“Do You Tell Everyone About Infertility?”

That’s the question my husband asked me last night. Ha! Not in a bad way, just in a seriously interested {and maybe semi-concerned way.} I think he was wondering if I introduce myself like this: “Hi, my name is Ashley. I’m from Michigan and oh, did you know, I’m infertile?” {Sometimes I do wish I could wear a sign that warns people. Warning: I am extremely hormonal right now and if you ask for a piece of my chocolate bar, you will get dagger eyes.} 

I had just jumped in the car with him after he picked me up for the airport and was telling him all about the conference I attended, and proceeded to excitedly tell him that I met two other people how had gone through IVF. That’s when he asked me. I think he wonders how these things come up and I’ll admit, it’s a little weird that people who I don’t live near or just randomly meet know all about our fertility life, but his question really got me thinking about it all. {And in full disclosure, this was the same group of friends I had met from last  year’s conference, so it’s not like I got up on the podium at the opening session and announced it to the world.}

After he asked me that question, I couldn’t help thinking about how being so open can make others feel more comfortable in sharing their stories. I would have never known these two individuals had both experienced IVF if I hadn’t said the reason I wasn’t partaking in wine was because I was going through fertility treatments. Sure, you always feel a little weird saying it to an acquaintance at first, but I’m not one to sugar coat it or make something up, so I figured I’d just put it out there. As soon as I did she said, “Oh, I did IVF, too! We have my 7-year-old son from it.”  When I mentioned it to another guy, who didn’t hear me the first time say why I wasn’t drinking the grape nectar of the gods, he said, “Oh yep, we went through all of that too, with both kids.”

It creates this instant connection with people. Sure, none of us wish that’s what was bringing us together, but in all reality, it’s a really beautiful thing when a common experience brings awareness and allows others to open up and share their experience.

If I hadn’t been brave enough to share, I would have never known and it’s very likely, they would have never shared it. I have had this happen so many times and it creates this very driven desire for me to continue to share my story. Every journey is different, every path leads to a different ending and no, they’re not all happy, but I can’t help to think that the more I share, the more it becomes less taboo. The more others start opening up to me first.

It’s scary being so vulnerable sometimes, and I admittedly feel like I sometimes have to pretend to be stronger than I am because I’m so open, but I choose to think I have been given this opportunity to help others feel less scared and I’m going to boldly and bravely take it on. I know it’s not for everyone, and I respect that, but for those of us who are considered the “over-sharers” of the world, I think we can use our word-vomit type abilities for good.

I’m going to continue to share our story so that those who choose to forge forward more privately, have a voice too. I’m going to share our story so that infertility becomes less taboo. I’m going to share our story so that when someone’s IUI also didn’t work, they don’t feel so alone. I’m going to share our story so that when someone starts on Clomid, they know it’s normal to have those insanely feel-like-you-are-dying hot flashes.

I’m going to share our story. And you know what? Who knows. Maybe I’ll starting introducing myself as, “Hi, I’m Ashley. Going through fertility treatments.” Or get a button made. 🙂

And I’ll leave you with this.



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