From Remembrance Day and National Duvet Day to Stoptober and Movember, there’s always a day or week set aside to remember, celebrate or raise awareness of one thing or another. It is really pleasing to see so many poppies popping up at the moment, in fact Zac was really proud to buy his and pin it on his jumper in the playground this morning. I’m a great supporter of the Poppy Appeal and all it represents. Yet there has been another significant event for me last week, Fertility Awareness Week. More than 3.5 million people in the UK alone experience fertility problems when trying for children – that’s one in six couples. When you stop to think, that’s not all couples, that’s one in six of those trying for children, so that’s a heck of a lot. More than I thought in fact.
Launching my book’s website the weekend of the start of Fertility Awareness Week, to be honest, wasn’t a complete coincidence. Whilst it wasn’t something I felt ready to ride on the back of, as I am still a little way off publishing, in my own private way it was important for me to help with one of the main aims, and that was to get more people talking about fertility issues.
This last week it has been terrific to see so many interviews and features about options available for people, details about the impact infertility can have on people’s lives and honest interviews with well known faces who are brave enough to talk about their journey, to millions of readers or viewers.
“I struggled to conceive my first child and I needed fertility drugs. I had a much harder struggle to conceive a second child and had four rounds of IVF. I was very fortunate and we now have three gorgeous, healthy children as our fourth round of IVF produced twins. I couldn’t do it alone. I needed help. I had IVF.”
There, I’ve said it. I can say it now. I find myself saying it often these as I know it brings comfort to many people who are in the situation we were in and I know the comfort I found from speaking to others at that time. Yet there was a time where I felt shame, guilt, failure and a deep, dark feeling of bereavement at times for something I felt I’d lost, my capability as a woman. In those days I could never have said those words.
Like a crutch for a broken leg, an anti-inflammatory for a bruised muscle or anti-biotic for an dental abscess – sometimes other parts of the body need some help too and there should simply be no shame in talking about it. On a par with depression, infertility should not be a taboo and we should encourage a society that embraces those that sometimes need our support as their crutch through a difficult time. That crutch can sometimes be just talking without judgement.
So well done to all those who encouraged people to talk about their fertility situations last week and long may it continue beyond 2014’s Fertility Awareness week! Let’s talk.