This year's theme is RESOVE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT.... I've known this week has been coming for awhile and have wondered how I'm going to start this post. It just came to me today while I was driving to work listening to the radio. A local radio station was interviewing Robin Roberts from Good Morning America. While getting ready for work each morning I usually tune in to follow the news. For those who don't know, she's battled and beat cancer...twice. When asked why she is so passionate about sharing her story, her answer was this: "my mom always told me to make your 'mess' your message." Everyone has their "stuff"....something difficult in life they've lived through that's important to them...something that's hopefully changed them for the better . Infertility is my story. Basically what she was saying is that it would tragic to battle something that's so significant and important to you and not learn a lesson or come out the other side a changed and better person. What would be even better is if not only you were a changed person who's learned a valuable lesson, but if you could help to educate and show others the importance so they too could grow as a person. It's a great way to change something tragic into something positive.
It took my husband and I a lot of thought about whether or not to share with people the details of our struggle versus keeping it superficial or private. He was behind me 100% to share our story with others and to even blog about it. Since then, he too has been more open about sharing our story. I knew there was always the chance of being misunderstood or made to feel as if my feelings and struggles weren't significant or as significant as something else. In my mind it's impossible to "rank" someone's situation as being more or less important....but I knew others potentially could and did. No one likes to have their feelings invalidated. If it's important to you and important enough to share something that's personal and close to your heart, then it IS important.
What I've learned over the past few years is that infertility is often one of those topics either not talked about, brushed under the rug, or not seen as a big of a deal as it is...until you personally struggle with it that is. It hasn't and doesn't get the same recognition as other issues and many people simply don't realize the emotional, physical and financial turmoil it can have. How can we change this? The only way is to speak up and educate others not in our situation. I think this is an important lesson, not just for infertility but for anything, especially for something that's not commonplace and easily relatable. Let others in on why it's so incredibly hard. Why is it such a heartache to live through month after month of repeated disappointment and loss of a dream...why does it sting so badly when we hear yet another pregnancy or birth announcement...why is it so difficult afford expensive treatments....why the physical pain of tests and treatments breaks you down....why you can't seem to get it together sometimes when you accidentally walk down the diaper isle.....why you can't bear to attend baby showers to protect your feelings and sanity....why your relationship can be strained at times with your partner....and the why's could go one forever. Sure there's always the chance of being misunderstood or blown off, but even if you get through to one person, it's a person who's learned how to be compassionate not only for you as a support but also for others. Unless you share with someone why this disease is so difficult to navigate, how can they begin to understand unless they've lived it?
To this day, we've lost a few friends along the way because they couldn't understand our thoughts and actions and other relationships were strained. People we've shared our journey
with still say things that hurt, but it's a start to help them understand. On the positive side, explaining our story has created some great relationships we otherwise may not have had the chance to. Making people more aware and sympathetic is the only way to get the support we need. The more people that can be compassionate and aware of the the impact of infertility, the more awareness can be raised and that makes a cure one step closer.
For more information about Resolve.org please look at the following links:
http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.
http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)