With three weeks to go before Advocacy Day is here, I'm getting excited about making the trip to DC. This is something I've wanted to do now for several years, and I finally have the opportunity. I'm looking forward to seeing so many of my friends - some I've met before, and others I'm meeting for the first time.
Just as exciting is the change to finally "put my money where my mouth is" (so to speak). I've been raising my voice about infertility for a long time - about four years. I have volunteered, spoken at events, written blog posts, put it out there on social media, and been interviewed by various media outlets. All have been empowering experiences for me, but I imagine that none will feel as empowering as this. I'm going to speak directly to the men and women who have influence on public policy.
We talk a lot about changing the conversation on infertility, and this is an opportunity to do this in a very real way. It's an important day for me, and it's an important day for our community. But I think it's also an important day for K, and she was the driving force that compelled me to register this year.
I've struggled with a number of health issues in the last decade or so: mental illness, breast health, reproductive issues. Each one has been a different battle, and while none of these ailments are "cured," I'm happy to say that I'm in a good place with each aspect of my health. It just took a lot of time, energy, and money to get to this point. It was fighting with insurance companies, doctors, other healthcare providers - all while trying to help outsiders understand what I was going through.
My worst fear is that, as a woman, K will endure some of these same battles. I can't save her from any health issues that she might have now or down the road. What I can do is make it easier for her to fight them. It's why I maintain awareness of mental health issues and donate to various causes and charities to fight breast cancer, and it's why I speak out about infertility. It's not only about what we've gone through as a couple or what all of us have experienced as a community. It's about making the path easier for future generations.
It's possible that K will never experience infertility. I certainly hope that she doesn't. But I think about 20 years from now and wonder, "Will she still be fighting for the same reproductive rights that I'm fighting for today?" Personhood bills, insurance coverage, birth control availability . . . it's all the same, and it's all scary. How will I feel if, in 20 years, my daughter and other like her are still trying to get the word "infertility" accepted as a disease by society?
I am only one voice, but I can speak for many - including my daughter. We all can. We can speak for more than just us and our experiences. We can speak for our future or our potential future. We can make it easier for those who take the path behind us.
There's still time to register, if you'd like to join me. But if you can't, please consider writing a letter to your Congressmen. Tell them that you want to make this better, not just for current members of our community, but for the future of our community. Tell them we will fight until we get what we deserve.
Tell them we will fight until ALL of our voices are heard.