I Am One in Six :: National Infertility Week

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week or NIAW. It is a week when women in this country come out of the shadow they hide in, feel forced into, or can’t climb out of alone and tell the world that they are one in six. One in six American women (and likely more) struggle with infertility.

I am one in six…

I have been through some hard and lonely things, but nothing made me feel more alone in the world than when my husband and I first struggled to conceive.

Our infertility saga is a story for another day, but as soon as I started to talk about what we were going through, I found that I was not as alone as I felt–not even close. From then on, I decided to take my struggle and grief and make something good out of it. I decided that I would be more open about my infertility and that the women in my life would never have to feel alone if they were going through the same thing or something similar.

It is an awful club to be in, but it is much easier to know you are not the only member. Infertility is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. And if you aren’t completely exhausted already, the drugs will seal the deal (IYKYK). Sometimes it can be hard for those around you to understand or see why you feel the way you feel, but I am here today to tell you that I see you.

To the woman saving vacation days and sick days hoping desperately that you will need them for maternity leave some day, I see you.

To the woman who suffers through a horrible cold with no medication hoping that maybe, just maybe, this month you will be pregnant only to find out you could have taken the NyQuil a few days after you start to feel better, I see you.

To the woman in the middle of the two-week wait, I see you, and you are not crazy even though you feel like you might be going insane.

To the woman holding on to a piece of her grief because you worry that, if you don’t, no one will remember your baby anymore, I see you. I know the feeling of being the only one who knew your baby.

To the woman who had to turn off the show or put down the book because you are having a tender time and you can’t handle the storyline about the pregnancy or the miscarriage or the delivery, I see you.

To the woman with a box in the garage of baby clothes and maternity clothes that you can’t bear to look at but also can’t bear to get rid of, I see you.

To the woman deep breathing in her car outside her best friend’s baby shower, I see you.

To the woman with a child or children who aches for another while people talk to you about how wonderful it must be to be done having kids and out of the baby stage, I see you.

To the woman who suffers from the symptoms and pains associated with one of the many diseases that cause infertility but make life harder every day in other ways too, I see you.

To the woman who holds the children in her life (yours or others you love) a little differently and a little tighter, I see you.

To the woman with the empty arms that feel indescribably heavy, I see you.

Infertility is a disease, and you didn’t do anything wrong. It is also not a competition. Just because someone has had it seemingly harder than you or waited longer than you or spent more money than you doesn’t make your grief or loss or pain or frustration less valid.

This year’s theme for NIAW is Leave Your Mark. There is a lot of talk about big ways to leave your mark, but if all of that seems a little daunting right now, just focus on speaking up. Don’t let others feel alone in this journey. Support each other by finding each other. The best way I have found others going through infertility is to speak out about my own. So leave a mark of togetherness. Leave a mark of sisterhood. Leave a mark of love and empathy. You may be one in six, but you are definitely not alone.

#NIAW2024 #LeaveYourMARK2024 #Iamoneinsix

If you are looking for a more organized support group, please visit the Resolve website and filter by topic, city, and more. The Boise chapter is pretty great and also has a Facebook group.

I Am One in Six :: National Infertility Week
…But I am not alone.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Boise Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

Mel Swenson
Mel is a stay-at-home mom to two boys (2013, 2016) and one girl (2019). She loves all things vintage--movies, music, clothes, art, furniture. Her hobbies include thrift shopping, reading, writing, cooking, decorating for every holiday, British television, and art. She loves to do crafts and science projects with her kids and go on "food adventures" with her husband. She is a proud BYU grad and former rugby player. Go Cougs! Volunteer work, infertility, pregnancy loss, dyslexia, and ADHD are some of the issues and causes close to her heart. And, fair warning, any conversation with her will include a quote from "The Office" or "The West Wing," a Taylor Swift lyric, and/or an obscure Brit Lit reference.


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