Apr 21, 2014

The More You Know #NIAW

Every year RESOLVE, an organization founded by The National Infertility Association, sponsors National Infertility Awareness Week to put a spotlight on infertility and bring awareness to and about those struggling with infertility. This year, National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) started yesterday (April 20) and goes until April 26.
If you are new to my little corner of the blogging world, you see smiling pictures of a pregnant me with year old twins and are probably wondering what I have to do with infertility. Well, I am the face of infertility. I am one of the 1 in 8 who struggles with infertility.
Infertility can look like this.
Having my boys didn't change that I am infertile. It didn't erase the scars. It didn't change the hurt and the pain. It didn't change that I suffer from an endocrinological disease that will effect me in areas other than just fertility for the rest of my life. Infertility changed me.
The effects of infertility will be felt my whole life long. And I am passionate about educating others about infertility. I am passionate about supporting women and couples who are struggling. That's why the theme for NIAW this year really hit home for me.
"Resolve to know more..."
I know that I'm a nerd. I know that my love of learning goes beyond normal (hello PhD) but I can't imagine anyone out there doesn't wish they knew just a little bit more.
I wish infertility was talked about more. I am fortunate that I had a doctor diagnose my PCOS when I was just 18 so I knew conception would be potentially difficult. And so my husband and I started young. But, my reproductive issues move well beyond PCOS and so starting young wasn't enough. But for many couples it is. People believe that since celebrities are having babies well into their forties anyone can pregnant at any time. But the harsh reality is that fertility declines every year. Every year getting pregnant gets more difficult. No matter what pop culture says. No matter how many medicinal advances we make. Biology is set up so prime fertility for women is when we are younger. I wish fertility was talked about more so women could make educated choices about their family planning.

I wish fertility was talked about more so I started talking.
I started blogging about infertility in March of 2012 in a pretty uninspiring post. The post isn't much, but that day I have up my anonymity and decided to be a voice for infertility, to put a face to the disease. I posted why I did this and will share it again. It's as true now as it was then.

I am grateful for all of the tears I have cried and for a God who promises to wipe each and every tear from my eyes (Revelations 21:4). Every circumstance, every event, every place has a meaning. He will use everything! Every tear I have shed, every heartache, every hurt, He will use. Even though I am disheartened by our struggle to have a child (more on our journey so far in another post), I know that God will use my experience to encourage and motivate others.

But unless I am being open and honest about our journey, God can't use me. So this is me, opening my heart to all you people of the interweb hoping that just one person finds hope in our journey.

Over the next few weeks I got braver and posted more details. (Like the promised post on our TTC Journey). I started posting links to my blog on Facebook. And hundreds of people from my last reached out. Friends from high school with multiple miscarriages. Sorority sisters with endometriosis. A college friend who had a hysterectomy. Literally, hundreds of people.
I felt so alone in our journey before I found the infertility community on twitter. I felt isolated from my offline life before I went public about our journey. Casey and I were not alone in our struggles. We learned that as more and more people reached out.
Unfortunately, there are too many of us. 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. 1 in 8 couples wonders when the yes will come (if the yes will come!). 1 in 8 couples cries every month when they get another no. 1 in 8 couples need to know more about their options, about support, about fertility.
As I kept hearing from more and more people, I vowed to educate those around me on infertility. I vowed that no matter what happened in our journey to a family I would continue to advocate for infertility. I vowed to support folks that I know who are struggling. I vowed to educate fertile couples so they know what their friend might be silently going through. I vowed that if I helped even one person my work would be worth it. I struggled with how to be an infertility advocate while pregnant and while a mom. In fact, I still do. But I vowed to make it work. Because this is too importantly.
I am so blessed by my miracle ART twins and my miracle spontaneous pregnancy. Not everyone is. I am blessed that my infertility journey has a happy ending. Not all of them do.
In addition to my regular blogging drivel, this week I will be posting facts about infertility each day on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I really hope you take a moment out of your day and educate yourself. Educate a neighbor. Educate a coworker. Resolve to know more. Resolve to help others know more.

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