A blog I read recently challenged those fighting infertility to “be brave” and “out yourself” by leaving the #NIAW on social media this week. I rolled my eyes. Infertility is the LAST thing I want to draw attention to. I write an anonymous blog. I kept my infertility a secret until we were told we were “untreatable,” at which point I was forced to confess our diagnosis, and while I’m happy a second opinion ok’d us for IVF, I find myself bitter that I had to make public all my issues in the process. I don’t like being pitied or talking about my feelings. Infertility is not a cause I want to fight; it’s a club I want out of.
I do understand awareness is unbelievably important, and I know infertility is a growing issue and knowledge base. I am so thankful for the information out there on the web, and owe my sanity to the blogging sisters sharing their war stories and testimonies. So I do support NIAW, but from the sidelines, as a closeted, reluctant participant, hoping to quietly step out a side door one of these days.
I tip my hat to you, infertile community, but that’s all. I don’t invite a lengthy heart-to-heart where we stay up all night and talk about our feelings. I don’t want to cry on your shoulder (but you can cry on mine if you have to, just not in public, please) and I don’t want to say out loud that we share this ugly common ground. But nonetheless I tip my hat to you, because I know your hurt and shame and deepest, most searing disappointment. I know you aren’t asking for much, and I know how hard your marriage and your bank account have been hit. I know you put these things aside every day and go to work, show up, and do what is expected of you in life, even though you don’t get to realize the most basic of expectations. I tip my hat to you, because you are fighting the good fight, and you are not alone.
I like to think if I pass you in the street, today or on any other day, we will make eye contact, nod, and continue walking by. At a baby shower or gender reveal, or when the millionth person is announcing that millionth pregnancy, I like to think we’d see each other across the room, silently make eye contact, and nod.
Maybe this sounds miserable to you, because you need a lot more support in life, and want to talk it out and feel all the feelings and have community around you, and that is a-okay. Everyone is different. This blog, however, represents my journey, and how I prefer to acknowledge NIAW and this ever growing battlefield. You see, I know you and I are both capable and strong and will find the resources and the roadmaps to keep going. I don’t need your phone calls or your hugs along the way. But I do feel a wave of relief when you tip your hat back to me, because we are in this together.
“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7