Last night I had one of the coolest conversations that I've had in a little while. The best part, is, we recorded the whole thing. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week and I wanted to participate in the #startasking dialogue, not just with sound bytes or with a scripted narrative, but a candid, meaningful conversation between people who really want to see the infertility community receive the recognition they deserve. So I invited a few cool people to chat on Blab.
- Chris and Candace Wohl, are a married couple who have been on their infertility journey for nine years. They have a daughter through surrogacy and they write the blog, Our Misconception.
- Angela Bergmann and her husband have unexplained infertility. Angie writes the blog, Rad Kitten, and she leads an infertility peer support group in Ohio.
- Fran Meadows struggled with infertility for seven years. After she had her son she decided to break the silence about her experience and author the book, The Truth Behind the Secret "Infertility".
Despite no shortage of technical difficulties, Mid-Atlantic thunderstorms, and Blab still being in beta (Watch this at 2:38 if you don't mind the f bomb), we farmed some really valuable ideas from our talk. Here's what you missed
On speaking out about infertility
"#startasking doesn't have to be about your personal infertility. We need people to start asking their employers, and doctors, and healthcare providers and anyone who will listen to give us access to the family building options that we just don't have access to right now". --Angie
"It's up to you to set the boundary of what you're willing to share and what you're not willing to share. Maybe you don't want to share anything at all and that's totally fine. You set those boundaries at the beginning".--Angie
" For the first two to three years of our journey we didn't tell anyone. We didn't have any support. We weren't seeking counseling." We didn't know about organizations like RESOLVE. I just felt alone."--Candace
"Before we had our son, I felt like it was easier for my husband and I to deal with it as a couple than to open it up to the world to know every step we were going through."--Fran
"It is very common, that people keep silent [about infertility]. There are so many people that are afraid to open up and they relate to someone who felt their pain".--Fran
"Being able to talk to me, since I've always been open about infertility has helped people figure out that maybe they were being silent not necessarily because they wanted to, but because they didn't know how to broach the topic with their family members."--Angie
"We decided to take our struggle and make something positive out of it."--Candace
"Even though we have our daughter, we still are infertile. Somehow getting all these voices together and talking about what we go through makes it that much easier" --Chris
"You can set boundaries with your family members: this is what I need from you, this is what I don't need from you."--Angie
"We realized that we needed to debunk the stigma. We need to help other couples who may be on the fence. We need to help couples who may not know there are options like counseling and organizations like RESOLVE that can help".--Candace
On the misunderstanding of infertility as a disease
"There's just a lot of misunderstanding as to what the options really are."--Chris
"I don't have to have had a child to have beaten infertility. I beat infertility every day because I own it. It's a disease. I could have five kids I'm still going to be infertile."--Angie
"The number one thing I get from people is 'well if you're having trouble having kids, that means you just get all kinds of sex, right?'. There's going to be a whole series of bedroom antics that have nothing to do with having fun".--Chris
"It's a disease. Would you be afraid to tell your family that you had diabetes?" --Angie
"Adoption solves the need for children. It doesn't solve infertility."--Angie
On being your own advocate
"Millennials are hungry for information. The key is to provide them with the right information. They need to look at SART data, at ASRM, at the CDC, and they need to look at RESOLVE. It's all about being your own advocate and taking this information to your RE".--Candace
"Being your own advocate gives you more confidence knowing what you're doing getting into whatever treatment you choose. The doctor is the doctor, but sometimes you have to question certain things to know that you are making the right decision."--Fran
"If REs have that bedside manor where they appreciate you asking questions it helps you move forward in the journey with trust". --Fran
On taking action to make a change
"We need to get more people to advocacy day. We're never going to make a change until they see 1,000 of us walking to our appointments. We need to get laws passed to get the national recognition we need".--Angie
"There's so many people who are angry and who want change. You can do it. You have a choice. You have the right as a U.S. citizen to make a change. Join us and change the world so that family building is no longer a financial barrier. So that people can get treatment for their disease. This isn't an elective. This is a disease. RESOLVE's Advocacy Day is May 11, and we're so close to 200 advocates".--Candace
"Millennials want to make a change. That's what they do. They get loud and they make change".-Angie
"Use your voice on the phone, with your e-mail, with your letters. Even if you can't make it [to advocacy day], you can still be really involved".--Fran
"[Advocacy Day]" is truly the most overwhelming and empowering day of your infertility journey to be able to take that moment of control".--Angie
"If you can't make it to DC, you can still support us. Take a look at resolve.org/advocacyday or follow us on social media and we'll lead you in the right direction".--Candace