Every day it seems like it's NEW TOPIC Awareness Day. In fact, according to Huffington Post on Twitter, today is National Physics Day. Okay then. Also, according to Babble on Twitter, it's also National Princess Week. Hooray for Disney and for Kate Middleton.
I normally don't get involved in Awareness Anything. But I'm becoming more and more convinced that real change starts with grassroots efforts to simply bring awareness to a topic. This awareness builds until it becomes action, and when the tipping point is reached, change happens.
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Did you know? Don't ignore this serious topic, even if it's just by reading this blog post (and maybe others), and learning something. Here's Resolve's website link - I urge you to read more about it.
Why am I bringing this up? Infertility is near and dear to my heart; you might not know this about me. Not only that, but having CHOICE in our reproductive rights is extremely important to me. For me, as a woman, mother, sister, daughter, doula-in-training and friend, choice begins at having the option of building your family (or not) the way you want to, having complete control over our reproductive options, birthing in a way that empowers you and caring for your family in the way that you choose. Right now, there is legislation alive in our country which limits our choices across the spectrum and I am no longer okay to sit back and not voice my concerns.
Our journey to becoming parents was relatively short in comparison to what many couples go through, and we conceived Eleanor without technological or medical assistance. I am not naive enough to assume that for our next child things will go so smoothly. They might, or they might not. Through our journey to conceive, we learned that we do have some very real and medical obstacles which could stand in our way to conception. What do I mean by medical? Solutions like vacation, a glass of wine or "just relaxing" will not fix our issues. Best case scenario is that we get extremely lucky and time it exactly right. Worst case scenario and we face interuterine insemination, IVF, or living with our one, spectacular and amazing child, who I am grateful for every day of my life.
So why am I posting this now? Because it is National Infertility Awareness Week. Simply building awareness that infertility is a disease which ONE IN EIGHT individuals suffers from. One in eight! If you have 100 friends, you likely know at least 12 people who could be affected. So what can you do? Be considerate. Be kind. Be thoughtful in your questions when you ask a childless couple when they will start having children. Be aware that asking a family with one child when they plan on having another might be an extremely painful question. Be sensitive; don't offer advice unless specifically asked for it. Relaxing might not work for a couple with no sperm, blocked tubes or advanced endometriosis. Gaining weight might not be the solution to achieving a pregnancy for an underweight woman. Don't assume you know more than they do about their condition, or have an idea that they or their doctors haven't considered. Infertility is often suffered silently for fear or releasing personal information to the uneducated masses, judgement or receiving unsolicited advice. Don't ignore the issue which so many Americans quietly burden on their shoulders. Perhaps get educated, and maybe get involved, but at least, please don't ignore.