Saturday, April 27, 2013

Twittergate 2013

***This post is referring to a dialogue that has been going on over on Twitter concerning how hard it seeing constant baby/pregnancy updates when women are still in the infertility trenches. Likewise, the women who are pregnant/parenting after infertility have a hard time because they want to share their lives with Twitter and the infertility community but they worry about hurting the women who still don't have children.***

***I am not coming down on either side of the arguments. I see both sides.***

Love can be a battlefield, but we are not one another's enemy. Infertility is our enemy. We have that in common.

I feel bad, but I really understand how the people who are sick of the baby posts feel. I get it. It does hurt. I get sick of it too. If you ever went through infertility you understand how much those things hurt and because you know how much it hurts it makes it harder to share your joy when you have a child. You don't want to hurt others but it is inevitable that the people in the trenches will be a bit hurt by such things, even though they are thrilled for you. It's an awful cycle. And honestly, I don't know the answer to it. 

I will continue to follow my pregnant and parenting after infertility friends. I will support you when you are nervous about your pregnancy, scared about giving birth and when you are terrified that you aren't a good mom. I will love  and support you and offer what encouraging words I can. I am not a mom, so my ability to understand is limited. But I will still try and offer what comfort and support I can in those things just like I know you'll support me and offer me kind words every time I find out that yet another friend is pregnant, another test is negative, another treatment didn't work, and when I need to vent.

I think that all anyone on either side of the argument has been trying to say is this- We need to be mutually supportive. 

We can be thoughtful of each other's struggles and still be happy in our own joy. We can be happy when we see our friends get their dream and still be sad that we haven't gotten ours. Let's do that. Let's just support one another. 

Love shouldn't always be such a damn battlefield. Let's save the battlefield for fighting infertility.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Join The Movement

***I had a hard time deciding what to write about for National Infertility Awareness Week. What have written here is me pouring out my heart. I hope that it will touch you in some way.***

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
The second reason is this: Even with the amazing infertility community that exists, people feel alone. 

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.
There is a whole hell of a lot there to make people feel alone. But we have more in common than we do different. We've got to support each other first if we ever want the rest of the world to be supportive.

I urge you, infertile or not, to join the movement.

Learn more here: Infertility 101 About NIAW