Friday, April 27, 2018

#FlipTheScript - Stepping out of the shadows

In May 2013, Grey and I attended an American Cancer Society event for the Puget Sound Chapter to celebrate the Society's 100th birthday. After a light lunch, the president for this chapter gave an impassioned speech talking about who 100 years before, those living with cancer where living in the shadows. Prior to ACS's presence and push for education, cancer was considered a shameful disease, with many patients quietly battling, and often dying, surrounded by shame due to the fact it was assumed they were afflicted for a reason.

Holding a copy of this chapter president's speech in my hands (how I wish I had taken it with me), I was dumbstruck by the similarities in experiences those from a century ago diagnosed with cancer faced to those who are currently living with infertility. Thanks to the ACS and other organizations like it found globally, the conversation has dramatically changed for those diagnosed with cancer. Yet the stigma around infertility and repeat pregnancy loss (RPL) remains.

Which is why work from RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is so incredibly important. Since 1974, this organization has been working to change the dialogue surrounding infertility and RPL, working to educate the public about the truths surrounding these conditions and bringing those living with infertility and RPL out of the shadows. This year's National Infertility Awareness Week theme of #FlipTheScript represents this so well, helping turn the idea of infertility being something to be ashamed about into awareness about the realities.

But we still have more work to do.

Over the past 7 years, both Grey and I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to find support through the online ALI community as well as through organizations like RESOLVE. But in my day-to-day life, there was a lot of pressure to remain silent. I'm glad I didn't as living in the shadows was slowly killing me, turning me into a shell of a person. But I've also learned that the only way to end stigma and shame is through education in advocacy. And the best way to do that is through changing the conversation, celebrating those who are infertility/RPL survivors, no matter the road they've taken to resolution, and offering support to those who are still in the thick of it.

Over 100 years ago, people thought nothing about chastising and shaming those living with cancer. Today, we as a global community know better. My hope is that within my lifetime I see the same change for those living with infertility/RPL. That instead of living in the shadows, they find themselves wrapped in support and love as they battle these conditions.


  1. It's getting better.... verrrryryyyy slowwwwwwwly... slower than we'd all like, of course. But when I think back over almost 20 years (gulp) of loss & infertility, and 10 years of blogging, I can definitely see positive progress. :)

  2. I was so grateful, after enduring the shame and loneliness prior to finding the online ALI community, to feel safe coming out of the shadows to tell and share my story. I'm so glad to all the others who have flipped this particular script, as well.


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