*Let me preface this by letting you know this is not an M-day post. I have nothing to add to what everyone else has already said. It sucks to be ignored on a day we so desperately want to be a part of. So carry on reading!
To many, infertility is a taboo subject. It deals with strong opinions (on all sides of the matter, and related topics), fragile feelings, and sexuality so I can understand the hesitation to discuss it openly. In that same line though, there are so many other issues that are very personal and people have no problem discussing, or inquiring about (even if it’s not their business) such as; sexual orientation, marriage (or relationships), money, ect. Over time it seems that awareness is being brought to all sorts of topics that were previously discussed in hushed tones, with disdain, sympathy, or shame and I can only hope that infertility will soon be brought out of the shadows.
I, for one, am in no way embarrassed about our infertility, but I still do not disclose it. The pain, the lack of understanding, and the private nature of it all is more than I am willing to reveal while I am still living it. There are those that do communicate, to gain support, and build a network around themselves. This is not my way, but kudos to those who are brave enough to share your journey openly, and unabashedly. I know at times it must be hard, and you may wish you never said anything at all. But once that Pandora’s Box has been opened it is impossible to return its contents.
We are here, we walk among the general public, 1 in 8. Look around, and chances are you do know someone other than yourself who has been touched by infertility. We are here, but we are not seen. I have noticed more discussion of infertility in the media, whether it be celebrity pregnancies, or tv dramas, but it still feels restricted and unrealistic. It’s as though Hollywood cannot paint a real picture of infertility. They may start out on the right track showing the pain, and the heartbreak it can bring but in the end they always ruin the progress by ending with a surprise pregnancy or a breezy journey through IF treatment.
Sex and the City started out doing well, showing Charlotte struggle trying to get pregnant, natural and then with fertility drugs. How it destroyed her marriage, and put her friendship with Miranda on the rocks when Miranda became “accidentally” pregnant. I watched Sex and the City well before I had had any IF struggles of my own, so I didn’t pay much attention to the storyline than I normally would have. But after the show ended, and Charlotte had adopted a little girl from China with her new husband, they had to make a movie, wherein Charlotte (now 40-something) accidentally gets pregnant. Almost, S&TC, almost.
I find infertility is mentioned vaguely in lots of tv shows, books, and movies but never is there a true and real representation with an outcome befitting of real life. I am glad it is being talked about at all, but if the majority of people are getting their information about infertility from the entertainment industry then we’re doomed.
Obviously I notice infertility related subject matter a lot more now, as it relates to me. And I have to say I am pleased that there is more of it than I would have first thought. But that’s just it, when it wasn’t a priority to me I never even noticed it out in the world. I had been vaguely exposed to recurrent pregnancy loss, and surrogacy in my own family, and of course had that friend of a friend who had done IVF. If it doesn’t directly affect an individual, then it just doesn’t register. This is another reason why I have a hard time putting my IF out there, who is going to care? I know that’s a pessimistic point of view, and is not entirely true but it’s how I feel right now.
It doesn’t stop me from doing what I can to share information, and lend my voice where I can, because if I thought it was absolutely futile, I wouldn’t bother at all. But it is hard to put myself out there, and unfortunately a bit of a difficult concept for someone else to understand if they’ve never experienced such a unique loss of self, and mourning for something that maybe never was, or lasted only fleetingly.
So here we are, millions of us walking the same path. The rest of the world around us, unaware of our struggles and us wondering who can see through the facade.