I’m sure most of you have already read about or are aware of National Infertility Awareness Week. Many of my Twitter and blog friends have been talking about NIAW for quite some time. The theme for bloggers this year is “Join the movement…” and it’s about what us, as bloggers, are doing to help others struggling with infertility.
Besides offering support on Twitter, before this week, I was not very active in the infertility community. I think I had actually distanced myself a bit in order to give myself a break from the constant thoughts and talk about baby making. I just wanted to think about other areas of my life. Now that I’ve been able to do that and gain some perspective, I’m ready to jump back in!
What I decided to do was “come out” on Facebook. Besides very close family, no one on Facebook was aware of our struggles. Josh and I had talked in the past about me coming clean but he is a more private person than I and neither one of us was ready for that big step. However, after discussing it again, we decided I should go for it! I was extremely nervous and looked to some Twitter friends for their encouragement. Around lunch time I wrote my status update, took a deep breath, crossed my fingers and hit “submit.”
In honor of National Infertility Week, I’m speaking up! For the past three years, I have been unable to get pregnant. I have cried thousands of tears, spoke hundreds of prayers and saw numerous doctors. I have been diagnosed with endometriosis which not only makes becoming pregnant difficult, but it also causes pain. I have gone through surgery which was a temporary fix but not permanent. We still have hope and are not giving up our fight. Because of infertility, I am a stronger person and have a stronger marriage.
After I submitted my status, I walked away and went back to work. Very soon, my phone started buzzing. The rest of my day was spent trying to keep up with the constant outpouring of love, support, well wishes and infertility stories. I was completely astounded at the number of people that sent me messages or left comments sharing their own struggles. I found myself tearing up multiple times during the day.
I heard stories from women that had miscarried. Ones that have been trying for 5+ years. One woman went through TEN IUI’s with no success. Women that have their miracle baby but never forgot the pain of infertility. Some were struggling with secondary infertility that was unexplained. I even had a woman apologize for announcing her pregnancy at one of the family gatherings because she thought it might have hurt me.
Most of these women were struggling silently and didn’t have any other friends that understood what they were going through. I talked with them at length and they told me how much it meant to them to have someone to talk to. I was fortunate to have a strong support system on Twitter and I can’t imagine finding my way through the hell of infertility without that support. I hope I can be of some help to these women that have reached out to me. I know that I am no expert but I hope just by being a good listener and understanding their pain, I can help in some small way.
That evening another woman contacted me to tell me that she was so inspired by my post on Facebook that she decided to do the same thing. After 5 years, she was going to tell everyone about her struggles. I can’t even begin to tell you how that made me feel.
I went to bed last night feeling loved, hopeful and so incredibly grateful for my friends and family. If you are considering coming clean on Facebook, I highly recommend it. I completely understand that many people would much rather keep this area of their lives private and that is completely fine. However, if you have been thinking about it and are just scared to take that final step and hit “submit?” Do it. I bet you will end up helping more people that you ever imagined.