Every year I write a post for National Infertility Awareness Week. Here are posts from the past: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

Whew. I’ve been at this a good long while.

Somewhere along the way Resolve started adding themes for bloggers to write about. This year it is You Are Not Alone.

Let’s say that again: YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE.

But I know you feel alone. Even if you know you’re not.

And instead of me trying to articulate why we all feel alone despite knowing that we are not, I am going to turn you over to some other bloggers who have already expressed it.

Jay, aka The Two Week Wait, sums it up nicely here: You Are Not Alone…Even Thought It Sometimes Feels That Way.

As does Angela, aka Rad Kitten, in her post: You Are Not Alone.

And Jess over at It’s Just A Box of Rain in her post: My life raft #NIAW.

And then there’s Jen who wrote: NIAW: You Are Not Alone. Then Why Am I So Lonely?

And one last one, a blog I just discovered because of NIAW, titled waiting for baby bird wrote this post that totally made me cry: You Are Not Alone: Flying Together with Broken Wings.

See the theme yet?

There are two.

One is simply to let others know that YOU.ARE.NOT.ALONE. To all those suffering in silence that if you can find the courage to talk about it and find your tribe it will get a little easier.

But the other theme I see in all these posts is a bit darker. For those of us who do talk about it. For those of us who have already found our tribe. For those of us who intellectually know that we are not alone.

We still feel alone.

Every story is unique. Every path has its own debris to clear that is not exactly like the debris on someone else’s path. And every path finds its own end. Some end with a pot of gold. Others a rainbow. And some paths…just keep going.

You are not alone. But it’s OK that you feel that way.

I wrote my last post about this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) and then went to bed feeling unsettled and leaving it in drafts. Then I woke up at 3am and started thinking about this post. I wish I could say I slept soundly after formulating the idea for this post, but sleep has been difficult lately.

This year the theme for the NIAW blogging challenge is Resolve To Know More.

My relationship with Resolve is complicated and not in the best state. My relationship with Hope is currently in the gutter. That bitch does NOT want to meet me in a dark alley right now. But at 3am the other night I woke up and remembered seeing this tweet a few weeks ago.

And it came to me. I think the reason I have issues with Resolve is because they frame everything around Hope. Blog posts submitted to them for NIAW will compete to win a Hope Award to be presented at the Night of Hope Gala. They also sponsor a Walk of Hope.

Don’t get me wrong, as much as I hate Hope right now (and yes, I do think of her as a person or an entity that I can be mad at) I recognize the need to have her in our lives. No one would ever accomplish anything if they had no hope that they would succeed. But Neil deGrasse Tyson is 100% correct: Hope also represents a complete and utter lack of control.

Case in point: I really HOPE my friend fighting cancer wins her fight. But I, and she, really have zero control over the outcome. She can do her best and control for what she can. But in the end, we’re both still only left with Hope.

Framing everything around Hope means that you are ignoring all the people who have none left and you are highlighting the fact that they have no control. You are snubbing your nose at the people who have resolved to live childfree – an action that represents taking back control and is thus empowering even if incredibly difficult. You are snubbing your nose at the people whose fertility treatments were ultimately unsuccessful regardless of whether they adopted a child. Those people were sold on a promise of Hope that couldn’t be delivered. Not everyone is a winner despite what youth sports teams teach these days. Another blogger makes that point here in a NIAW post about odds.

Not to compare infertility to cancer – the two are inextricably intertwined in my world as I keep having to deal with them both at once (fortunately not personally on the cancer front) – but… Would you try to sell Hope to a person actively dying of cancer? No. You wouldn’t. You’d try to make her feel as comfortable about her fate as you can. Fortunately for my friend we are still hopeful. Although not full of hope – there’s a subtle difference. As such I won’t blow sunshine up her ass and tell her everything will be OK. Life is simply not all rainbows and unicorns and…hope.

I’m NOT saying that I expect Resolve to get women pregnant who can’t do so on their own. That’s for the Reproductive Endocrinologists (REs). It is not Resolve’s job to deliver on the hope promise. Nor am I blaming Resolve for selling this vision of Hope. OK, well… maybe I am a little. It still bugs me that they partnered with Parenting.com for NIAW last year thereby inserting ads with pictures of cute babies in my feed during INFERTILITY AWARENESS WEEK. It also bugs me that they didn’t stand up for proper use of words regarding adoption. Their focus is supposed to be education, awareness and support for infertility and the infertility community. And they absolutely do the first two. But they are less adept at the latter.

I understand that you can’t be all things to all people at all times. I do. And I don’t want this post to be about Resolve. It’s about Hope.

Hope comes from within. She’s in all of us whether we like her or not. When your Hopes turn into Realities it can be all too easy to forget how it felt beforehand. And, as I’ve pointed out before, those of us in the Hope phase are tired and often distracted by our busy worlds. Which leaves the majority of the advocating to be done by those living in their Realities. I see this politically all the time. People forget (or perhaps never knew) what it felt like to be unemployed and hoping for a job interview to lead to a job. Or to be without health insurance and hoping you don’t get sick.

Hope is necessary. Hope is needed. Hope can be inspirational. Hope is beautiful. I never felt so wonderful as I did when I was full of Hope for Kit Kaper. It was a glorious feeling. Hope gives rise to great inventions.

And terrible ones.

And sometimes the product of Hope is…NOTHING AT ALL. Hope exists to teach us failure. And to teach us that you can try again after failing. However, Hope does not teach you when to change your tactics or give up when you continue to fail.

Hope can also be divisive and lead to jealousy when you are hoping to have for yourself what you see others having around you. Hope can turn toxic. Easily. I see it all the time in the ever present Us vs Them mentality in the infertility community – The PAIL (Parenting After Infertility & Loss) vs. Childfree vs. Still In The Trenches. Hope vs. Reality.

Remember… Hope means having no control. And most of us really don’t like that feeling.

Hope is like a drug. She can make you feel euphoric. But then you come crashing down.

Hope is like a beautiful woman who has an ugly personality. She looks good on the outside but once you get to know her…she’s kind of two-faced and doesn’t truly give you what you need. At least, not for long. Her beauty fades quickly.

Hope is short-lived. Which is why I become more and more disillusioned with people and entities (not just Resolve) constantly using the word and concept of Hope as a rallying cry. To Hope is to ignore the odds. Sometimes you need Hope. Other times you need to face facts, numbers, odds and science. Often you need a healthy dose of both. But that can be very difficult to achieve.

Perhaps we should all focus less on Hope and more on her cousin: Empathy.

Hope has a place in the world. We need her around. But her cousin Empathy seems far more worthy of all the attention.


“If you don’t like what’s being said…change the conversation.”

Guess what. It’s National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) again.

Sigh.

Once again I am less than enthused to write about it. This is an infertility blog so I feel like it raises awareness simply by existing. Also…Resolve – the organization that sponsors this – and I don’t have the best history. I’m happy it exists, we just don’t see eye to eye on some things.

But just because I don’t agree with everything Resolve does doesn’t mean it’s not important to advocate for awareness. So I will dutifully give it a shot this year as I have done for the last 4 years. This year the theme for the blogging challenge is Resolve To Know More.

Know more about…[insert infertility topic here]

I’m really struggling with this.

My experiences have led me down numerous paths and numerous diagnoses.

Me personally? I don’t want to know any more.

I’ve already covered Premature Ovarian Failure (POF), Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR), Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, In Vitro Fertilization – IVF, Frozen Embryo Transfer FET, Clomid, timed intercourse, Lupron, ectopic pregnancy, Infertility PTSD, grief and loss, HCG, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), bio-identical hormones, Injectible hormones like Bravelle & Menopur, surrogacy, adoption, hysterectomy, endometriosis excision surgery, Methotrexate.

I’m not sure I have the energy or capacity to know more. If you would like to, please start clicking all the links above. Or the ones below. This blog is chock full of infertility knowledge.

I’ve played educator. I’ve played advocate. I’ve played patient. I’ve been cut open. Numerous times.

And now I’m tired. And that is valid.

image

Stick a fork in me. I’m done. And I’m not ashamed to say it.

So…Resolve to know more about how infertility is soul crushing and exhausting.

After writing this post, I went back and re-read all my previous NIAW posts. I probably should have done that FIRST. Oops. The first two are hopeful. The last two are…not. The last few posts ALL say I’M TIRED.

You know why? Because apparently it’s my mission in life to TRY ALL THE THINGS.

  1. Adoption on my own – Oh wait, I just met this awesome guy so maybe not
  2. Assisted Reproduction Treatments (ART) – My body hates me
  3. Third Party ART (in my case surrogacy) – My last embryos just don’t have what it takes
  4. Adoption with Right Guy

I’ve come full circle.
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Stay tuned for another NIAW post that is a bit more serious. Once published I will insert the link here.

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 parenting.com 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.

the NIAW that wasn’t

April 21, 2013

I confess. I’m having a rough time with NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week) this year.

It’s all the harder with this year’s theme being “Join the Movement.”

You all know how I hate to sound whiny. But. Look out, here it comes.

It’s really, really, REALLY difficult to Join the Movement and become an advocate when you’re still spending all your energy TRYING TO GET PREGNANT.

Or is it just me?

It seems to me the best advocates for Infertility Awareness are those that have been through it…and come out the other side – in some form or fashion. Whether they have had success with treatments and now have a biological child, or chosen donor egg/sperm or moved away from treatments and have adopted or moved away from treatments and just accepted a childfree life. They are more free to focus on a “movement.”

Me? I’m tired. I’m tired of TRYING. And I’m tired of not being able to try and having to wait months/years to try again. I’m tired of being terrified of trying and I’m tired of being cut open. I’m tired of getting more and more diagnoses piled on top of one another. I’m tired of hearing the ad on the radio for a local fertility clinic (not mine) advertising that most couples won’t need expensive treatments so you should just Come on Down! As if it were The Price Is Right or something. Because I’m the one Bob Barker is going to ridicule for not making it up on the stage. ($1, Bob!)

I feel like I used to have energy for advocacy and now…I just don’t.

Apparently I didn’t last year either.

Sorry about that. My bad.

But if you’ve got more energy than I do you should head over to Resolve.

And kudos to all my Tweeps heading to Advocacy Day in DC!

Infertility Awareness

April 26, 2012

My apologies in advance for this being a lackluster post. I wish I could do better by Infertility Awareness this year. But I’m TIRED. And you know… that’s what this is about (at least in part). Battling infertility is stressful and tiring. And sometimes you need to take a break. Which is what I’ve been doing lately. So that it doesn’t consume me.

Which doesn’t mean that awareness is not important. Just that those of us who fight it sometimes need a break. Infertility wears you down.

So, if I have any followers left, this my Infertility Awareness Week/Month post. I didn’t forget. I just can’t do any more right now.

Go forth and make the people aware. I will rejoin you in a month or so when I have more energy for it.

So this week is National Infertility Awareness Week here in the US brought to by Resolve.

Apparently there will be some conferences in various locations around the US as well as some activity on Capitol Hill on this topic. More info on that here.

In honor of this, we, the Infertile Blogger Twitterati, are aiming to make #infertility a top ten trending topic on Twitter today – Monday April 26th. It will take quite an effort to take down the likes of #justinbieber on Twitter so we’ll need all the help we can get.  So even if you’re not in the US, please help.  Log in to twitter and send out tweets all day with “#infertility” in them (see my tweets on the lower right of this page or go to www.twitter.com/StolenEggs for examples).  If you don’t have a twitter account, you can create one FREE here: www.twitter.com .  All you need is a valid email address.  Don’t like Twitter?  Create an account and delete it later.  Twitter won’t care.  Here is some advice for how to get a topic to trend on Twitter – it’s not easy. <a href=”http://news.buzzgain.com/how-many-tweets-does-it-take-to-be-a-trending-topic-on-twitter/”>http://news.buzzgain.com/how-many-tweets-does-it-take-to-be-a-trending-topic-on-twitter/</a&gt;

Also, several bloggers are holding contests today on their blogs.  One is giving away FREE pregnancy tests.  Visit 999 Reasons to Laugh or The Long and Winding Road to win free stuff!  I’d consider holding a contest of my own but I don’t think anyone (except Barren Lazza) reads this.  😉

Also, please consider posting something about Infertility Awareness Week on your own blog or on your Facebook page.  Especially if you’re will to take the plunge and ‘out’ yourself by posting on Facebook using your real life account.  I’m still debating on that.   I will probably do it.  But I’ve heard a lot of people say they get “Just Relax” comments when they do that.  Not sure I can handle that….  But… I’m going to try to raise awareness as much as I can anyway.  Please help!