Infertility touches the lives of millions of Americans every year. If you haven’t been personally impacted by this painful experience, this may come as a surprise. That’s because talking about infertility is uncomfortable and challenging.
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. It’s a great opportunity to break the taboo around infertility — to increase public awareness of this painful ordeal that many hopeful parents across the country are experiencing at this very moment.
There’s a chance you are one of those hopeful parents. This blog is for you. The emotional pain caused by an infertility diagnosis is often amplified by a sense of loneliness. Isolation sets in when you feel like no one understands your experience, and society tells you not to talk about it.
We’re telling you that you can talk about it. Of course, only share when you feel comfortable. But, if you want to share your experience with others and find a sense of community during this difficult time, then this guide is for you.
Here are four helpful tips to break the conversational barrier around infertility, followed by a note about alternative family-building options.
Tips for Talking about Infertility
You are not obligated to share your experiences with infertility. We all cope with grief in unique ways, and you may not be ready to talk about it yet. If so, that’s okay.
If you do feel comfortable discussing infertility but aren’t quite sure how to do it, we hope these tips will be helpful.
1. Set Your Boundaries First
Consider what you are comfortable sharing and what you would like to keep private. Listen to your body when making these choices. At what point does your chest start to tighten up? When does your stomach turn to knots? That may be a sign that you’ve reached a line that isn’t worth crossing.
For example, you may be comfortable discussing infertility in general and acknowledging that you have dealt with it. But discussing how this impacted your relationship with your partner could be out-of-bounds. Know your personal boundaries before breaching the topic.
2. Identify People You Can Trust
Start small with your closest friends and family. You should feel safe when talking about your experiences. Discussing the things that have harmed us can be therapeutic, but only if you feel love reciprocated during the discussion.
Additionally, having these conversations with loved ones can act as test runs for later on, preparing you to discuss infertility with someone else.
3. Utilize Technology
We have the world at our fingertips like no other generation has before. The internet can be a great tool for you on this journey in more ways than one.
Researching the scope of the problem can help you fit your experience into a larger story. It can also bring solidarity (more on this below) as you realize you are far from alone. As you gain a better understanding of the broad impact of this diagnosis, it can help prepare you to educate others.
You can also use blogs and social media as a platform to tell your story. There are many things to consider before deciding to share personal details on such widely viewed platforms. However, if you are comfortable with it, many hopeful parents have found comfort in following along with other’s stories.
Social platforms can also be used to support awareness, such as the National Infertility Week #WearOrange campaign.
4. Seek Out Community
Forums and message boards can be an extremely helpful space to discuss infertility. These are spaces full of people who have shared experiences. There are pros and cons to seeking advice from online forums, but the right ones can be good places to share honestly. It also allows you to practice telling your story through text before you begin to share with others face-to-face.
More Ways to Start a Family
Family is more than biology. Family is defined by love.
Today, alternative family-building options are becoming more common and available. If you are ready to fulfill your dream of becoming a parent after an infertility diagnosis, you could consider one of these options.
- Adoption: If you are a hopeful parent, adoption is a beautiful way to start a family. There are several types of adoption to choose from, as well as many professionals that can assist you. American Adoptions is a full-service agency specializing in domestic infant adoption. You can request free information about adoption if you are interested in learning more.
- Surrogacy: The surrogacy process can be an amazing way to start a family. While still growing in popularity, it is now an accessible option for many. Our sister agency, American Surrogacy, is able to answer questions and provide additional information about this process.
You should never feel pressure to move toward a new family-building option. Take the time you need to heal from your diagnosis. That could be weeks, months or years.
If you reach a point when you are ready to consider starting a family through adoption, we would be happy to talk. You can call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with a specialist at any time.