I have been asked why I write so much about infertility. People close to me know that my wife and I had a long road down a painful medically assisted conception trail before our daughter was born through IVF. Our story was not the saddest or the longest by any stretch of the imagination but it was difficult for us. For every family story you hear about loss and fertility treatment miscues you will hear another story later that trumps it in tragedy. Ours and others personal fertility stories are intimately ours and each tale is equally painful to the families involved. When my daughter was born I remember the doctors telling us we were one of the calmest couples they had seen in a long time. We were calm because even on the day our daughter was done there was a part of us too frightened to believe our journey was coming to the desired end. My wife had her tubes tied during the same appointment our daughter was born. With this act we quietly closed a chapter of our life neither of us had gambled for. We wanted to leave well enough alone and not tempt fate with another effort. We knew we were lucky and that seemed good enough at the time.
It would have been easy enough to forget all the doctor’s appointments, needles, losses, and tears that we endured in our story. Who wants to relive that stuff anyway? Shortly after my daughter was born I wrote a book about our journey a story I narrated directly to my infant daughter. I wanted her to know what a hero and inspiration her Mommy is. I wanted her to know the love we share that got her here. Heaven forbid that when my baby is an adult she has infertility issues. If she does I wanted her to know that infertility issues are not a “NO” but rather a “No Way I Will Accept NO” proposition. When I was done with the book I was emotionally exhausted and started to think about the amazing doctors, nurses, and other families I had met. When I put the book out as an E-Book I went to publicize our story and I found a slew of amazing sites like Resolve, Attain Fertility, 999 Reasons to Laugh and Infertility, and Faith N Fertility. I read comments people left on these sites about their story. The more I discovered the more insignificant my book felt in the scope of things. I could feel and understand their pain in their type alone. My wife and I did not know these places existed when our story began. My wife was on 8 months bed rest with nothing but her thoughts and fears to keep her company (and a kitten named Pancakes). We were aware of no one that could share stories, knowledge, and hope. We are both educated people but it just never occurred to us to reach out to others. I wish there were other women to hear my wife’s voice then. They were there we just did not seek them out.
I decided after finding these sites online that it means a lot to me to write about our story and how we felt. There is a big difference between writing about the book and trying to be an informal advocate. The book is our story but to advocate my recollection of our thoughts, feelings, and actions during our journey is something different all together. When reading remarks on various sites I saw that some women were so guilty that they were mad at pregnant women but that is normal. I saw how much women doubted their self and maybe even their worth. It made me realize that when our daughter was born so was a deep need to let others know it will be okay and you are not alone, you are normal to feel anger, and most of all you are very valuable as a person. The drive a family has to have a baby is one of the most inspirational stories I can think of. In the comments I found online I saw my wife. I was reminded of her tears and a level of self doubt that sometimes bordered on self loathing. If even one of my short bursts of words can help someone feel better for a minute then the time spent is well spent. I beg all families that have had success to not leave the community. If you can in any form comment from time to time on one of the pages. Offer hope to others still in the battle. You will not always say the right thing but if you keep trying you may give someone a moment of calm when they realize they are not on an island alone.
If you can I urge you to go to Resolve.ORG to read more about their Day of Advocacy in Washington DC on April 25, 2012. Go to Attain Fertility and write on the Wall of Hope. Also join a Walk Of Hope in a handful of cities this spring and summer. Dates can be found at Resolve.org. I mentioned that when we tied my wife’s tubes our journey was done. Maybe I was incorrect as we are now considering a new journey…..adoption. I love you all and best of luck.