Julie Eshelman, Army Spouse

As a military spouse who has struggled with infertility for the last seven years, Julie found a lack of military-focused organizations ready to support struggles in family building. The combined challenges of infertility and the military lifestyle are consistently overlooked within the military community. Julie resolved to change that and use her voice to raise awareness, inspire change, and provide encouragement to military families like hers. As she started this journey, she soon realized how many people in the military community experienced similar struggles and she began empowering others to join her in raising awareness and advocacy.

Her own family’s experiences with infertility and the frustrations resulting from a lack of insurance coverage led her to the organization RESOLVE, a non-profit that advocates for infertility support. To change things for future military and veteran families, Julie began advocating in 2020 for pro-family building legislation that supports the military and veteran communities with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association’s annual Federal Advocacy Day. During Advocacy Day, Julie shared her personal story with Congressmembers to spread awareness of the challenges families face in both infertility and seeking treatment while moving every few years. In 2021, she joined RESOLVE’s Advocacy Day Volunteer Committee to help plan, recruit, and empower others to join in using their voices to create change. Then in 2022, RESOLVE worked with Julie to create a new military and veteran-focused subcommittee, Military & Veterans Taskforce, and asked her to lead it. Through this subcommittee, Julie recruited, trained, and supported military-connected advocates and educated non-military advocates on military service and family-building issues, empowering the volunteers to fight for our military and veteran families on Advocacy Day. After leading the Military & Veterans Taskforce for two years, Julie is now the Co-Chair for Advocacy Day 2024, helping to lead the Volunteer Committee and inspire the next generation of family-building advocates.

As Julie continued to find her voice and purpose in raising awareness, she decided it was time to branch out and in 2022 launched the first peer-led support group for military and veteran families facing infertility, filling a much-needed gap for support. In 2023, Julie founded her own non-profit, Building Military Families Network, to fill a gap in support and information for military and veteran families she experienced during her family-building struggles. The nonprofit’s mission is to provide an empowering and supportive network to military and veteran families who are navigating the challenges in the family-building process through support groups, education, and resources. As of October 2023, they offer monthly support groups for infertility and miscarriage & loss and plan to add adoption, LGBTQ+, surrogacy, and other focused support groups in the coming months. Building Military Families Network also has an education center where families can learn more about family building, infertility, and more to help them on this journey. Their resource center is full of helpful information to guide families to other resources that can assist them or provide them with more knowledge to lighten the load of the family-building process.

Julie’s vision is for Building Military Families Network to be a beacon of hope to military and veteran families navigating the challenges in the family-building process. She uses her infertility and pregnancy loss journey to help others realize they are not alone and to advocate for insurance coverage and care for military and veteran families. Julie believes in breaking the chains of shame and embarrassment that these topics carry and instead empowering others to share their journeys and advocate for the next generation. In 2022 she was named Armed Forces Insurance’s Fort Leavenworth Spouse of the Year for her actions to spread awareness, advocate for change, and her leadership in infertility and military family building. She hopes that those struggling with family building know that they are not alone in the journey and there are others who will support them on their journey.

Bob Woodruff Foundation

Resolve Infertility Support Groups

Cade Foundation

Military Adoption Assistance | An Official Air Force Benefits Website

Do you have a story you want to spotlight?