Yesterday was the first day of National Infertility Awareness week (NIAW). Words can not express my gratitude for this week. I am so incredibly thankful for this time to help break the stigma the surrounds infertility. This week allows so many of us to help spread awareness and to help reach out to others as well as encourage others to do the same. I love the fact that it also allows an open and honest discussion about infertility to happen, which is a topic that I have become extremely passionate about. This time also can quite possibly give another person the courage and motivation to speak out and share their story too, as this is what this week did for me just one short year ago. Hearing another person say “me too” was quite an eye opener for me because I had felt so alone in this for so long.
During NIAW last year, it was seeing all the men and women openly talk about infertility and sharing their own personal struggle with it, that gave me just the courage I needed to break my silence about my own struggles with Secondary Infertility. It was then, that I decided to “come out of the closet” so to speak. The first baby step I took in sharing openly was by sharing on my Facebook page. By sharing and putting myself out there, it allowed me to share a glimmer of my struggle to those who didn’t understand Secondary Infertility and really had no clue what I had been going through. It also allowed me to share about the stress and heartache that Secondary Infertility evokes in a person and that it’s not as simple as “just relaxing” or “stopping thinking about it” and it will happen. I quickly realized then that the infertility community has a lot work to do on teaching society as a whole about infertility. I also learned it would take others sharing their personal stories to help clear up some of these misunderstandings surrounding infertility.
Most did not understand that Secondary Infertility is a real disease and a lot of the time it is simply out of our hands no matter what we do or try. By sharing, I was by no means trying to gain sympathy or a “poor me” card, instead I was trying to bring more awareness and understanding to the table. I was so proud to be able to do this for the first time without feeling embarrassed, shameful or fearful. This time during NIAW truly changed my life and I never looked back or regretted becoming open about my struggles with Secondary Infertility.
The outpouring of support and love from friends, family and complete strangers has been astounding. My struggle with secondary infertility has been life changing and has opened my eyes to so many different things. This struggle has been far from easy, but through the hardships of it I have learned to be grateful for my struggle in more ways then one and I surely don’t take things for granted like I once did. I have also learned so many things along the way and some very big life lessons. It’s my hope this week to continue to share about my struggle, continue to spread awareness, and reach out to others!
With today being the second day of #NIAW, my primary focus of spreading awareness will be on #SecondaryInfertility because this is what I have first hand experienced myself. If you are like me, I didn’t know anything about this term as it’s rarely talked about and because it wasn’t openly talked about. There was also a pretty big stigma surrounding the topic so I didn’t know where to turn for help or who I could confide in. I was naive to think that because we got pregnant and had a healthy pregnancy the first time around, that pregnancy would come just as easily the second time around too and would happen when we wanted it to. Boy, was I wrong!
Surprisingly, Secondary Infertility is almost more common then Primary Infertility and it can easily happen to you. If you are trying for baby #2 or #3 even and it’s not coming as easily to you as it did the first time or second time, please do not feel embarrassed or ashamed as it’s a lot more common then you’d think. More then likely someone you know is struggling with this very thing too.
If you are struggling and don’t know what to do next, it’s important to #StartAsking those important and tough questions (ie: When do we need to go to the doctor and seek help? How can doctors help us? What may be wrong with me and/or my partner? What are our chances of success? What if we never find out what is wrong? Will changing my diet and lifestyle help? Where can I get further help?). No one knows your body like you do and no one can take charge of your situation but you, so start speaking up! One of my biggest regrets in this is waiting so long before seeking help and when we finally did it was one of the most relieving feelings I had, although we still had a very long road ahead of us. My advice to you, if you think you are struggling to conceive is don’t wait, seek help today.
The following link is a short but good article about what Secondary Infertility is and talks about some of those tough questions. Feel free to click the link and check it out: