This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, and although I hate the word “infertility” I love their theme for 2017, “Listen Up!” They’ve asked for bloggers to write about this theme and since I feel like I’m already always yelling “Listen Up!” to people inside my head, I’m going to take them up on the challenge.
I have four groups I need to talk to; four groups that I need to “Listen Up!” to what I have to say. The first group is lawmakers, as policies and legislation can impact couples who are struggling to build their families. The second group is doctors, specifically reproductive endocrinologists or “infertility” doctors, who control access to assisted reproductive technology for getting pregnant. Another group is the friends and families of women and couples who are taking the long road to baby, whose support and prayers are needed. And the fourth group is us- women who have been diagnosed as “infertile,” even though, in my humble opinion, we are anything BUT infertile. So, here we go . . .
Table of Contents
Listen Up! The State, the Country, and the Community are better when families are stable, happy, and growing. Want your tax-base to continue to expand so your Social Security and Medicare will be paid for? You need to support family-friendly legislation that makes it possible for couples to grow their family in many ways. Support the Adoption tax credit to make it possible for families to afford the expense of adoption! Ensure full insurance coverage for EVERYONE, that includes full infertility testing, monitoring, and treatment! Strike down any so called “Personhood Bill” that would define life as beginning so early that all IVF procedures would be made illegal! If YOU think a human embryo that is 5 days old is a human being then YOU shouldn’t do IVF. Don’t tell 1 in 8 couples what THEY should do when faced with hard decisions about growing their family. Be compassionate, and empower couples to make the decisions they need to when building their families.
To Fertility Doctors around the World
Listen Up! We are not wilting flower women who can’t be trusted with numbers and facts, and who should be infantilized or disempowered. No! We are strong, smart, warrior women who can read, think, analyze, and make decisions about our health and our families. You provide us with needed diagnoses, recommendations, and treatment options. But you are not our boss. And we are not children. Don’t patronize us, don’t act like we are dumb, and don’t “mansplain.” We are not crazy and gaslighting is unacceptable behavior from our doctor. We are more educated and capable than you think. Be our partner, work with us, and LISTEN to us. Be willing to work with us to find the root cause of our infertility and treat it- instead of just rushing to IVF without helping us become whole first.
Listen Up! We know that there is convincing evidence that everyday toxins and chemicals reduce fertility. Every single couple who leaves your office should leave with a handout on how to reduce these toxins in their lives. We also know that carefully committing to a fertility diet that is tailored to the individual’s health condition and diagnosis can make the difference between getting pregnant and years of struggle. Provide everyone with diet guidance that is based on the latest and greatest research. If you don’t tailor it for them, tell them they need to tailor it! We WANT to hear this advice from you. Don’t worry if you think the advice is “extreme,” or that it will only slightly increase our chances. If we are willing to pay for and put ourselves through IVF, you can be darn sure we are willing to change our diet and get endocrine disruptors out of the house!
To Family and Friends
Listen Up! Infertility Sucks! We just want to make babies, grow our family, and be happy- just like you! Did you know that research has shown that the emotional toll of experiencing infertility is a medical and emotional crisis that creates stress similar to being diagnosed with cancer? Involuntary childlessness is terrible. Acknowledge our struggle, don’t tell us to relax, don’t tell us this is God’s plan, and don’t assume anything is easy (it’s not! It’s all hard! IVF, Surrogacy, Adoption, it’s all hard!). RESOLVE has a great write-up on Infertility Etiquette for your reference. What we NEED now is support- your love, your prayers, your hugs, and, potentially, your financial assistance! Be there for us, listen to us, love us, and help us through what might be one of the hardest struggles of our lives.
To Fellow Women & Couples Diagnosed with “Infertility”
Listen Up! Stop saying you are “infertile!” Stop saying you have “infertility!” So maybe some western medicine doctors have decided that after 12 months of unprotected sex and not getting pregnant you are considered “infertile.” I don’t care! I spent 2 years having unprotected sex, and all I had were miserable miscarriages and chemical pregnancies. My AMH was basically undetectable, my FSH was high (34!), I only had a handful of follicles, I had endometriosis, and a pesky little MTHFR mutation! The doctors said my only real option was donor eggs. Well you know what? After only TWO months of lifestyle and diet changes I got pregnant naturally. My little miracle is almost two years old, I have a great job, I write a blog I am passionate about, I craft, I cook, I love my family . . . Me, infertile? NOPE. I’m as fertile as they come. And SO ARE YOU! Let’s stop being miserable about “infertility” and start focusing on our “fertility!”
Listen Up! You are strong, warrior, Amazon women who are powerful, empowered, and ready to manage your own healthcare and baby journey. Yes, seek out doctors, acupuncturists, hypnotherapists, naturopaths, any healer that calls to you. Get their diagnosis, their opinions, their recommendations, their treatment options. Then YOU make the decision. No one knows more about your condition than YOU! Don’t be a victim. Be the boss. You are in charge of your journey. No one can stop you from being a mother- except for you. Not your doctor, not your husband, not your ovaries or uterus. If you WANT to be a mother, you WILL be. And, you will be an incredible mother. I know you will.
Love, faith, and baby dust,
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Anna Rapp is a fertility journalist and non-toxic living expert. When Anna Rapp was struggling with infertility and recurrent early miscarriage, she was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve, High FSH, low AMH, low follicle count, endometriosis, and an MTHFR mutation. Despite being told donor eggs were her only solution, Anna used her graduate training in research methods and analysis to read everything she could find on fertility and egg health. Ultimately, she lowered her FSH and got pregnant naturally (twice). She blogs about how she did it and encourages her readers to take charge of their fertility journey and get happy, healthy, and pregnant!