Silent Sorority was the first book I ordered when searching for infertility books on Amazon five years ago. It was one of the only books I could find with a healthier message. It also inspired me to write Ever Upward to join Pamela in shouting our missions of difficult conversations and healthier messages into this world. Little did I know the fellow warrior I would come to find and know in Pamela. I am excited and honored Pamela agreed to share her #MoreThan1in8 submission with you all. We have a little less than two weeks before National Infertility Awareness week and I need more courage, more voices and more support. You can read more about the project here, I hope I squash any qualms you may have about going public there.
If we want more understanding and compassion from our world, we must tell our stories and ask for what we want and need. Help me to end the silence that surrounds infertility and loss by participating in this project.
Because together, we are #MoreThan1in8.
A Tale of Surviving and Thriving – What’s Yours?
We live in an era where scientific and medical breakthroughs in the fertility world are a double edge sword. While we instinctively cheer for fertility successes, society — and the medical community in particular — lack a framework to help process the losses when success is elusive.
Nothing in our otherwise modern life fully prepares us for an infertility diagnosis. For those in the confounding ‘unexplained infertility’ category it can be particularly difficult to pick up the pieces and imagine surviving, let alone thriving. Those of us who have lived it know all too well there are no clear instructions on what it takes to embark on a life path that doesn’t involve parenting following fertility treatment losses. As I look back on that difficult period of life, there were many emotional and practical considerations that led us to acknowledge that it was time for us to find a way to move on.
In 2007, I began the long, slow process of healing and surviving by creating a safe place for me and other women embarking on a new life after confronting infertility. My first blog was appropriately titled Coming2Terms. An added benefit to opening up about the personal challenges that infertility inflicted has been exploring a universe of ideas and connecting with a remarkable set of women and men who are also busy healing, surviving and reinventing themselves.
My blog — and later books and advocacy work — have brought forth new understanding about the complex effects of infertility and catalyzed an important cultural discussion. Together with women like Justine and others around the globe, we continue to foster support and further education about the infertility experience. The stigmatization and pain is further complicated, we’ve learned, by an avoidable trauma: abandonment by fertility clinics more interested in securing a new customer than in providing compassionate care to those grieving when science and Mother Nature don’t result in a pregnancy or live birth. The lack of palliative care is particularly harsh for those reeling with complex emotions. Sadly patient abandonment is prevalent in the fertility industry. In the past decade a chorus of voices has emerged calling for change.
In sharing what we’ve learned we not only offer camaraderie and celebrate new beginnings we ensure the next generation will be well informed and benefit from lessons learned.
To those just embarking on the path, I can assure you that after my grieving ended a lightness, an effervescence returned not only to my marriage, but to my friendships and relationships. I’ve tapped into a well of strength and resilience I didn’t know existed. The love, acceptance and compassion have nurtured hope and happiness in a different form.
In thriving we have helped to showcase families after infertility in a new light.
We continue today, my husband and me, to push forward, to shape and define a life outside the more conventional path of parenting. We challenge each other to uncover new possibilities, to seek new adventures and discoveries that will enrich our understanding of the world and our place in it. That’s exactly what we would have encouraged our children to do.