Candace-This will be our 3rd year participating in the Bloggers Unite Challenge and when RESOLVE announced this year’s theme we were thrilled because well, for many years of our journey we were alone so this hit home, I mean it really brought us back to those dark times when we were muted by our own disease. I bet you are also wondering, hey C&C didn’t you enter and win this challenge last year, how many bites of the apple do you want, sheeesh? Good question, here is the point of NIAW, spread awareness by blogging. So please read our blog, share it with others, then save those votes for another blogger who enters into the challenge. So here we are… hoping to spread some awareness and a little insight on why YOU don’t have to be alone.
Chris: Why do we have this fear of reaching out? I was thinking about this when I learned about this year’s RESOLVE’s, National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) theme: You are not Alone. Just as an aside, I think I need to rub elbows with the RESOLVE brass to see about changing this to Awareness Week of Infertility in our Nation … much better acronym right? A.W.I.N. C’mon, that’s good right? Back on task, think about it though. Have you had many literal experiences where reaching your hand out has resulted in a poor outcome? OK, maybe during Halloween when you were a kid and you had to reach your hand in those mystery bags blindfold. “Oh this is brains,” when it is spaghetti or “This is eyeballs,” when it is peeled grapes. Who the hell has time to peel grapes anyway!
Or maybe you fell and held your hand out to a stranger to help you back up, and they just walked by. Now, we are getting somewhere. Isn’t this kind of what we are doing when we reach out to those around us-not even strangers-to talk about our infertility? Haven’t we kind of fallen and are reaching out for someone to help us back up? Yet, for some reason, our psyche tells us, “NO, don’t reach out! IF anyone sees your hand out, then they will know why your hand is out. And are you sure you are comfortable exposing your dark, secret, shameful, truth like that!” Damn you psyche! The word to describe you is even hard to spell! Somehow, we have been trained to think that if we reach our hand out, even to those we consider to be close confidantes, that the rabid dog of reality will rip our fingers from our hand, which does not sound too appealing to me. Certainly no one will say, “I got you. I will walk with you.”
What many may not know about me is that I can be cynical and pessimistic when it comes to believing that people, as a whole, are interested in the common good. So, when Candace and I announced that we were adopting, and that we would need to fundraise in order to do so … and when we flipped the script when our wonder surro came forward and offered to be a surrogate for us, I was convinced that we would get minimal support from those around us and certainly none from strangers. Man, was I wrong. When we first started fundraising, we went into businesses with baby bottles to put on their register counters that had well-crafted sob story postings about why people should donate their change to us. We got told, “No,” by many businesses, but one business said, “No, we want to do much more!” And they did. They had a special day, a Saturday no less, where they donated a portion of their sales to us! WHAT!? We asked for change and instead, they literally gave us money out of their pockets. Needless to say, our Jellybean has a few more Aunts and Uncles as a result of their generosity and benevolence.
We talked about it, blogged about it and educated those around us about the disease of infertility. Sure, we got some really insensitive comments. BUT those were opportunities. Beyond that, we did fundraising, and others that we have come to know through our fertility treatments have reached out to us to support us in our journey. Beyond our local family and friends, Candace and I have been supported by all of you, our readers, other IF’ers, fellow bloggers, and other parties that sometimes haunt the blogosphere.
So my advice, our advice, is reach out! As soon as you do, you will realize that you are not alone. Join a local or online support group. Tap into resources like what RESOLVE offers for those who reach out their hand. Tell anyone that you are comfortable to tell and they will listen. Once you do, you will start to realize you are not alone in your feelings. 1 in 8 couples struggle with the disease of infertility, so there is a high probability that you know someone else that is also alone and could use a reach of the hand. Now, Candace hosts local RESOLVE support groups, we participate in advocacy events and we share our story. We have not forgotten our tears and the volcano of pain that erupts each failed cycle. We are now the ones that extend the hand out to those who have fallen. There is no greater feeling then to help support others with a simple, you are not alone and I understand your pain.
It has been so much more comforting for Candace and I to share with our family, friends, stangers and really the World, about our conflict with fertility instead of trying to shove it in some dark mental closet so no one knows/no one sees. Infertility has become so much easier of an existence since we reached out and realized that WE are NOT alone and neither are you! Below are some resources that can help you!
http://www.resolve.org/about-infertility/what-is-infertility/ (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
PS. If you are looking for some other ways to show your support for #NIAW here see below!
Here are a few additional ways to show you support on RESOLVE’s website. Click Here.
Add a Twibbon to your Facebook or Twitter avatar! Click Here to get the Twibbon
Add this #NIAW banner to your FB profile: