Infertility: A misunderstood, devastating, heart-wrenching, seemingly never-ending, giant pothole in the road of life. When finally resolved (which someday it will be) you can look back at this time and see that it was indeed a blimp in your road of life. The pothole never goes away, however, you move farther from it and can move on in your life – however you’ve chosen to do so.
We are now in the midst of National Infertility Awareness Week, a week that the majority of the population doesn’t even know exists but for those like myself that suffer with infertility, it’s a week that is very much appreciated. Resolve.org, a major advocate of infertility awareness, has chosen a theme for this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week: “Don’t Ignore Infertility.” I personally think this theme is brilliant.
People do not realize how being infertile can have such a huge impact on a person or couple’s life(ves) and how the seriousness of infertility is often overlooked. Many aspects of a person life is affected by infertility. Friend and family relationships are often strained as a result of different viewpoints on infertility and there are misunderstandings on how impacting infertility can be on someone’s life. Many fertile people view infertility as no big deal (you can always adopt or do fertility treatments right?), when in actuality it is a huge deal and costly to adopt and not a sure thing; and fertility treatments may not be the right choice or an option for everyone not to mention the high price tag. People often don’t talk openly about infertility issues since it is somewhat of a private matter in people’s lives. This results in individuals suffering silently and insurance companies not viewing infertility coverages as valid medical issues.
We live in a very family-oriented society. If you don’t know what I mean, take a look around you. Everywhere you look people and companies support family and children. When someone is infertile and can’t have a family – or if someone chooses to not have a family – then they are left out of mainstream. They are in a minority group that most people don’t understand. Being infertile put me in that minority when I didn’t want to be there. Since I was not able to have a family on my own, my husband and I looked at all of our options: fertility treatments, adoption, surrogacy, and living child free. Living child free for me was a choice I did not like because I felt that I would be missing out on so much that life had to offer. In the end, my husband and I chose to pursue an adoption and we were lucky enough to be picked by birthparents to parent their child. Had I not been chosen to be the adoptive parent to my son, I might very likely be living child free today in a very family-oriented world.
I’m not saying that people couldn’t be happy childless. They can and they do. I’m just saying that being infertile when you want to have a family makes having infertility much more than just the medical issue of being “infertile.” It represents disappointment, lost dreams, ongoing pain, lost friendships, strained relationships, low self esteem, and unfairness that continues on and on and on and on – until somehow, over time, you come to a resolution. The best description I’ve ever heard about infertility is “living without” because you do go without many of the things that other people with children experience.
So in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week I am writing this blog in hopes to educate people a little bit about infertility and why it is something that should be taken seriously.