Saturday, April 19, 2014

NIAW 2014!

I'm "coming out" this year!  National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) starts tomorrow and I've decided I will definitely be posting about it on Facebook throughout the week. I'm sick of keeping it a secret.  After TTC  for almost 2 years through IF treatments and now our loss on top of it, IF has become SUCH a huge part of me that it just doesn't feel okay to keep silent about it any longer.  So today I spent some time formulating draft FB posts and collecting links and pictures. A big thank you to some of my other brave IDOB women who created, found and shared some of these pics and links so I could piggy-back off of them!

Here is what I'm planning to post over the next week (feel free to borrow/steal whatever you want if you are also coming out!):

DAY 1 (changing my cover photo to the "1 in 8" pic and then posting the "did you know" with the green pic):

...that this week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW)?  Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that affects 7.3 million people in the U.S.or 1 in 8 couples. In spite of its prevalence it is not often openly discussed so in honor of NIAW, this week I will be posting helpful info and links so you can learn more about infertility if you are unfamiliar with it, and if you, like me, are one of the unlucky 1 in 8, my hope is that these posts might make you feel less alone.  Many couples struggle with infertility in silence and don't get the emotional support they need so it is important to spread the word and give a voice to those fighting infertility!

DAY 2:

Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant or to carry a pregnancy to live birth after 12 months of trying to conceive (six months if the woman is over age 35). It is a disease of the reproductive system.  One third (30%) of infertility can be attributed to male factors, and about one third (30%) can be attributed to female factors.  In about 20% of cases infertility is unexplained, and the remaining 10% of infertility is caused by a combination of problems in both partners. For more information, check out "Infertility FAQs" from 

'Psychology Today' published an article stating that the amount of stress caused by infertility is equivalent to stress caused by dealing with Cancer, AIDS or Heart Disease. Because of this, support from family and friends can be extremely important to an infertile couple but those unfamiliar with infertility often have no idea what to say and end up saying the wrong things and causing more stress and pain. Here are 25 Things to Say (and Not Say) to Someone Living with Infertility:

DAY 3: 

Although 1 in 8 couples is affected by infertility very few talk about it openly.  Strong feelings of failure, shame and worthlessness can be caused by an infertility diagnosis so the topic is still considered relatively taboo. However, having support can make a big difference in your infertility journey. If you are currently suffering in silence, here are some ways to talk with your family and friends about living with infertility:

Whether you know it or not, YOU know at least one person who is struggling with infertility. Here are some things to keep in mind regarding infertility etiquette so you can be emotionally supportive:

DAY 4:

An infertility diagnosis affects every part of a couple's life. Not only does it negatively impact their emotions, relationships and self-esteem, but also their bank account. Only about a quarter of US states have an insurance coverage mandate for infertility (a MEDICAL issue) so many couples are forced to pay out of pocket for all testing and treatment.  Depending on the type of treatment, these costs can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars for oral meds to a few thousand for an injectables cycle to ~$15,000 for an IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle EVERY SINGLE MONTH until either a treatment finally works, the couple realizes they can't continue due to the stress and physical demands, or they simply run out of money. Maybe you are asking yourself why couples fighting infertility would choose to continue to drain their savings month after month, year after year for the mere CHANCE to have a child. If so, I ask you: How much is your child worth?

Infertility is a medical disease. It's not something we choose and it's not something that is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. Approx 13% of Americans are unlucky enough to have to fight this battle and insurance coverage and support should be available to help every one of them. Unfortunately, as you can see in the map below that is not the case. Many states do not offer the proper support and I'm disgusted to see that my own state is ranked as one of the lowest in the nation with a grade of "F". I don't know yet what can be done to change this but I figure spreading the word is a good first step. If you agree that this needs to change I ask that you please 'share' this post. It can't hurt!!

 DAY 5: 

10 Things to Stop Doing if You Want to Support Someone with Infertility:

DAY 6:  

To someone dealing with infertility, a seemingly "harmless" comment such as: "When are you guys going to have kids?" can be extremely painful.  To avoid causing unintended heartache to those struggling with infertility, check out the link below.
The Question That Gives You a 1 in 8 Chance of Being a Jerk:

7 Things Your Friend with Infertility Wants to Tell You

DAY 7: Not quite finished with that yet...
I might say something about how it's not so easy to "just adopt" or talk more about how IF is not just about being unable to conceive but also being unable to carry a baby to term.  If I do the latter, I might share our personal story and talk about losing Petey. I haven't decided yet. I still have not posted on FB about our loss...I'm not sure if I ever will or not.  I think I will see how the first half of the week goes and check out what others have posted and then decide how to close out the week.

This time last year I had anxiety about NIAW. Each day that passed made me feel like I "should" do something but I just wasn't ready and once the week was over I actually felt a sense of relief.  This year I am more than ready. I'm actually really looking forward to it and am interested to see what kind of response I get.  Also, there are about 5 female FB friends that I suspect might be dealing with IF but have never mentioned it so it will be very interesting to see if anyone reaches out to me.


  1. Great ideas! I love them! I might have to borrow a couple, if you don't mind!

  2. These posts all look awesome! I wish you never had to go through IF or loss, but I'm so happy that people are willing to come out and talk about IF, it's such a crappy thing to go through alone/in secret.

  3. These look so awesome Chickin! These links are such a good reminder of things to do to support people in your life going through infertility and are so well written. Please let us know how it goes.

  4. This is so great Chickin! I hope that "coming out" is a very positive experience for you. I'm always here to support you! Hugs <3

  5. I LOVE THIS!!! I have yet to "come out" about IVF as well - and I'm still struggling with it. Everyone I know is super, super fertile and they just would not understand. Thank you for posting this. I'm considering using this week as strength to make people aware of my struggles and the struggles of so many other women.

    1. That's great Krystal! No judgment at all if you decide not to go public with your infertility as I know what it feels like to really not be ready to feel so exposed and vulnerable but if you DO I hope some of those fertile myrtles in your life start to understand everything you guys are going through! <3

  6. You are amazing! That is all!!

  7. Love this post, love you more! I hope it's a positive experience for you. I'm so proud of you!!! <3

  8. I might have to piggy back on some of this if that's ok!

  9. I love it all. You are so brave and are so good at putting things into words! <3 you!

  10. This is AWESOME! Good for you sweetie!

  11. these are really great Chickin! So well said & well put together. I went to a lot of those links & they are really great!! I hope "coming out" will be a good experience, I'm proud of you. <3