Thankful Thursday - National Infertility Awareness Week - Supporting the 1 in 8

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  Did you know that 1 in 8 couples struggle to start a family?  If you didn’t know the statistics were that high, it is because often the couples will hide behind their shame and disappointment and don’t share their experiences publicly.  Some couples get so tired of having to tell their excited loved ones that they had another miscarriage or failed transfer that they stop sharing.  They attend baby showers and birthday parties wanting to be happy for their friends and family but in reality, it just makes it harder.  National Infertility week is all about building awareness about what is going on all around us and even in our own circles.  If you haven’t experienced this struggle yourself you may not fully understand, but you don’t have to in order to make a difference- Sometimes being there is enough. By giving someone a safe space to be vulnerable, you are allowing them to open up and share their raw emotions in the safety of your friendship. 

By some crazy chance, Mary (my former intended mother, now business partner) found out she was pregnant the week before 2 of her embryos were going to be transferred into my uterus, as her gestational surrogate.  Unfortunately, the morning of my transfer she had yet another devastating miscarriage.  Although I have never experienced this myself, I am thankful she was willing to be vulnerable and honest with me so I could better understand what she was going through.  During our entire journey, she never hid her emotions or the times she felt angry at her body or sad that she couldn’t carry her own children.  Even though her children were now growing inside of me, she still felt the emotions from all the previous loss and was in a process of healing.  Had she not opened up about what she was going through, I would have naively carried her children thinking everything in her world was now okay.

While I myself didn’t struggle with infertility, I am thankful to have been a part of the journey of 1 in 8.  I have seen what awareness can do to decrease to the stigma and shame of infertility.  No one should have to hide behind their struggle.  They should be wrapped around by their communities and especially their circles.