Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Infertility: You Are Enough

Earlier this month I went to a writers workshop in Middlebury, Vermont as part of the Burlington Writers Workshop that I am a member of. I had submitted a poem to be critiqued, about softball, and I plan to submit it to some literary journals for publication.

The feedback I got was amazing and I am ever grateful for the group of people in that group because they are raw and mindful of the importance of constructive feedback. Normally we have two people who have their pieces "workshopped" and critiqued but this particular evening it was just me so we spent the first hour or so going over my piece. I was "in the box," which means I could not say anything while the other group rest of the group was discussing my piece. I came out of the box when they were done, loving the feedback and have a lot to work with to tweak the poem.

Next, we worked on a prompt - we were to write about something you wish somebody had told you. The member who gave the prompt has been leading writing workshops or writing groups for probably 20-25 years if not more. He said that my poem had inspired him to bring this prompt to this group that night because the theme of the poem was something that was obviously to him something that I had wish I had been told when I was playing softball when I was a kid, but were things that I have learned over the years on my own.

So the prompt inspired me to write about what I wish I had known about my infertility diagnosis.

I wish I knew it was a possibility. I wish during sex-ed that infertility was mentioned as something that happens. I wish that sex-ed, specifically around puberty and periods, was not taught in such a way that it is assumed that people would all develop the same way, and that all women would start their period by a certain age or have the same flow as each other every 28 days. As we all know by adulthood, that is just not the case and I wish that was pointed out during sex-ed or told to me by my parents or somebody. As it turns out, I learned all of this the hard way when I hadn't started my period before I was 15. I went through all kinds of tests to figure out why and I ended up being diagnosed with MRKH, a form of primary infertility.

And so I just want to take it on here and tell you what I wish I knew when I was younger. I want to tell you that you are enough. You are everything that you are supposed to be in this life. Despite your flaws, despite your inability to do what the female body is supposedly supposed to do, you are enough. You are one hundred percent who you are supposed to be. This struggle, this infertility struggle that you are going through is making you stronger, it is making you more compassionate, and it is a test you will pass.

And you are not alone. Your infertility journey, by society's standards, makes you feel like you're alone, like you're living in isolation and nobody else knows what you're experiencing. I am here to tell you that while not everybody's experiences are the same, there are people who empathize and understand what you're going through without you having to explain it to them. You are more than your infertility journey because it is only one piece of the pie, it is only one fraction of your life and who you are as a person.

American Greetings recently produced a video, Not Alone, as part of their "Give Meaning" to relationships campaign. It's what convinced me to share my answer to the writing prompt with you.



You are not alone. You are loved. You are enough. 

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