Breaking the Silence: Why it is important to say the F word

It is all too common for me to talk with a woman who is in the midst of, or getting ready to start, a complicated medical procedure to get pregnant who says I'm the only person she can talk to about it. 

And I'm happy to serve this role. I am honored anytime someone chooses to include me on their family building journey. 

But it always makes me a bit sad...and a bit frustrated...and full of regret.

You see, when I was on my own journey, I was intensely private. At first, I didn't want anyone to know we were "trying" because that felt like TMI. Then, after my miscarriage, I was too sad to talk about it. When we moved to IUI, I felt uncomfortable with the process and started to feel embarrassed that I couldn't get pregnant the "old-fashioned way." So by the time we moved to IVF, I was not only emotionally depleted and grieving the loss of the idea of "just getting pregnant", I was also pretty sure I'd done something to cause this. 

It took lots of disappointment, sadness, grief, and a long break before I finally found the courage to reach out to a friend who had been through a successful IVF. Talking with her turned me on to a path that changed my perspective, opened my heart to accepting and dealing with the grief, and helped me shed the feelings of shame and blame. 

Slowly, over the course of our journey, I shared more and more. And, of course, now I feel very comfortable sharing all aspects of my experience.

Because I have seen first-hand how powerful it can be to hear someone else's fertility story.

I have felt empowered as more people talk about infertility for what it is - a medical condition.

And my hope is that by talking about fertility, it may compel someone to consider family planning as more than the prevention of pregnancy.

I was honored to be invited to share my story as part of Celmatix's new campaign, We Say the F Word. This effort is intended to "make 2018 the year we shatter stigmas and finally start talking about our fertility."

There are several women who share their stories as part of the initial effort. Here's mine:

Here's Valerie Landis of, a friend and fellow Chicagoan:

And another story from Sara, age 40, who sums it all up beautifully:

I encourage you to consider signing the pledge to Say the F Word this year - to a friend, a doctor, your family, or a stranger at the grocery store. (If you need motivation, for every pledge made, Celmatix will donate $1 to a non-profit of your choice.) 

And, please know: You are not alone in this. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You did nothing to cause this.

I #saytheFword for you now if you can't yet.

Erin McDanielComment