On My Mind: I’m a Bit Passionate
Some might say I am obsessed, others will say I am crazy, but I say I am just passionate. What can I say? I am passionate about infertility. Now, that doesn’t mean that I LOVE infertility. It doesn’t mean that I am so GLAD I have to deal with it. And, it certainly doesn’t mean that I would wish it on anyone. It just means that I am passionate about talking about infertility. I know, I know…infertility isn’t a subject that screams “talk about me at a dinner party” (even though I have) or “talk about me at the grocery store” (yes, I have done that, too), but it is a subject that I feel needs to be talked about without so much reservation. In fact, I must admit that acknowledging it and talking about it has played a pivotal role in my ability to deal with it. That is why I talk so much about infertility.
I think of two excerpts from my book that I think successfully illustrate the value I find in talking about infertility…
“How grateful I am that I live in today’s world! Despite some of the destructive, frustrating, and sad things we see, we are quite blessed. In many ways, we are in a better place than we were generations ago. We have seen a social and relational evolution as each generation improves upon reactions to life’s experiences, including how to communicate about difficult subjects. Once considered taboo, sharing feelings about intimacy and infertility has become more acceptable. While we are far from perfect, we must give ourselves credit for constantly fine-tuning our ability to be sensitive and respectful as we discuss something so sacred and private. As we have experienced this evolution, we have accomplished something extraordinary—we have paved the way for supportive relationships as well as the sharing of valuable knowledge.
“I think back to my great aunt and uncle. They were married in 1943 and established their life together in a small farming community in Tooele County, Utah. My great uncle labored with his hands to add a chimney, windows, kitchen cabinets, and plumbing to the old family store, turning it into a warm, inviting home. Like most young couples, they had hopes of having children and raising them in this home and in this close-knit community. Children never came, however. Feelings of bitterness, sorrow, betrayal, and grief entered into their happy life, but they found a way to live beyond it. Nothing was really ever said about their childlessness. It was obvious that they were without child, but no one knew why, nor did they ask.
“I do not know all of the circumstances, nor would I ever suggest that I could understand the situation as it was back then. But, I can’t help but wonder what my sweet aunt would say today. What would she say if she could share the feelings of her heart? Would sad feelings flow? Or, would I hear a voice filled with confidence, knowing that her life was filled with specific, satisfying blessings and experiences tailored just for her? Oh, how I wish that I could sit down and talk to her, face to face, candidly and without the socially imposed reservation of past generations. I know I would learn so much from her and I know that she would be blessed by sharing,” (Daynes, pg. 53)
Few things are better than talking with someone who knows about the betrayal you feel from your body, the physical and emotional difficulties associated with infertility treatments, the loss of privacy, and the sadness. Talking with others who have experienced infertility will help you feel more normal. Knowing that someone else has experienced what you are feeling and then being able to share thoughts and feelings with that person can be one of the greatest gifts during the battle with infertility. As women, “we have to have a name for what we are experiencing and [know] that someone else has felt it” (Naomi Judd, interview by Jane Pauley, The Jane Pauley Show, NBC, Season 1, episode 17, first aired September 21, 2004).
These friends hopefully know firsthand the importance of maintaining privacy and confidentiality. They are more likely to know which questions to ask and which not to ask. They know when to speak and when to listen. It is important to find others who can truly mourn with you and comfort you when you grieve. In turn, you can mourn with and comfort them. Remember as you choose to confide in your friends that you maintain the agreement you made with your spouse—How much will you share? How much will you keep quiet?…
“I have several friends who are part of my “network.” Some know the cause of their infertility, some are in the midst of treatments, while some are taking a much needed break. Others have found success in their quest for children while others have experienced repeated devastating disappointments. Some of my friends have experienced infertility for years and others are at the beginning of the road, just starting to wonder if there might be something wrong. My friends have provided me with listening ears. Those who have forged the way have guided my path and have provided me with an education of terms, procedures, and questions to ask. I have cried tears of sorrow with some friends and tears of joy with others. The setbacks have caused me to question certain procedures while the triumphs have given me courage to continue in faith,” (Daynes, pg. 101-103).
I encourage each of us to acknowledge infertility in our lives and to be open to talking about it in appropriate contexts. It is a challenge that we need not suffer alone.
1 April 2010
I’ll be talking about infertility…come join me…
April 24th: Utah Infertility Awareness Event
June: Las Vegas, Nevada (more details to come)
July: Denver, Colorado (more details to come)
July 30-21st: FSA National Conference Layton, UT