Wherever you’re at in your experience with infertility — whether you’ve recently received a diagnosis of infertility, or it’s been years since then and you’ve created a family through surrogacy or adoption — it’s alright to take a moment to honor loss this National Infertility Awareness Week.
Here are some ways you can acknowledge loss this week while still looking to the future:
1. Take Some Time for Yourself
Anniversaries that remind you of things like pregnancy losses, the feeling that everyone around you is getting pregnant, or National Infertility Awareness Week itself can all open old wounds. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, give yourself permission to take care of yourself this week.
Everyone’s version of self-care will look different, but consider:
- Taking a break from social media
- Spending some quality alone-time with your spouse on a date night
- Treating yourself to a long bath or even a trip to the spa
- Taking 10 minutes to practice some breathing exercises
- Taking a weekend or day-trip alone with your spouse for a short getaway
- Going on a long walk somewhere quiet and bringing a journal
- Reading a book that inspires you
2. Share Your Story
You’ve never obligated to share your story, nor should you share more than you’re comfortable with — but talking about your personality fertility struggles can help you and others.
Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples in the U.S. By sharing your personal story with others, you’ll likely provide comfort and information to someone else who is, or will be, affected by infertility. Connecting with others who have experienced infertility can be mutually beneficial — feeling supported and heard is instrumental in healing from fertility losses.
Sharing your story can also be important for acknowledging the losses you’ve experienced. Some people have also experienced pregnancy loss and need others to acknowledge that those pregnancies are not simply “replaced” or something to just “get over,” even when moving from infertility to surrogacy.
If you’re ready, you can share your story on social media, on an infertility blog, speak at a local National Infertility Awareness Week event, or even just open up to a friend or family member.
3. Share Information
A simple, quick and easy way to raise awareness and to help others who are struggling with infertility is to share the facts. Resolve is a great resource to get you started, as is the National Infertility Awareness Week website if you’d like to share a link or graphic on your social media or in an email.
The whole point of National Infertility Awareness Week is to raise awareness! What better way to honor your own personal losses and journey than to call widespread attention to this common struggle.
4. Start a Tradition
One way to deal with grief is create a tradition that allows you a special time to honor your losses. This way, you can continue to move forward with your life throughout the rest of the year but never forget where you’ve been.
Feeling as if you’re “moving on” can be bittersweet. You deserve to be happy again, but it can be hard to let go of grief. Having a tradition that allows you to honor that grief in a special way at a special time can help you to do both.
Consider incorporating a tradition for National Infertility Awareness Week like:
- Lighting a candle
- Planting a flower in a memory garden
- Writing a letter to yourself
- Saying a special prayer
- Putting a wish into a box
5. Honor the Things You’re Grateful For
When you look back on your infertility journey, you might be surprised to find that you gained things that you didn’t have before, despite the losses you may have experienced. Take a moment to honor the things that you’re grateful for, in addition to honoring the things you’ve lost.
This will be different for everyone, but did you…
- Become closer to your spouse, a friend, or a family member?
- Turn to someone for support in a difficult moment and were met with love and comfort?
- Find a newfound support group?
- Discover something about yourself?
- Experience a spiritual strengthening?
Even though you and your relationships were likely tested in unimaginable ways, you also likely discovered something that you’re grateful for. Take a moment to write down everything in your life that you’re grateful for at this point.
Maybe you even chose to have a child through surrogacy or adoption — that would certainly be something important that you’ve gained.
6. Get Involved with National Infertility Awareness Week
One way to honor your own loss is to help others with their own losses and to help raise public awareness about infertility. Find a way to get involved with National Infertility Awareness Week, big or small. You can:
- Join the #WearOrange campaign
- Attend, or even organize, local events or fundraisers
- Share information and images on social media
How do you plan on recognizing National Infertility Awareness Week? Let us know in the comments.