April 21-27 is this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week, a movement created to raise awareness about infertility and to encourage those who have struggled with building a family to share their stories. It’s estimated that 1 in every 8 couples is diagnosed with infertility. In other words, this means that over 7 million people are living with this painful experience. Many adoptive parents have struggled with infertility before considering adoption as a way to build their families, and at Considering Adoption, we want to offer any support and information we can to those who have faced this journey.
This year, RESOLVE is dedicated to uncovering the truth about living with infertility, and — whether you are experiencing it yourself or you’re just trying to find ways to support someone that you care about — there are many ways that you can get involved during National Infertility Awareness Week.
How You Can Support Your Loved Ones with Infertility
Watching your loved ones struggle to build the family of their dreams is absolutely heartbreaking. But there are ways that you can advocate for those struggling with infertility and support them through their journey.
- Be supportive of what your loved one is going through. Support looks different for everyone, so ask them what you can do to be there for them during this painful time. Listening to your loved one and just being there for them emotionally will show them just how much you care.
- Don’t minimize their feelings and be sensitive of the words you use. Don’t say things like “it’s not so bad” or “it could always be worse.” It’s important to be compassionate of what they’re going through and to put yourself in their shoes.
- While it’s difficult to know what to say, and you may be at a loss for words, there are many ways to show that you’re thinking of them. Sending a card, flowers, or just a simple phone call can go a long way to showing your loved one that you’re always thinking about them.
- Don’t suggest adoption if they’re not ready. While many couples do consider adoption after struggling with infertility, it takes many steps to get to that point. Your loved one may still be trying to sort through their feelings of grief, denial, anger, and frustration, and suggesting adoption right away may be overwhelming. Instead, keep the line of communication open, and wait until they’re ready to start pursuing adoption on their own terms.
- Respect that your loved ones have a right to privacy about their infertility. Not all couples feel comfortable sharing their struggles to build a family, and you may open up wounds that are still healing if you continue to press the issue.
Tips for Facing Infertility Struggles
It’s not easy, but there are ways to move forward. If you’re going through this painful struggle, here are some coping strategies that we recommend.
- Don’t blame yourself for what you’re going through. While it’s easy to give into to negative self‐talk and guilt, remember that infertility is not your fault. Be patient with yourself during this difficult time, and give yourself the kind of compassion that you would give to a loved one or a friend.
- Work with your partner and support each other. The two of you might not be feeling the same emotions at exactly the same time, but you should be able to notice what the other is going through. If you work together as a team, neither one of you should feel like they have to fight the problem on their own.
- Familiarize yourself with infertility. There are plenty of resources available to educate yourself on infertility. You can reach out to an adoption professional, counselor or your doctor if you’re looking for advice during this painful time.
If there’s one thing that you should remember about National Infertility Awareness Week, it’s that you’re never alone. Many families share your unique experiences and know exactly what it’s like to live with infertility, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help from someone you trust if you need someone to talk to.
How Can You Get Involved in National Infertility Awareness Week?
This year’s National Infertility Awareness Week theme is #InfertilityUncovered, and there are many ways that you can get involved in the movement. If you’re comfortable, you can share your story with you friends, family, your community, or even on social media. No matter what kind of way you choose to get involved, your story can inspire others who may be experiencing the same struggle.