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When my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family, we went into the experience armed with the knowledge that we’d need fertility treatments, no matter what. What we didn’t know was that there was an actual, concerted effort to honor Infertility Awareness Month!
We knew that our journey to pregnancy would be difficult. After all, when dealing with PCOS infertility (me) mixed with a complete spinal cord injury (my husband), natural conception wasn’t the most likely occurrence.
So, we dove in headfirst and began the IVF process.
I felt weak, angry, and completely overwhelmed throughout the days, weeks, months, and moments of our cycle. While I was thrilled to have the chance to take these steps, the reality of the situation felt insurmountable.
My body was doing so many weird things; I was anxious about the results; and I was worn out from endless medications and daily trips back and forth to the doctor.
As with childbirth, though, when you finally see the silver lining at the end of a challenging experience, you can’t help but look back at the process with rose-tinted glasses while you appreciate how hard you worked to get there.
That is what Infertility Awareness Month is for me.
Why Do I Celebrate Infertility Awareness?
For me and my husband, Infertility Awareness Month is about looking back at one of the most difficult moments in my family’s life and feeling pride.
It’s about recognizing the struggle 1-in-8 couples are forced to deal with on their quest to becoming a family.
It’s about caring for the people who are still waiting for their happily ever after.
While infertility might not seem like something to celebrate, the efforts and turmoil of 6.1 million women diagnosed with fertility troubles each year in the United States deserve recognition.
For this reason, it’s essential to understand the importance of Infertility Awareness Month and the spotlight it shines on the infertility stories of people around the world who have fought, or continue to fight, to build the families they’ve been longing for.
Raising awareness is a great way to celebrate!
What is Infertility Awareness Month?
While National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), which occurs April 18-24, 2021, is a nationally-recognized movement started by Resolve, the National Infertility Association in 1989, Infertility Awareness Month is celebrated worldwide during the month of June.
During this period, countries come together to recognize the difficulties faced by men and women throughout the world who are struggling to get pregnant.
No matter what type of troubles you’re dealing with, this month is for you.
It’s an opportunity for education, support, and community that’s necessary for overcoming the battle of infertility.
Some of the most common reproductive challenges faced by people throughout the world include:
World Fertility Day
Another day that’s been crafted in support of infertility awareness is “World Fertility Day.” This movement was started in 2018 by Louise Brown, the world’s first IVF baby.
This day of celebration and recognition is not only meant to support individuals who have previously or are currently struggling with infertility, but it’s also meant to break down the walls about reproductive troubles and how we talk about them (or, in most cases, how we have neglected to talk about themO.
All too often, many of us who have difficulty conceiving are too scared to speak out about our troubles. Despite our advancing society, the topic still feels taboo and misunderstood.
The purpose of holidays such as World Fertility Day and National Infertility Awareness Month, is to bring these struggles to light and educate people worldwide about them.
How Can You Celebrate Infertility Awareness Month?
From sporting an infertility awareness ribbon to busting out your infertility awareness colors, there are various things you can do to show your support for Infertility Awareness Month.
1. Wear an Infertility Awareness Ribbon
The infertility awareness ribbon features a beautiful pink and blue design. This ribbon not only signifies your support for infertility awareness, but it also recognizes similar issues, such as:
- Pregnancy Loss
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Birth Defects
- Premature Birth
There are many great products available that feature the infertility awareness ribbon, such as:
2. Put On an Orange Shirt
If you go to the Resolve website, you’ll notice that they heavily feature the color orange. That’s because it’s been deemed the official infertility awareness color.
Featured prominently during National Infertility Awareness Week, you’ll notice many supporters wearing the color orange throughout infertility events. In fact, there’s even a #WearOrange campaign to get more people involved.
Why orange, you might be asking?
Orange is known as a color that conveys a sense of wellbeing, compassion, and warmth. Three very important things that should be provided to any individual who’s struggling with infant loss and infertility!
3. Talk About Your Personal Struggles with Infertility
While it might seem strange to think that some people don’t know the infertility meaning, the sad reality is that it’s true. Sure, most of us understand that some people struggle to get pregnant, but that doesn’t mean we fully comprehend the trials and tribulations they face day-to-day.
If you’re looking for a way to participate in National Infertility Awareness Month, why not start talking?
In my situation, for example, it took me a long time to open up to people about our conception journey.
Then one day, it hit me.
While I was looking around our fertility doctor’s waiting room, I discovered how far-reaching this issue could be.
Despite age, ethnicity, education, or career, no person is exempt from dealing with reproductive troubles.
I started wondering how many people in my life were facing similar problems.
So, what did I do?
Hopped on Facebook, of course!
I laid out our situation and opened up to the people I was “social media friends” with. At the end of my post, I offered my support and understanding to anyone else who was walking a similar path. I was shocked when various individuals spoke up and admitted they were in the same boat.
As human beings, we find comfort in connection. We like the idea of having someone close to us who understands what we’re dealing with.
If you’re willing to speak out during National Infertility Awareness Month, you never know what kind of joy and support you could be offering someone else.
4. Share a Message of Support
Let’s say that you don’t feel ready to share your entire infertility story. There are still ways to provide fertility support to other people in our community.
Maybe instead of posting about your troubles, you could share a fact about infertility. Another option is to write a general message that showcases your recognition and encouragement for anyone who’s having a difficult time conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy.
If you’re having a hard time deciding what to share in your post, why not consider one of these inspiring infertility awareness quotes:
- “And sometimes against all odds, against all logic, we still hope.” – Grey’s Anatomy
- “Be gentle with yourself. You are doing the best you can.” – Paulo Coelho
- “Fertility may have challenged us, but we are stronger for it.” – Unknown
- “Forget all the reasons why it won’t work and believe the one reason why it will.” – Ziad K. Abdelnour
- “The struggle is part of the story.” – Unknown
5. Volunteer or Attend an Infertility Awareness Month Event
If your community has a local Resolve chapter, or you find out there’s going to be an infertility awareness month celebration, why not attend?
Whether you go to receive support or lend it, your presence could make a significant difference to someone who needs it.
Embrace National Infertility Awareness Month 2021 and Make it Count
For most of us, myself included, we never imagined that an inability to conceive or carry a baby would become a part of our lives.
While it’s easy and understandable to feel defeated by the challenge of infertility, never forget how strong you are.
In my eyes, when a person is yearning for a child and trying desperately to have one, they are a warrior.
We, the infertility and child loss survivors of the world, are stronger than we realize. Embrace that strength and bring it to someone else who needs it. Take advantage of all that National Infertility Awareness Month and Infertility Awareness Week have to offer, and let your story inspire and educate the people around you.
It’s time to open ourselves up and latch onto the respect and admiration we deserve for the complicated yet beautiful journey we’ve had to navigate together.
What will you be doing to participate in National Infertility Awareness Month 2021?
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.