Infertility can be one of the most isolating, lonely experiences out there. It’s essential to connect with others who “get it” but it’s not always that easy to do so. In today’s post, Sarah Powell shares the story of reaching her breaking point and reaching out for support. Several months ago, Sarah approached me about starting the ART of Infertility Pen Pal Project as a way to connect people with similar stories for friendship and support. So, we are happy to launch it today during National Infertility Awareness Week. Read on to hear Sarah’s story and learn how you can be matched with an Infertility Pen Pal who shares a similar path.
It isn’t all that often that people who are diagnosed with infertility are brave enough to share their story. That is exactly how I felt when my husband and I received our diagnosis seven years ago. At that time, my way of dealing with infertility was going to different doctors, four different clinics in fact, hoping that one would give me a different answer than the last. Then, taking a lot of time to research and process what they told me. For the first few years, I barely talked to anyone about it, sometimes not even my husband, and dodged questions from everyone left and right. I tried to put on a happy face at baby showers, birthday parties, family events, and with the pregnancy announcements of what seemed like EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. MY. DEAREST. FRIENDS. I emailed my closest friends and family and told them NOT to ask questions. I didn’t know the right path forward and my husband didn’t know what to say and when to say it no matter how hard he tried. Everyone who has ever dealt with infertility knows that you feel very, very alone and most times responsible with every failed test you get but need to keep forging forward with the rest of your life. It is an AWFUL, ISOLATING feeling.
I realized I needed to find someone like me, someone who could understand my diagnosis, someone who could relate.
As a result we are happy to introduce the Infertility Pen Pal Project. This project will allow us to connect individuals on a one-on-one basis who have similar backgrounds and diagnosis. Friendships in the infertility arena can become difficult because while the goal is for people to find success, if you are one of the ones who hasn’t yet, you struggle between being happy for your friend but sad for what you want so badly. We want to be able to connect you to people who are where you are, and reconnect you with someone else if you just don’t click or your penpal finds success and it’s hard for you to handle. We are hoping this project will help some overcome the feeling of being alone when talking to a group about your story is too much. Since this is National Infertility Awareness Week, we encourage you to #startasking for what you need so you can get that support. We hope that the pen pal project will make it a little easier for some of you.