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#NIAW The Benefits of Sharing Your Infertility Story

As part of the National Infertility Awareness Week (#NIAW #flipthescript) Julie Medley shares here story a former patient at PREG and proud adoptive mom!  Don’t ignore the opportunity to share your infertility story with others.  Many of you are scared or embarrassed to talk about your struggle.  I understand that. I’ve been there, so I really do.  I know it’s a very personal choice.  However, you can tell your story in a broad sort of way without sharing intimate details because let’s face it, some things simply aren’t other people’s business. I know being open and advocating isn’t for everyone, but I just wanted to share a piece of my story and some things for you to consider.  For me, the benefits outweigh any possible negatives but I didn’t realize this until more than a decade into my struggle with infertility. For so long I felt isolated, ashamed and broken. I was silent about it for years and for various reasons, including, not wanting to hear any negative opinions and comments from others who didn’t understand. And I was in a bit of denial… After adopting my precious sons, my heart became so full! I see purpose for all those years of pain every time I look at their sweet faces and I’m thankful and blessed by how my family was created! I began sharing our infertility story to some of the people closest to me shortly before adopting my first son, and after he was placed with us, it seemed that people started coming from everywhere wanting to talk to me about their struggle to conceive. Where were they when I was suffering alone?? I’ll tell you where they were. Quiet and suffering in silence, exactly where I used to be. Oh, how I wish I would have been more open about it early on. I then started praying that God would send women/couples to me that I would be able to help through the same pain that I felt for so long, and how amazing is it that I was offered a position at PREG! Talk about answered prayers! I have had the pleasure of talking with so many amazing women who are struggling with this heartbreaking disease, and I feel so blessed to be a part of a team that helps mend so many broken hearts. Infertility is personal. It’s painful and isolating. If you put a group of women in a room and ask them if they share their story with others or if they choose to keep their infertility diagnosis a secret, everyone’s perspectives are so different! I’ve been on both sides so I understand, and sharing your story is a very personal choice. But to put things in perspective, there are so many things about infertility that I can’t control.  So, when I have the opportunity to take action on something that I can control or influence, I will absolutely do it.  Speaking out on behalf of myself and others is my way of having some sense of control over this disease. If you share your story, you will find that many people are extremely uneducated about infertility — what it is, how it affects people, what treatment options are, etc. You have a chance to change this.  You have a chance to elevate this life altering struggle in people’s hearts and minds.  Once people know you are having trouble conceiving…yes, they’ll say things like “just relax” and this becomes your chance to educate them. Look at every misguided comment from others as an opportunity to set the record straight!  I now welcome these comments as it is a way to start a conversation about infertility myths and facts. Can you imagine saving someone else in your shoes from having to hear, “just relax?”  How amazing would that be?! You are in control.  You control what to share, whom to share it with and when. When people become aware of your infertility, you don’t always share details with everyone. You can simply say that you are having problems with infertility and leave it at that.  And, you can always advocate for infertility without necessarily sharing personal information. I know several people who came forward that had told no one outside of their marriage, but me.  So, I was happy that I could be that one person they had to talk to about their problems.  Can you imagine how lonely it would be?  It really doesn’t have to be.  No one is in this alone, I can promise you that. Infertility is a disease like any other and my hope is that more of us will fight back by talking about it.  We need to talk about infertility to educate others and build awareness.  We need to destroy the myths. We need you to put a face and a name to this devastating disease.    

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