It is "National Infertility Awareness Week" also know as "NIAW"
April 22-28, 2012 is National Infertility Awareness Week®, a nationwide campaign intended to educate the public about infertility and the concerns of the infertility community. Since 1989, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association has led efforts to celebrate this special week by hosting events and activities designed to encourage grassroots advocacy and motivate the infertility movement
This is a week set aside to discus all things infertility - How we are affected, how those around us are affected, how we can be helped, how we can help each other, how we can make changes and. . . how we cope.
I'm 29 years old - I have Stage IV Endometriosis and have had 3 miscarriages. I have been TTC for 7 years, 5 years spent trying on our own, and the last 2 1/2 years have been with a doctor.
The Theme for this years NIAW is "Don't Ignore______". You are supposed to fill in the blank with something you'd like to tell people "Not to Ignore" about infertility. I have chosen Pain. . . I have felt deep pain due to infertility. I have felt a pain that echos throughout my heart, my soul and body. It is the type of pain that greets me in the morning with a cruel smile. It is like a companion I feel chained to, a companion I have grown tired of, and a companion that has changed my life completely. Sometimes I feel that Infertility has highjacked my life. It has only been recently that I have become more able to face it and accept it for what it is. I have suffered loss and that is hard to swallow at times, not only am I infertile, but I can't stay pregnant. Infertility is pain that is handed out in doses, it's not all at once, it stays with you and lingers. I realize that I may never have a child of my own, it is a very real outcome that I try not to think about too much, yet the reality of that truth haunts me at times. I have felt pain both physically and emotionally. It doesn't go away and it cant be rated on a scale of 1-10, because the pain vibrates out and touches family members, spouses and friends in totally different ways. . . it touches whole lives and has little mercy.
I had a "feeling" I was infertile in my early 20's. I chose to ignore my gut feelings, because of what society told me and how I was made to feel by doctors. "You are so young, don't you want to wait and take birth control in the meantime". I was young, and why would I want to have children so young when there is treatment available for later on when I was "really" ready? All I can say is treatment does not guarantee that you'll get pregnant and stay pregnant.
Don't ignore your gut feeling and don't ignore the pain.
I have done the following - Relaxed, Taken it easy, Prayed, Vacationed, Had surgery, Hoped, Peed on ovulation strips, Tracked my cycle, Taken my temperature, Use special lube for sex, Laid in awkward positions after sex, Eaten different foods around ovulation, IUI, Clomid, Letrozole, Taken Vitamins, Changed my Diet, Charted, Stopped smoking, Stopped Drinking, Cried, Pleaded, Crossed my fingers, Tried not to think about it, and I have propositioned God, or whatever God is listening.
I have already tried all of it and more. And, let me tell you. . . it is an insult when you tell me "It is in Gods hands" or that it will happen when "God says it is time". . .
Infertility has changed my life in many ways, many ways I could never explain to you, because I can't seem to find the right words. If I could share anything with the wold it would be this - Please Do Not tell a woman to do all of these things I have already done, while she is trying to conceive especially if it has already been over a year or more. I can understand saying some of these things within the first 3-8 months of trying to conceive, because it can take a few tries. Once you hit that year mark it is pretty obvious that there is a problem somewhere. It it hurts deep inside when you hit that year mark, have no answers, and no funds to figure it out. People have no clue that your heart is suddenly thrown into a most fearful and tragic state of being. And with everyone around you saying that you need to relax, well it is a slap right in the face and a hard one too. . . So if we open up enough to tell you we are struggling don't use those types of comments when responding to us. We usually know you had the best intentions when you make those types of comments, we know that you were just trying to be kind and say something nice, because you probably just didn't know what to say. What you should say is that you are sorry things didn't work this cycle, and that you hope the next month will be successful and maybe, that you hope one day they are blessed with a healthy pregnancy and that all their hard work pays off. That is truly the most neutral, kindest and honest statement you could say to any man or woman dealing with infertility. We know people don't necessarily understand what it is like to be infertile, but we know you are capable of opening your hearts to hear us, and that is what we need most of all. . . for those around us to listen, and not question. . . It seems a little scary for us to share things too, so don't be afraid to talk to us, and ask us what is going on in our "journey". We are used to most people not asking us what's going on, so your curiosity is sometimes a blessing in disguise, often allowing us to open up and release a little bit of our hurt that is bottled up inside. Talking about it makes it easier to deal with, and that is no lie.
And to all of the infertile woman out there right now - Don't ignore your own disease or your own feelings about the disease. Don't ignore your gut feelings. It is time to stop putting ourselves through so much torture, stop keeping it bottled up inside. We need to do our part and start opening our mouths to the world, make the people hear us, understand us. The world, everyday people and insurance agencies will not know we are in pain unless we tell them, show them or force them them understand. People around you will not know you are suffering unless you tell them. States will not know to cover Family reproduction aid, unless we tell them we need to the help, and if they don't listen, then make them listen. And, I don't mean just in this week. It is up to you to tell those around you when you are at your lowest, don't put on the fake smile and say your great, if someone is asking then tell them how you truly feel, or else how are they to know what you are dealing with? How are they to know that your heart was broken hours before you came into work because of another failed fertility treatment? Tell your friends when you hate the world, tell them when you feel jealous, and hurting, because you are so broken inside from dealing with infertility. Tell your family the truth about your struggles, tell them you've already had two losses and never shared it with them, because you didn't want to burden anyone with your pain and struggle. Tell your friends honestly that you don't want to go to that 3rd baby shower, because it is just too painful. Take time for your self and don't ignore your mental needs. "We" as infertile woman want to control how people see us while were dealing with infertility, we want people to think we are strong and we are, but we are also fragile and living on the edge of something so fierce, something so much bigger than ourselves. It is overwhelming at times, so Ladies - Stop trying to hold it all on your own shoulders, share your burden, your feelings, your hopes and your struggles. Do not be ashamed, we are Warriors. It is time to break the cycle of living in silence. It is completely up to us to change the way people, insurance agencies and the Government sees and treats Infertility. We must share our pain no matter how painful that is. Infertility affects 1 in 8. . . That is a lot people struggling, a lot of broken hearts, a lot of financially broken couples. . . and so much pain that isn't necessary. Don't Ignore Infertility, because it wont ignore you!!
If you are interested in learning more about infertility please visit Resolve.org
You can also participate in National Infertility Awareness week
http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)