I've been blogging about infertility since 2011. I have wonderful readers. I have made amazing friends and found an amazing support group on Twitter (@RachHasHope). But if I'm honest, I still feel completely alone a lot of the time.
While I have a wonderful community of support online, I still have my daily reality and I have to live in the community that is physically around me. That has become hard. I don't feel "normal." I don't feel like I "fit in." I just feel alone.
I do not have the ability to put on the act that everything is fine anymore. Does this mean I'm never happy or that I don't have joy? No. My family, my husband, my pups and my friends bring me SO MUCH joy. But the struggle is still here. It doesn't leave. And this struggle brings so much sadness, anger, stress and shame.
I've been very vocal with the people in my life about my struggle with infertility. I've gotten a wide range of responses to it. Some have been very negative and others have blown me away with their kindness and compassion. I'm sure that many of the people I know are sick to death of hearing about infertility. I'm sure many of the people I'm friends with on Facebook are sick of the infertility posts.
But I won't be quiet about it. I have two major reasons for that.
One reason is that EVERYONE needs to be educated about infertility and the infertility legislation that is out there.
We need to tell the people who don't struggle with infertility about it anyway. Why do "fertiles" need to know about infertility? Well, knowledge is power.
- Sensitivity to the pain of others is always a good thing. I know that I would never want to unknowingly hurt someone with my words or actions. I like to be informed about things so that I can avoid that. Most (good) people want to help people who feel alone in a struggle.
- The majority of people voting on infertility legislation are people who have never had fertility problems. Many of them have no clue what those proposed bills mean for people like us. Please make the people you know aware of this legislation and what it means for people like you. Please call you representatives about these things. Every voice matters. Learn all about infertility legislation here. The Center for Infertility Justice
People who do not know about the community feel alone because they don't have people like themselves to talk to.
People IN the infertility community feel alone for a wide range of reasons too.
- People who have been trying to conceive for a very long time and still don't have a child feel alone because many of their infertile friends have had a child and now they don't feel like they have anything in common with them.
- People who are pregnant or parenting after infertility feel alone and sometimes even guilty because they have found resolution. They want to share their joy but often feel guilty for doing so. They also don't feel like they fit in with the moms/dads that conceived easily.
- People with secondary infertility feel alone because they are often told be grateful that they already have a child, even though the pain of not being able to have another is just as agonizing as if they had no children.
- People who have stopped trying to conceive and are living child-free feel VERY alone. They don't feel like they can relate to the people still trying to conceive or the people who are parents. They are frequently made to feel that the decision to live child-free is a bad one. It's not. It's a very valid and healthy decision for many, many people.
- People who choose adoption without trying treatments first are judged for that and people who do not want to adopt are judged for that decision too.
I urge you, infertile or not, to join the movement.
Learn more here:
http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 Infertility 101
http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html About NIAW