In my career of working with children over the past fourteen years or so, I’ve sat through many training courses that have stressed the importance of sensitivity to the home lives of children. We make care to have events that embrace “Family” or “Caregivers” rather than parents or mom’s and dad’s because we don’t want to make any child who doesn’t have a traditional home life, to feel out of place or embarrassed. We are careful to encourage the appreciation of all family types, and to acknowledge things like different family names, and the emergence of separate family structures.
What if we did that in all aspects? What if MY family structure was acknowledged and respected in that same manner of care? I wonder how that would look in this hyper-correct world we’ve tried to create for so many others.
There would be a special card section for Mother’s and Father’s Day that included those who are hoping to be parents one day, or who have lost children.
The childless couples in movie plots and books wouldn’t be used as the emotional scapegoats of the story arch.
The mere IDEA of asking someone when they planned to have kids would never cross anyone’s mind, because there would be in us an ingrained understanding that this was neither our business, nor appropriate conversation for the church aisle/family reunion/grocery store parking lot/class reunion/etc.
Teens in health classes would learn about things like Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome, and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, and would be taught to preserve their reproductive health so that they can have the lives they want as ADULTS, rather than being scared straight about pregnancy.
Maybe children would be more greatly appreciated in our society in general.
Perhaps adoption wouldn’t be considered so much of a consolation prize, and people would take into account ALL forms of reproductive health options as viable paths to parenthood.
People would be thoughtful and considerate of what and how they ask questions of adoptive parents. They’d refrain from asking whether your kids knew their “real parents”, or if you were ever afraid that they’d pop up and take “their” kids back.
If infertility were acknowledged, more than five states would have received an A on Resolve’s Fertility Scorecard, with each of them doing their best to treat and serve patients of this disease with compassion and equality.
If infertility were acknowledged, maybe it wouldn’t hit each of us so hard when we receive our diagnoses. We would always know that it is a possibility, but not a period on our sentences, and we would use that knowledge to make plans and stick with them rather than cower at the sheer magnitude of it. We would discuss a plan with our doctors, and move forward with the peace that comes from knowing that we are not alone, because it would never have to hit any of us as the first time we’d heard about it.
If infertility were acknowledged, honestly and truly acknowledged, perhaps we’d be miles ahead of where we are, in its treatment, prevention, and care.
By acknowledging infertility for what it is: a disease that affects 7.4 million people, and speaking out about it in your own way, you can help it become a topic that is not covered in taboos and myths.
By resolving to know more about infertility, you and I can help to make sure that no on we come in contact with, will ever feel like this diagnosis is the end of their dreams, because we can speak to them assuredly.
By resolving to take control of our reproductive health, we can do our part to change the infertility conversation.
So let’s do that.
Together, we can move beyond “What IF’s”, to making a better what is.
Thank you for joining me this week for my National Infertility Awareness Week journey through the land of “What IF”. For more information on Infertility and Infertility Resources, check out Resolve: The National Infertility Association. Be sure and check out all the posts from this year’s NIAW blogger’s unite project. Lastly, to read the other entries in my “What IF” series, click here:
Featured image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Regina Townsend is the primary author and founder of TheBrokenBrownEgg. A librarian and writer, Regina’s mission is to make people aware and active about the unique concerns of reproductive health in the minority community.