Join the Movement - How Do I Advocate?


The goal of this year’s Blog Challenge is to bring together bloggers to talk about how you are making the difference in ways large and small in the lives of people with infertility. Topics covered in your blog post can include how you broke the silence of infertility in your life, how you advocated for the infertility community, how you advocated for yourself, or how you created a support community to help you through the infertility journey.

I came out of the infertility closet with both guns blazing and was shot down by almost everyone in my inner circle.  I never hid the fact that we were having a problem getting pregnant, and that I was upset by this turn of events.  I talked about it openly on Fac.ebook, only to suffer the consequences.  Platitude after platitude came my way, you know the ones, "Just relax", "So-and-so went on vacation and came back pregnant", "So-and-so couldn't get pregnant for a year and once she changed jobs and wasn't so stressed out, she got pregnant", "So-and-so went through THREE IVFs and then got pregnant when they gave up trying", "So-and-so have twins?  They must have relaxed and not been stressed out", "So-and-so couldn't get pregnant for years and so they adopted, well wouldn't you know it 5 years after they adopted she got pregnant!" and my personal favorite "You'll get pregnant after adopting, I just know it". 

These weren't mere acquaintances uttering these annoying positive messages, these were my inner circle of close friends and family.  After a while, it was enough to make me regret ever saying anything.  I wanted to talk about how hard it was, I wanted to be able to express my feelings to my close friends and family, but it got me nowhere.  I've lost more than one friend over the course of my infertility and adoption journy (because I'm too negative, I'm told...) and my relationship with my family has deteriorated.  One thing I've learned recently is that the people I was surrounded with don't do difficult.  When I want to talk about issues that are difficult, frustrating and emotional, they shut down; they label me; they stop talking to me. I did not have the support system I hoped I would have.

On most days I wish that I could go back in time and realize that this would be doubly painful due to the lack of support S and I would get.  I wish that I was better able recognize when I should have started therapy, rather than letting relationships deteriorate so badly that they are irrepairable.  Would that have changed any of the end results?  I don't know.  I have yet to meet an adoptive parent (after infertility) who doesn't carry some sort of loss and grief with them.  I have yet to meet an adoptive parent who has managed to stuff all the infertility away and shoot rainbows and glitter out of their a$$ 24 hours a day 7 days a week after placement.  For me, the grief is there, very slowly fading with time, but not gone yet.  If it weren't there, I wouldn't feel the need to search for an answer by going through all the fertility testing again.  I wouldn't be kinda-maybe-sorta considering an I.V.F cycle just to get a diagnosis.  In this I am truly alone.  My husband, while he is supportive and kind of understands that I'm the type of person who needs answers, he is totally against the idea of walking down the (expensive) I.V.F road.  We find ourselves not agreeing about the extent of the testing that should be done, and here we are, confronting infertility head on again because part of me can't quite let it go.

So, how am I making a difference in the infertility world? At this point, I honestly don't know.  Generally, I feel like a walking cautionary tale, and admittedly present myself as such.  When a 30-something friend confides that they've been trying to get pregnant for 5 months and nothing has happened?  I advise that friend to get her butt to a doctor and to drag her husband with her.  When another friend has a miscarriage and then nothing happens for months?  I advise  her to get to the best clinic around, after all, it's right in our state.  I advise all of them to start therapy the minute they are faced with the idea of infertility.  The problem with this approach is that I don't know that I'm being heard.  I can see the denial from miles away.  They make excuses for why it might not have worked in these past months, but something will be different this time.  They say, well, we aren't really worried yet, and the timing isn't that good anyway because of this job or project (fill in blank)...

It's frustrating, but I'm not the type of person to shy away from confrontation, and so I push on.  I offer support, but I hold back at the same time thinking that when or if someone really needs the support of one who's been in the trenches, they'll know where to find me.


For more information about Resolve and National Infertility Awareness Week, follow these links:

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)