Since starting my Instagram account specifically related to my infertility journey, I’ve learned something very important: We are better together. Let me explain…
In April I decided to start down the path of writing a book about my infertility journey. One of my early assignments from my book coach was to identify my voice in the current conversation around my topic. This was a hard assignment because I couldn’t find the conversation! And then, through the magic of Google, I found Brandi Lytle and her website Not So Mommy… I emailed her right away:
“I’m so glad I found your website today! I’ve been searching for a community like this for over two years now. I searched “embracing infertility” today and this led me to you.
I write a lot about my infertility journey. We knew, before the blood tests came back, that we were not going to seek alternative treatments. It was hard — it IS hard — but I knew in my heart that I needed to trust my body.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought: there’s no one else like me. I’m grateful to have found your site and look forward to receiving your emails and reading your blogs.”
Once I found Brandi I soon discovered a few hashtags on Instagram that led me to finding even more conversation partners, like Katy at Chasing Creation and Tia and Lindsay at InfertileAF.
I was thrilled to find I wasn’t alone! Most of the books and websites I’d seen up to this point were for women still trying to conceive. I hadn’t seen anything about moving forward and embracing infertility. When I discovered these brave, vulnerable women, I knew I was no longer alone.
Fast forward several months and now I’m becoming a voice in this community. On a regular basis I have comments on my posts saying things like, “You wrote exactly the feels I’ve felt and the thoughts I’ve thought…Your words really spoke to me.” Or, “I’m glad someone else is saying this and putting it out there.”
In fact, after my post last week about saying out loud that I no longer want children, I had one Instagram friend share that she had just had the same conversation with her therapist. She was glad to know that someone else could relate to what she was experiencing in her own life.
We are better together. I’m learning from those that came before me. I see the impact they are making on the community and the way they bring comfort and hope to those who are struggling.
The other day a friend told me how my voice is helping to remove the stigma from infertility. At first I thought, what stigma? Because I see and hear people talk about infertility daily on Instagram, my perspective has become a little skewed. Outside of this small community, most people don’t talk about their infertility. Most people don’t discuss openly whether they don’t have children because of choice or not. Most people don’t put their stories out for the world to hear and read on a regular basis.
There is a stigma around infertility and all that comes with it. Infertility is complex — every journey is unique and nuanced. We are better together because we learn from one another, we support and encourage one another, we listen to each other. Not everyone who I follow or who follows me is on the same journey — some are still trying to conceive, others are hoping to adopt and still others are making the choice to live a good life without children. And yet, we’ve found a way to welcome each person wherever she finds herself in the midst of infertility. All are welcome in this club that no one wanted to join.
As Ram Dass says, we’re all walking each other home. Right now these are the women who are helping me navigate this part of my journey. I may not need to be part of this community for the rest of my life, but this is where I need to be now. These are the people I need to be near, even if it’s on social media.
We really are better together.