So it’s National Infertility Awareness Week for the Americans this week (22nd to 28th April 2012) and given that that the theme for the week is “Don’t Ignore Infertility” it seemed only right that I posted about it. I have googled to see if there is a UK equivalent but couldn’t find anything.
I have a group of friends that live in the computer and we decided that we would mention this week on the parenting forum we all met on. We thought it might be good to let people ask questions and talk about it, especially given the upset that the thread on the newspaper article on infertility had caused a few weeks ago. Whilst the read rate on the thread is high very few people have engaged with us. We also chat on Facebook in a secret off board group and the general feeling on there is disappointment that those we considered friends actually have no interest in finding out more or offering support. Now obviously we chose to post on a parenting forum, it’s very nature means it’s aimed at parents not the infertile but given that people share fairly intimate details on there you would think the empathy would work both ways. I suppose it’s a micro version of real life some people are interested and some people aren’t.
The main difference is that online I am very open about my infertility, in real life I find it tougher. Like many people I am ashamed of it, I am embarassed, I don’t want to make people feel bad so it’s easier to ignore the whole issue, pretend you don’t want children or change the subject and hope no one notices! Over the last year or so and very in keeping with the not ignoring infertility theme I am trying to make baby steps so when people ask whether I have children rather than saying “no” I tend to now say “unfortunately not”. It’s a subtle difference but one that I think shows that I am not hiding that there is a problem, nor am I telling the sordid details to all and sundry! Some people go onto ask, some don’t and that’s OK the main thing is that I am being more open about it all.
Thats’s the thing isn’t it? Until we are all more open about our infertility we can’t expect people to understand because they genuinely probably have no idea. If their journey to children involved the let’s have children chat, let’s have sex, 40 weeks later a baby appears how can they understand? In much the same way that many of us can’t understand how you can just decide to have children and they appear!
So let’s be more open without upsetting ourselves, baby steps that we are comfortable with, because unless we are comfortable with our infertility how can we expect other people to be?