On Saturday, September 21, 2013 a group of our friends and family joined us on Team XO for RESOLVE.org’s inaugural Walk of Hope. There were a few across the country, and we attended the one in Sacramento, CA (Northern California).
Together, our team ranked #4 raising just over $1,300. One of our team members was ranked #2 overall in the Top Participants category. GO Team XO!
Each person that walked on Team XO has experienced or is directly connected to someone that has experienced infertility. It was nice to have this support while we all joined together. The walk’s message was simple: No one with infertility should walk alone.
And, it seems simple. Yet, it can be a very agonizing battle between being able to open up and share or simply hiding away in privacy. I mean, everyone talks about pregnancy, childbirth and babies. We don’t talk about HOW babies are made. Well, except for those awkward conversations you might remember with your own parents, or dread having to have with your own children. Or, from that permission slip you had to send home to your parents so that you could go to school later that week to learn about puberty AND how babies are made. But, in our adult worlds and conversations, we don’t often talk about how babies are made. Frankly, not many of our friends need to know about our intimate moments. How, then, do you bring up the topic of infertility? When all your intimate moments lead to negative pregnancy tests? When all that baby dancing leads to tears when your period shows up? No, we don’t talk about that. When someone achieves pregnancy, one of our first questions isn’t “how long did that take you!?” No. We just assume that the baby was made the old-fashioned way. After only trying once. Just like how we’d like to imagine our parents with regards to our own conceptions.
That’s just not the case for the 1 in 8 couples that are dealing with infertility. It’s simply not the case. More and more men and women are sharing their stories. It’s easier now with the help of blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook and now even Pinterest. Oh, and you can share and still maintain anonymity. How much easier is that? As more and more are opening up about their family-building journeys their openness is allowing us to learn a lot about the emotional and physical toll that infertility takes for those affected men and women and the friends and family that love and support them. Yet, there are still so many that suffer alone. That cry alone. That swing between a myriad of emotions about their own fertility. Some have to weigh their pain over others that they know. Some negotiate with their emotions, that they should be satisfied with already having a child or two and for feeling as though they are selfish for wanting more children. There are so many different scenarios and ways to cope and just “deal” and I think you get the point. No one with infertility should walk alone.
If you’re someone that feels like you’re walking alone; you’re not. If you’re not ready to share your story with the world, try sharing it with someone you trust. To unburden yourself with your secret, you will lift a mountain off of your shoulders. Chances are that the person you share with knows someone that has experienced infertility. Chances are it’s her (or him). I mean, it’s 1 in 8. That’s almost a game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon (okay, okay, fine, Six Degrees of Separation).
How you choose to unburden yourself is up to you. Try it, though. You’ll be surprised at the support that is available to you. Maybe it’s your best friend. Or, maybe it’s more official, like a therapist or a coach or a member of the clergy. The point is, infertility hurts. Staying silent can hurt you, too. Feeling alone can make you feel worse about your situation and you shouldn’t feel alone.
Here are just some ideas to break the silence or to begin to unburden yourself about infertility:
– Talk to your partner, perhaps both of you need something from each other
– Start a personal diary or journal, art journals are great, too
– Write a blog. Don’t feel like telling the world who you are? Do it anonymously
– Talk to a friend or family member that you trust
– Reach out to a stranger! No, really! Have you read a blog about someone that is sharing a story similar to yours? Reach out to him or her
– Look for a counselor or life coach
– Look for support groups, there are many available in your local areas and tons of them online
– Create an anonymous Twitter account and tweet your heart out
– Create a private board on Pinterest and share all the images that mean something to you
– Join some private groups on Facebook or create your own and invite a few close friends to support you through this
– Create art (I prefer photography and mixed media)
Have any other ideas? Share them.