Infertility Awareness Week

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?


About thebarrenyears

I'm a 30 something girl trying and failing to get pregnant.
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8 Responses to Infertility Awareness Week

  1. Thank you for this post. My husband and I have slowly begun to open up with the folks in our lives about our infertility and miscarriages and have, too, been saddened by the fact that…very few people actually care. It’s hard.

    I also love that you have a secret FB group. I do, too, and am not sure what I’d ever do without those girls.

  2. Daryl says:

    “unless we are comfortable with our infertility how can we expect other people to be?”

    Absolutely right! I find I’ve become increasingly comfortable, both with infertility itself and with talking about it, over the years. I’ll pretty much tell anyone who has the courtesy to ask. Heck, I tell pleny of people even if they don’t ask!

  3. I too looked around for some form of UK based equivalent and was really surprised and annoyed to find nothing. One thing that I am making sure that I do is to be as honest and open with everyone that I come into contact with about our infertility struggles. I have decided that this is a massive part of my life and I’m not wanting to hide it – sure I feel like crap sometimes when people (supposed friends) have no consideration for how their words/actions might be taken but I just rant about it for 5 minutes to the hubby and then try and move on. I think that it is a great thing to talk about your experiences with people if you feel like you can as education kills ignorance – or it should anyway!
    All the best.

  4. andttw3 says:

    Great post; so very, very true. Equally since I’ve felt more able to talk about our dtc journey I’ve been amazed by the number of people who have told me they too had problems conceiving, or lost babies etc. It affects so many of us; if only we could all admit that maybe the taboo could lift a bit.

    Then again, there are still all those people who got pg straight away who persist in telling me how badly I’ve timed my pregnancy. I’ll keep trying to get the message out there!

  5. wanttobeamum says:

    I think Robert Winston is doing his own Infertility Awarenesss week. He was on the Wright Stuff on Monday and will be on This Morning tomorrow. They are asking for people to email in by 4pm if they want to speak to Sir Robert. It is difficult to know whether to tell people or not. We have just had our first failed cycle after nearly 4 years of trying. It was horrible calling up the family to tell them that the cycle had failed. Although friends and family have been really lovely about it. What is more difficult is that no-one I know has been through it and so there is no-one to talk to. I have been on some of the forums but find them quite overwhelming. I think there is a lot of work to be done to help people to understand how fertility is not guaranteed and I think that if people want to have children at some stage in their lives that they should get tested in twenties. I am now 39 and it feels very late. Love the blogs, good to know that other people have same concerns and difficulties and hopes too!

  6. msfertility says:

    I know the feeling! Infertility started out being a huge secret in my life and now, I’ll tell people waiting in line at the grocery store! (Well… not without something to trigger it… but there’s always a pregnant celeb on a magazine cover, isn’t there?) πŸ˜‰

  7. Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your insight. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers!

  8. Stephanie says:

    Very true, and I like your response to people! Way nicer than saying “thanks for reminding me of my infertility” (not that I’ve said that, but I’ve been tempted!)

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