I have always been very open with our struggle to have a baby. I am not sure why, but in part it is because I hate the shame associated with it all. Now, I don't tell everyone mind you. It's not like I inform the cashier at the grocery store that my fallopian tubes are defunct or anything. But when asked if we have children or if Maddie is our first baby I do share a bit. I usually answer that Maddie is our first and is our miracle baby. I will leave it at that unless they ask. This is my way of allowing others to not only learn about infertility but to share their struggles as well. Nine times out of ten the person will either ask about our struggle, share their own struggles or mention a friend or family member that has experienced infertility. I have even been asked for advice on how they can show their support to someone that is struggling. I feel that by being open I am doing my part to remove the shame of infertility.
Even with my level of openness I do realize that it is not for everyone. I have a good friend in the middle of her first IVF cycle and she has told no one but hubby and I and her parents. And her parents only out of necessity. This works for her and is where she is at in her life right now. I support that!! But I do sense the shame that she feels and think that is the reason for her hesitation. That is the part that hurts me. It hurts me for her. Diabetics to not live in shame. Cancer patients are not looked down upon. Why then is infertility different? Why is it that people will sympathize if I say that I have endometriosis but not have compassion on the infertility part? Why is a man emasculated for having sperm issues but made to feel macho if he gets a woman pregnant after a one night stand? Why does society place such an importance procreation? And it is not just procreation, but the ABILITY to do so? If you CHOOSE not to have children then that is fine, but the inability to have them is perceived differently. Why is that? I think that it is because that we, infertiles, have allowed it to be this way. I have come to realize that our country is a long way from understanding infertility and the emotional toll that it takes. I also realize that there is little that I can do about it. But the little that I do and the little that you do will add up to a lot. Maybe when Maddie is an adult infertility will be viewed differently. I pray that she never experiences what I have gone through, but if she does, I pray that she has the support of those around her to get her through it.