video and I read about the Bloggers Unite opportunity. The theme this year is "Join the Movement..." It's an opportunity for us to share how we've spoken up, shared our stories, and tried to break the isolation that so many infertile couples experience.
I wasn't always open about our infertility. It's not exactly the jolliest topic of conversation, and it has to be one of the more personal, intimate, even embarrassing struggles to share. And anyway, I was sure the moment I "made a big deal about it," I'd get pregnant! Then I would just look like a dramatic fool.
For years, then, we told no one. We barely talked about it with each other. I cried alone often in those early days, dreading each month's cycle that would remind me that I couldn't do such a natural human thing, heartbroken over the baby I couldn't have. I made excuses and ignored it as much as possible, but with each passing month, I became closer to having to face the truth. Something was wrong.
Finally, and I'm not sure what even propelled me to do this, I called my OB. That was the first step for me, once I recognized the problem. When the "easy" fixes didn't work, she referred us to a fertility specialist, and that was the beginning of our nearly four years with them.
I was still very closed off at this point, but as infertility became more and more our life, we began to open up, and I became braver about sharing. We told family and close friends first, then key people in our church, and then it slowly expanded. I began this blog in January of 2010 just as we were preparing for our first IUI. It started out as a private, read-only-by-invitation thing. Somewhere along the way I made it public. And then on Monday, completely overwhelmed by the IVF process we had just gone through and the positive support we had received, I linked it on Facebook.
Honestly, I thought that by now, most people either knew or at least guessed we were infertile. I couldn't believe the response! So many people contacted me, saying they had no clue we were struggling with this, offering prayers and love and support. Hundreds of people were reading our story, many of them wishing we had told them earlier.
"Join the movement" sounds like such a huge thing. It sounds like I need to buy t-shirts and run races and hold forums. (These things are going on, and I'm so grateful for those who do this!) But joining the movement can also be much simpler: it can be stepping out in courage when we'd rather hide away, being brave and willing to share when we'd rather stay silent.
It's true that with sharing our story, some may not understand. Some may think–as I've feared all these years–that I'm just a drama queen. Some may even say to us those things we infertiles hate to hear. But I think that's the minority. I think the majority wants to lift us up, carry us, bear with us, love us. Actually, I don't think this at all. I know this. And I know that as we open up and as we become braver–because it's scary, friends, to bare our deepest heartache like this–, knowledge and understanding will increase.
As I've already said this week, just by listening and caring, you have joined the movement! How else can you gain knowledge and spread awareness? You can:
- Read Infertility 101 to learn the basics.
- Read about National Infertility Awareness Week.
- If you have a story, share it, even if you've had the joy of growing your family already. How did infertility affect you? How do you see it still impacting you and the way you live your life and connect with others? Grab the badge and be brave!
- If you don't struggle (or haven't struggled) with infertility, you can still be a supporter! Share how you've seen infertility affect others or how your understanding has grown. (You're welcome to share about us.)