By Lisa Manterfield
One of the big changes I’ve seen since starting this site is that the topics of infertility and childlessness are being brought out from behind closed doors and are being discussed in more public forums.
Whereas once I felt as if I was the only person talking openly about this, I’ve since found an incredible network of fellow bloggers and authors writing very intimately about their stories. I’ve also received several requests to complete surveys from researchers who are exploring the effects and issues of unplanned childlessness.
Just last week, former first lady Michelle Obama opened up publicly about her miscarriage and infertility. It felt like a huge step forward to have such a visible public figure speak openly about a subject which has been so taboo.
In your corner of the world, you may still be feeling that NO ONE is talking about this, that no one understands what you’re going through, and even your closest confidants don’t want to talk about it. Sadly, I think this is still true for most of us. But the tide is turning, and the more we talk about this topic and the more we venture out and start these conversations, the less taboo it will become.
Even if you’re not ready (or feel as if you will never be ready) to start your own campaign for understanding, you’re already part of this quiet revolution. You’re here, you’re talking about your experience with others, you’re sharing comfort and encouraging other readers. Even if you’re doing all of this anonymously and even if you’re coming here in secret to contribute to these conversations, you are part of the change that’s coming.
This issue is never going to go away, in fact I believe that our segment of the population will only continue to grow (but that’s another post for another day), but perhaps in the future, our sisters who need help will be able to pick up a leaflet from their doctors or walk into a local support group or sit down with a friend over coffee and feel comfortable talking openly about what it feels to not to have the children you wanted.
Hi Lisa, I’m 26 yrs into my infertility journey and I also attest this newly found boldness to express the formerly inexpressible is so gratifying. And freeing. I’m a timid mouse on this subject, but offer a lot of comfort online. The online cnbc group is my tribe. A small group is planning a girlfriend getaway next year. Where my friends with kids and grandkids don’t have time for me, nor get me, my tribe does. How comforting. How freeing. 26 years ago, I had nothing.
The only thing that I can compare the trend toward transparency to is mental illness. Not a very happy comparison. But there was a day mental illness was never mentioned. Now it’s not unusual to have a counselor, therapist, psychiatrist, etc., nor to be on antidepressants or antianxiety meds.
Thank you for your book and your large part in moving us forward.
Jane P (UK) says
Excellent post – and yes thank you too. I am still yet to have conversations outside of my online tribe. However, it was good to recognize that I am part of the quiet revolution. This site has helped me through 5 very difficult years and I hope that my posts will help those that follow. I am still gathering views and coping strategies from my fellow tribe here and am beginning to voice my authentic self and with no apologies!