Monday, April 22, 2013

Things Just Got Real

*This is a warning to my readers, if words about infertility make you uncomfortable I'll ask that you read another blog for the next week, because things are getting real honest here on Southern Hope. If you can't handle the heat, get outta my kitchen.*

With that, welcome all those brave souls who dare to enter my inner musings this week. I have some fun and equally emotional posts planned.
It is National Infertility Awareness Week.

Infertility is so taboo. Most of us know of someone who "struggled for years" or "finally had to adopt" or "spent thousands of dollars". Not only is infertility uncomfortable to talk about, it's a topic everybody has an opinion and oh are they ready and willing to share!

I feel this may be a reason why many couples decide not to openly talk about their struggles, they have been hurt enough by family members and friends making suggestions about such personal decisions.
But not us. We have heard it all in the past 2.7 years and I am still willing to talk about it, for now. I've stopped sharing such huge details, but I won't hide the fact that we are struggling. Plus after a couple of years, it becomes kind of obvious, doesn't it?

Infertility is usually cured in either three ways:
  1. The couple finally conceives (through various treatments, or a miracle), leaving behind the worries of infertility.
  2. They adopt, which in itself is a different road a couple must travel. Couples who adopt must make peace with the possibility of never experiencing pregnancy. Adoption is a different road, one I won't address because I don't know what it is like, but I do give credit to those who have endured it and acknowledge it is a totally different route than infertility treatments. Adoption is not a cure for infertility.
  3. The couple makes peace with their lot in life and decides to create a different life, childless. These couples need the most support.  
Infertility is an illness that affects 1 in 8 couples. It depletes energy and depresses the mind, body, and soul. It's an illness not covered by insurance. People often say ignorant things not to hurt, but because it is SO awkward, thus uncomfortable comments can come off rude and cold.

Don't find yourself caught in an uncomfortable position. For some ideas on how to talk with your infertility friends without hurting their feelings check out this Resolve article.
Here are the suggestions from Resolve:
Don't Tell Them to Relax
Don't Minimize the Problem
Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen
Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents
Don't Ask Why They Aren't Trying IVF
Don't Be Crude
Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy
Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant
Don't Gossip About Your Friend's Condition
Don't Push Adoption (Yet)
Let Them Know That You Care
Remember Them on Mother's Day
Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments

Tomorrow I'll be writing a letter, a personal letter to myself. Read it or don't. This week for me is about reaching out to those who don't have the strength to speak out, to let them know they are not alone.


Jason and Paige said...

I am so grateful for your willingness to share. Even after having our little guy I still am pretty closed about our struggles - being unsure whether or not it will happen again probably plays a part. The pain can still be so raw sometimes. Someday I hope I will have the courage to be more like you!
Love you and I have sent/will continue to send many prayers!

J. said...

I can't fully understand your pain. I thought I'd never have kids at one point simply because I was "old" and unmarried. It wasn't a pleasant time. I wish you all you need at this time.

J. said...

Hmmm I should say it this way. I can't fully understand your pain. The closest I came was being old and unmarried and thinking I may never get the chance. I wish you all the best.

I realized I didn't word my first comment coherently. :).

2busy said...

It is really hard to know what is and isn't correct to say, really to ANYONE, experiencing a hardship.

Ginger said...

I have several people I dearly love who have endured the painful road of infertility. It is a condition that seems to be growing and affecting more and more couples and it breaks my heart for each new couple I know that are going through it. I find my blog to be very therapeutic by writing about my personal struggles, trials, and feelings and I support you 100% in sharing your journey with infertility on your blog. Although I haven't personally experienced infertility, I feel tremendous compassion and empathy for you in this struggle. I think infertile women have to be the most courageous and brave of all women and you will always find me in your corner, cheering you on, and pleading your case to Heavenly Father! <3 I look forward to your thoughts this week.

Brooke @ Silver Lining said...

Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog, Whitney! I'm following you back now :) What a beautiful, honest post. Thank you for sharing this. My dear coworker has been struggling with infertility for three years, and I love the suggestion to remember her on Mother's Day. I'm excited to read more of your blog :)

Giggles said...

There have been moments where I wanted to print a card with those suggestions and just hand them rather unceremoniously to people who needed to learn better. Good thing my laziness often counter-acts my lack of tact. :)