4.22.2013

Infertility Awareness Week


Mostly a rerun from last year. Up until yesterday, the start of IF Awareness Week, I really thought I'd post something this year. And now it's here, and I just can't. I don't know, maybe I think that putting it on FB makes it more real (you know, "Facebook Official" kind of thing). I don't know what about the past 2 1/2 years is not real, but maybe that's it. This way, I can pretend that we are just a happy married couple without children. I can pretend that baby announcements and u/s pictures and first days of school and holidays etc. don't bring pain I didn't really know it was possible to feel.

There is a part of me that still wants to post something. But maybe if I could turn FB comments off? I want to just post it and let it stand. Kind of like "yea, this is me. Period." But that goes against what social media is all about, doesn't it? I don't know, it just seems like sharing this would be the equivalent of posting naked photos of myself. It just seems too personal. And yet, I share it here. In ways that are so intensely personal I sometimes gasp when rereading what I've written. I have no explanation for this.

Which leaves me here. Scared of my own shadow in a sense and at the same time acutely aware of just how personal infertility really is. Even those of us who carry this cross do so differently. No two experiences are exactly the same. I don't know that I will ever say it better than I said it last year, the sentiments are the same now, with the pain a little deeper; the realization of what might never be a little clearer; and my Faith as the life-preserver that will get me through.

Original Post from 2012:

Today is the first day of Infertility Awareness Week. Last year, when this week rolled around, we had just passed month 6 of TTC using NFP - it was the first milestone to cross that would label us infertile. I remember seeing the posts of friends and family members on Facebook, friends and family members who had crossed over (most of them years ago) and thinking to myself, if we do not have a baby this time next year, I will post for all of us who are still suffering.

Oh, how a year changes things.

There will be no post on my FB page. There will be no Tweeting about IF. There will only be this, in this space.

Much like I chose not to share our story at work, I also chose not to share our story on FB - for lots of reasons. Many are the same as the work reasons, but there are a few others too.

But here's what I would say, what a piece of me is dying to say, if I were to post:

It would start with this picture:
And then I would say:
In honor of Infertility Awareness Week: "This is for all of us who long to see two lines on a stick; who wish for labor pains; who look forward to being woken up every few hours of each night; who imagine first steps and first words; who dream of first birthdays; who hide tears, minimize pain, and straddle the fence of the life we have and the life we want; who suffer in silence; who bite our tongues at bad advice; and who just want to hear "I love you Mom". Those of you with children: Hug them tightly, tell them how blessed you are to have them in your life, say "I love you" just because you do, and praise the Author of Life for the opportunity to do so."

I wish I had the courage to not care about the reactions; to stand up and educate others about infertility; to explain our reasons for our treatment plan; to let everyone see the truth.

I don't. I couldn't even advocate for myself with a local doctor - let alone 300 some FB "friends".

But there is something I want to say to my IRL friends (and MIL - hi Mom!) who read here:
Thank-you. Thank-you for reading these words and hearing the truth - the good and the bad - and still loving me. Thank-you for not pushing me to share when I don't want to and for listening when I do. Thank-you for not ever making me feel embarrassed for tears or for making jokes to hide them. Please know that every. single. time. I thank those in the bloggy world for their support I am including you because you are part of this place as well.

So, while I won't be saying anything on Facebook - to everyone who is reading this thank-you for helping me to carry this cross. Thank-you for loving me, praying for me, and sticking with me. I don't know or how when this road will end, but I do know that you've made it easier and less scary.


11 comments:

  1. You're allowed to share your pain and your frustrations because people do care. They do. And they're praying for you. And I'm always keeping you in my prayers.

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  2. Just praying for you today, and always dear.

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  3. <3 Rebecca, you are such an amazing person. Whether you share or not on Facebook, know that your courage to share here has helped me to have courage to share my story! Do you mind if I borrow your Facebook status idea? It says what I would like to say more eloquently, I would not put your name on it of course but I would quote it.

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  4. This is interesting to me - seeing as a big part of the reason I never joined FB is because I didn't want to read immature and mis-spelled posts by people I didn't like in high school about their out-of-wedlock pregnancies and births. Do I make assumptions much? Sure. Have they all been proved correct by the delightful material these people posted that I've learned about second-hand over the years? Yep.

    I've tried to be fairly public about IF because I don't want people asking me stupid questions (I warn you that you are nearing the Second Threshold of Stupid Questions - the devout Catholics start at six months, the reasonably-family-minded at three years, and the rest of the world at whatever they think is 5 years of marriage, though it could be ten years for all they know), and because I'm not secretive generally and I intensely dislike the feeling that I'm being FORCED to keep a secret. People are delighted to talk ABOUT me who would never discuss this WITH me, so in a (limited) way, I'm educating others. And as blunt as I am and as open as I am about so many things, I still find myself stumbling on this topic, in the rare cases when someone does want to discuss it. I can't explain why that is...one of the many unattractive mysteries of IF, I guess.

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  5. I keep my FB friend circle pretty small, almost exclusively family, real-life friends, some former colleagues I genuinely like, and a few ladies from the group. (Okay, there are a few exceptions.) I think knowing that I'm sharing this with a smaller group of people and not everyone I have ever known makes it a little easier... then again, I did end up in a a discussion about our IF struggles with someone from my neighborhood while at the grocery store... Maybe I just really am that open about it, though I think I would have a hard time sharing such personal information with so many all at once. I did get some... interesting feedback from a friend after I posted on FB about a month in the life of an IF woman on Clomid. I keep trying very, very hard at times to remind myself that the stupid comments aren't meant to be hurtful and to see others as God does. (Granted, with the crazy Clomid emotions, that doesn't always go so well.)

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  6. I wish I was brave enough to post on my FB about IF awareness week. Part of me copes better by pretending, but I do wish that one day I will be able to put something up in my status.

    Continued prayers, always.

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  7. This post has made me think alot about how open (or not) I am with this struggle and I thank you for that. I'm pretty candid with a small circle of girlfriends and my mom but that's about it. I wonder if keeping it off FB is a personal denial tactic, although I do wish many days I could comment on it like family and friends comment and complain about whatever is going on their daily life.

    I have found such support in the IF blogging community. I've been reading different blogs here and there for the last year and a half, just stumbling on yours in the past couple months. Hearing the words inside my head expressed (usually better) in you and other bloggers has been invaluable to my experience. I thank you for having this blog and sharing your journey.

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  8. Rebecca, you are amazing, and I want to thank you for this perspective. I knew if someone was going to be able to make me find any kind of validity in "Infertility Awareness Week" it would be you (you know I get a bit tough on stuff).

    After becoming someone who puts it all out here on the interwebs for everyone to pick apart, I understand why you don't, why you want to, why you struggle with that. I still have issues trying to be OK with just exactly how exposed I do make myself.

    Most of all, your perspective focuses on love and gratitude... and not self-righteousness or anger or fear...

    I am SO crazy thankful for you. Full on, you are an amazing advocate. If there were only one post this week I felt everyone should read - everyone - this is the post.

    Hugs, love, and so many prayers, my friend!

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  9. Your paragraph about what you would post is simply spot on.
    I didn't tell anyone about my IF except in personal emails to family. It was too hard when I wasn't a mother.
    Although I do share family photos on my FB page, and I am friends with several who are still infertile without children, I do say a prayer & think of those who my photos will hurt when I post them. I've crossed over to motherhood, but I've not forgotten you & to pray you through your journey to becoming a mom.
    You sharing your thoughts here is SOOOO very helpful to others in their struggle!!!! You are an inspiration to so very many. Many hugs & prayers! <3

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  10. There are two things I absolutely abhor: 1) Invasions into my privacy 2) Being pitied. I was planning to out myself during this week, and then found that I just couldn't. I couldn't have everyone--HS friends I never speak to, grad school roommates, colleagues I can't remember meeting in person (FB is so weird) knowing something that private about DH and me. And I know this is about pride and it's ugly, but I just cannot stand the thought of everyone feeling sorry for me. I know that's a deep personality flaw and sin, and perhaps one day God's grace will help me with this, but for know, that's how I feel.

    I have mentioned adoption to family, and though I feared being pitied, I find that everyone is reacting the same way that I reacted when my friends started pursing adoption: really happy and excited for me and DH.

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  11. AS I re-read your post, this year, I have a new understanding. No, I don't kid myself that I would ever have a full understanding of infertility...but I do have a new understanding for the words you write here describing how you suffer.

    Miscarriage seems to be the same for people in this respect: too personal to share too openly. Sarah's #2 in the comment above mine was something I found myself thinking any time I thought about talking or writing about losing Gregory -- I don't want pity and I don't want to wonder if people pity me and being "out" about what happened with Gregory gave me that opportunity to wonder if I was being pitied and I hated (still hate) that feeling.

    I pray for you every day.

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