National Infertility Awareness Week: How to #StartAsking and Support Family Building
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
I don't know what it's like to receive a diagnosis of infertility. When it took me nearly a year to conceive our first child, my fertility appointment got changed to my first prenatal visit as I found out I was pregnant after months of trying. I don't know how devastating that diagnosis can feel, so I'm not going to act like I can understand what a couple is going through as they learn that news.
Many of you are like me, in the 90% of couples who are able to conceive within a year of trying. But, apart from actually having the babies in our arms, we are exactly like the other 10% of mothers and fathers waiting to hold their precious bundles of joy. We have felt the desire to want an expression of our devotion to raise as our own. We have known the gut-wrenching love inside of us waiting to erupt into the next generation. We understand the soulful yearning that echoes beyond our own purpose into something bigger than ourselves. In this, we are united. We are parents...with babies or without.
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, and it's a silent epidemic on relationships that many are too confused or uncomfortable to address. But, as long as we're all here on this crazy planet together, I think we need to do our best to raise awareness and support for those couples who are holding up love and patience in the wings. If it takes a village to raise a child, then the village helps now and not just after the pregnancy test turns pink.
You probably know someone who has had trouble conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy. Most of us know stories of miraculous conceptions, incredible adoptions, or IVF success. When we know a couple is trying, it can be awkward and difficult to know what to say or how to help. But, many times, we don't know the intimate details of a couple's struggle. Often, as the topic is sensitive and unique for each couple, we simply don't know who may be walking through this tender and challenging season.
RESOLVE.ORG is the website for the National Infertility Association and they've started a campaign to help #StartAsking how to support couples dealing with infertility. There is a myriad of resources and information on the website for couples, family, and friends who want to help with this issue.
Not sure where to start?
Here's a great List of 25 Things To Say (And Not To Say) To Someone Living With Infertility
You can also learn about Fertility Facts here or Reproductive Facts so that you can educate yourself and build the support you or your friends need through this journey.
While I may not personally know the journey of infertility, it's a topic I study a lot in my research for helping couples and families. I fill in the gaps of my experience with facts and testimonies that help me gain understanding. And I try to empathize as much as possible, using other experiences I've had that remind me what it's like to have dreams crushed or hopes unraveled.
The feeling of disappointment is universal, so you have something to offer to this community even if infertility hasn't been part of your personal narrative.
Building awesome families is close to my heart, and my own little brood was loved long before I held them in my arms. If you're reading this, you probably relate!
Pray for those couples still waiting in the wings, be sensitive and compassionate, and do what you can to learn more. You never know who God will place in your path that might become part of the incredible village that is raising our next generation.
For those waiting to hold babies... I love you. I might not know who you are, but your patience and strength are incomprehensible. I hope with you. I pray with you. I believe that God has placed a calling on you in this time and season for a purpose greater than anything we can know or feel right now. And I have faith in the Heavenly Father that the beyond-yourself-love that you possess will not go unused. I lay your desires at His feet and I wait with you.
Psalm 130:5 NIV
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
UPDATE: Below is a helpful info-graphic made by the team at OvulationCalculator.com who offered it to me to share with you! Check out their website for more helpful tips about #NAIW and how to #StartAsking.