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Silence and Infertility Don’t Mix

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a blog by jennandtonica, August 13, 2010

Maybe it’s because I’m a talkative person who is terrible at keeping her own secrets, but I never once considered keeping the details of our fertility treatments a secret.

For good or for bad, I knew I would need the support of those around me. For bad, I knew having loved ones aware of my increased sensitivity to “When are you having a baby?” talk would save us all from awkward outbursts and uncomfortable, one-sided fights. For good – well, that’s obvious.

Dinner Conversation

Bigger than my feelings, though, was the knowledge that I was spreading the word about infertility.

Talking about when a couple plans to start trying is A-OK dinner table talk — even suggestions about frequency and positions can come up. But start talking about medical issues that cause infertility or medical intervention to fight said issues, and it’s suddenly uncomfortable.

Why? Great Aunt Mildred can yammer on about her incontinence and bowel issues, the boil on her arm or any other disgusting (yet surely uncomfortable for poor Great Aunt Mildred) affliction, but talking about sperm counts and ovarian reserve — that’s off limits. Too far. Let’s not go there.

It’s dumb.

The subject is far too important to keep quiet. Greater awareness increases the possibility for better insurance coverage in the United States. It helps fill in the gaping holes left behind after educators (including parents and medical professionals) teach us about sex and sperm plus egg equals baby and STDs, but fail to mention anything about health issues that affect fertility.

Infertility affects a staggering number of people, yet it’s a problem we only know about if we know someone who’s battled fertility issues. If you’re the “lucky” one among eight friends, you’re blindsided.

Men Talk about Infertility, Too

I talk about my battle with infertility anytime the subject comes up. Now that I’m carrying triplets, the subject comes up frequently. I welcome any conversation I can have about what I’ve been through and what it takes to jump the hurdles I’ve faced.

But people expect me to talk about it. I do, after all, write two blogs and tweet frequently about infertility. The person they don’t expect to be an advocate for infertility awareness is my husband. Would you be shocked to find out he is? Wipe the shock off your face. He probably talks to more people about infertility than I could ever imagine. His customers, the women who cut his hair, co-workers and business contacts — the subject always seems to come up, and he’s become amazing at running through our history and rattling off the numbers of people affected by certain infertility evils.

He talks, they listen. It isn’t just me who has been affected by this. It isn’t just women who need to hear about it. Infertility is something we all should talk about because it’s something we all could be faced with.

Keeping quiet isn’t something I ever considered. What if my story could help bring another baby into this world? That life is worth a few moments of uncomfortable chatter. It’s worth hours of uncomfortable chatter. Letting others know they aren’t alone — either now or if they should find themselves on the frontlines of battle in the future — is worth a lifetime of uncomfortable conversations. You couldn’t pay to keep me quiet.

Comments (3)

Have you read the article in Self this month? It was a huge wake up call for me... I am now trying to do my part more openly! Thanks for the article.

I went on Friday for a retrieval and found there were no eggs there. This was my last chance at conceiving a child who is biologically mine. My head is spinning. Thank you for writing this and being so open. Reading your stories helps me feel more connected. I just started (last week) writing a blog. I'd offer my story to possibly do something similar for you or your readers. I'd love to have you visit the blog, but I'd most like to say thank you.

Your presence here is a comfort for me, and I bet for a lot of other struggling women. I myself am a professional counselor who is very invested in using connections to heal. Thank you for yours. is my blog, in case you'd like to check it out.

Too true! Talking and networking in todays modern age is not only helpfull for information but helpfull for the sanity, which is priceless.

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