Every month women across the nation hold their breath in anticipation, hoping that they’ll be lucky. For them, luck comes in the form of two pink lines showing that they are pregnant.
The exact number of women that go through this ritual each month is unknown, but it’s estimated that 1 in 8 women who are trying to conceive will not be able to. In total, that's at least 7.3 million women. Putting that figure into context, that's almost the entire population of Virginia and this number is probably an underestimate. Yes, infertility is on the rise.
Infertility's close relative is Struggle. In fact, you could say it’s synonymous with it. Struggle to make sense of disquieting initialisms such as PCOS, or understanding terms like Endometriosis. Struggle to understand why and what can be done. Struggle to fit in with a world where most people don’t have to give a second thought to baby making.
For those with infertility, the journey to parenthood sometimes ends well, but sometimes doesn’t. Not many people hear about the details, but it’s not uncommon for couples to go through years of fertility treatment- and we’re talking 10 years in some cases.
Can you imagine that? Can you imagine going through 10 years of fertility treatment, finally to become pregnant then lose the baby through miscarriage? Now, let’s add some insult to injury- add that scene to -trying adopt and having the adoption fail –followed by your marriage ending. This type of story is not uncommon. The only uncommon thing is that you don’t get to hear about it.
Infertility can feel like a shameful unmentionable event. And after all, when someone asks you “Do you have kids?” they’re not wanting to hear your sob story about how you just spent your life savings on the last fertility drug- which didn’t work. So a sort of social taboo forms around this topic.
But no more. The Infertility Awareness stamp, designed by the American Fertility Association (AFA), has been released for general circulation. The stamp is the cornerstone of the AFA’s Love Letter Campaign, a patient-driven movement in support of this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week (April 22nd- 28th, 2012). The theme – “Don’t Ignore Infertility”.
The wonderful thing about this stamp is that it can travel all over the world. Add a few more than one and this message can reach countries where fertility treatment is banned (restrictions apply in France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Sweden).
This small, yet highly visible gesture speaks a thousand words to someone struggling with fertility issues. It’s a way to bridge the gap between not knowing what to say to someone going through infertility and letting them know you care.
On a personal note, I really love the look of this stamp and I’m really hoping that someone will send me some mail soon. Hint, hint! We support so many good causes. Let this be one of them.