When I heard about National Infertility Awareness Week’s Bloggers Unite challenge I immediately wanted to participate.
One of the main reasons I wanted to start a log in the first place was to use my ability to express myself through words to shed a light on the issues and causes that are important to me. Infertility is at the top of that list. In my family there has been plenty of talk about infertility, these past five years especially. As National Infertility Awareness Week 2014 comes to a close I want to make people aware of how infertility affects real people and causes real human suffering. Only by speaking up and bringing attention to these things will we show those affected that they are not alone.
It is a topic which is becoming more and more talked about lately, in the news media and in today’s society with its modern medical advances, but growing up I don’t know how much people liked to discuss it. It involves speaking about feelings of embarrassment for women and men alike. For women it involves not feeling like a normal female who is able to do the most natural thing for a woman, to create and carry a child and give birth. For men it involves not feeling like a man, able to give his partner a child and not being able to produce offspring. The statistic of one in eight is one I was unaware of. What I am mostly aware of are the personal feelings and stories that get to the heart of the problem,.
As a teenager I went through my share of medical issues and struggles. When I realized I was having my own issues with regular menstrual cycles and ovulation, I began to fear a future without the possibility of children. I thought it had something to do with the rare syndrome I was diagnosed with. I began to experience, at the age of sixteen, a period of depression at the prospect of an uncertain future with likely infertility.
It wasn’t until one day in particular, a few years later, during a common conversation with my sister that I learned I wasn’t alone, the only one in the family. She hinted at something in her own situation to indicate that she too may one day experience infertility.
I learned to deal with my fears by putting them in their proper place. After all, I wasn’t ready for children at that time anyway. Nothing could be done about it just then. I would have to wait to see what my future held.
I went on with the business of living, but I was never able to put it out of my mind completely. My situation was complicated by many factors, but the underlying yet undeniable fact was that it still seemed like issues with female reproduction and fertility were rarely discussed openly. I continued to feel like I wasn’t a normal woman, if I were possibly unable to do what a woman was supposed to do. This was a guilty feeling, a nagging disappointment in myself and I soon realized that my sister felt the same way. If someone so close to me in life also felt it, how many others were feeling it as well?
My sister’s struggles have been hard to watch, for my whole family. Her and her husband have gone through so much to have the beautiful boy who is a part of our family today. What I’ve seen them overcome would and has broken many couples. So much time and money have been spent. Of course, worth every penny to them and those who love them.
I can’t say where I’m concerned, what my future with these issues will be. I know a lot now that I did not know as that scared teenager. I know a lot of people who struggle with infertility come to discover that they were meant to take another path from the one my sister went down; IVF isn’t the answer for everyone. Adoption and fostering are possible alternatives. Love is love.
A future where I have no children is possible, and I deal with that reality in small ways every day, but whether I am meant to be a mother or just an auntie, I know that I will never stop feeling strongly about this issue for so many. We must remove the shame and the fear and shine as much light on infertility as possible. It is all around us and affects those we love. I may be late to the game in this, as I round off NIAW, on its final day, but I want to do my part, play some small role in bringing awareness to this most basic of human issues in hopes that the future for anyone wishing to have a family will be one bright and full of possibilities.
(Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)