I know you are probably trying to stay anonymous. They call infertility one of those “silent” things people deal with. It’s too hard to talk about casually, for one thing. It’s not like you can shake someone’s hand and say, “By the way, I can’t seem to have children.” I suppose you could, but it might be a little awkward. And besides, people get kind of weird when you talk about this. You can see them trying to figure out if they should unfriend you on Facebook you so that they can freely post their pictures of their kids. You can see them wanting to ask questions, like, “Well, are you sure you aren’t just too stressed out?” It can seem easier, really, to stay quiet and anonymous.
But I know you’re out there. I’ve seen glimpses of some of you. I know you’re out there because I’m out there, and I’ve been quiet too.
Being immersed in the world of social media when you struggle with infertility is hard. It’s hard to ignore the fact that there’s a whole segment of the online population categorized as “mommy bloggers.” It’s hard to see things on Pinterest like, “You haven’t really lived until you’ve tucked your kids in.” It’s hard to see all of the pictures of your friends’ children that show up in your Facebook stream. It’s hard, and it can feel overwhelming at times, to be inundated with conversations occurring between parents – conversations you can’t really participate in.
It’s hard to stay quiet. It’s hard not to yell at everyone to shut up. Just for a day.
It is hard, but it is not impossible.
I am here to tell you that you can make it in the online world, even with all of these nameless, quietly endured obstacles standing in your way. If you are thinking about shutting yourself away or unfriending people who post pictures of their kids, do not do it. You will come to a place, as hard as it may be to believe, where you will actually get great joy from watching these babies you know grow in the online world. These pictures, these conversations, they serve to remind you that even though you may not be able to bring your own children into the world, there are still tons of children out there to love. Some of them, like your friends’ babies, are really lucky. There are countless others who are not so lucky and who need our help. These are all good reminders to have.
I also want you to know, though, that you are not alone. Even as you sit there typing, not saying anything as these messages of pain and bitterness flash across your brain, you are not alone. There are people out here who know where you’re coming from. They may not say anything, but they are out there. They understand with no questions asked.
Some day, I hope society can evolve to the point where women AND men who struggle with infertility are not made to feel ashamed. I think medical professionals have a lot to do with that. I think family members have a lot to do with that. Infertility is not a badge of dishonor. It is not a scarlet letter I. It is a medical condition. Sometimes it is caused by other things. Sometimes nobody knows why. It should not be the “Silent” syndrome, however. My belief in that last point is why I wanted to write this post. I don’t want to be hush hush about this anymore. I don’t want it to be an everyday topic either, but I am not ashamed that this is something I have to deal with.
I don’t want you to feel ashamed either. And I don’t want you to feel alone.
You are not alone. I am here. And I’m just one.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/evelynized/6880359855 via Creative Commons