Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2012 Advocacy Day

Today I made my first phone call to someone on Capital Hill. I made three calls actually, one to Senator Saxby Chambliss, one to Senator Johnny Isaacson, and one to Representative Lynn Westmoreland. I don't know why, but I was really nervous about it. I called to express my desire to see the Family Act passed and to see the Adoption Tax Credit extended. I was sent to a voicemail by Senator Chambliss' office but I was able to speak to actual people from Senator Isaacson's and Representative Westmoreland's offices. 

I shared with both of the men that I spoke to that my husband and I were one of the many couples that wanted desperately to have a family but do not have coverage for infertility through our insurance company and, like most couples of child bearing age, we aren't rich. I expressed how much these tax credits would mean to families like mine in that they would make our dream of having children a little bit closer in reach.

The man that I spoke to from Senator Isaacson's office had just gotten out of a meeting with Resolve when I called. I didn't get a definite answer on whether or not I could count on the Senator to support the Family Act (he said they wanted to look at the nuts and bolts of the bill before making a decision) but he did sound very positive towards it.

The man that I spoke to from Representative Westmoreland's office said that they supported both the Family Act and the Adoption Tax Credit. He told me that not only would these bills help build families, but they would also help stimulate the economy. If I have a baby I go to Babies'R'Us and buy products, I take my child to the doctor, and pay for child care. All of these things are good for the economy. I was so thrilled to hear this argument for the tax credits. I hadn't thought of it that way, but it's a darn good argument.

I felt so empowered after making those calls. Standing up for myself, my husband, and people like us felt amazing. We need to be our own advocates. We are many, and if we stand together we CAN make things happen. This is meaningful to me because infertility has made me feel so out of control of my life and my own body. It felt good to take even a little of that power back.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't Ignore My Grief Over The Child I Long For

This is my first post this week in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). This year's theme is: Don't Ignore...

Don't Ignore My Grief Over The Child I Long For

This may not make sense to someone who hasn't experienced infertility, but I grieve for a child that has never existed. I cry over the holidays that I am not celebrating with my child, over the memories that we aren't making together, and I grieve the feeling that it is my fault that the child in my heart doesn't already have a heartbeat of their own. I also grieve the fact that my best friend's child and my niece and nephew won't be close enough in age to my child to become close friends. I grieve the dream of what I thought my life would look like right now. 

Let me give you a few examples of what my life looks like right now vs. what I thought it would when I started trying to conceive. 

1) Every day I pass an empty room. Its walls are a very pale yellow and there are cream colored curtains that help keep it dark. This is my child's room, but my child isn't in it. There is no crib, no changing table, no toys, no crying, and no laughter. Every time I pass this room it is a painful reminder of the child that I long for.

2) When I go to the grocery store I see moms with their little children searching for the best grocery deals so that they can feed their growing family. I search for the best deals so that I can save as much money as possible for the treatments it could take just to get me pregnant.

3) I see beautiful pictures of children and babies every day on Facebook. These pictures are bittersweet. I am happy for the families in them, but I cry wishing that I could post pictures like those of me, my husband, and our child.

Those are just a few examples of what I go through daily. I grieve for my child. I need you to understand how painful this missing piece is for me. I need you to acknowledge that this grief exists and to ask me how I'm doing. I may or may not want to talk about it, but it will mean the world to me just to know that you cared enough to ask.