Don't Ignore Your Emotional Infertility Needs – National Infertility Awareness Week 2012

national infertility awareness week movie poster the smartness

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:

Speak up, speak out, and be heard by those who are ignoring it. You’re not alone. In family, friends, others affected by infertility, doctors, surrogates, donors, sympathetic lawmakers, and others, you have a cast of supporting actors. Don’t ignore the power of your own voice. Talking to just one person can make a difference.
Don’t ignore infertility. Visit Resolve.org to learn about

 

Questions for discussion:

  1. Is there or has there been an aspect about your infertility story that you’ve ignored?
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

9 Comments

  1. Jo on April 22, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Love this. Such a very true post, about an often ignored aspect of IF. Thank you.



  2. Kristin on April 22, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Preach on, Sister Kym! Love this post.



  3. a on April 22, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Seems like almost everyone I know has had some sort of infertility or loss. SIgh…

    You are awesome at raising awareness!



  4. leanne on April 23, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Love the poster!

    I have a number of friends who struggled to have kids. My perspective (and my ability to empathize) changed when my son had major surgery just over five years ago (he was 2 at the time) and then I had a miscarriage a couple of months later. It was the first real glimmer I had at what they were going through.



  5. Cindy on April 25, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Very true, I have experience of this as my sister can’t manage to have a baby. They have been trying for 3 years and has cost them in the $xx,xxx range in infertility treatments and they still can’t conceive. More should be done to highten awareness of this.



  6. Yvette on April 26, 2012 at 5:07 am

    I agree. It is very nerve-wreaking to experience infertility and having a good support group will take some pressure off your shoulders.



  7. Nicole Breit on April 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    This post really moved me – it was so true, and so beautifully written. The emotional aspect of the infertility journey is so important, and runs so deep. The struggle to have a child is devastating. I went through ten rounds of fertility treatment and several miscarriages before having my son. Having my son didn’t take away the deep emotional wound of the journey to have him; what helped was working through the emotions by writing about the journey, in honour of the babies who *didn’t* come. I look forward to reading more of your posts.



  8. […] you to keep talking about it beyond this week. You never know who you’re going to impact. My National Infertility Awareness Week post received only seven comments, but there were over 700 unique hits and 63 Facebook shares. I’m […]



  9. Marianne on February 22, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Kym I really appreciate your efforts at raising awareness for Infertility and issues we women face everyday. Great job 🙂