As many of you know, and some of you don’t, this week, April 24-30 is National Infertility Awareness Week. And as anyone might guess, this is a case near and dear to my heart. I am one of the 1 in 8 couples in the United States that was dealt the card of infertility. Within the infertility community, I fall into an even smaller percentage, the 20% of couples for which there is no known cause for our infertility. As I like to tell people, based on what we can test for, Bill and I should be at Duggar fertility levels.
But that, sadly, is not the case for us. Instead we’ve spent 8 long years trying to build the family we desire. Hundreds of injections, doctors appointments, and thousands of dollars, in the pursuit of what happens for most people as a fun romp in the sack and an afterthought. It’s brought us closer as a couple, but alienated us from friends and family. As I blogged about last year for NIAW, it even caused me to have a nervous breakdown at one point.
This years motto is Start Asking. This could be something as simple as reaching out to your friends and family for support. Or it could be raising your voice to the highest levels and joining me at Infertility Advocacy Day on May 11th in Washington DC. No matter how you choose to Start Asking, the more we talk about our infertility, and normalize it, the less stigma and shame that surrounds it.
I wouldn’t be ashamed to tell my family I had diabetes. I should be ashamed to tell them I have infertility. Both are diseases that drastically impact our lives. Both cause us to need support from those near and dear to us. Both require empathy from those around us. But one is more well known in the community at large because it’s talked about. The only way we can get that same recognition is by starting the conversation. By demanding equal access to care. To Start Asking for what we need.
So this year, Start Asking. Your friends, family, employers, state, federal government. Start Asking them to recognize our disease for what it is, a disease.