This week is National Infertility Awareness Week 2020 and as part of it, RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association started a five day photo challenge. I’ve posted the photos on Instgram and Facebook, but also wanted to share them here.
We all have our own fertility journey. You’ll notice that I always refer to mine as a fertility journey rather than an infertility journey, because I prefer the concept of moving towards something positive rather than moving through something negative. I also personally debate whether repeat miscarriage should fall under the bucket of “infertility” since I’ve had no trouble getting pregnant, I just have trouble staying pregnant.
My fertility journey took me through recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) and secondary infertility (SI) which is infertility after a pregnancy. Along the way I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries (PCOS) which is the most common cause of infertility among women. They also found I had a septate uterus (SU) which is a congenital abnormality that I had surgically removed. There were other plenty of other diagnoses along the way, but I wanted to call those out to help explain the drawing. The other acronyms are for male factor (MF) infertility, premature ovarian failure (POF), endometriosis (ENDO), and luteal phase defect (LPD) which can all be causes of infertility.
I have two “fur babies” who current endure the role of my surrogate children, but sometimes I go too far. True story: I watch a lot of stand up comedy on Netflix, one night I watched one of Iliza Shlesinger’s specials and she did a bit about anthropomorphizing her dog. I laughed so hard because literally five minutes before that bit I had walked over to my cat, flipped him upside down, and given him a raspberry on his belly…
12.5% of women struggle with infertility so RESOLVE has started the “1 in 8” campaign to create awareness of the issue. Why orange? Here is the explanation from RESOLVE’s website:
“The color orange promotes a sense of wellness, emotional energy to be shared: compassion, passion, and warmth. Helps to recover from disappointments, a wounded heart, or a blow to one’s pride. Studies show that orange can create a heightened sense of activity, increased socialization, boost in aspiration, contentment, assurance, confidence and understanding.”
The past six years of my life have included some truly wonderful moments, but also the most difficult periods of my life. I would not have been able to survive (thrive?) without the support of my husband, my mom, my dad, my little sister, my therapist, and my friends Chris and Christy. These people have been my constant cheerleaders. They’ve held me while I cried, sat with me when I was sad, reassured me when I was nervous, encouraged me when I felt stuck, and listened again and again and again whenever I needed to talk. They are my lifelines.
RESOLVE chose their name because resolve is what it takes to journey through (in)fertility, and the end of the journey looks different for all of us. Some women carry the “rainbow baby” they always dreamed of. Some take advantage of sperm donors or egg donors. Some families grow through adoption or surrogacy. And some couples choose to live without children. All of these choices take time and must me made deliberately.
RESOLVE is organizing a virtual Advocacy Day on May 20. Participants will be meeting with members of Congress to discuss access to assisted reproductive technology and other family building options. Fertility choices are so personal and so contextual. From the outside it can be easy to assume what you choose or how you would behave if faced with infertility. But I learned I can’t anticipate how I will feel about something until I am actually faced with it. So, I want to make sure that all families are able to make the choices that feel right for them.
So appreciate not only learning more about an individual fertility journey, but also about fertility challenges in general and the organizations working to support all those on their journey.