It's that time of year again. National Infertility Awareness Week started Sunday.
This years theme is Don't Ignore Infertility.
I'm not really sure how to approach this years topic. There were 4 prompts for bloggers this year.
-Don't ignore the signs of infertility.
-Don't ignore each other.
-Don't ignore people with infertility
- Don't ignore the pain.
I couldn't pick just one, so I am going to try and shortly say my peace about each one.
Don't ignore the signs
I did. And so did the doctor I first talked to. A year after I started trying I mentioned to a doctor that I had not been able to get pregnant for some time since going off the shot. He casually told me to give it two years. When I finally went to see the great doctor I have now she told me that I wasn't on the shot long enough to make her think it had anything to do with our struggle. No matter what form of birth control you were on, once you go off it if it takes more than a year to get pregnant you need to see a doctor. I could have saved myself about 18 months of wondering and pain if I had talked to another doctor, or been better educated. There are so many other signs of infertility, one more painful than the next. I also wish I had ever been told to see my lady parts doctor once a year. Until my first appointment, I had no idea. Knowing what to look for is half the battle. And find a doctor you are comfortable with and trust. It's gonna get personal!
Don't ignore each other
This is one of the huge reasons I love blogging and support groups. There is so much support out there for this disease the general public is often so scared to talk about. There are literally thousands of blogs out there about infertility, and no matter where you are on your journey, there is someone in the same place. And they probably have a blog. One of the best lists online is the Stirrup Queens Blogroll. I also loved my support group. Two of my very best friends are people I met almost 2 years in my support group. Resolve has support groups all over the county and if you look, there may be one in your area that isn't Resolve connected. Mine was an LDS one, for me, a group where my religion was also something universally shared was so helpful.
Don't ignore people with infertility
They are all around you. And most of them are not talking about it. Most of them look just like you, from the outside you would never know what they are going through. And because of the stigma attached to infertility most infertile's try to keep it that way. Be sensitive to the people around you, don't tease people who have been married "a while" about not having kids. Maybe it is just how they have decided to live, but for 1 in 8 couples its because they are physically unable to. If someone tells you they are struggling with infertility be supportive, but know how to make them feel comfortable and not frustrated with ill-informed comments. Almost every blog has a post about what NOT to say.
Don't ignore the pain
Unless you struggled with infertility, you have no idea what the pain is really like. Just because you know someone who is struggling, or know someone who knows someone, doesn't mean you really know what it's like. Listen and learn. "I'm sorry you have to deal with this" will usually go so much further than "I know how you feel" (especially if you follow it with something like "it took us 3 months!") This pain is deep and depressing. This disease reaches into every part of the lives of couples dealing with it. From where to live or where to work, to when or if to plan a vacation, it reaches into the most intimate parts of a relationship. Don't ignore your own pain either. It can and will consume you if you let it. And I speak from experience. Everyone needs someone to talk to about it. Find a supportive friend, your partner, a group or a blogger (I don't know a single blogger who wouldn't love a pen pal!).
Don't Ignore Infertility. Its a disease affecting more people than most realize, and the more people who are educated the better they will understand what it is that people living with it are dealing with.