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Coming Out of the Infertility Closet

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a blog by S.I.F., February 1, 2011

Trying to conceive is typically a personal and private endeavor. But an inability to conceive has the potential of becoming a truly isolating event.

Fertility issues aren’t often discussed openly. There is a certain stigma attached to infertility, and most shy away from sharing their challenges. It becomes almost embarrassing to admit to an inability to achieve something that it seems everyone else is able to accomplish with ease.

The Infertility Closet Is a Lonely Place

Infertility has a way of walling us in, and many women talk about being in the closet with their fertility woes. Most view these issues as private matters, and don’t want to be responsible for sharing their struggles with coworkers, family members and friends. Others fear the questions of those with little understanding of what’s actually going on; therefore, they just prefer not to open that door at all. And others still simply don’t know where to begin.

After all, how do you just open up and tell people you’re struggling to create a child?

The problem is, being trapped within that infertility closet is often one of the loneliest places a woman can find herself. When no one in your life really knows the extent of your yearning for a child, they have no way of relating. Of being there for you. Of supporting you through your struggle.

And you often find yourself alone, wondering why it is that no one understands.

Inviting Others In

Unfortunately, no one can understand until you invite them in. And as scary a leap as that might seem to be, you may just find yourself surprised at the benefits of exiting the infertility closet.

Opening up about your struggles, challenges and defeats can bring about a level of support you couldn’t even manage while stuck within the confines of that closet. You may find that those around you understand in ways you didn’t even realize. That the woman who shares your office went through her own fertility challenges, or that the cousin you see a few times a year actually embarked upon in vitro fertilization (IVF) herself years ago.

You see, stepping out of the infertility closet has a way of bringing others out of their closets as well. A way of getting women to open up and talk about something that they’ve each kept locked away up until this point. And suddenly, you begin to see that others have been through this struggle when you thought you were so alone.

There will be those who will say stupid things, family members and friends who simply won’t get it. People who will hurt you with their ignorance. But for every one of them, there will also be those who do get it. Those who have walked this path as well. And those who want nothing more than to support you, even if they have no infertility experience themselves.

Opening the door to that infertility closet can invite in warmth and understanding beyond your wildest dreams. It can be the step that leads to your not feeling so alone in this.

It’s scary, and daunting and uncomfortable at first. But it’s a move you likely will not regret.

It’s time to step out of the IF closet. You never know who will be on the other side, waiting with open arms.

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