As part of the National Infertility Awareness Week (#NIAW #flipthescript) Julie Medley shares here story a former patient at PREG and proud adoptive mom!
Don’t ignore the opportunity to share your infertility story with others. Many of you
are scared or embarrassed to talk about your struggle. I understand that. I’ve been
there, so I really do. I know it’s a very personal choice. However, you can tell your
story in a broad sort of way without sharing intimate details because let’s face it, some
things simply aren’t other people’s business. I know being open and advocating isn’t
for everyone, but I just wanted to share a piece of my story and some things for you to
consider. For me, the benefits outweigh any possible negatives but I didn’t realize this
until more than a decade into my struggle with infertility. For so long I felt isolated,
ashamed and broken. I was silent about it for years and for various reasons, including,
not wanting to hear any negative opinions and comments from others who didn’t
understand. And I was in a bit of denial…
After adopting my precious sons, my heart became so full! I see purpose for all those
years of pain every time I look at their sweet faces and I’m thankful and blessed by
how my family was created! I began sharing our infertility story to some of the people
closest to me shortly before adopting my first son, and after he was placed with us, it
seemed that people started coming from everywhere wanting to talk to me about their
struggle to conceive. Where were they when I was suffering alone?? I’ll tell you where
they were. Quiet and suffering in silence, exactly where I used to be. Oh, how I wish I
would have been more open about it early on. I then started praying that God would
send women/couples to me that I would be able to help through the same pain that I
felt for so long, and how amazing is it that I was offered a position at PREG! Talk about
answered prayers! I have had the pleasure of talking with so many amazing women
who are struggling with this heartbreaking disease, and I feel so blessed to be a part of
a team that helps mend so many broken hearts.
Infertility is personal. It’s painful and isolating. If you put a group of women in a room
and ask them if they share their story with others or if they choose to keep their
infertility diagnosis a secret, everyone’s perspectives are so different! I’ve been on both
sides so I understand, and sharing your story is a very personal choice.
But to put things in perspective, there are so many things about infertility that I can’t
control. So, when I have the opportunity to take action on something that I can
control or influence, I will absolutely do it. Speaking out on behalf of myself and
others is my way of having some sense of control over this disease.
If you share your story, you will find that many people are extremely uneducated
about infertility — what it is, how it affects people, what treatment options are, etc.
You have a chance to change this. You have a chance to elevate this life altering
struggle in people’s hearts and minds. Once people know you are having trouble
conceiving…yes, they’ll say things like “just relax” and this becomes your chance to
educate them. Look at every misguided comment from others as an opportunity to set
the record straight! I now welcome these comments as it is a way to start a
conversation about infertility myths and facts. Can you imagine saving someone else
in your shoes from having to hear, “just relax?” How amazing would that be?!
You are in control. You control what to share, whom to share it with and when.
When people become aware of your infertility, you don’t always share details with
everyone. You can simply say that you are having problems with infertility and leave it
at that. And, you can always advocate for infertility without necessarily sharing
personal information. I know several people who came forward that had told no one
outside of their marriage, but me. So, I was happy that I could be that one person they
had to talk to about their problems. Can you imagine how lonely it would be? It really
doesn’t have to be. No one is in this alone, I can promise you that.
Infertility is a disease like any other and my hope is that more of us will fight back by
talking about it. We need to talk about infertility to educate others and build
awareness. We need to destroy the myths. We need you to put a face and a name to
this devastating disease.