Friday, May 1, 2009

Seperation and connection

Tomorrow is the last day of National Infertility Awareness Week. I've read several blog entries that are a bit of an ode to infertility and even though I seem to be bringing up the rear of the pack with my recent starting of a blog I, too, would like to make a contribution to this week of awareness.

Resolve states that "the disease of infertility. . .affects 7.3 million Americans." 7.3 million Americans. Let me say that again, 7.3 million Americans. With 7.3 million brothers and sisters, I wonder why I feel so alone.

Infertility separates us. Rarely do you find casual conversations about infertility. It is not a water cooler kinda topic. Are people afraid that the karma of the disease will find them if they mention or even think about such a topic? Are they scared that they will get that bit of ugliness on them if they stand too close to one who suffers? Why is it no one wants to talk about our dead babies?

But it is not just co workers and acquaintances that me and my 7.3 million brothers and sisters are separated from. We are divided from our husbands and wives as we process information and emotions about infertility differently from each other. We build walls with our best friends as their lives grow and change to include children of their own. Some think walls of selfishness, I happen to believe the walls are of self preservation. We even become separated from ourselves. We don't recognize the person that we have become that seethe jealousy of every round belly we encounter. I read blog after blog of people that have lost themselves to infertility.

Infertility also creates connections among my 7.3 million brothers and sisters. Silently and quietly, in darken houses, late at night, we log onto our computers and check the 1,700 blogs on the Stirrup Queens blog roll because we just can't sleep until we know how The Infertile One's frozen transfer went. Or we are entering our user name and password to log into Ovusoft's community message boards to see if we have received any replies to the question we posted only hours earlier.

I feel a connection to all those going through infertility with me, who will go through infertility in the future, and those who have already come from the dark side of the moon. Before going to my first RE appointment I checked out a stack of books from the library on the topic of infertility. One of those books was Lesley Brown's Our Miracle Called Louise, the story of the first test tube baby told from the mother's point of view. Though it's binding was stiff and the pages were yellowed, I felt a connection with Lesley and her miracle baby, Louise. Lesley was no poster child for IVF with her history of abuse and wild behavior but reading of her account while she waited to see if the procedure worked, I felt a connection to this distant woman.

I feel a strong connection with Louise, too. This person who is only a few months older than I am. The first. THE FIRST! A product of technology only developed during my generation. A technology that I hope one day also helps me to succeed in having children of my own. I also feel connected with Natalie Brown, the sister of Louise Brown, and the 40th IVF baby. I cheered when I read that she was the first to give birth to a naturally conceived child in 1999. See world, we and our children are not freaks of nature!

Infertility is a thread that binds. It is woven through out our society. It may be your neighbor, your Sunday school teacher, or your accountant that suffers silently. But it is the entire society, country, and world that is affected by our loss. Many of who that don't know our names, don't know our pain, and will never meet the wonderful children we could have raised.

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