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Resolve to Know More About Infertility Support This Spring

a blog by Ellen Glazer, April 22, 2014

Winter came early this year and surely overstayed its welcome. Spring is taking its old slow time in getting here. But National Infertility Awareness Week is right on time! From where I stand, the timing couldn’t be better.

Today is full of matzo. It’s been Passover this past week but it was the Seder—the ritual dinner at the start of the holiday—that first reminded me that this is an important time to raise awareness of infertility. The Seder revolves around children in any number of ways. The youngest child at the table has the honor of asking “the Four Questions.” The Passover ritual includes accounts of four different types of children and the highlight of the Seder, for many people, is the hiding and finding of the Afikomen. A piece of matzo is hidden, the children are sent on search patrol and the Seder cannot end until a giggling boy or girl holds it up in victory.

My Christian friends tell me Easter is similar in its focus on children. Easter egg hunts. Church services with children decked out in splendid Springtime outfits. Rituals of fertility and rebirth. Families gathering to celebrate generations coming together. Both Passover and Easter are full throttle reminders of fertility.

“OK,” you might say. “The Spring religious holidays are incredibly difficult for infertile people, but then they are over.” If it were as simple as this, I wouldn’t declare the “perfect timing” of National Infertility Awareness Week. I am guessing that readers know what I am thinking: here come Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. No sooner does one begin to recover from the emotions stirred up by Passover and Easter than one is hit head on with the “Hallmark Holidays.” Unlike the religious holidays which have compelling reasons for celebrating fertility and children, the “Hallmark Holidays” strike me as unfortunate occasions that bring so much suffering, not only to the infertile but to people who have lost beloved parents, those who are estranged, birth mothers and others.

So welcome Infertility Awareness Week! You couldn’t come at a better time. I hope that it offers comfort and support to those who are coming off of bittersweet religious celebrations and bracing themselves for the onslaught of “goop” around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It is important for you to know that you are not alone and that others are increasingly aware of the multifaceted challenges and losses of infertility. And of your hopes and dreams.

Ellen S. Glazer, LICSW

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