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National Infertility Awareness Week: Join the Movement

Today, April 21st, 2013, marks the first day of this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW).

NIAW was created by RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, to help bring awareness to the disease, those who suffer, and ways the public can help.  Each year has a theme, and this year’s message is Join the Movement.

Those of you who are not new visitors to this blog, or who know me in real life, are very much aware that this is not my first rodeo.  I’ve blogged my way through two other NIAWs in the past, and was just joining the infertility blogging community during 2010’s awareness week.

I feel as if I’ve grown each year, and that each year’s theme for bringing awareness has mirrored that growth for me in so many ways.  This year’s theme is no exception:

Join the Movement.

I’ve been through so much in the four years we’ve been working to start a family.  I’ve had highs and lows, moments of frustration, moments of elation, and moments where I’ve wanted to quit.

I’ve had moments of pain, sorrow, grief, and dark moments where I’ve just wanted to die.

I’ve stumbled and fallen, picked myself up and dusted myself off, stumbled again, and needed the help of others to get back on my feet.

It’s not been an easy road by any stretch of the imagination, however one thing has remained constant:  support.

I am blessed in so many ways, and I am fully aware that I have been blessed with supportive people in my life.  Family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances.  I’ve been on the receiving end of much positive encouragement throughout this journey, and I do not take that for granted.

Ever.

This year, in keeping with RESOLVE’s NIAW theme, I would like to invite you, the readers: friends, family, total strangers – to join the movement.

There are a thousand and one ways you can get involved, whether you are suffering with infertility, supporting someone who is, or just feel the compassion to help others know that they’re not alone.

You can share your story.  Blog, tweet, share with a friend.  Whether you suffer from infertility or not, you can shine a light on this disease and help break the silence.

You can show support for the entire infertility community by changing your Facebook status.

It’s as easy as this:

Infertility affects 7.3 million Americans, as many as 1 in 8 couples.  Like me.  (or my friend/my sister/brother/cousin.)

Or this:

I stand with the 1 in 8 who live with infertility.  In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, repost if you’re with me.

Or this:

Infertility is a heart-wrenching, faith-questioning, relationship-testing, life-altering experience. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Whether a friend, a family member, a colleague or yourself has fought through this difficult fate that MILLIONS of women are fighting day in and day out. Post this as your status if you or someone you know has struggled at a chance to be a parent.

Or this:

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  1 in 8 people in the US are struggling with infertility right now. That means that 12 out of every 100 Facebook friends on your list is, or has struggled with infertility.  Please show your support this week by sharing this status.  We can only bring awareness to this disease if we are willing to talk about it!

You can update the profile photo on your social media accounts with this Twibbon, showing your support.

You can help to educate others by posting links to information that helps them understand our struggle.  There is a great article here, and some wonderful tips on infertility etiquette here.

The most meaningful, and absolute best way that you can join the movement this year, is also the easiest.

Show compassion.

Every person you know is fighting some battle.  It may be infertility, and it may not be.  Sometimes it’s not for us to know, and sometimes broadcasting our support for an entire community of infertility sufferers isn’t going to make you any friends.

One thing is certain, however; if you show kindness in your everyday life, listen when someone needs to talk, encourage others to express themselves in whatever darkness is in their lives, you will be a supporter, and that is a legacy worth leaving behind.

I urge each of you to reach out this week.

Be open, be compassionate, be supportive.

Be receptive to those who reach out to you.  Be willing to connect on a deeper level.

Be the voice of those who aren’t willing or able to broadcast their woes.

Be the secret confidante to those who just need a friend.

Be the public bullhorn for those who want to be heard.

Be informative to those who ask questions.  Be patient.  Be present.

Be a friend to those who need a shoulder upon which to lean.

***

Join me in supporting the one in eight this week.

Join the rest of the infertility community in standing strong in the face of enormous struggle.

Join us in what may not be the most popular stance, but one that could make a huge difference for someone you know.

Join the movement.

For more information about NIAW, click here, and for some infertility basics, click here.

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6 comments on “National Infertility Awareness Week: Join the Movement

  1. cassiedash
    April 22, 2013 at 1:36 am #

    So well said! I wish everyone could read this.

    Like

  2. Ashley
    April 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Love, love, love!

    Like

  3. Em
    April 25, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

    “Be patient. Be present.” Wow. How simple and yet how crucial are those two sentences. If I could sum up advice for fertiles w/ IF friends, it would be that. This is an excellent post. Thank you so much for standing strong and speaking up for all of us IFers. I’m so grateful for your articulate voice, and I’m glad I get to join mine with yours.

    I’m also so sorry to read about your miscarriage. I’ve been there in my own journey and so I know that there’s nothing I can say that can ease the pain. I wish healing for you…blessings as you walk this road.

    Like

  4. myinfertilitywoes
    July 24, 2013 at 3:06 am #

    Love your poem at the end there (if it is a poem…). 🙂

    Beautifully written. Be compassionate. That’s the one thing I’ve learned from going through this is that few people know how to really be there, how to offer that compassion (without a ton of advice that can sometimes be meaningless, hurtful and frustrating).

    Going through this has taught me that there are many things that others are going through that I know nothing about and to which I don’t know what to say… but I’ve learned that just being there, just listening, just being able to empathize with someone’s pain and struggle no matter what it is, is what really matters. Not saying the perfect thing because there is not perfect thing to say other than “I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’m sorry it’s been so hard. I’m here for you.” Or some variation of this.

    Oh, how I wish I could have heard these variations more… we all need to know how to be more compassionate in the way we touch others. Thank you for bringing that to the forefront.

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Nominated! | Just Stop Trying and It Will Happen... - July 8, 2013

    […] Every blogger and their infertile brother wrote a post (or posts) on their interpretation of said theme, including yours truly. […]

    Like

  2. In which I brag | Not when, but IF - July 8, 2013

    […] Join the Movement post joins four others (Almost a Father, Fertile Healing, Inconceivable!, and Just Stop Trying and It Will Happen – go, read them, now!) in the running for the Best Blog title.  The winner will be selected […]

    Like

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