Tuesday, October 7, 2014
#GiveVoice: Part 2 - Top 5 Reasons You SHOULD Share Your Infertility Journey
In Part 1 of this series, I discussed the top 5 reasons why most infertile couples decide to keep their journey a secret. Early on in my journey, I used several of those reasons to convince myself it was best not to share our infertility story with others.
But I came to the point in my journey where I decided that keeping everything a secret wasn't helping me. In fact, it was causing me to feel isolated and shameful about everything that had happened. I decided to share my story, first on this blog, and it grew from there and eventually I shared our story on Facebook to all of my family and friends. I felt that I just couldn't keep it to myself anymore.
Surprisingly, this has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. Here are the top 5 reasons why sharing your story, your whole story, with others could change your life for the better.
I feel so empowered when I tell my story. It was scary at first. I wasn't sure what kind of response I would receive or if I would be judged by my family or friends. Especially when we made the announcement that we'll be moving forward with IVF. But I finally came to the conclusion that most of the people who would be judging me have never been in my shoes. They have never had to make these difficult decisions about their family building journey. I felt empowered that I have had to make these difficult decisions. I have been through a LOT and I'm stronger than I was 3 years ago. I have been forever changed by this journey, and I wouldn't want to go back to who I was before.
Being an "infertile" means that you have probably been through fertility testing, you may have suffered losses. You may have seen specialists and have had countless appointments, blood draws, and procedures. You may have discovered things that caused you intense fear and anxiety in the past have now become the norm. For example, I used to be terrified of having my blood drawn. I would shake and cry anytime I had to have that done. Now, I just sit there calmly and it gets easier every time. I'm proud of what I've been through and how far I've come. I'm proud to be part of a community of strong women who know what they want and will give almost anything to achieve it. I'm proud to say that I'm a better person because of infertility.
The support I have received since sharing my journey has been overwhelming. Friends and family have rallied around me and have given me hope when the fear sneaks in. They've supported my fundraising efforts and have shared my story with others. They have inspired me to keep sharing my journey and not to be ashamed of who I am. And it's not just about the support I've received, it's about the support I've been able to give to others who are struggling with infertility as well. I'm no longer afraid to share their stories, promote their blogs, or contribute to their fundraising efforts. I'm proud to support them and give them the same support that I've received along this journey.
By sharing your story, you are educating others about the disease of infertility. You are giving a face to this disease. It is SO IMPORTANT to give voice to your struggle in order to raise awareness and help to remove some of the stigma that surrounds infertility. Even if you only share your story anonymously through a blog, it is still educating others who may stumble upon your story and what you've been through. You are also educating other women who may be at the beginning of their infertility journey. Maybe they share your diagnosis and learn through your experiences. Raising your voice and sharing your infertility story is essential to educate others about this disease and how impactful it is on our communities. If you would like to learn more about raising awareness for infertility, please visit www.resolve.org.
Speaking of community, you will find that you are part of a large, very active, and absolutely amazing group of women who are struggling with infertility from a wide array of backgrounds and diagnoses. I posted recently on How to Find an Infertility Support Group. There are countless groups online through every social media site, as well as local support groups you can find through the Resolve.org website here. Finding an infertility support group has been the MOST positive aspect of my journey and the ladies I have connected with have helped me immensely. They have supported me when I'm feeling down, they have understood me in a way that only other infertile women can, and they have provided a feeling of belonging in place of isolation.
If you are not comfortable sharing your journey with others yet, that's okay. But I would encourage you to share your story with others. To raise your voice and become part of a movement that will make a difference in the lives of our daughters, nieces, and other women across the world who suffer from infertility. It's no doubt a risk, but I think you will find that the positives strongly outweigh the negatives.
What has your experience been like when sharing your story?
Check out Part 3 of this series where I tell my infertility story, here.