Look around you…one-in-eight couples struggle with infertility. If you are one of these couples, it can be a very isolating feeling. Talking to those in our lives should come as a comfort, but here is still some sense of stigma surrounding the topic even though great strides have been made to normalize and support the cause. We’ve seen celebrities share their journeys as well as followed Reality TV storylines where infertility and TTC is at the forefront. Why then, is there still a gray area around how and when to share our own stories and struggles? How can we bring light to a topic that deserves positivity and understanding?
Everyone has a different comfort zone surrounding what they feel is a private matter versus a willingness to share. In a perfect world, couples struggling with infertility will feel support and love from their family and close social circles. But many times people on the other end of the conversation don’t know what to say…or say the wrong thing – “Just relax and stop stressing, it will happen.” Not helpful, but to be expected. This can make you want to clam up and keep your fertility struggle to yourself. Don’t! So much good can come from sharing your story.
Here, Cary L. Dicken, MD, from Sher Fertility Institute New York shares strategies to take the TTC conversation higher and on your terms:
- Know your boundaries. Have a plan for what you’re willing to share and what will remain between you and your partner. You may feel comfortable expressing your worries and thoughts, but not as stoked to reveal the results of your hubby’s SA. It’s ok to pick and choose what to keep close and when to reach out.
- Expect and be willing to educate those who may not know the ins and outs of fertility treatment. While dealing with infertility you quickly become an expert. Try not to perceive other’s lack of knowledge as disinterest or insensitivity. Teach them if they are important people in your life. Knowledge is power and the more people learn about infertility, the more open the conversation can become.
- Release feelings of shame (tough one)…no one struggling with infertility is failing. Seven million people are in your shoes. There is a community of support out there for you. Infertility support groups are a great way to share your feelings and to meet others who are going through similar experiences. To find a fertility support group in NYC, reach out to Sher Fertility Institute New York at (646) 792-7476.
None of the above are easy…but they are steps toward conquering the anxieties that can come along with talking about infertility. As you lend your voice, less and less stigma will remain. The willingness to talk will set you free and offer positivity and support to the other couples out there who may not know where to start the conversation. It is because couples talk about their infertility struggles that others are able to cope and find empowerment in their journey.