the storm that is infertility
National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) may have ended, but for those who struggle with this illness its an all day, every day battle. My hope in joining the thousands who also vocalized their story was to decrease the stigma behind the “I” word … infertility. It's time to Flip the Script! There is a significant gap in the conversations that take place about this disease, and yet we know that 1 in 8 couples will struggle with either infertility or secondary infertility at some point in their lives. We still see significant barriers that stand in the way to get care. The costs are excruciating and yet only 15 states require insurance companies to cover it. For those that don’t cover it? We are talking at least $20,000 for a single IVF cycle. The affects of infertility? Marriage, Friendships even Family relations are all too often causalities of infertility.
waiting for the storm to pass
Even after giving birth to my daughter I am still immensely affected by infertility. We may have "beat infertility" once but the odds of giving our child a biological sibling are not great. And if I’m being honest, a small part of me still feels a bit jealous (even if just for a moment) upon hearing of an accidental pregnancy. Of course I’m happy for anyone who chooses to grow their family, but I’m human too! I have never known what its like to become pregnant without trying let alone without medical assistance.
a rainbow after the storm
Trying to conceive a child was hands-down the most difficult process my husband & I have ever gone through…emotionally, physically, and financially. Not all marriages grow stronger through infertility, but it can and it did for us. The road to parenthood was so long and winding that many times I thought it may never end. And yet as I sit here, I know that we're one of the lucky few. That even after undergoing multiple rounds of IVF, countless visits to multiple doctors, acupuncturists, an insane amount of needles, patches and pills I was able to finally conceive and give birth to our daughter Arran. And now, after finally having our little IVF miracle, comes the opportunity to shine a light on such a powerful but often overlooked topic. Now it’s my turn to champion for my fellow warriors in the wait and enable them to find their light!
facing the storm (and defying it)
Sadly there are far too many women and men who are still in the throws of infertility, some whose journey has been even longer and more arduous than my own. Infertility is never far from my mind, which is why I am so passionate about speaking out, offering support and resources and seeking to improve the lives of others. I’ve been told that the years of struggle will seem like a distant memory – that I might even forget the heartache endured during those four years. I almost wish that were true, but I honestly will never forget what it took to get here. I doubt there will ever be a time when I can no longer recall the feelings of isolation, guilt, shame and anger experienced. And at the same time, I choose to never stay silent about this heart-wrenching illness, for once I personally made the decision to no longer struggle in silence and Flip the Script on infertility, I was ambushed with encouragement and support from people I had never even met, a tribe of infertility sisters who were going through similar pains and who were so gracious and willing to share information, tips, or just offer hope in a time of despair. This sense of connection was deep!
eye of the storm
IVF may have helped us overcome infertility, but infertility will always be part of my story. We are so thankful for the advancement of modern medicine, but also for the organizations and individuals that are dedicated to offering infertility assistance when and where needed!
If you are struggling with infertility, please consider connecting with a community (such as Resolve) who understands what you are going through...and is one of the best things you can do for yourself during this time!
Everything that has been shared during NIAW creates a ripple effect of change - that's why this matters so much! Every year we highlight infertility awareness we move the needle in the right direction, in the hopes that anyone challenged in their family building has the support they deserve and the access to all options!
Other ways you can take action:
♥ Register for the Walk of Hope &/or help support me in making a difference in my hometown, during the Chicagoland Walk of Hope by making a donation through my fundraising page ♥ Volunteer with Resolve.org an organization whose goal is to try and improve the lives of others. ♥ Donate to fund family-building support programs. Your gift will ensure that as long as there are women and men suffering from infertility, RESOLVE will provide needed support, education, and advocacy programs in local communities. ♥ Connect with legislators and join #AdvocacyDay by making your voice heard as the family building community in your state comes together to talk to lawmakers about issues important to our community. ♥ and last, but not least, show some love to the 1 in 8 who suffer from infertility by listening to those around you who may need a friend during their time of struggle!
To my warriors, first and foremost always remember to guard your heart! This journey is far too hard to not put yourself and your own well being first!