As I think back on our journey up to this point, I think about all the people who have been with us through this journey and I am not sure I would be here without them.
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week and the theme is: "Don't Ignore"
I am choosing to write: "Don't Ignore...Support."
When we first started this process in 2009, we had no idea that it would be nearly 3 years later without being any further in the journey.
In the beginning, we were not sure who to tell and how much information to share with them. Aaron and I spent lots of time talking about what to share or not share. It was not easy to decide to be open about what we were going through because we knew it was going to be a process (me having been diagnosed several years earlier).
When we shared with our mothers, they were the first ones we told. We knew we were going to need their support and love because we had no idea what we were going to encounter.
After we talked to them, we told some of our good friends who we saw all the time. Our thought process was to have more people who were immediately available to talk to us if we needed to talk. Even though, they had no experienced infertility, we knew they would be there for us.
As we actually started "trying" and moved out of the "will we, won't we?" phase, I found I wasn't sure what to say to people about what we were going through. I felt lonely and isolated, found myself pulling away from people I cared about because I felt like a failure at the whole thing. I didn't know what to do and I felt I was sinking into a depression. So many of our friends were not trying to have children and that we were on our own to figure it out.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
Then, a friend gave me the suggestion of joining an online chat room for women who "trying to conceive" as a place to talk to other women who were in the same boat. This was my saving grace - I could talk about the things that were in my head that I thought would scare my friends and family. I was able to obsess over the learning of it all without feeling as though I was "talking too much" about it to people who had no idea what I was talking about. I learned so much in those first few months of being on those chat rooms. They gave recommendations for books to read and signs to look for in my body - I moved away from the depression and felt empowered for the first time in all the months (strike that, years) since I found out it was going to be more challenging for me to be a parent.
Those boards probably not only saved my sanity, but gave me strength to step out in a more public way to people in my life.
Once we decided to be public about what we were going through, we knew we were going to have to take the good with the bad.
The people telling us to "just relax" or giving all the suggestions under the sun to get pregnant. All the pregnancy myths, I have heard them more times than I care to think about. All said with love and the idea of support.
What surprised us the most was the amount of love, thoughts, prayers, well wishes, etc that came our way. It seemed as soon as we came out with what we were going through we were flooded with emails, comments, conversations, etc that were so supportive and loving.
Now, here we are nearly 3 years later and we have people all over country who are keeping us in their thoughts, checking our Facebook pages when we are having procedures, sharing their stories of experiences they have gone through.
I don't know where I would be without the support of the people in my life.
So this National Infertility Awareness Week, I am saying to the people out there who are living with infertility to seek out the people in your life you love to help you.
Don't keep it closed down inside of your brain.
Open yourself up to the numerous avenues available to you to get support. Online chat rooms, friends/family, support groups, counselors, etc are just the beginning of what is available.
When you go through all the options people living with infertility face - inseminations, IVF, surrogacy, adoption - you will need people there pulling for you because there will be days when you want to stop because it is so much to deal with at one time. There will be days when you feel terrible from the medications and you do not want to do it again. There will be times when the pain of the procedures leaves you unable to do the things you love. The day that you find out your dream has come true. The day you bring your little one home.
Those are the days you are going to need support.
Believe me, the hugs and kisses on those days are the best on the planet.
They make the journey, at least for me.
For more information about the infertility issues, please go to these websites:
- http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
- http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)