#worldfertilityday – ‘Education, empowerment and understanding.’
This week is National Fertility Week in the UK and Fertility Network UK are leading with the tag line #YouAreNotAlone this year. This journey is often lonely and isolating, and being able to talk openly about your thoughts, feelings and emotions is hugely important. People are being encouraged to host events in order to provide safe spaces for groups to come together and share their stories, experiences, hopes, fears and questions. ‘It is a chance to challenge the taboos and myths around infertility and raise awareness of the devastating physical, emotional and social impact fertility problems wreak.’ As a part of this week, IVF Babble will be launching World Fertility Day on 2nd November with the aim of getting people talking and raising awareness about infertility on a larger, more global scale because, regardless of location and culture, something that connects us all is family.
Thanks to the rise in social media, there are hundreds of places online with support groups where you can share your experience amongst those in the #TTC community, safe in the knowledge that they truly understand and empathise. It is outside of these groups where conversations are often sparse. It isn’t everyone’s preference to talk openly about issues surrounding their fertility – it is incredibly personal and very emotionally charged. However, for those that want to talk with friends, family and colleagues in order to widen their support network during these incredibly trying times, it can present other challenges. If you’ve never been affected by infertility, it is almost impossible to have empathy for someone you know going through it. People will whole-heartedly want to support you, but because they don’t fully understand the complex issues involved, there is a tendency to simplify things and they can end up unintentionally saying the wrong thing. (My biggest bugbear was being told to ‘just relax – it will happen!’ I knew people meant well, but it really wasn’t helpful in the slightest!) During my ‘journey’ I found being open and talking to friends and family incredibly helpful, and many said to me that they realised how little they actually knew about fertility and IVF since hearing about my story. To be honest, neither did I until I started going through it myself!
An incredibly useful tool that you might like to share with those that you’d like to include in your support network is the website ‘This is Alice Rose’. She launched the ‘Think! What not to say’ campaign which is aimed at cultivating people’s relationships so that they know the best things to say to support a loved one going through fertility issues, and more importantly what not to say! Alice herself points out that the campaign is not about being divisive; it shouldn’t be an ‘us and them’ situation between those in the TTC community and those “outside.” It’s about equipping people with an insight into how you can support, and be supported, so that we can break down the barriers. If you’re happy to speak a little louder and want to spread the word on social media, you could direct others to have a look at her page in order to get people talking and having a greater understanding about how to have those conversations, rather than avoiding them.
As with everything we do here at the Natural Fertility Clinic, supporting and caring for you throughout your fertility journey is at the heart. Every treatment and dedicated therapist provides a safe and comforting environment where patients can discuss their issues but only if they want to. We also have a wonderful and supportibe private Facebook support group. Click here to find out more.
By Suzanne Higgins