk about the streets, explore the cobblestone, visit the wall art. The simplest and cheapest form of entertainment.

Bobcat Bonnie’s is a perfect space for your family to dine in Corktown. The mimosa bar for mom and dad plus delicious food for the babes make it a prime spot for a weekend brunch!

The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade should be a must on your family’s bucket list, too. Since the first parade in 1958, Detroiters have gathered annually in Corktown to celebrate Irish customs and traditions. The parade always falls the weekend before the actual holiday so be sure to mark your calendars for the opportunity to assemble and celebrate in green unity!

The options in Corktown are endless. If you have yet to venture to this part of the city, I encourage you to make an effort to try one of these recommended places/activities!

We simply cannot get enough of the city! Dana shares 10 unique day date ideas to explore all that Detroit has to offer!

What Your Library Wishes You Knew During National Library Week

National Library Week is April 7-13, so we asked some library staffers what they would like moms to know about public libraries. Here’s what your library wishes you knew as we celebrate National Library Week!

Mother and toddler daughter play in brightly colored early literacy area at public libraryYour local library is special.

Whether you’re at the largest multi-branch system or a small rural library, every book, program, activity, and service is specially curated by librarians and staff just for your community. You won’t find the exact same set of materials or programs or services duplicated at any other library. Everything in your library is uniquely designed for your community’s unique demographics, interests, and needs. 

Libraries can save you a ton of dough.

Your tax dollars fund your library but it can more than pay off when you borrow items or attend programs. Use this calculator to see how much money your family saves using the library!

  • Attend storytimes, use NHS tutors, or get the resources to write an A+ paper.
  • Check out activity or sensory kits, puppets, or storytime materials for at-home fun.
  • Get free or reduced admission to hundreds of museums and activities across the state, like discounts on Detroit Zoo tickets or 313 Presents shows. 
  • Instead of buying hard covers or expensive e-books, borrow instead.
  • Make use of online tutoring, take practice ACT, SAT, and AP tests, community college-level classes, or learn a language.

Libraries are a great parenting resource.

Another thing you should know: if you want to meet up or make new mom friends without the obligation of buying something, head to the library. It’s a great place to hang out and reduce the isolation that parents can feel. Sign up for storytimes, drop in for play times in early learning centers, and check out parenting books.

Some libraries, like Grosse Pointe Public Libraries, have outreach services to new parents that include book delivery and local parenting resources. Looking for something to keep the kids busy over the summer? Sign up for free programming and activities.

Libraries are all about sharing.

We’re libraries, of course we share resources with the community and with each other. Take advantage of interlibrary loan (ILL) through the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) to borrow materials from a library across the state and have it delivered to your home library. You can also use your library card and visit reciprocating libraries throughout the metro area. Every library is different and worth exploring!

No one knows your community better than your library.

Libraries are a community connection point and gathering spot for everyone. Because they have that specific knowledge of what the community needs, you’ll see unique and interesting collections from a bakeware collection at Royal Oak Public Library, to a seed library at Birmingham’s Baldwin Public Library, to snowshoes from the Clinton-Macomb Library. What does your local library offer?

Libraries are for everyone.

Parents, kids, remote workers, students, seniors—people from all walks of life—are welcome at the library. Library staff won’t judge you on the type of materials you check out or what your needs are. Many libraries offer assistive devices, programs, and services, like this wide-ranging list from Bloomfield Township Public Library, or English Language Learner programs at the Canton Public Library. 

Make a Librarian’s Day

Of all the resources available at the library, the most valuable one is the staff. Library staff are experts in helping you find the perfect book for a reluctant reader, putting you in touch with a social service, or helping you learn new skills for a better job. They take their love for their community seriously and are ready for any situation—many are CPR, first aid, and NarCan trained.

Librarians can also help you spot scams and disinformation and send you to a verified resource. They are happy to share tips and tricks about requesting the latest best seller or setting up an account to stream online media. Ask a librarian for a reading suggestion and you’ll make their day!

And Lastly: Love Your Library Staff

Libraries are facing more challenges than ever—from budget issues to book censorship to demanding patrons—so show them some love. National Library Workers Day is April 9. Baked goods are especially appreciated! 🧁

Looking for more ways to celebrate libraries and reading? Check out Jessica’s 7 Ways to Celebrate Family Literacy Month post.

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