Friday, April 30, 2010

NIAW: Coming Out Of The Infertility Closet

As many of you know April 24 - May 1 is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). If this is news to you or you would like to find out more about NIAW please visit resolve.org for more information. As this week's movement to increase awareness draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to share the big step I took this week for NIAW.

For a long time I have been a "closet infertile". When Chad and I first decide to chuck our birth control methods we didn't tell many people because we assumed that a pregnancy would come and we could just tell friends and family about that once it happened. As time went on and it didn't happen, I began sharing with a few very close friends and family that we were going to be getting serious about trying. No one else ever even knew we were trying, let alone having trouble.

The more involved the process got, the more I found myself needing an outlet to deal with all of the testing, procedures and emotions. I created a new twitter account just for TTC purposes. And then came this blog. Some of the close family members I mentioned are followers but most other people in my real life don't even know it exists. Since the official "infertility" diagnoses last year and the subsequent IVF treatments, my quest for motherhood has played a HUGE part in my life, and hardly anyone knew. I feel like I have been living a double life. When we see or talk to friends I constantly feel like I am lying when I tell them I'm fine or talk about my week while carefully editing out my shots and doctor's appointments. It has been exhausting, especially now that my miscarriage has significantly upped the emotional stakes. So Chad and I both talked and agreed to take the plunge and "come out" together. We chose Facebook as the forum to do so since it was the most direct and surefire way to reach the majority of the important people in our lives.

This is what we posted:
Never even considered the possibility that we could be affected by infertility. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week and I want to honor our 3 year struggle...and S.G. I miss you even though I never met you

Never forget how truly blessed you are, and never underestimate the pain that some people suffer, to have what you take for granted... For a better understanding of our journey through Infertility please watch this video. http://www.tearsandhope.com/
Length:7:47

If you haven't seen this video yet, be sure to watch with a tissue or two handy, I can never get through it without shedding a few (hundred) tears.

I was so incredibly scared to post, to expose myself and be so vulnerable. I had no idea what to expect and feared I would get negative or insensitive comments. I couldn't have been more wrong. I have received nothing but love and support, and lots of it. People thanked me for having the courage to post and spread awareness and wished us both nothing but good things on our journey to parenthood. I was moved to tears more than once by the comments people left and by some of the unexpected people that left them. We posted the day before my D&C, which I realized was a gamble, but one that paid off. I took all of the wonderful messages of hope and encouragement with me to bed and into surgery the next day and it gave me a little extra strength when I really needed it.

I got a few private messages as well, including one from an old acquaintance that has been struggling with her own loss lately and had not had anyone to talk to. It was amazing to be able to be there for her and have her support in return. If I helped just that one person, it is so worth it.

The greatest part though is that I feel like a more complete me again. I am not usually one to keep my mouth shut about anything I care about so compartmentalizing myself like this has been beyond draining. I feel so liberated to not be keeping this secret anymore. For so long I have felt consumed by all of this, but now that I have truly opened up about it, it feels like it rules my life a little less. I've realized that I was putting almost as much energy into my double life as I have into my fertility treatments. I feel like a weight has been lifted.

Coming out has also made me feel proud. I am proud that I had the courage to be honest. I'm proud of the amazing community of men and women that I have come to know through my blog and twitter.
I am proud of the many other others that have also come out this week, you all have been such an amazing inspiration. I'm proud that despite the obstacles in my way, I haven't given up, and that I never will. I am so glad that made this decision, it is definitely one of the most rewarding things I have done in a long time and I look forward to continuing the conversation and raising awareness.

14 comments:

Athena said...

Hello! :) I recently started following you on Twitter (@athenawiina). I just cried my eyes out watching that video! I also love how you said: "Never forget how truly blessed you are, and never underestimate the pain that some people suffer, to have what you take for granted..." It truly touches me because there is no way that anyone can know the heartache & pain that couples going through while experiencing infertility & all that comes with it! And I don't think people who don't have fertility issues take the time to think about what it would be like to have to try SO HARD & how truly blessed they are. Anyway, thanks for sharing that video & blogging about infertility. :)

liberalgranolagirl said...

That video gets me every time. I am so glad that you're coming out was so positive <3

Katie said...

I am so glad you came out of the infertility closet and that the reception was so positive. I admire you for your strength. And like Becca, that video pulls at my heart every time I watch it. xo

Crossing My Fingers said...

I totally understand the whole "living a double life." Thanks for being so honest!

Ashley said...

I really admire you for coming out and being so honest. I feel like I am living a double life most of the time as well. I'm really glad that you got such positive support!

Keiko said...

The more open and honest we become, the more love and support just comes around for us out of the woodwork. A brave choice- I'm so proud of you. Is it not the best feeling ever just to let go of the silence?

One Day said...

This was such an inspirational post. Thank you for writing about your experience sharing with the world...and I'm so glad it was a good one. I just started reading your blog, I'm hooked now! :) Thank you again! I hope you're doing ok. Last week was a tough one for you. You're in my thoughts.

lowfatlady said...

So glad that you got a positive response from your post. You are so brave. I thought about posting something, but I didn't.

Kacey said...

I believe that we go through these struggles for a reason...I believe I went through what I did, not only to bring myself closer to God, but to bring others closer to him through my trials. When sharing my story, I was amazed at how many people I helped and how much more faith it gave people. Congrats to you on "coming out!" You'll see you're blessings soon!

Baby bump bound said...

I think you are amazing!!!

rebecca said...

You should feel proud, you did an amazing & courageous thing & I'm so glad you've received understanding, compassion, & support in return!

Busted Kate said...

I'm so so sooooooo proud of you. You are seriously the most amazing, special woman. That took a lot of guts, and I'm so proud of your "coming out", it was well done and very poinent. I'll wait till I get home to watch the video.

I understand the feeling of telling everyone you're fine when you absolutely are not. After my MC I said that just so I wouldn't have to explain the story over and over again. I just got tired of talking about it, and wanted people to leave me alone.

Just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you often, and always sending you love.

zookeeperjess said...

*Hugs*

I'm glad you came out of "the closet" and got such a positive, overwhelming result from friends and family. I'm sure it can only help to have so many people there for you, thinking of you, and praying for you!

Young Wife said...

Thanks for sharing your story.