Last year at this time, I participated in National Infertility Awareness Week by being interviewed for a local news story about infertility and The Family Act. Here's a link to the video and accompanying article that feature my story.
Less than twelve hours before the news program was set to air, I received a mass email from my former RESOLVE support group leader, asking if anyone was willing to talk to a reporter. I emailed back immediately. I didn't even think twice. I was a little scared, of course. Would I be able to articulate my thoughts and feelings clearly? How would I be represented after the editing process? How would the story be received by the general public?
But I felt this visceral drive to tell my story, a drive that was much more powerful than fear and insecurity. I knew that by sharing our experience with infertility, late miscarriage and in vitro fertilization, I was also sharing the stories of millions of men and women who have walked, are walking, and will walk the unsteady path of infertility. I knew that I had to do it and I felt honored to be a voice for a group of people who often suffer silently.
I looked up the story a few days after it aired and read the comments. Of course, the comment that stuck out was the mean one. Someone stated that he questions the mental stability of "these people," meaning me and other IVF-ers. He said that wanting a child that badly suggests that we have underlying psychological problems and should see a shrink. He also added that there are lots of kids out there who need to be adopted.
Ouch. I don't even know this man, but his words hurt. I typed and then deleted four different responses to his comment. I'm so glad that I chose not to engage with him. I'm so glad that I chose to keep things positive. I'm so glad that I started a blog instead.
Sharing my story on this blog has changed my life. I have received countless emails, comments and texts from people who have lost a child and/or are having trouble conceiving. Many of them tell me that no one knows their struggle, that this is the first time they've talked about it, that they don't know anyone else who is infertile. I admire their courage in reaching out and starting to tell their story, even if it's just to one person. Even if I'm the only one reading their unborn child's name and sending back a little hope and encouragement. I feel humbled every time I get to share in their journey, even if it's just for a few steps.
So what's your story? It may not seem like much to you, but every story that's shared - whether spoken or written, whether whispered or broadcast around the world - matters. And every story adds an individual voice to our collective song. A song of heart break. A song of dreams unrealized. A song of hope.
So join the movement. Tell your story.