I know last year I took part in the National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) blogger challenge. I may have rooted up an old blog post. I can't for the life of me remember what the prompt was, and what my response was.
(Fast forward to this year's prompt... You are not alone. And this post still remains my favorite in the infertility category. So here I am, reposting it for 2015)
But I knew I participated.
I may have done it out of a sense of "Advocacy Day" is approaching, I can't be the non-blogger of the bloggers.
I may have done it out of a moment of inspiration.
I can't snapshot the moment.
And then I see this year's prompt. "Resolve to know more ..."
And I thought, YECK. I don't want to write about this.
I don't want to write all clinicy, and facty, and diagnosy. And I definitely don't want to write about parenting on the other side of infertility.
We cover that enough here.
So I wasn't going to write.
I stewed for a week about how to approach what I need you to know more about.
You know about my journey.
You know about IUIs and follicle counts and placenta previa.
You know about the facts.
But you don't know about the story that I carry in my backpack every day. And you definitely don't know about the stories I have connected to in this process.
You don't know about the moment when my Dad and I discussed infertility through the spectrum of what was advertised in the bulletin for his Catholic church.
You don't know how it sticks in my head that as I was walking across the north side of the Capitol on Advocacy Day last year, and somehow faith came up. And my Ohio gals-- they were all struggling with a faithful place for their diagnosis.
You don't know how a military Mom and a librarian and a Floridan and lawyers and teachers and social workers and lobbyists and virtual strangers connect via Twitter to support each other's fertility journey, because it is the only safe place to talk.
You don't know about the rituals we all have. The pineapple. The lucky socks. What I ate for breakfast that day or didn't eat. The shows I watched, and the twinges I watched out for.
You don't know the fear of a cramp. What does that cramp mean? Is that a bad cramp or a good cramp?
You don't know about the friend who hosted a baby shower when dealing with a recent fertility blow.
Or the time you sat in a Pain Quotidien and she wept and you wept with her.
You don't know about the ones you were scared to call when you were successful.
And the joy you felt when they were.
You don't know that secondary infertility is a real thing, and that it takes a second chair often, because grieving families feel so self-labeled selfish.
You don't know about the "fertidar". The knowing someone is struggling just with the way they answer, the "Do you have kids?"
You can't believe you asked that to a newish husband friend. You have the sensitivity to not do it for the women, and are mortified you let it slip on a dad-aspirant.
You don't know about the race against time. The hoping your friends don't read these stories. The hoping they will ask you advice so you can give it. Unvarnished.
You don't know the story, financing, heartstrings, and courage behind the choice of adoption.
You don't know about how commonplace miscarriages are. And how rarely people talk about them.
You don't know about the adoptions vs. procedure vs. budget vs. possibility battle. The feeling that finances control everything.
You don't know about the soldier who lost motility due to a roadside bomb but still yearns to build a family.
Or the twinge she gets when someone had it easy.
Or the fact that she'd love a bigger house, but she spent her down payment to build a family.
So my NIAW challenge: Resolve to know more about the stories.
About the people behind the diagnoses.
That's some knowing more I can get behind.
Post script for 2015: If you were sent here by a friend or message to submit a letter for RESOLVE Advocacy Day, here's how: We have over 150 advocates attending, from 27 states, but in lieu of being there, we still need letters of support from EVERY STATE. A template letter can be found here: http://familybuilding.resolve.org/site/PageServer?pagename=advday_letters . If you email it to me, I promise to hand-deliver.
You are not alone.