This week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). The people at RESOLVE have set a challenge for Bloggers to post a blog with the theme of "Don't Ignore Infertility" which is this year's slogan for NIAW.
This slogan can mean so many different things so this blog might end up being kind of all over the place. I'm okay with that and hopefully you will stick around long enough to read all of my meandering thoughts.
I think one of the most diffcult aspects of infertility is the feeling of utter isolation. Myself and many others reach out to their peers for support online. I can't explain have thankful I am for all the wonderful ladies I have met through different infertility support sites and groups.
Sometimes I even feel alone and isolated when talking about my things with my husband. He tries to understand and be there for me, but I think there are some aspects that he will simply never understand because he isn't the one that is "broken." Our infertility is cause by me and only me. It's my fault that we haven't been able to have children. I know that he doesn't point the finger at me. I do that to myself. I know that I shouldn't beat myself up and put myself down. I know I shouldn't feel the way I do, but I really can't help it. It's difficult to not feel like it us your fault and to not feel broken.
Other's who haven't walked in my shoes have difficulty understanding the feelings and emotions that go along with being infertile. You can't really expect them to, but what can be done is educate them. I think one thing we really need to think about is not ignoring the fact that people need to be educated about infertility. They need to know that it is a disease. It can be overwhelming and difficult for the couple. More people need to open up and be open about their struggles getting pregnant or staying pregnant. People need to be more receptive to hearing about taboo topics like infertility and pregnancy loss. Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples in the United States. I know many people who don't realize the statistics involved with infertility. I think this is because so many couples scared, embarrassed, or feel too ashamed to talk about their struggles with getting pregnant. People need to be educated that infertility is a MEDICAL issues that no amount of relaxing, etc. can cure. It is a fact. People need to be taught about infertility and the offering of ridiculous advice could possibly serve as a catalyst for opening up a conversation about infertility facts. Education is one of the many reasons I have kept this blog. I want people to know and understand more about infertility. By opening up and bearing my feelings and soul, if I can help just one person understand then I have accomplished something great.
I have met so many people in my personal life that I never knew struggled to get pregnant after I came out and told them about my own struggles. We are all part of the same club. We shouldn't ignore each other either. So many times I've seen people on sites go after each other instead of thinking about and realizing that we are all in the same (shitty) boat. We are all dealing with infertility, be it primary or secondary, be it male or female or both, be it Clomid, IUI or IVF. We all are struggling with the same heartwrenching problem no matter how many children you've had previously, the cause of the infertility, or the treatment the person is currently undergoing. All those who have or are going through fertility treatments are all part of a unique club that most will never understand. This is why it is so important that we stick together and support one another.
Through all the treatments, tears, negative tests, miscarriage, and numerous other obstacles that have come in the way of my husband and I becoming parents I have come to realize what a strong individual I am. I also know that it has, in some ways, made my marriage stronger. This is a journey that he and I have taken on together that no one else could understand. We've cried tears of unbelieveable grief when we lost our baby, but before those tears were the tears of incredible joy when we found out we were execting. I used to say I wish I would have never known I was pregnant. Now I know that going through that has made me a stronger woman. I'm stronger than most people realize.
When going through treatments I think one thing that so many women and men lose sight of is how far down a road they have really gone and how amazing their journey (though an incredible struggle) has been. I can no longer ignore all I have gone through in order to have my own miracle. I have put myself through test after test, probing after probing, medication after medication, all to have a child. I've given up certain foods and alcohol. I've had a dramatic surgery in hopes of increasing my fertility and ability to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. I can't ignore my achievements on this long and winding road to becoming a parent. I haven't achieved my ultimate goal of becoming a mother yet, but I'm on the right road and always moving toward that goal.
I hope that I'm achieving my goals of educating people and bringing them together so that one day women and men going through the struggle of infertility won't have to feel so alone and ignored.
For facts about infertility please visit: http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/infertility-101.html
For more information on NIAW please visit: http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/home-page.html