This Runner's Trials

Don’t ignore…

April 22- 28, 2012 is National Infertility Awareness Week. This year's theme is "don't ignore infertility."


This theme really resonates with me. So much about infertility is ignored, and it shouldn't be that way.

Don't ignore how widespread infertility is. One in 8 couples will have trouble getting and/or staying pregnant (source). Likewise, don't take your fertility for granted. In women, fertility declines steadily after age 32 (source).

Don't ignore your body. The pill is a wonderful birth control option for many couples. But it also hides fertility problems. I was on the pill for 10 years and had no clue I didn't ovulate until I stopped taking it. When you're on hormonal birth control, you don't ovulate or get your period. That bleeding you have every month is simply withdrawal bleeding from the drop in synthetic hormones (source). The only way to learn about your body is to get off hormonal birth control and note what happens. I'm not saying you should start trying for a baby before you're ready, but there are other non-hormonal birth control options out there.

Don't ignore your symptoms. Not getting your period regularly may seem like a blessing, but it's really anything but. On the same note, periods are not supposed to be really painful. Educate yourself on what's normal and what's not (check out this Mayo Clinic article). If you're younger than 35 and have been unable to get pregnant (or carry a pregnancy to a live birth) after one year of unprotected, regular sex, see a reproductive endocrinologist. If you're 35 or older, see an RE after 6 months (source).

Don't ignore your feelings. Going through infertility made me feel a lot of "shameful" emotions. I eventually learned that everything I felt was normal. Trying to hide my feelings just made things worse. Don't be afraid to speak up. Share how you feel with your partner, friends, family, doctor, and/or a therapist.

Don't ignore people suffering from infertility. Infertility is a disease. Just like any other debilitating condition, it robs you of the possibility of your future. Sadly, infertility is still somewhat stigmatized and it's hard for some of us to open up about our illness. When someone with infertility tells you what they're going through, please don't ignore them. You likely wouldn't ignore a loved one with cancer, so please also support those going through infertility.

Don't ignore your past. Most of you will become infertility success stories. Though just because you have a baby now doesn't mean you should forget where you've been. Remember how it felt to be on the exam table right before an ultrasound, eager to see if you had a shot at ovulating that month. Remember staring at the phone all day, praying it would ring so you could hear the results of your beta. Remember the vicious cycle of hope, angst, anticipation, and grief that you went through for months on end. You may have "beat" infertility, but don't forget about it. Support those still suffering.

Don't ignore hope. Your path to parenthood may be long and full of dead ends, but you will become a mommy someday, someway. <3


You can learn more about the basics of infertility here and about National Infertility Awareness Week here.

Comments (15) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I had no idea it is national infertility week! Thanks for spreading the word!

  2. Thumbs up for this!

    Wyatt is surely a miracle and is loved by all his bloggy aunties ;)

  3. Great post Jen! I’m working on my post for this right now too.

  4. Beautiful post! It’s so true that infertility is downplayed and ignored… I was so frustrated how few people were talking about it when we were struggling to get pregnant, and I made it a point to share our journey because that was helpful and healing for me.

  5. <3 thank you for being such and amazing and supportive friend!

  6. such an important topic — i didn’t realize it was IF week! so important and close to home. <3

  7. Such a good post and SO TRUE on all accounts you listed! Great job spreading the word and getting the message out :)

  8. Thank you for posting this. Infertility can be a lonely world :)

  9. Thank you for this. I’ll never forget that waiting room at the RE, where everybody tries to avoid eye contact with each other, like we all have this embarrassing and contagious disease, when it is anything but!

  10. great post. I didn’t realize how widespread it was honestly until you were having problems getting pregnant and you educated me on it. :) Did you find a “winner” to give wyatt to yet? :)

  11. Great post, Jen — thank you for bringing attention this. I’m sure your story and openness about infertility has helped so many.

  12. Beautiful Post! (And I had NO IDEA that that your body didn’t have a real period when on birth control. This is knowledge that all woman should be given!)

  13. Thanks for spreading some awareness. The hubs and I aren’t trying yet, but there’s definitely a worry in the back of my mind about issues that may come up. Quite a few of our friends have struggled, and it’s a lot more common than I imagined.

  14. SO true. From my end, the most supportive friends I have suffered through IF before going on to get pregnant. Their support has been truly invaluable!

  15. My struggle is not infertility, I can get pregnant but always miscarry (3 times now) :( There seem to be far fewer of us, I have had scads of tests without any cause identified. The grief and isolation I think might be very similar to the experiences of women struggling with infertility and I have been uplifted by your blog for some time now. Thanks for not forgetting the rest of us who aren’t there yet, it means a lot!

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