I went public with the struggles my husband and had to have a baby during National Infertility Awareness Week. This year I write from a different perspective but still with the same goal: to raise awareness of the impact infertility has on one in eight couples across this country.
I am now blessed to be pregnant. Some days I still want to be pinched to see if it truly did happen for us.
But in a way I’ve not moved on from infertility.
My heart still breaks for those I know who are struggling. How we announced on Facebook was shaped by the gut wrenching pain of seeing sonogram photo announcements for years while we tried – some people announcing their second child while we struggled for our first. An announcement was hard enough but a sonogram picture always felt like an extra twist of the knife so we didn’t post ours.
The years of trying did bring a positive benefit though. I’m treasuring every moment, every second of sonograms, every beat we hear of our baby’s heart, and every smile of congratulations we receive. I could have imagined those would be a positive side to our struggle ending, but another ray of light has happened quite unexpectedly.
I’ve been told by several friends that my story offers hope. I truly hope it does. And that’s why I continue to share my story. I continue to keep up with the infertility community on Twitter. I answer questions from friends and I’m REALLY quick to point out how long this journey took us. I know that when we were in the midst of our journey it felt like we were the only ones to ever walk it. Until I shared with friends I had no idea that most of our friends had dealt with it in one way or another.
So I’ve made it my mission to speak up so that others may realize sooner than I did that they are not alone on this journey. I’ve experienced nothing more lonely than the private pain my husband and I shared for almost a year. We were lucky to be coming into it already a strong couple who rely on each other, but for those couples whose bond is weakened by the journey it can be even tougher. While I’m still sharing my story to help provide hope, I realize that unfortunately not every couple who wants to have a baby will have the happy ending they picture in their heads. But it is my hope that if we all talk more about the impact of infertility the road for all will get a little easier.
Because while it may sound cheesy when everything else seems stacked up against you, sometimes having that kernel of hope is all that gets you through.
Jennifer Erickson is a Sr. Public Relations Specialist for Texas Health Resources who is expecting her first child in October.