Wednesday, September 22, 2010

why we should share (part 1)

About a month ago, I offered to work the Resolve table at the 2010 Paths to Parenthood conference here in Orlando. Our local leader was going out of town on a family vacation, and I was eager to kick off my journey as an official Resolve volunteer. This was my first solo adventure. I’ve shared my story at meetings before, but this was an entirely different ball game. It was an exciting ball game. I looked forward to bringing more couples into our support group and letting them know about the other resources Resolve has to offer.

I assumed most of the conference attendees had probably heard of Resolve. After all, you don’t exactly attend a fertility conference after two months of trying to have a baby. Most of the men and women at the conference, I imagined, were gearing up for treatment or weighing their options between IVF and adoption. Therefore, they should know all about the fact that there is a national organization out there to support them and advocate for them throughout their journey.

Turns out, I was a little bit “off” in my assumption.

When the first few couples walked up to the table and I asked if they knew about Resolve, they said no. I thought, “Surely this is a fluke, right? Maybe they are at the beginning of their journey. Yes, that’s it. That’s why they don’t know about Resolve.”

But the morning went on, and more often the answer was “no” rather than “yes.” A lot more often. I would say 90 to 95 percent of the couples who approached the table never heard of Resolve. By the end of the third hour, I got ballsy during conversations and started fishing for more information (which, for the record, everyone was just as eager to talk about their personal stories as I was to hear them): “If you don’t mind me asking, where are you in your journey?”

Four failed IVF cycles
3 failed IUIs and onto a laparoscopy
No ovaries
Pursuing adoption
No uterus or ovaries
Tubes tied

These were women or couples who were not on the first leg of this hike up the mountain. Some of them were nearing the peak and they didn’t know about Resolve! It blew my mind. How is it that there are organizations out there to help us through the most difficult life crisis most of us have ever encountered, and people still don’t know about them?! It angers me how some of these women have suffered silently for years without knowing there are groups and people to turn to. I’m not angry at the people or the organizations. I’m simply angry with the situation. It shouldn’t be like this. People shouldn’t have to sit broken down on the side of the road, waiting for help to arrive.

How can we change this? How can we make things better?

We can start with this: no more assumptions. I am making it my personal vow not to assume that other infertiles are getting the help and support they need and deserve. I will not assume that others suffering through infertility know about the groups, Web sites, and books that are out there to walk them through this difficult time. And I want all of you to take on this challenge with me. If you know someone who is going through treatment, waiting to adopt, or struggling with loss (of either a child/children or their reproductive organs), please reach out to them. Let them know that there are hundreds of resources out there, not just Resolve, to help carry them for the rest of their hike.

Point them in the direction of Conceive magazine. Send them a link to Mel’s site, or talk about Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope. Make sure they know they are not alone in this ocean of pain.

This isn’t all we can do, but it’s a start.

To be continued  . . .

26 comments:

Candidly_Andrea said...

Wonderful post Katie and I will no longer assume that those I know are aware of these ressources either,

The Domestic Princess said...

Great post. I actually just started looking into my local support group through Resolve.

suchagoodegg said...

Amen, sister!

I can't imagine how I could get through each day without the support I've found via Mel's site, specifically.

You are awesome, btw. Just....awesome. We are so lucky to have you Katie as a leader in this cause.

PS Thank you so much for your comment on my blog today. Just a tiny example of the stuff I mentioned above... a) the support we all need, and b) your overwhelming caring, empathy and sensitivity to ALL women in this community.

Crossed Fingers said...

Yea!!! Wonderful post - I just posted a link to Resolve on my FB page. I'm tired of acting like getting pregnant is no big deal to the "outside world". I'm going to educate and spread the word - to everyone.

Jen said...

LOVE this post! I recently decided to try to get involved with resolve, too. I'm going to my first support group soon. I think openness is important. Even though it's a personal decision, I'm glad that some people decide to share. And, I very much worry about the women who are suffering completely alone, without the benefit of the experience of those who've been through this.

What About Lunch said...

Can you write more about the kind of support offered through Resolve? I'm curious.

Dawn said...

Wow! I'm surprised by this. Great post!

AL said...

aw, Katie, I heart you. You're so inspiring.

Fantastic post. <3

Rebecca said...

Awesome!! My cousin-in-law has been going through IF and RPL and I was amazed to find out had no support system beyond her husband and doctor. I don't know how I would have made it this far without my on-line support system and things like Resolve. I have tried to share some of this with her, but I think I will try some more. I don't know how lucky I was to have happened upon this world well before I needed the support (back when I thought four months was a long time...)

Kakunaa said...

Fantastic post! I already try to reach out whenever possible. Resources are there for us, but like you said, do no good if we don't use them. The shame HAS to stop so we can all get help! Thank you for posting this.

S said...

When I meet people who are infertile, or find out someone I know is infertile, I usually suggest that they visit Melissa's website and find her comprehensive blog list. I might also suggest some appropriate reading.

At least for me, though I am usually not a private person, I don't feel comfortable being very "out there" about our infertility with anyone who isn't a close friend or going through the same thing herself. I hate that this is a taboo topic in a lot of ways, but it is what it is.

sarabug said...

This has been really helpful. I am pretty new to the fertility treatment world, but have been dealing with IF for 3 years. I did not know about these resources at all. It's been really hard going through this and being unsure of the process and having my husband 8000 miles away. I am so glad I found y'all through Twitter!

Bobbi said...

You are so inspiring, girl!!! I loved this post and I loved the message you are spreading. Wow, is all I have to say! :)

T said...

Seriously, the only way I had heard about Resolve was from fellow bloggers. I really wish the RE and OBGYN offices would at least provide literature on the emotional aspect of IF.

kayee said...

Great post! I used Resolve as a resource when I found out about my first miscarriage. Little did I know that I would need it so much more than that. Good for you getting involved.

Marla said...

Ummm, please don't hate me, but umm, I had never really heard of Resolve or what it was all about til I read... ummm, your post. :) Thanks for sharing the info. You da bomb!

Michelle said...

Wow.. it's so hard to believe that people that far along in TTC had never heard of Resolve. I will be putting a link on my blog.
Great post!

Do I Have to Be a D.I.N.K.? said...

I think all REs should hand out a packet of info for new IF patients. It will list support groups, therapists, Resolve info and other information so we don't have to figure it all out on our own. Thanks for getting the word out there. Maybe you can make some money and market these...

ifcrossroads.com said...

Great post Katie! I met someone recently who had been through 9 IVF cycles, 4 m/c's and never has heard of Mel or Resolve. It blew my mind.

Secret Sloper said...

Katie, you're awesome. I'm so glad you are out there advocating. I can't imagine where I would be right now without every last bit of support I've managed to wring from this situation (mostly from the internet). I'm so glad you are committed to helping others survive this time and I hope I can be as great a voice for this community as you are.

Jen said...

Great post. I think the only way I knew about Resolve was from reading blogs; I certainly didn't hear about it from anyone IRL, or any doctors, etc. In fact I have learned so, so much from reading blogs. I can't imagine my life without them now!

Glass Case of Emotion said...

Great post! I didn't discover any support groups or anything until after my first miscarriage and 7 IUIs and 3 years TTC! It's insane... right? I don't know why RE's can't at least past on this info. It doesn't cost them anything.

S.I.F. said...

If it weren't for blogging, I wouldn't have any idea about Resolve either to be honest... I learned about it from Mel actually.

You are doing a good thing lady... an amazing thing! You are becoming an advocate, and we all need one of those!

Conceptionally Challenged said...

Great idea, Katie. I'm so impressed by your advocacy.
As I was diagnosed with Endometriosis years before ttc, and the doctors told me it might affect fertility, I started to look for information early on. But not everyone is so "lucky" (that's definitely not the right word).

Adele said...

It's funny, I always assume people who have faced any level of IF must be entirely in the know (and, even, that they must all have blogs!)...but that's not at all true. It shows how important organizations like Resolve are. There are a lot of people who aren't being reached, and for whom knowing that there are people in similar circumstances would really make a difference.

foxy said...

so true. unfortunately. It was my mom who told me about resolve, none of the 9 different doctors we saw in our initial journey even thought to mention it. We have to break the silence. excellent post.