Sunday, April 21, 2013

join the movement...tell your story

National Infertility Awareness Week is April 21-27. RESOLVE, the national infertility association, is sponsoring a Bloggers Unite event, centered around the theme - "Join the Movement." So this week, I plan to write several posts inspired by this idea.

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.

We're listening.



20 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you're so brave to share your story despite some idiot losers out there. Thanks for the reminder that it is NIAW. Better start writing my post.

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    1. Thanks Jessah! And by the way, your post turned out great.

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  2. "Infertility Awareness Club" was not a club I wanted us to be in but we didn't get to pick. But it has made us deeper, richer and kinder. We have met amazing people and shared in their journeys from afar. Walking alongside others on this hard road has been a gift for which I will be forever grateful. Thanks for sharing your story, Em.

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  3. I admire you for sharing your story!

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    1. That's really sweet. Thank you!

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  4. Em, I admire you so much for stepping out there and sharing your story. I watched the video. Thank you for sharing your story and helping raise awareness for infertility.

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    1. Thanks for watching the video Amber!

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  5. It blows my mind how insensitive people can be. Thanks for sharing your story anyway--hopefully by raising awareness, we can make fewer the number of people who feel the need to express their jerky, judgmental opinions out loud!

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    1. Yeah, I was surprised at how much his words stung.

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  6. I love this post so much!! So proud of you. :)

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    1. Thanks so much Josey...as always.

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  7. I am loving reading all of the "Join the Movement" posts this week. Thank you for sharing your story - you touch more people than you know!

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    1. Me too! It's really cool to see bloggers unite and all write about similar stuff with their own twist.

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  8. Great post Em! I am proud of you for putting yourself out here as a "wounded healer" to help others also struggling with infertility and loss.

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    1. A wounded healer...what a beautiful concept. I definitely recognize the wounded part in myself but I don't know that I often (or ever) think of myself as a healer. I suppose we all are, aren't we?

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  9. Found you through the Join the movement! Thanks for having the courage to speak out about infertility. Sharing my own blog and reading others like yours how shown me how MANY are affected by this painful disease. I love the tone of your blog, very HOPEFUL, that's what we need! New follower coming at cha!

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    1. Yay! I always celebrate each new follower, and you're no exception. I'm looking forward to checking out your blog! Welcome, Whitney.

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  10. I'm just glad to find bloggers like you. In my case, I've suffered so much in six years. Sometimes I think that I can face those pregnancy announcements, baby shower invitations, co-workers growing bellies. But I'm wrong. I thought I was stronger, but I'm not. The fact that I can't afford those infertility treatment hurt me the most. Our income are just enough for our daily needs, I still support my parents. Infertility is so much struggle in third world country, I'm from the Philippines by the way, let alone the very tight family culture, and the common number of children in the family is three. Most of the time, I don't know what to think, I just wish I'm numb. Thank you for your blog!

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I am so sorry that you are struggling with infertility, and I'm especially sorry that culture, location, and finances are making it even more difficult for you to realize your dreams for your family. I wish you all the best, and I hope that this blog can be a place of safety and camraderie for you. Also, you mentioned that sometimes you wish that you were stronger. I personally think that sometimes the strongest thing we can do is set up boundaries to protect our hearts. It's totally okay if you can't handle those things. Thinking of you...

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