Guest Blog written by Shari Franks from Earthside Journeys
May 7-13th, 2017 is Infertility Awareness Week in Canada. It is an opportunity to bring to light the epidemic that exists for the many men, women and couples who are faced with the struggle of creating a family.
This is the time to talk about the medical diagnosis that is often misunderstood. I share my story to bring this issue to the forefront so that those who walk this path know that they do not walk alone.
Throughout my journey of infertility and fertility treatments it was always very evident what infertility took away from me but now that I am on the “other side of the trenches” (still infertile but no longer immersed in the world of fertility treatments and OPKs (ovulation predictor kits) and pregnancy tests) I am truly able to see the gifts that infertility actually gave me and I am so very grateful. There are many gifts that are now clear in my vision that were clouded by the tears that I shed and the sorrow that I experienced. There were many moments in time that I became angry at the universe for choosing my husband and I to be the 1 in 6 but as it often plays out the battle was worth it and my scars have purpose.
The 5 top gifts that stand out are as follows:
A true understanding of what 1 in 6 Canadian couples experience and how I can do my best to support the people in my life travelling their own path. I have been given the opportunity to share compassion with women and men embarking on, immersed in or have waded through the deep waters. I want to provide a safe place to fall when both friends and strangers are experiencing the highs and lows of such uncertainty and I hope that when others hear my story they may feel a little less alone and find some hope in my words.
An ability to truly know the people in my life who have my back no matter what life brings. I was often met with silence or heard a variety of statements of what people thought were supportive words when people learned of my struggles. Those who stepped-up, let me cry my tears and encouraged my husband and I to take the steps we felt were right for us have true value in my life. It is a value that never could have been determined without this experience of infertility.
The ability to allow others to hold “hope” for me when I am too vulnerable or too shaken to do it for myself. When I found it difficult to continue to be positive and hopeful the people in my life that continued to believe that I would be a mother, that I deserved to be a mother and that I was meant to be a mother guided me through the darkness. I now know that being vulnerable does not mean being weak and everyday I remind myself that the tough days I encounter in my new world of parenting are made a little easier by reaching out for help and reassurance to the people who love and support me.
I am a fighter and I will not allow the “nay sayers” or the disbelievers to get in my way when I know in my heart that I deserve and strongly desire what I am going after. My stubbornness served me well along the infertility path and I no longer view this characteristic as a personality flaw. It is a true strength and I cherish it. I believe this part of the core of who I am will help not hinder my ability to parent and protect my daughter when I am making choices that I feel are best for her.
Last but certainly not least the most amazing and best gift I could ever receive, my daughter. She is the sweet soul that was always meant to come to me. She is the baby girl that my arms were meant to reach for when she left my body. It is her eyes I was meant to gaze into on the beautiful June morning that she was born. Because of her I strive to be a better person, a kinder person and part of the universe that makes the world better. She is my best gift ever.
The road is difficult and the tears are plenty but amongst the chaos is clarity I have discovered. Through my daughter’s eyes I have been able to see the beauty that exists in this world even when the ugliness is evident. Add this to this list of another gift that infertility gave me. Without my experience I may have never been able to see the light in the darkness.
In addition to CCS and supporting families during their childbearing year Erin is a wife, and mother of three busy children. In her spare time she enjoys the outdoors, reading, cooking, and globetrotting.