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Friday, November 26, 2010

Educating College Women and Men on Infertility

As if I wasn't already involved in enough...  I was working on a Breast Cancer Awareness initiative and just asked a simple little question about infertility resources to the Women's Center at work.  That one little question opened up a new opportunity for me to advocate for infertility in a place that I would have never imagined.  I just never even connected that college aged women (and men) would be interested in infertility.  I obviously thought that most people would be concerned with how to NOT get pregnant.  But I never thought about it from a planning standpoint like... "I don't want to get pregnant today but I do want a family in the future".

I have been working with the American Fertility Association on using their educational materials and possibly even having Corey Whelan, Program Director, come speak to this group.  Just in case you didn't know, the AFA is touring campuses to educate college students on infertility.  Their program focus is on prevention - Infertility Prevention Program.  What an amazing perspective to take!  I realize infertility isn't "preventable" in many cases BUT in many cases there are risk factors and lifestyle changes that can be made to improve our chances.

  • What IF women were educated on those things that they could do to decrease their chances? 
  • What IF women were aware at a young age that their biological clock does play a huge role in conceiving and how long it will take?
  • What IF women and men understand that unsafe sex could reduce or eliminate the possibility of ever being able to have a baby?
  • What IF women knew the signs and symptoms of certain diseases like PCOS and endometriosis and could address them earlier in their life?
  • What IF someone that attends this event could educate 2 of their friends, and they could educate 2 of their friends and the cycle continued?
  • What IF you could educate just one person on infertility and it helped them to prevent it or address their symptoms earlier?
I obviously want a ton of people to show up and would love your feedback on how to get students interested in this topic.  (BTW - I will also be open to staff & faculty.)

I also want to reinforce that this opportunity came to me by just asking one question.  There are still many unknowns in how this event will take place BUT I don't think that really matters.  If 10 women come and learn one thing about infertility, it is a success.  And we never know who else is watching and learning and passing the information on.

CALL TO ACTION: Do me one favor?  Think of your life and if there are any opportunities for you to educate others about infertility.  It could be as simple as you sharing this post with your network of family and friends? You don't need to do the educating, maybe you just connect the resources like I have done?  Maybe you start a local support group or have lunch with someone that you heard is having trouble trying to conceive... information sharing is so important to navigate infertility.

Stay tuned for the ABC's of l-IF-e!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Be sure to come back and visit me soon.  My next post is called "Educating College Women and Men on Infertility".  Maybe you can help?!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ICLW - Welcome & Thank You

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, thank you for visiting my blog.  If you are part of ICLW for November, please check out my comment tracking spreadsheet by clicking on the ICLW Comment Tracker Link right above the button on the left.  I keep a copy of it for myself so I can track the many blogs that I visit during this time.  I also take notes for later reference when I find something especially notable.

My Hopeful Journey is not a recap or an ongoing day by day story about my infertility journey (at least as is).  It is about using my experience to try to help you through your journey.  I am working on several projects in the spirit of trying to help other women who are on their infertility journey.  I hope to be able to touch many lives with these projects!  Ultimately, if I help at least one person in a meaningful way, it would make it all worth it! 

Please poke around my previous blogs.  I hope there is something here that you will find helpful and hopeful!  Stop back in a few days, I am in the process of drafting a post about a project that I am working on.  I think you will enjoy it and I am hoping to get your feedback also!  Oh yeah, if you have an extra minute, please pop over and complete my survey on infertility treatment tracking. 

Feel free to follow me... I love followers.  With thanks, hope and hugs.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How Do You Refer to Infertility?

Am I infertile?  I hate to use that term... I think that is a term that comes with an implication of failure or the inability to EVER conceive. 

But how do we refer to each other in conversations about infertility?  I start to say "women experiencing infertility" but I don't like the sound of that.  It is not a single experience.. it is by definition at least a 12 month struggle to reach the clinical definition of infertile.  But from the beginning of your TTC journey until the 12 month point the doctor really won't "do" anything because there is nothing to "do" as there is no problem.  Then at 12 months you are sort of thrown into this whole new category called "infertility".  Your world is turned even more upside down than the prior 12 months of trying to conceive.  Now you know there is a problem but exactly what is the problem?  Many won't know yet because you most likely didn't necessarily "do" anything more because there was technically nothing wrong. 

Infertile is a label, a tag, an identity to me that implies that you must deal with the cards that you are dealt and we all know it is more than that. There are in some cases things we can do to increase our chances of getting pregnant... yes expensive, time consuming and painful but there are options.  I do recognize that some of us will never conceive, that is the reality of "infertility". But the diagnosis of infertility is not necessarily the end of the road.

I see so many people refer to infertility as a journey hence the title "My Hopeful Journey" which, by the way, is more about trying to help others with their journey vs. a play by play of mine!  I think I just answered my own question.  When I refer to women and infertility I think I will say... "going through the journey called infertility".  That seems to make sense to me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What I Learned from October ICLW

I am so glad that I participated in October's ICLW!  I knew I would meet some great people and read inspiring and heartbreaking stories.  What I didn't realize is how much I would learn in the process.  I am officially hooked!

Here is a summary:

Many people were inspired by the SELF article "Breaking the Silence" including "As Fast As My Baby Can"  and myself at "Finding a Voice for Infertility".  I think I will have to write a letter to the author (or at least the editor of the magazine!) for inspiring so many women to find their voice!

I learned about a cool tool virtual bookshelf (  from Stress Free Infertility.  Thanks... I have already started recommending this to others :-)

 I also found Nirvana Mamma and her "Blog for a Cause".  I will for sure be putting in my request for NIAW in the spring.

 Lastly I learned how different people can read the same post and get vastly different meanings and intentions.  It really shows how much our own experiences play a role on how we perceive our environment!