I wasn’t sure what to write for National Infertility Awareness Week this year. I haven’t been having much time to blog, and I haven’t been very connected to the ALI community online, which doesn’t seem to have the vibrancy that it did several years ago. But I still need to do something for NIAW, and at this point that means writing.
The theme for this year’s NIAW is Listen Up. That theme says a lot to me because of where I’ve been and where I’ve come on this journey. I originally started my blog to encourage people to listen and to not be part of the problem of silence and shame that surrounds infertility. Along the way, I encountered a wide range of willingness to listen and understand. There have been people who told me they were glad I was speaking up because they did not feel like they could do the same. There have been people who were supportive and glad to learn more. There have been people who have shared information for me to listen to, and who listened in return.
There have also been a large number of people who don’t want to listen, who just want me to shut up and be a good little girl and not talk about things that people don’t want to hear about. The people who told me that no one really wants to know how I feel. The people who told me that infertility isn’t something to be open about. The people who acted like they wanted to listen, told me they wanted me to talk to them about how they felt, and then hid from me, talked about me behind my back for being open, used my feelings and my needs against me.
To them I say, Listen Up. I am here, I am open, and I am not going anywhere. I will not sit down and shut up and let you pretend that infertility is a dirty little secret that people deserve or that nice people don’t talk about. I refuse to be silent, because in silence hides shame. I refuse to be ashamed for having a medical condition, and I refuse to be ashamed for wanting a child or for wanting another child. I refuse to be ashamed of my feelings and my experience. So Listen Up.