NIAW Aftermath

May 2, 2013

If you follow me on Twitter then you probably witnessed, or heard about, a slight freak out on my part about 2 weeks ago. And a few others voiced similar opinions as well. It seems National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) was triggering for many of us. And I think I now understand WHY.

Resolve is an organization committed to helping women/men find resources and doctors for infertility as well as educate the general public about this disease. They are very good at what they do. If you think you might have fertility issues or if you just want to learn more about this disease and how it affects the general population then I highly recommend following the link and checking out the site.

But, during NIAW, I felt abandoned by Resolve. Why? Because they spent the entire week trying to educate the general public, newly diagnosed or soon-to-be diagnosed infertiles and showcasing infertiles who have moved on to parenting (through whatever means). They partnered with for Frog’s sake. Really? The organization that is supposed to advocate for me starts showing babies in my feed? Not cool, Resolve. Not cool.

I felt that they had somehow shifted their focus away from me. I felt abandoned.

Now that the nonsense of NIAW is over I see things a bit differently.

Resolve didn’t shift focus away from me.

I simply moved out of its focus.
out of focus

[photo source]

I’ve actually been outside its focus for some time now. Resolve has never focused on the minority of women (& men) who remain childless after years of treatment. We are the ugly side of infertility. Nobody wants to see us because we haven’t “succeeded.” Some of us have simply chosen to stop treatments and live child free. Others have stopped treatments and are pursuing adoption but haven’t yet found their child. Some are on hold because their relationship dissolved and they are unsure how/when/whether to continue the pursuit of solo parenting a tiny human. And some of us are still pursuing treatments but our bodies just aren’t cooperating.

Who speaks for us? No one. But us. And we are a dwindling minority.

We don’t need Resolve’s resources to find a doctor – we’ve probably all already cycled through multiple Reproductive Endocrinologists. We don’t need to take an online “Test Your Fertility Knowledge” quiz – we could teach the freaking class at this point. We’ve read all the articles about our respective conditions – assuming we have a diagnosis. We’ve tried all the herbs, etc.

We are a group of Been There, Done That. And it just feels like there’s no place for us anymore. We are out of focus.

I hope this post doesn’t come across as angry or whiny. It’s really meant to be an epiphany. I am no longer angry at Resolve for abandoning me. I’ve just accepted that I am not their demographic. My entire infertility experience (I really hate calling it a journey) has been unique (everyone’s is unique, mine has just been more so by also being RARE). I don’t fit in any of the boxes. And I have to just accept that and find comfort and community wherever I can.

But odds are it will not be in anything affiliated with Resolve. I’m barely hanging on to Twitter at the moment.


21 Responses to “NIAW Aftermath”

  1. Cyn Says:

    Thank you for this. I have felt so lost and alone being one of the abandoned. You are right. We aren’t the fixable demographic of resolve. Sigh.

  2. notwhenbutif Says:

    Wow, just wow. You just put to paper exactly the unspoken/unrecognized discomfort I was feeling all last week (and for the past several months).

    I do still feel there is a place for RESOLVE in my life (I host a peer-led support group, I will be walking in the Walk of Hope, I post general interest things from RESOLVE to my FB wall incessantly, and I’m grateful for the leadership/resources of the Center for Infertility Justice), but I often feel like I have to dig pretty deeply to find that place for RESOLVE in my life. And, you’ve nailed it on the head. Right straight down to your mention of the fertility quiz. (Each time that one pops up somewhere I honestly get upset in the pit of my stomach. While it’s surely useful, it’s so extremely far from my reality right now it’s like a slap in the face each time I see it.)

    My feelings are most certainly different from yours in many regards because we’re still seeking a resolution (a few more months or a year of treatments, then it is child-free for us), but your assessment of NIAW still resonates with me.

    You don’t sound remotely angry or whiny, you just sound like someone who knows the resources she needs to get on with life. It stinks that RESOLVE isn’t that resource, but it takes strength to acknowledge that, and courage to walk away.

    • Furrowed Fox Says:

      Yes, that freaking quiz is like a gut punch every time I see it. Whether it’s from Resolve or some other fertility education twitter account.

  3. Hi,

    I’m sorry that you are feeling the way that you do. I understand the no man’s land that you are feeling. I understand that you feel left behind. I have felt that in a major way during my journey, especially after we had done 6 IVFs and had 5 miscarriages. What group was I in? The helpless and desperate? I saw countless women find success even in my ever-dwindling group of tough IF cases.

    I am a volunteer for RESOLVE and I must admit that it’s disheartening for me to read your post. I want to assure you that YOU are not outside of RESOLVE’s focus as everyone experiencing IF is in RESOLVE’s demographic.

    I think that general public awareness helps us all! If I can teach one person to not say “just relax” and save someone else from having to hear it — then, that’s a success. If or anyone on the planet wants to help educate about infertility, then I don’t see how that’s bad?

    I am now one of the lucky ones that after a very rough road for 7.5 years, we are pregnant via a surrogate. But, we aren’t parents yet.

    I will never FORGET everyone else that is still trying to become parents. It is with everyone in mind that I do the work that I do. It’s with everyone’s best interests that I will go to Washington next week and fight for an IVF tax credit, making treatment more affordable.

    I would love to get your thoughts on how you think that RESOLVE could better support you.

    Best wishes to you.

    • Furrowed Fox Says:

      I will think on this and get back to you. I do think Resolve is a great organization. But no entity can please 100% of the people 100% of the time. Perhaps the focus is does more good and is better left where it is.

      • Anna Esperanza Says:

        I agree that it’s impossible to support everyone. RESOLVE does a great job of supporting many, many people and raising awareness about infertility. As far as I know, no one else is doing that on a large scale. I am grateful for what they do, but I know I don’t completely fit either for entirely different reasons. And I’m okay with that. Individual situations are all so different that, even if you widen the circle, someone will probably still be outside of it. You can’t put the Furrowed Fox in a box! 🙂

  4. Kitten Says:

    I felt the same way about that fertility quiz–what a joke. I agree with you: Resolve isn’t for people who aren’t actively trying to become parents.

  5. Risa A Levine Says:

    Hi, my name is Risa Levine and I am a Board Member of RESOLVE. I also chair Advocacy Day. I am childless, not by choice, it was thrust upon me – after years of trying, double digit cycles, four miscarriages and a brutal divorce. It remains an enormous source of pain every day. I don’t go to baby-related events, I “hide” photos or de-friend people on Facebook who post too many – it still hurts. I wish more childless men and women would remain active in RESOLVE, but most, like yourself, choose to withdraw. While I don’t blame them, it would be great for me – and women like you – if more became or remained involved. RESOLVE is a volunteer-driven organization. There is a place for a support group for childless women and men – have you thought about starting one? There is a place for your voice, as a childless woman during NIAW – I have never read your blog before, it was forwarded to me an hour ago, so I have no idea if you participated in spreading awareness of your (our) side of infertility trauma. But awareness of your needs, as a childless woman, would be a welcome addition to the blogosphere during NIAW and to RESOLVE year-round. Rather than blame RESOLVE for not meeting your needs, I hope that you will consider becoming part of the solution, by working with RESOLVE to address them. For me, I deal with my loss by being more active in RESOLVE than I was during infertility treatments and advocating on behalf of the infertility community (I never attended a support group). For you, it may be starting support groups for childless men and women. But blaming a volunteer-driven organization for not meeting your needs, instead of seeking a means of having them met, is just unproductive. Please consider this an invitation to become involved in any way that would serve your needs (not that you need an invitation).

    • Furrowed Fox Says:

      My apologies if my post came across as “blaming” Resolve. That was not my intent. It may, in fact, be necessary that Resolve NOT meet my needs in order to serve the greater good. I’m sure partnering with brought A TON of exposure to the cause. I merely intended to state the fact that Resolve does not seem to have resources aimed at people who are “unresolved.” I have the knowledge I need about diagnoses and doctors. But it’s difficult for me to advocate awareness while still pursuing treatments.

      I am, in fact, still pursuing treatments. I’m not sure that I can state that I am “actively” pursuing treatment, however. My body seems to only allow me to try once a year. The ectopic pregnancies simply do too much damage to my reproductive organs to try more often than that. I think there are a lot of people who are still HOPING to pursue treatments but aren’t ACTIVELY pursuing treatments due to financial or other factors. It leaves you in an infertility limbo that is not often addressed. Since I am still “in the trenches” it is very difficult for me to start a support group myself. My energies are still aimed at healing my body and making a tiny human. These two efforts, so far, have proved to be at odds with one another.

  6. stupidstork Says:

    Word homie. WORD.

    I am in the not-a-happy-ending yet camp and it is a small and bleak one.

    I would also like to put the kibosh on use of the word ‘journey’ as mine is just a shit storm. My husband is a diabetic and no one tries to tell him his lack of a functioning pancreas is a ‘journey’ as he would probably stab them in the neck with an insulin pen.

    HANG ON TO TWITTER. I needs your charmingly empty ute, it matches mine.

  7. My main dealings with RESOLVE have been to find a therapist that deals with infertile clients (who I only saw once but found through the RESOLVE website) and the RESOLVE support group. I think you mentioned on Twitter that there is a group in your area, but it also includes people who are parenting after IF and currently pregnant folks. Here in my town we have two separate groups- may e that is something that you could start in your area?

    My point is that I think that both of those resources are absolutely for people who are still battling IF.

    I’m sorry that you feel abandoned. But I definitely feel like there are a lot of aspects of the group that still apply to you.

    • Furrowed Fox Says:

      Nope, I have no idea who attends the group. There is only ONE group in my STATE (per resolve website). It’s not super far but it’s not easy to get to either. I live in a fairly large metropolitan area so I find this ASTOUNDING. And how am I supposed to go through training and start a support group and go to work and get to doctor’s appointments, etc? I am not in a place where I can start a support group right now. I do what I can online (I volunteer as a Board Coordinator for Fertile Thoughts) but hosting an in-person group is not do-able for me right now. I’m still attempting to beat my body into submission for one last FET.

      Also, I stated that I FELT abandoned. Last week. Not now.

      • Sorry. I wasn’t trying to upset you. I didn’t realize that group leaders need to go through training so I totally get why you wouldn’t have enough time. Maybe this post and your tweets will help to change the focus?

        • Furrowed Fox Says:

          Nope, not upset really. Just want to make sure my message is clear and not misinterpreted. Whether the focus changes or not I just want to make people aware of an under-served population. It may very well be that Resolve chooses to focus on certain angles and that’s OK. It can’t be all things to all people. But there are a lot (well enough) of us to point out the hole coverage. Resolve can choose to act on that info or not. I’m not really personally invested in it. At least not at this point.

  8. 3catsandababy Says:

    I just wanted you to know that your feelings are completely valid and I support you.

    • missohkay Says:

      I’m with Lisa. Your feelings are valid and clearly echoed by others… pointing them out can never be a bad thing for the community. And I respectfully suggest that people who suggest you start your own support group read your “NIAW that wasn’t” post, which was pretty darn eloquent.

  9. Dipitie Says:

    Thank you so much for this. I’m years beyond hope and ART and good old fashioned timing. I am no nearer to having a baby now as I was five years ago, and it bothers me. I’ve continually felt left behind – not just by RESOLVE, but also by my infertile peers. Several times in fact. It is truly isolating to be part of that small minority, more isolating than infertility itself.

    • Furrowed Fox Says:

      Yes. I focused on Resolve in this post but it is an overall feeling. Where do you go when you’ve outgrown your support network? Or when it has outgrown you?

  10. […] week, and now I feel a little lost and dazed.  Have you read the Furrowed Fox’s tremendous NIAW Aftermath post?  That one really hit close to home and triggered a lot of internal monologue in the past […]

  11. Heather Says:

    I came here through fertility authority.
    This is a powerful post with an important message that needs to be heard. I also think some of these fertility sites make things too simplistic and don’t acknowledge the limbo, the passing time, the declining fertility as we try and make decisions. But I also agree with some of the commentators: it is one thing to make this criticism, and quite another to provide solutions.
    Maybe something online, that wasn’t a group, that you didn’t have to train in person would help?
    Anyway my contribution is a free ebook:
    and some audios dealing with the emotions of infertility:
    Also there is a forum that I used to frequent that really helped me at one time.
    Yes, I confess, I am one of those who have had a child, but I still have to conceive no 2 and nobody who has gone through this forgets what it is about, and it still affects me. That might make you less willing to hear from me, but anyway.
    I still think this is an excellent post that everyone should read and be aware of. I really wish you all the best in the future decisions that you need to make.

  12. […] Lastly I want to leave you with a rather thought provoking blog post I recently read. The blogger says that Resolve has failed a good portion of its audience because it caters more to those who easily find solutions, or resolve their parentless state. It doesn’t really help the unresolved people. You may agree or disagree, but I think it is worth reading what she says. I also think that some of these fertility sites are quick to point you to a fertility specialist, assuming that will solve all your problems. They don’t acknowledge the agony of the years passing, fertility decreasing and trying to make decisions in this context. Go here. […]

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