As we passed National Infertility Awareness Week, the fact that there's a week dedicated to infertility reminded me that we've come a long way. Resolve's theme this year was, You Are Not Alone. I believe that statement is more true than ever for the fertility challenged, and here's why:
Infertility is Being Talked About
Infertility articles are being written every day. New books are out to share what it's like for men dealing with infertility, or guides couples can read together as they tackle infertility hand-in-hand. Even blockbuster movies are now touching on infertility.
Celebrities who talk about their infertility are no longer being shunned for their revelations as they were in the past. They are being thanked by those inside the infertility community and supported by those outside the community.
There is a better understanding that infertility is a disease, not a flaw - and more sympathy out there as a result. And when infertility is met with sympathy, instead of shame, more people will talk about it. The cycle is circular. The more sympathy and understanding, the more people will open up. The more people open up, the more sympathy and understanding will come.
Encouragement from Support Groups
Resolve and other organizations have peer-led and professionally-led support groups throughout the country to help those dealing with infertility. When you're trying to have a child, and can't get pregnant, it feels like nobody else could possibly understand the longing and the heartache you experience each month. From Resolve's website: Support groups help you feel less isolated, empower you with knowledge and validate your emotional response to the life crisis of infertility. I couldn't word it any better.
Social Media Helps
Even those who feel they can't open up to their family or friends about infertility, or don't feel comfortable attending support groups, can interact with other infertility warriors anonymously through social media. Infertility bloggers are keeping everyone in the know. When to see a specialist and what to ask. What to expect from a cost perspective. The ins and outs of fertility treatments and the choices out that are out there.
Anyone experiencing infertility can create a Twitter account and find others who are experiencing the same roller coaster ride, with its ups and downs and shaky tracks that rattle you to the bone. There is someone out there to talk to and to listen to and to commiserate or celebrate with.
New Services are Available
Though in vitro fertilization is the treatment most often talked about when it comes to infertility, only 5% turn to IVF. There are new services like Conceivable that address the entire community of infertility patients. Conceivable is a personalized program on your iPhone that helps identify and address underlying health factors that may prevent conception or carrying a baby to term. As programs like Conceivable help more and more women successfully conceive, I envision the community of infertility warriors banding together even more.
So click your heels three times and say the words, "You are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone." Because it is true.