Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NIAW: You Are Not Alone

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  I am 1 in 8 women who have struggled with infertility.  This year's theme is "You Are Not Alone", so here are my thoughts on the subject...

In terms of infertility, there's really no such thing as LUCKY.  However, on my personal journey, I was lucky enough to discover the amazing infertility community fairly early on.  I'm not saying there weren't moments when I felt alone--I certainly had those, but I was fortunate enough to have friends (and I do sincerely consider them my friends) to share the experience with. When I was struggling, on days when I got that BFN or AF arrived or I was feeling discouraged, I was able to reach out to others who really knew how I felt.  They accepted me into the community, even though I had a child, even though I perhaps hadn't been in the trenches as long as some, and they've allowed me to stay in some capacity, even after I had my rainbow baby.  They mourned with me when I lost Butterfly, never pointing out that I'd only been pregnant for a matter of days, never minimizing my grief, never failing to support me when I wanted to talk about it.

Yes, I consider myself lucky.  I had moments where I felt alone, surely, but all I had to do was sit down at my computer, or even pick up the phone in a few cases, and then I wasn't alone anymore.  There were others that were willing to talk about nothing else all day long, because some days you needed to obsess.  There were others willing to talk about anything else, because some days the weight of it is too much to bare without distraction.

Infertility certainly has a way of isolating women.  Your body is supposed to do this naturally, but you feel as though you're failing miserably. It's what we're supposed to be made for, right?  And everyday we are bombarded with images of women, even teenage girls, who can do what we cannot.  It isn't fun to admit you can't do something you "should" be able to.  And so many people make assumptions.  If you don't have children, maybe you don't want them.  If you only have one, maybe you don't want more.  Maybe you're finished having kids by choice. 

Or maybe you want a child or another child more than anything else in the world.  You feel like no one understands or you feel like you can't share it with those around you.

But you aren't alone.  You have to take the step, you have to reach out and open yourself up, but then I promise you, you won't have to go through this journey alone.  Find a forum, a facebook group, a support group, find the girl at work that goes to so many doctors appointments, share your story with a stranger and find out that she's one of us too.

Because they are the bonds that cannot be broken.  Going though infertility bonds people.  Sharing the ups and downs, the losses and the triumphs.  And remaining friends after the journey's end.

My forum group eventually became a facebook group of eleven of my closest IF friends.  Two of them are still waiting for the miracles they were trying for when I 'met' them.  My heart aches for them.  One of them had a BFP recently, but the news from the early ultrasounds has not been encouraging.  Sadly, I've lost count at the number of losses.  Every member of the group has felt loss in her own life.  And we've felt each others losses too.  Those of us lucky enough to have children now share advice and updates, while supporting the ones that are still struggling.  I love these ladies and I pray I get the chance to meet them in person someday.

They kept me from feeling alone. And I know if I decide to try for another baby, they'll be with me every step of the way.  I am lucky.  Because without infertility, I probably wouldn't know Amy, Bri, Chelsea, Emi, Jen, Jynna, Kate, Laura, Molly and Roxy.  And I am privileged to call these ladies my friends.

If you are struggling with IF, I hope you find your group of ladies.  And if you don't know where to start, you'd be welcomed in my group of ladies, so leave a comment if you need support.

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