If you or someone you cared about had the starring role in a movie, chances are pretty good that you’d encourage others to go out and watch it, or at least read the synopsis of it. Whether there’s nail-biting suspense, terrifying horror, or even a comedic spin, approximately 7.3 million Americans, are actors in dramas about infertility.
Except it’s not just a movie; it’s reality. And the truth is that though so many people are affected by it, infertility is still largely ignored. The physical inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy is a given consideration, even if there is a rather large lack of knowledge by the general public. However, the way that infertility affects people emotionally is understood only tangentially, even by those who are physically affected by infertility.
Almost four years ago, I wrote a post called “Pink is My Favorite Color.” In it, I describe how I came to identify pink roses
…actually, it isn’t (my favorite color). When it comes to most things pink, at best I am indifferent towards the color and at worst I somewhat despise it – except when it comes to roses. Pink roses hold a certain mystique; the customary but seductive deep crimson petals versus the softened, delicately lighter shades have always reminded me of the beauty of innocence, and of yearning to be something more. I remember once as a teenager admiring an array of roses in a neighbor’s garden. Robust reds intermingled with pastel pinks, and I found myself wondering if the pink roses felt understated and overlooked, paled beneath the vibrant red radiance. Did they realize how beautiful they were? Did they recognize their own inherent brilliance? Did they know that I was there, drinking in and appreciating their light? Did they know how they moved me so?
In this blogosphere we read and feel each other’s joys and pains. When people can’t hope for themselves, we try to have hope for them, even if we feel that all hope is lost on our own situations. No matter how we express it, what I think we feel but do not often say about hope is this: we hope will have the strength to live through whatever is handed to us, and that come what may, we will be alright.
How many pink roses do you know? How many times have you wanted to let them know that they are appreciated and that you find them and their words beautiful? How many times have you wanted to lift someone up and said a silent prayer that she or he would be able to heal? How many times have you felt a fellow blogger’s isolation and wanted reach out to let them know they weren’t alone?
I don’t think I realized it at the time, but in retrospect, I can see that I was writing as much about myself as I was about others. My last Mother’s Day without children was the hardest. I was given a single pink rose, and though it was meant to bring a modicum of comfort, all I felt was isolation. Until many years later after my children were born, I finally grew to realize that my isolation was self-imposed. I ignored the fact that I needed emotional support for my infertility. I can remember trying to talk myself out of feeling the emotions that I did, trying to convince myself that my struggle to conceive didn’t deserve or warrant the sadness, frustration, and anger that I felt. I didn’t want to burden anyone else with my feelings, especially when I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t justified to have them.
I was. You are. Don’t ignore your infertility support needs, both physical and emotional. Be aware of what you need and don’t be afraid to get support, whether from a professional or from a loved one. Then, when you’re ready, be open and share. Raising awareness helps release others from the mistaken idea that they should be isolated within their struggle.
Raising awareness is also important because:
- 1 out 8 couples are affected by infertility.
- 12% of women of childbearing age are infertile, yet only about 44% of those women seek help.
- minority women are even less likely to seek medical attention for infertility.
- only 15 U.S. states have mandated some degree of infertility insurance coverage.
- Infertility is not only a physical state of being, but is also mental/emotional.
Questions for discussion:
- Is there or has there been an aspect about your infertility story that you’ve ignored?
- If you’re not infertile, do you know of anyone in your immediate circle who is (excluding me, in this instance)? Do you feel able to support them?
- On a somewhat lighter note (maybe): if your infertility journey were made into a movie, what genre would it be and why?
*You are welcome to snag that movie poster I created, if you’d like to. Word.