April 22-28 is the one week our nation recognizes Infertility. National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is our chance to make this disease better recognized and understood.
This year's theme is Don't Ignore Infertility. And that theme really sums up the purpose for the Walk for Hope that Clint and I will be walking in come June.
Last year during NIAW, I took a big step and made my infertility public knowledge. Until then, only a handful of treasured and highly trusted friends knew the struggle we were experiencing. I was tired of the secrecy, the vagueness, and faking our happiness on really dark days. It's hard to understand why infertility is hard to share/talk about, until you are experiencing it. Even being on this walk of infertility, it's still difficult to explain the secrecy that feels necessary. So "coming out" and telling your world that you are fighting infertility takes a lot of bravery for most of us.
The first year I learned about NIAW, I honestly thought to myself that it would be the only year I would go through that week as someone struggling with the disease. When NIAW came again for me last year, it was a very difficult time of reflection and realizing that another year had passed without our desperately longed for baby. So I decided to toughen up and share our struggle with friends and family. And I am so glad that I did.
While it did not gain us as much support as we had hoped, it did gain a few really awesome supporters. I had hoped it would make others more aware of the things they say, to us and in general. I can't say that this happened though. The problem is how little the general population know about infertility, let alone how little they understand it. This is why NIAW is so very important to those of us who are battling infertility and those who did battle it but overcame it. If people would take the time to learn just a little about infertility and how it emotionally can affect people, they could avoid causing a great deal of unintended pain. I made a post about Infertility Etiquette a few weeks ago, of an article posted by RESOLVE that truly gets to the heart of how peoples careless statements and questions cut us so deeply. And I will say it again: I wish I could make all of our family and friends read it and really truly reflect on it. I actually wish everyone would read it, so the world might be just a bit more respectful of the sensitivity that infertility brings.
My goal during this years NIAW, is to post multiple blog posts on Infertility and the importance of not ignoring it. Please jump over to my other blog, From Newlyweds to Parents, for these posts. The more we share about this, the more people we will reach.
So here's to hoping that this week will make millions more aware of infertility.