The response was pretty decent. I didn't get a TON of 'likes' on every single thing I posted but I did get at least a handful on each and some comments here and there (not counting my trusty IDOB & SAIF gals who supported me the whole way through - Thank you!!). I also received private messages from three unexpected people: an old coworker thanking me for the info because she has two family members fighting infertility; an old friend who I haven't talked with in a few years just thanking me for my courage and for getting the word out; and a girl I knew back in college (about 12 years ago now - yikes!) who wrote a very heartfelt thank you and let me know she was also struggling with infertility. That one felt pretty good. The best response from this week though was my sister.
My sister and her husband also struggled with infertility and made the very difficult decision about 1.5 yrs ago not to pursue any further treatments beyond Clomid and rather, to live child-free. I know it's been a hard road for her emotionally. She would open up to me sometimes but although Hubs and I were TTC then, we had no idea what infertility truly consisted of so I'm sure I wasn't as emotionally supportive of her as I could have and should have been. She chose to go through her struggle very quietly and privately and now that I know what she went through it kills me that she had no real support to speak of. Early in the week she commented on one of my posts, agreeing that there needs to be more knowledge provided about IF to "help lift the shroud of silence and unnecessary embarrassment" and publicly identified herself as another "1 in 8"!! I was shocked and amazed. That was a HUGE step for her. Throughout the week she even shared a couple of my NIAW links on her own page. I was so so proud of her and told her so. She thanked me for being a voice for her and for everyone in our position who may not feel able to be public about their IF. She said she was so proud of me and impressed by my courage and strength... If nothing else, coming out for NIAW was worth it to me just for that :-)
At the beginning of the week I wasn't sure if I was going to share any personal information besides the fact that I am a "1 in 8". But as the week went on, speaking out about IF actually made me feel empowered and on the last day of the week I posted the following:
THANK YOU to anyone out there who took the time to read my posts this week about infertility awareness. As you've probably figured out, this is a cause that is very important to me. 'Hubby' and I have been fighting infertility for the last 2 years. We've been through many failed treatments and finally managed to conceive last November through in vitro fertilization (a very invasive, expensive, and emotionally & physically demanding treatment). We were absolutely thrilled and thought our infertility struggles were finally over. Unfortunately, that was not to be. We lost our precious baby a few weeks ago at 5 months pregnant due to a severe neural tube defect. Every day we are attempting to heal and come to terms with both the loss of our child and the knowledge that we will need to somehow find the strength to continue infertility treatments once we're ready to start again. Trying to create a family has been a heart-wrenching journey for us but we are not giving up. We are still fighting and will continue to hope and pray that we'll hold a baby in our arms someday.
I am proud to lend my voice to the infertility awareness movement and hope that in doing so I can help change how infertility is viewed in the public. The stigma associated with this disease is unfair and unnecessary. Infertility is a medical issue that needs to be better understood and better covered by insurance. It is a very painful emotional and physical struggle and those fighting the disease need understanding and support, not to be made to feel like they need to hide their pain and suffer in silence.
I hope that by reading my posts and clicking the links you now have a better understanding of infertility if you are lucky enough never to have had to experience it. And if you are a fellow infertility warrior, I am so sorry for your pain and struggles I hope you will reach out for support if you need it. I have no idea where I would be today if it wasn't for my own support group so please know that I am here for you if you ever want to talk. <3
I received a lot of support from friends and family after that post which felt really good.
I'm glad I spoke out this week and do not regret anything about my decision. Honestly, posting throughout the week reinforced to myself that I do NOT feel shame associated with my infertility. I didn't ask for this and I did nothing to deserve it. It is a part of me but does not define me and I am thankful to all of YOU for helping me understand that.
My hope is that I helped more people than I know this week. I am proud of myself.