ALEX ELLE ON SELF CARE, PREGNANCY AND GROWTH
Alex Elle, the widely acclaimed author, poet and self-care enthusiast granted an interview to live fast mag and I had to share. In the interview, the heavily pregnant Alex shares her journey with struggling to conceive due to a fertility issue known as Male Factor Infertility (low sperm count and morphology) — a diagnosis she maintains that a lot of people do not speak up about. Even in this part of the country, people automatically assume that where there are struggles with fertility, the female spouse is most likely the one with the fertility problem. Alex also speaks on self-care, having to create boundaries as a writer well-known for her ability to tap into her vulnerability and expose parts of herself to her fans. Although, this is what she is most known for, she also highlights how important it is to be wise in keeping some parts of yourself away from prying eyes.
In this interview, she comes across as incredibly wise, as usual, straight forward and concise but she also sheds some light on growth and self-care. Two areas, where as women, we need to be mindful. Her 9-year-old daughter, Charleigh took the photos. It’s safe to surmise that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
LF: Alex, what is on your mind at this very moment?
AE: Currently, all I can think about is the orange juice my midwife told me to stop drinking. Is that silly?
LF: Something that I, along with many others, admire about you is your vulnerability and willingness to be candid. How do you decide what you will share and what you keep private?
AE: First, I will say, that vulnerability has created space for me to lean into my humanness and experiences without shame or guilt. That alone creates my willingness to share certain things. Second, having boundaries keeps my sharing in check. A lot is kept private. The small amount that is shared is just enough. Sharing our stories creates community and knocks down walls in a way that silence and shame does not. That makes me proud. Extremely proud.
LF: What authors influence you the most?
AE: Ah! I am a book addict. My husband and I have so many. It’s actually the only thing that hurts to downsize in our efforts to live minimally. With that said, we have held on to our favorites. They’re on display and ready to be picked up by guests who visit. For me, I adore Paulo Coelho, Mary Oliver, Maya Angelou, bell hooks, Sharon Salzberg, Brene Brown. They all resonate with me in a way that’s unmatched.
LF: In a recent interview with Mother Magazine, you said your first pregnancy was easy. What has this pregnancy brought to light for you?
AE: So, my first pregnancy was easy and also unplanned. I was 18 when I had my daughter and she is coming up on her 10th birthday. I met my husband when she was 5. When we decided we were ready to expand our family, it was shocking to find out that it wouldn’t be easy for us. We tried to conceive for two years and it was a challenge due to Male Factor Infertility (low sperm count and morphology) — a diagnosis that a lot of people do not speak up about. After a long and stressful battle, I am now approaching my 3rd trimester after lots of unsuccessful baby making sex, a natural pregnancy that ended in miscarriage, 8 failed rounds of IUI (artificial insemination) and one successful round of IVF (in vitro fertilization). It has been a very long road for us. But, I am thankful that we are on track to birth our rainbow baby. Fertility, infant and pregnancy loss, and male factor issues are swept under the rug way too often, leaving a lot of couples feeling isolated and ashamed. I am honored to be able to share my husband and I’s journey with others because these types of conversations open doors and build community. These types of stories give hope and release the sense of hopelessness. We are never alone in our struggles, ever.
LF: You’re quite fantastic about educating your followers on the importance of self-care. At what point in your life did you commit to a self-care ritual in your personal life?
AE: I became intentional about my self-care practice around 5 years ago. Something had to give! I wasn’t happy, I couldn’t focus, and everyone and everything came before my joy. Being worn out is no way to live, so I decided to shift. That shift looked like self-affirming letters to myself, which morphed into therapy and intense personal journaling. Ultimately, I dove into being present with myself. I took up yoga and meditation, I became a vegan (I am not one anymore), I spent time alone with my thoughts while learning that being alone does not always equal loneliness. I also reevaluated what I thought my purpose was. All of these things helped me find peace, balance, and home within myself. I forced myself to show up in a way that I could understand. When you’re busy with career building, motherhood, being partnered, on top of figuring it all out, things can become blurry. Self-care has been the pause I needed to stop, think, and open my eyes to a deeper meaning of being present in my life.
LF: What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career thus far?
AE: Writing books that people will have and read long after I leave this earth.
LF: How do you balance being a mama, wife, author, and entrepreneur all at once?
AE: I build boundaries and cater to myself as much as I can. This wasn’t easy to learn. It took a lot of practice and intention. Balance looks different for everyone, but I encourage others to find theirs and stick to it!
LF: What advice do you have for other young women juggling multiple roles in their lives?
AE: I wish I had someone tell me this: Take a step back. You don’t have to do it all at once. Pace yourself and be mindful about the moves you’re making.
LF: What plans do you have for yourself, your career, and your family in the next year?
AE: To get this baby earth-side.
Season 3 of my podcast (hey, girl.)
Have my affirmation journal’s manuscript complete and turned into my publisher.
Resume teaching my self-care sessions.
Love on my husband and children the best I can. Time is fleeting; I plan to enjoy this life.
LF: How fast do you live?
AE: Turtle speed. Slow and easy living takes the cake for me.