I’m a bit late in posting this, but I wanted to let everyone know that this week, April 21- 27 is National Infertility Awareness Week.
1 in 8 couples are affected by infertility. Look around. That girls night out you just went on? Somebody in the group most likely struggled/is struggling/will struggle to have children. Your sorority sisters? Quite a few are most likely affected. Co-workers? Them too. Strangers at the grocery store? Yup. All told about 7.3 million Americans, 12% of the female population of child-bearing age are affected by infertility.
Those of us who struggle with infertility are given the hard task of getting through our daily life while dealing with a disease that generally has no visible, at least to the casual observer, symptoms. There is no way to tell simply by looking at someone whether they are infertile or not. Women and men with children, women and men without children, single women and men: any of us can be dealing with the pain, both emotional and physical, that is caused by infertility. Well-meaning people who says things like “just relax- then you’ll get pregnant!” and “when are you having more children?” may be inadvertently hurting the feelings of the comments’ recipients.
One of the goals of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, and of women like myself who are openly blogging about our struggles is to raise awareness about infertility and to provide resources for anyone affected.
For family and friends of anyone struggling with infertility, or even for people who think they don’t know anyone affected (but who, in actuality, most likely DO) please check out RESOLVE’s resources for family and friends. There’s some really great information about how to be supportive of anyone you know who might be struggling with this disease including a really great article about Infertility Etiquette.
For anyone with infertility, or anyone interested in healthcare, check out RESOLVE’s State Fertility Scorecard which grades each state on the support, doctors, and insurance coverage available to support infertility. I’m fortunate enough to live in a “green” state but as you’ll see there are very few states that ranked that highly.
For a great website devoted to infertility, check out The Infertility Voice, written by Keiko Zoll. Keiko started The Infertility Voice as an “online resource for infertility patients seeking support and compassion during their infertility journeys.” Her blog was one of the first I started reading when we were struggling to get pregnant with our second child and I’m not sure that I would have even realized how important it was for me to share my story without Keiko sharing her own.
To show support, consider changing your Facebook cover to one of the ones Keiko created for this week- there are many to choose from, ranging from “I am what infertility looks like” to “friends for infertility awareness” to “men for infertility awareness.”
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to share your stories. If we can share things like “… must have a second cup of coffee today!” or “ack! laundry overload!” then why can’t we share the important stuff too?