This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. As part of that, I decided to share our experience with secondary infertility with my friends and family in a note on Facebook yesterday. In sharing our pregnancy news over the past month, we’ve made vague references to the effect of “It took longer than expected” — and other general sentiments — but we haven’t shared the specifics with anyone. I figured this was as good a time as any to spill the beans and just get it out there and raise awareness in the process — the whole purpose of the week.
So I typed up a thorough, detailed account of our experience (though not too detailed so as to make people squeamish…I didn’t use the word sperm, for example) and posted it when I was home for lunch.
I got an email notification for the first comment, from a not-that-close family member:
“Is adoption illegal in KY?”
Um, ouch. And: screw you, buddy. Thankfully he must have thought better of his comment and deleted it, but I’d already gotten the email notification.
I will admit that I shouldn’t have let the comment get to me, but it did, at least at first. I mean, is it any wonder that people don’t share their experience of infertility when there’s such a sense of judgment placed upon those who choose to take steps to have their own child? When there’s always a dirty cloak of “you’re being so selfish” heaved our way when adoption is not the path you wish to take?
Other, more supportive comments followed, which certainly helped. Quite a bit, actually. (Many thanks to those of you from here who commented. I appreciate it.)
But then I got a personal email from a longtime friend. The Hopeful But Weary TTCer thanked me for sharing my story, and opened up that she too has been going through infertility for a couple of years — which I was completely unaware of — and also has chosen not to share it with friends and family while going through it and understands the feelings of isolation that come with that choice. To make another person feel less alone in this vortex of up-and-down emotion, heart-wrenching pain, and constant confusion — well, it made putting our story out there (in a less anonymous manner than this blog) completely worth it for me.
Later that evening, a co-worker also sent me a private message. She’s still at the beginning of her journey, currently at cycle 8 and consulting with her OB/GYN today, but she thanked me for putting into words much of what she’s been unable to express with her closest girlfriends.
The naysayers are always going to be there. And they’re always going to speak before really thinking.
But those people who need support are ALSO out there. They’re the ones whose voices should be heard.