Join the Movement!

23 Apr

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. 

To those of you that have not struggled to become pregnant, please keep those of us that are struggling in mind. There are more of us than you know and we are usually silent about our difficulties. Try to imagine what it’s like to hope and pray for a child and no matter what you do, cannot get there. It’s hard and incredibly painful.
 
To those that may be fighting infertility, know that I am here for you. Send me a message if you need to talk. A support system is very important and I would love to be a part of yours. 
Thanks for listening guys!

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.

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8 Responses to “Join the Movement!”

  1. MegS (@curliemegs) April 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    ❤ you inspire me.

  2. notwhenbutif April 23, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Once again, huge congrats to you for taking such a leap of faith. I’m so glad your experience was so similar to my own, but am sad at how often these announcements lead to discovering countless other friends and family are struggling in their own silent, lonely, IF hell.

    May you continue to feel, “loved, hopeful, and so incredibly grateful.”

  3. Anni April 23, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    I’m so happy for you that you were able to post that (seriously, I think it’s incredibly brave given how much people feel they own a woman’s body when she’s of reproductive age/pregnant/not pregnant/a mom) – and even more happy that the outpouring was good! So wonderful to hear that it turned out for the best.

    I just want to say that I’m glad you’ve had the courage to speak up on here and on Twitter as well. I wouldn’t have even known what was wrong with me if it wasn’t for internet friends speaking up (my gyno at the time wrote off my symptoms, I found one who listened) and that was incredibly validating – to know I wasn’t the only one out there, and to hear others’ experiences.

    What’s a strange struggle to me is that I have no idea how/if the endo is affecting my fertility. We weren’t even sure we wanted children for a long time, but lean ‘yes’ much more as time goes by. It’s weird to think that this rush of preventing pregnancy – the fear over a missed period, the obsession over the effectiveness of the contraception we use, etc because we’re not ready for kids right this second, may all be unnecessary. I guess that’s just one of those cross that bridge when we come to it things, but it’s frustrating not knowing.

  4. JustHeather April 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face. That was me a couple of years ago. I finally got to the point of feeling brave enough or secure enough in myself to share with the FB world and I too received many comments of love, understanding and community. It is amazing how many of us struggle with IF, yet no one knows.
    I too have endometriosis. I hope with all my heart that you will have your happy ending. *hugs*

  5. Aly (@breathegently) April 25, 2013 at 5:58 am #

    You’re amazing. xx

  6. Cherish April 27, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    I know exactly how that feels! It was terrifying when I went public on FB for NIAW last year, absolutely terrifying, but the outpouring of support from each time I’ve gone public with something about IF has been so amazing. I learned of people who were struggling and I had no idea, or had struggled in the past and were now my faithful supporters. Why do we keep our pain secret when there is a huge support system out there, if only we knew about each other? Thank you for going public and thank you for sharing this post.

  7. Em May 1, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    That coming out process takes a ton of courage! Good for you for going public and speaking up – both for yourself and for the rest of us who struggle with this disease. I am so glad that you have both received support and been able to offer support to others through your brave act on Facebook. You are an excellent voice for infertility. So glad you chose to be part of NIAW.

  8. Last Girl Standing May 2, 2013 at 3:28 am #

    You are so brave. So strong. So inspiring and, oh, so amazing!

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