Saturday, September 11, 2010

RESOLVE--Infertility Awareness

I know I'm, oh, about 4 months too late to start talking about infertility awareness, but I suddenly truly realized how damaging it is. I was reading another poor girl's post on TMP, about how upset she was that she hasn't gotten pregnant yet---she's on her 3rd month trying.

At first, I felt exasperated. Because I'm one of the LTTCER's (Long Term TTCer) who has put in 24+ months in efforts to try to conceive...this may be very snobby of me, and it is hard to say WHEN someone has the right to complain that it is been too long, but 3 months just seemed WAY too early. Plus, it seems that about 1/2 of the women who make that complaint this early will get pregnant in another two months or so. Mostly, it makes me think about how long it is taking ME to get (and stay) preggers and my trying not to lose hope. I just kept thinking, "well, if she is finding it hard now, wait until another 10 months come an go and see where she is at."

But then I really started thinking about it. It is NOT her fault that she believes pregnancy should come easily. Infertility is a taboo topic in our culture. It causes most couples starting a family to accept the myth that "it's easy to start a family" or that "you're not normal if you can't get pregnant right away." That, plus all of the sex education given as a teen about how easy it is to get pregnant and how it is important to ALWAYS protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy leads a couple to expect that all they have to do is select the month they want to deliver, count back 10 months or so to stop any birth control and get ready for their new baby.

(To any teens or women seeking to prevent pregancy reading this, it IS very important to protect yourself because one thing I have learned is that the pregnancy fairy usually chooses when and how she grants wishes, and it is usually not to those who expect it. Let's say she has bad aim)

Those who haven't experienced it don't know how to deal with it, or are judgmental or political (aren't there already too many children in the world?). Those who are (or have) experiencing it don't talk about it because 1) They don't want to be (or have been) judged by others and 2) They feel alone....and that perpetuates that taboo!! Their belief of being alone, no one understanding, shames them into not talking about it openly with others.

I then felt resolve myself to remember that infertility is misunderstood and this is why so many women blame themselves and feel like a failure after 2 or 3 months of trying!!!

I had seen a lot of blog posts about this in April or May during National Infertility Week/Month and checked out the RESOLVE website. This is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to educating people about infertility.

I found a startling statistic--Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples of reproductive age. 1 in 8. Think of 8 couples you know of reproductive age. If you yourself aren't infertile, that means one of those 8 may be. And they are suffering in silence.

I firmly believe in educating ourselves, which is why when I start most projects I try to find out as much as I can. But, many people don't think to or don't know where to look. So, I want to do what I can to help educate others on infertility. Hopefully one day it will become a conversation where it isn't assumed to happen to an unfortunate few but as a prevalent issue among our society.

I especially love the resources the RESOLVE site has for discussing infertility. It gives several good options for responding to questions others ask regarding family-building efforts. Check it out!!


Ashleigh said...

I am really enjoying your posts. You put together thoughts very well (might sound weird, but that's what I was thinking as I'm reading)

I found myself thinking the same thing, and I've been trying for 2 months. Every time I see someone complain on TMP when they've only been trying for a few months, I think "you're lucky, some of these women have been trying for YEARS"
I try very hard not to complain. I go through the same things, anxiety, etc., but try not to be dramatic about it. It will happen when it happens. My thing is wanting a specific due date since I am a teacher, and I would love the summer off with no docked pay :( But I don't have control over it. All I can do is pray and do the right things to help it happen.

Thanks for this post- I hope it helps put things into perspective for someone else too!

Melissa said...

I'm glad you enjoy my posts, and it wasn't my intention to criticize....but it is hard looking at it from 24 months in and what I sometimes want to say is you gotta be prepared for what IF you don't get pregnant right away?

I really feel for you teachers and anyone else in a profession where timing really DOES matter. I guess in my job the timing sucks anytime so it doesn't really matter....I get the same maternity leave whenever. And I totally get wanting a specific due date to make it work for a job or insurance or something like that.

What I was speaking to is this assumption (which I think is caused by infertility ignorance) that a couple can just sit down and say, "Oh, well I'd really like a baby born in April, because I'd really want a spring baby" and it will just happen.

Because that is "how it is supposed to be" or because having a baby when you want to is "easy." Plus, that's the dream, right? Being able to plan and say, "this will spread the birthdays out perfectly even!" Or whatever the desire or reasoning. I get that. I'd LOVE to say, plan a baby for October because I love Hallowe'en or something like that.

And I think for me before that I assumed that most women going into TTC knew some of the research about the effects of coming off of BCP or stuff like that....heck, I remember before trying that I was in my doc's office and she had a handy chart that even estimated how long after stopping a particular type of birth control you were likely to conceive. The one I was taking (and most hormonal ones) were about 1 year.

And, yeah, although I realized that it could take a year at least before my cycles might regulate off of BCP I kind of had that hope I would be one of the few to get pregnant in 2 months. I won't lie and say that I WASN'T disappointed.

It just really put it in perspective for me realizing that there is still a lot of ignorance and stereotypes regarding fertility out there. And now I want to try to help, educate, something. I know it doesn't necessarily take any of the impatience away....that comes eventually to all of us. But I hope to help educate, take away some ignorance etc. And to take away the shame.

I'm reviewing RESOLVE's volunteer programs etc and deciding if I want to take the leap into more active volunteering. I figure if I can at least put some info on this blog and be brave enough to talk about it in conversation....which is hard...that I might be able to put a little dent in the stigma. No one should feel ashamed because they can't get pregnant right away.

PS--One reason my posts seem well put together is that I re-read and edit myself. I let my thoughts flow, but then I usually at least check for spelling or just whether the thought sounds right. It's all those papers I wrote for my Master's I think it rubbed off on me.

Motherhood Wanted approved!

Motherhood Wanted approved!
Diana Farrell, MA


Motherhood Wanted approved!