This is such an important week for me and for all of the men and women suffering from infertility. It's a week to spread awareness, to support, to advocate, to just be open about our struggle. There are so many people out there that have no idea what it is like to be in our shoes. That's ok. It's not their fault. I don't wish it on anyone. But I do hope that by seeing all of the updates and messages, they can find it in their hearts to offer a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen with.
One day I hope that K and I are fortunate enough to bring a baby home to love and care for. Until that day, I will continue to advocate for infertility. Below are some of the many facts and tidbits I have been and will be sharing on FB this week. They are combinations of past years statuses, sources such as RESOLVE and my own words. Please feel to take and tweak for your own use.
- Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. It's the pain of the unknown. This process happens month after month, year after year. It’s like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.
- IVF was introduced in the US in 1981. Since then, more than 114,000 American babies have been born through IVF & ART. Not every person who uses a form of ART will have 6 or 8 babies at once. Jon & Kate and Octomom are examples of irresponsibility that paint infertility treatments in a negative light. The vast majority of those who undergo treatment are responsible in their decisions.
- Acknowledge infertility as a medical & emotional crisis with a wide variety of losses, disappointments, and 'costs': physical, financial, social, marital. Please don’t deny or minimize involuntary childlessness either by avoiding the topic or offering empty platitudes like "Just relax". It's ok if you say "I wish I knew what to say." Many times all we need is a sympathetic ear and a hug.
- Although ART is extremely helpful for some couples when conventional therapies fail, these procedures account for less than 5% of infertility services & represent only 0.003% of US healthcare costs. Only 15 states currently have some sort of mandated infertility treatment coverage.
-Your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don't know what to say, so they wind up saying the “wrong” thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support. For helpful tips for supporting a loved one experiencing infertility, please visit: http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/for-family--friends/infertility-etiquette.html
- This might be a good time to look at some infertility myths, and consider what infertility is not. Infertility is not limited to women. Infertility is not all in your head. Infertility is not limited to unhealthy people. Infertility is not limited to older couples. Infertility is not going to go away if you just “relax & go on vacation.” Adopting will also not take infertility away like Charlotte on Sex and the City.
- More than 7.3 million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. I am one of them. Please take the time to learn more about the struggle those of us have to endure to have families.
- Many people lose their faith during this journey. Telling an infertile couple that it’s God’s plan is hurtful and upsetting. Basically you’re saying that God thinks crack heads and child abusers are more worthy to have a child than an infertile. Would you tell a cancer patient that it is God’s plan for them to be life-threateningly sick? Life is a series of events and circumstances that we can’t always control. But you can control your words. Infertiles deserve the same compassion, courtesy and empathy any other person dealing with a medical problem receives.
And my closing NIAW status:
Although today marks the end of National Infertility Awareness Week, I hope that the awareness continues throughout the year. Thank you for taking the time to read these statuses all week. Your support for people suffering from infertility does not go unnoticed. ♥