I want you all to know more about infertility. Because the truth is, 1 in 8 couples has trouble getting or sustaining a pregnancy. That means I have no doubt that if you haven't experienced it yourself, you know a couple who has gone, or is going, through it. And I'd like to think you're an awesome person and you'd like to know how best to help your loved one. When people are dealing with loss or sadness, we often don't know what to say. And sometimes in our effort to say something (anything!) to show we are thinking about it, we say unintentionally insensitive things. This post is meant to help you, and in return, help the 10% of the population dealing with this medical issue.
First, a little bit about a really amazing organization:
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, established in 1974, is a non-profit organization with the only established, nationwide network mandated to promote reproductive health and to ensure equal access to all family building options for men and women experiencing infertility or other reproductive disorders.
RESOLVE to Know More
There are some awesome links for both those dealing with infertility, as well as their family and friends. Please consider reading this.
If you don't mind some cursing and some humor, then read on (you're in good company).
Now, let me just come out and say it: people say the stupidest shit to us. You would not believe some of the things we hear. I'm going to post some awesome links to read, but there's a few that I want to address here first:
1) Infertility is a medical issue. This means no amount of "just relaxing" is ever going to work. Stop saying this to us. Just....stop.
2) It is not helpful, or relevant, what your views on Assisted Reproductive Technology or adoption are. I promise you, anyone who is proceeding (or not proceeding) with either one has not taken the decision lightly. They are both incredibly expensive and emotionally draining, and ART also comes with serious physical hardships on the woman.
3) A wise friend of mine once said in relation to my miscarriage: "a loss is a loss". Despite not ever wanting children of her own, this understanding led her to be one of the most truly supportive people through the shit-storm that was the weeks after our loss. Please treat it, and us, just as you would someone who lost a loved one. Because, you know...we did.
4) Please stop asking me to pretend this very big thing is not happening in my life. I've been shocked by the number of people who basically have said a quick, "I'm sorry" and then have never asked me about it again. It's exhausting having conversations where I have to put on a happy face; please just give me license to talk about it for a few minutes with a simple, "how are you handling everything?"