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Archive for the ‘NIAW bloggers Unite’ tag

Join the Movement and Change the Conversation About Infertility

By Tracey Minella

April 27th, 2013 at 9:28 pm

 

Another National Infertility Awareness Week comes to a close. The events celebrating it are over. The special NIAW banners and badges on blogs and social media will come down. And things are going to return to “normal”.

Is that acceptable?

Are we going to allow the progress made this week to stall for another 51 weeks? Are we going to stop talking about infertility until next April? Are we going to condition the public that they only have to tolerate our voices for a week each year and then “they’ll just fade away”?

Or are we going to change the conversation about infertility? More importantly, are we going to change our one-sided conversation into a two-sided one…where it’s not just us talking at the public and the politicians and our families, but it’s them hearing us and talking back. You know, real conversation.

Talking about infertility isn’t easy. It’s uncomfortable for the listener… and often the speaker as well. Recurrent miscarriage doesn’t make for nice dinner conversation. Talk of low sperm counts can make people queasy. The listener’s mind may involuntarily wander to visions of stirrups and collection rooms. Reactions can vary from awkward embarrassment, to hysterical crying, to unwelcome and misguided advice, to the (preferred) silent, supportive hug.

No wonder many people don’t talk about infertility. It’s so intimate. It’s too close to talking about sex for most people’s comfort.

Yet, if we don’t speak up, we won’t get the support from our families and friends, the politicians and the public. And nothing will change. And too many suffering infertile women’s biological clocks will run out before they can get access to the medical assistance they need to build their families or they will age out of “acceptable” adoption age limits.

How can you keep the conversation about infertility going now that NIAW is over?

If you think of infertility as a disease, like cancer, it may help you to sit your family down and tell them what’s going on. Same thing with close friends. It’s easy to call or write to your political representatives. And if you’d like to meet them in person, there’s a great opportunity to do so at Advocacy Day on May 8, 2013. See RESOLVE’s website for details. http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/advocacy-day.html

If you aren’t comfortable telling everyone about your infertility, why not just tell someone? One trusted person. A random stranger. A politician. A support group. Or join in the conversation when someone else is talking about infertility.

Don’t wait until next April. Keep the conversations going.

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (basic understanding of the disease of infertility)

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (about NIAW)

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Have you talked about infertility with anyone this week?

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Join the Movement to Increase and Protect Access to All Family-Building Options: Confessions of a Closet Infertile

By Tracey Minella

April 25th, 2013 at 4:51 pm

 

There is a national bandwagon rolling through town this week and as an infertile person, you are expected to jump on it. It’s National Infertility Awareness Week and you’re expected make some noise. But…

What if you don’t want to climb aboard? What if you want to “opt out” of this whole thing? In fact, what if the hoopla actually makes you want to hide in a cave until Sunday?

I “get” that.

I used to be a “closet infertile”.

The Top 5 reasons people are secretive about their infertility and resistant to raise awareness (in my humble but expert opinion as a former closet infertile):

·         Denial: I’m not infertile; I’ll/She’ll be pregnant next month for sure.

·         Fear: If I speak up, I’ll lose my job. If I open up, I might not get support I’m hoping for.

·         Ignorance: I don’t know what to do or where to begin.

·         Shame: I am so embarrassed that I can’t get (her) pregnant. What’s wrong with me?

·         Apathy: Why bother? Nothing will change. Let someone else do it. I already have my kids.

Some of those reasons are hard to dispute, like denial and fear.

Everyone has to face their diagnosis in their own time, and until they accept it, they can’t advocate on behalf of it. Fear about job loss can be paralyzing, especially in this economy, so how can you blame anyone for staying silent? Others are frozen in fear that friends and family may actually not be supportive after they finally muster up the nerve to let them in. (Though in the majority of cases, people will be supportive, even if they don’t really understand.)

Ignorance is understandable because the prospect of being an advocate can be overwhelming. But it’s the easiest of the reasons to overcome. For plenty of ideas on big and small ways you can get involved and make a difference in NIAW, go to RESOLVE’s’ website at: http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/home-page.html

Shame is the hardest reason of all to overcome. There has been a social stigma wrongly attached to infertility from the beginning of time. And it is powerful. It’s the primary force that drives suffering couples into secrecy and isolation. Into the closet. Crushing the stigma is one of the big reasons behind NIAW.

Infertility is a disease. It is nothing to be ashamed of and it’s not your fault. People need to come out of the closet so the world can see how many people are really affected by this disease. If everyone suffering found the strength to step out into the light and be seen and heard…all in one week…the numbers would be staggering. That’s the only hope for improved benefits and resources. 1 in every 8 is infertile. 1 in every 8 is seeking resolution. They are desperately trying to build their families.

Apathy is the reason that is hardest to sympathize with, especially if none of the other reasons apply. If your life has been touched by infertility and you are not involved in at least some small way to help raise awareness this week you are missing an opportunity to make a difference in the life of yourself, your children, or your grandchildren. Imagine if IVF is not available to them some day. How will you feel then if you do nothing now?

Please don’t sit back and wait for others to do all the work. We’ve never been so close to getting federal assistance for infertility costs. Yet at the same time, supporters of the Personhood Amendments are pushing reforms that would effectively render IVF as it’s practiced today illegal. We need you to help in some small way. Step up.

At the very least, even if you remain in the closet, you can simply share on Facebook or Twitter that it is NIAW this week. Feeling queasy? Want to throw them off? Follow it up tomorrow by sharing that it’s National Volunteer Week, too. And for good measure, next week is National Air Quality Awareness Week. So we’ve got you covered.

Listen, I know it’s hard. I know it’s uncomfortable. And if you’ve dug your heels in on the issue, then that’s your call. At some point, everyone who is out there on the bandwagon this week was once in the closet like you. Maybe it’s just not your time yet. But it’s coming.

But for those on the fence…those who somewhere deep down feel this may be the time…those who can’t hold it in anymore…I urge you to take that leap of faith. Come out of the closet and get empowered. Join the movement to increase and protect your access to all possible family-building options. Step up.

This is the week.

For more information, please go to RESOLVE’s links:

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility)

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)

 

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If you were a closet infertile, how did you come out and how did it go for you? Please share your story or word of encouragement so others may be helped.

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