April 21 - 27, 2013 is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). It's kind of an ironic coincidence that we joined this club (more fun to think of it that way~ gotta make light of it somehow, right?!) within the last few months and the awareness week happens to be the last week in April every year. I quickly learned that the best way to show support is by wearing pink and blue~ Pink and blue clothes, jewelry, nails, ribbons, whatever. A bunch of the girls I follow on Instagram were painting their nails so I thought that was a fun way to join in and bring awareness to others, so I painted my nails and have been trying to wear pink and/or blue all week... I'm 3 for 3 and as we know, those are some of my fav colors so I think I have enough to last through the week! If not, the nails and some accessories will have to do! I have to say it is a good conversation starter. Some people haven't noticed (I can't fault them, I'm bad at noticing stuff like that myself), but it is an easy way to bring awareness. I'm not trying to send a message of pity for the situation we are in, just want to make others aware of the fact that millions of couples struggle with conceiving a baby naturally on their own. A lot of people are naive to this~ it's not their fault, it's just something many people don't realize until they know someone dealing with infertility or they are experiencing it themselves.
I am what 1 in 8 looks like. Infertility sucks. It's VERY emotionally draining and can cause severe depression, mood swings, decreased social life, and negative feelings. You start to question every decision in your life and wonder what you did to deserve this awful sentence. You withdraw from friends and social functions because you don't feel like talking. You know if the topic comes up with anyone that you will start sobbing uncontrollably, so you don't want to go out and you don't want to answer your phone. On some days, you don't feel like doing anything but lay on the couch and eat junk food all day. You start becoming jealous of every pregnant woman or new mother. You feel guilty for this but you can't help it. These are the things you can't ever plan for or prepare yourself for and when it happens, you fall into a dark pit of sad emotions. You feel alone.... I've been there a few times over the last few months and I know there will be more moments like this. The important thing is that you don't stay there too long and you find your way out of the hole and pick yourself back up. Surround yourself with positive people, don't shy away from them. I have a VERY good friend who is going through infertility issues too and we text each other very often to check in because we feel so blessed to be going through it with someone close. We joke and say we are part of a secret underground club because no one understands 100% and we can almost speak in code about all the baggage that comes with this struggle. This person is one of my #1 support systems. I'm so thankful for her and would truly be lost without her. We keep each other sane and balanced. We tell each other things we are feeling that we feel ashamed of (jealousy of others, ways our relationships are being tested, etc) only to find the other is going through the same things and that we are totally normal. We serve as a sounding board for each other when we need to vent, and we offer positivity to each other when we need advice and support. It's important to have people who are supportive and who can relate~ we are lucky enough to have both in a lot of friends and fam.
I am a shy person when I first meet people. It takes me a while to warm up to others, but I'm getting better. I used to keep a lot inside unless I was talking to close family or close friends. I don't do well speaking about tough topics because I'm very sensitive and emotional. I can't always keep it all together and I tend to cry easily in stressful situations. I know this isn't always best or ideal but I consider myself weak in that sense and I can't always help it. So you'd think I wouldn't want to talk about a topic like this that's affected us. A lot of people don't, for various reasons. I totally respect and understand that. Scott was even like that for a while- he was hard to read and would keep things in a lot. I've learned that, for me anyway, it only shuts people out. Others can't help if they don't know what's wrong or that they're needed. So I started opening up~ at first to a few people, and then whenever there was a convenient time that it applied. Now I'll pretty much tell whoever. The more people that are aware, the more people there are to help provide support, advice, or just an ear to listen. Scott has since adopted this theory and he's opened up to so many people at his job. I'm so proud of him for it and he's admitted that it makes him feel better to talk to others about it. By talking about it, you also realize who has been there and who can provide advice from the other side. If we hadn't told anyone about our struggle, this blog wouldn't be here, I wouldn't be so positive about it, I'd be depressed more often, and we would feel sheltered and alone. I also probably wouldn't have painted my nails because I'd be too embarrassed to talk about it. But we shared, we are supported, we've found others like us, we got our of the depression corner, and we are becoming stronger because of it all.
I apologize for crazy grammar or typos. It's past my bed time but I really was dying to get something up for NIAW. I'm so tired and my contacts are drying out so my eyes are getting fuzzy and I can't think straight. So ignore the bad readability and just reflect on infertility for a minute. Did you learn something? Do you know someone dealing with infertility (other than me)? Not all will be as willing to talk about it as I am. Everyone is different and I completely respect other people's opinions to not want to share this part of their life. It can be embarrassing, it can make you feel worthless and different, so I get it. So you may not know if someone you know is dealing with it, but I guarantee a lot of people in your life have or will face infertility. It's unfortunate but true. I just want to put the awareness out there. So when people are trying to have a baby, the advice of "Just relax" or "stop trying so hard" isn't always the way. Sometimes these things will not make a difference at all; sometimes conception is just not possible without medical assistance. It's ok that you didn't know, but now perhaps you know a bit more than earlier today. <3
In support of National Infertility Awareness Week, rock out with some pink and blue if you want to! If others ask why, feel free to tell them and spread the word. If not, that's fine too. If you're reading this, that's enough for me to know I'm spreading awareness to one more person.