Up until recently, I have been pretty quiet about my infertility. For a number of years I simply wasn't working towards a baby - either by trying to get pregnant myself or trying to get someone else pregnant. So, why focus on an issue that isn't an issue at that moment?
While getting ready for my first IVF cycle I found out about Resolve - The National Infertility Association and all of the wonderful services that they provide - their website, publications, online community and even local support groups. I stalked a while on the online boards - gleaning helpful information here and there. I finally posted a couple of times and even found a small group of women who were also pursuing surrogacy in India.
The online community has been invaluable to me. In a world where infertiles are the minority it is so nice to talk with other women who are having fertility issues, some even your own same issue! And, there are rules - you need to be nice and supportive or your posts will be deleted and you could get kicked out of the community. And, there is the concept of "MENTS". You use MENTS in a post when you have good news or bad news that could be sensitive to some readers - births or miscarriages. It is a great system. It allows you to pick and choose what you want to read or are able to read - some days are better than others.
Lots of us there wish that many other things had MENTS. Take Facebook for example. It is full of pictures of babies and children and happy families with babies and children. While I am, and most other infertiles are REALLY happy for our friends, many times while we are forcing the happy smile we are also sad for ourselves. Facebook is also tough in that you never know what is going to pop up. The day after we found out that our friend couldn't be our surrogate I happened to look at Facebook before work. A big ultrasound picture popped up. Too late, I saw it.....my heart sank. At that moment all I could feel is how I may never have one of those of my own. I had to redo my makeup that morning.
A few people in the Resolve online support community talked about going to local support groups. Some of them had good things to say, some bad. I guess like all things it just depends on who is in your group. I thought about going to a support group, especially last fall. That was a dark time for me. We had gone through a cancelled cycle and a less than stellar IVF cycle which resulted in the doctor suggesting that we try AGAIN for better egg quality. The last thing I wanted to do was try again. I just wanted to cry and feel sorry for myself and feel like a big fertility failure. Yes, a support group probably would have been helpful.
I recently saw a post again about support groups. I looked on Resolve and found two local groups. I reached out to the contacts and found out that one was meeting today. I RSVP'd....
I was a little nervous about the whole thing. Outside of this blog which was also a recent endeavor I haven't shared a lot about my infertility adventure. You worry that your story isn't that bad or that you haven't suffered enough, or you could be on the opposite extreme and "win". In the end though that is not what it is about. It is about being supportive of other women and men who are also going through fertility issues. And they in turn are supportive of you. They understand what you are going through. They understand how hard it is to be optimistic about something where you have suffered failures. They GET IT.
I plan on going often. I wish I had gone a long time ago....