#StartAsking

WHO THIS POST IS FOR:

EVERYONE YOU KNOW.

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April 24th- 30th is National Infertility Awareness Week, but let’s get ahead and #startasking now! That’s right, there is a whole month dedicated to educating the masses and holy moly, the masses need it. According to the CDC 12% of women between the ages of 14-44 are  struggle with infertility, thats an insane amount of people. For something that is so far reaching, we need to engage in more dialogue so that we can create a supportive community that fosters positivity so that this horrific process can be a touch better.

I have met countless couples who tell me that they suffered alone for so long. Their friends, their family, colleagues had NO IDEA what they were going through. I can’t imagine living my life without people knowing because infertility consumes your entire being. I am not 100% myself most of the time and for me I need folks to know what is going on so that my behavior or physical state is understood.

But  I digress, so many people keep it a secret because infertility is not discussed in the public space and thus it makes is shameful. Women are often made to feel it is their fault, providing little space to feel comfortable sharing their circumstance. For men, our culture of masculinity confines them to a box that says, “Man+ sperm + “spreading your seed”= MANLY.” Heck, one time I was chatting with someone who I know quite well and is pregnant, and she said, “He feels like a man,” when I asked her how her husband felt about the news of her pregnancy.  

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Advocate for Legislation

Help ensure legislation passes that protects infertile couples and ensures states require insurance cover treatment. Check out the current pieces of legislation out there and learn what representatives are sponsoring what bills HERE.

Empathize

I write about this a lot but I can not emphasize it enough. If you learn a friend is going through treatment do NOT say, “Oh I know someone who went through IVF, they are pregnant now, it will all work out.” While its great you want to show support and try to provide hope, your friends experience is just that, their experience. We don’t want to hear about it, we just want someone to listen and recognize our own struggle.

Join a support group

Resolve has a great list of groups access the country, find one and join. Having a community that truly understands your feelings and thoughts is invaluable.

#StartAsking

Resolve is hosting a campaign this week to get folks engaging in dialogue around infertility awareness. With infertility comes a slew of questions from “How is this fair?” to “Does my insurance cover this?” to “Where do I start with adoption?” When we ask these questions alone, they begin to eat away at you. When we ask these as a collective, we receive a robust compilation of answers to sift through. While the answers may not always be what we want to hear and they don’t always change your situation, knowledge is power and having an ounce of power during a time when you are utterly powerless is sacred.

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-Annie

Picking a Support Group

WHO THIS POST IS FOR:

  • Couples going through IVF or infertility treatment.
  • Friends of folks going through infertility (pass along the resources)
IVF SUPPORT GROUPS: A HOW-TO

I had NO IDEA a world of support existed until I started talking to new IVF friends. Quickly I learned there were a number of groups and therapists specifically dedicated to infertility. Why I found this surprising, not quite sure. It’s probably because I never thought of infertility until it happened to me. Because I was thrown in so quickly, support is and was exactly what I needed. I was referred to a group this past summer and LOVED it. I can not emphasize enough how much I would recommend finding a group.

REASONS INFERTILITY GROUPS RULE
  • You learn you aren’t crazy. Women and men sit in a room saying the exact same feelings and thoughts that you’ve felt for months. It feels awesome to feel so validated.
  • You learn about questions to ask your doctor. Someone might bring something up that you haven’t thought of and can bring back with you to your next doctors visit.
  • It puts your situation into perspective. After leaving our first meeting my husband and I felt incredibly lucky to have insurance. While we do pay for procedures (and genetic testing is never covered… another story for another time), we never realized how privileged we were. We cant imagine going through this entire process and having to shell out close to $100,000 at this point in our journey.
  • Husbands have men who understand them. When my husband shares our experience with his close circle, he is usually met with silence. I would say the majority of people just don’t know what to say. Women struggle to talk to one another about the subject and in this hyper-masculine world, talking about infertility for men is completely alien. Watching other men talk about their experience was super helpful and comforting to us.
  • You make friends that you don’t have to apologize to for being nuts, upset, or a drag around. While I do not think I have to apologize to friends, I know I can be a bit of a bummer when I am on my meds. Good friends are friends through thick and thin, but I can’t help but believe it must be draining on them. Meeting friends who understand exactly why another post on Facebook “OOPS Im pregnant and now we are getting married!!!” makes you want to rip your hair out or why you hate that skinny pregnant lady on the street is quite comforting. It lets you relax and just be.
  • No one will tell you to “just be positive and it will work.”
  • You learn about alternatives. You may not have considered an egg donor, donor sperm or surrogate but hearing from people who have gone through it or are going through it is enlightening and helpful.
HOW TO FIND A GROUP
  • Resolve is one of the best resources around. Within their Support section on their website you can find online communities, local meet ups, resources, etc. The world of message boards can be insanely overwhelming, finding a legitimate group through Resolve is the way to go.
  • Talk to friends! Once again, being open about your experience may steer you towards someone that may have knowledge of local groups. Our group is listed on Resolve but I was actually referred through a friend.
  • Ask your doctor! They may have groups their past patients have worked with that they can recommend. Doctors are all for you getting emotional support and I am sure would be happy to help.

-Annie