For The Right Support, Let Infertility Be Seen, Not Only Heard



“I was expecting to see Ese’s tummy to have been round by now you know. Not this flat stomach, she’s still carrying around.”A client had said to the superior officer of Ese, who is a personal friend of mine.

“You needed to see the way, my boss took it Kemi. It was a personal thing for her. By the time, she was done setting the client straight about not over reaching herself. There was no need for me to say anything. She asked her, “Did Ese tell you, she was looking to get pregnant? Leave her alone, when she’s ready and it’s God’s time, you will see that belly, which you are so looking to see. Meanwhile leave her alone.”

And that was how, that boss of Ese’s has turned into her guardian angel. All her colleagues, who attended her wedding late last year and had dared ask about when she was having the baby have got whatever came to them, should they ever ask such question within earshot of Ese’s boss.

By the way, from what Ese has told me about her boss, she never TTC, has two children,  and she is married, so we cannot say, she had walked in Ese’s shoes but here she is, a staunch support system for Ese, who feels downcast about the fact that, she hasn’t gotten pregnant, since, she got married.

My attempts to tell her, its early days yet fell on deaf ears, and it is not helped by the recent discovery that a younger friend of ours has gotten pregnant out of wedlock and is due to give birth soon.

I don’t know much about Ese’s boss asides that which I have shared with you, but she and those of her ilk are the real MVPs, for standing up for those going through a tough time and I kid you not, when I say, Ese is under pressure, even though, she has been married for less than six months.

Another MVP, that I fell in love with during the week is this new husband, Shola, we went to the same university and have been friends on Facebook for years. He’s one of those, who bring excitement to social media.

During this past week, he posted this piece, “Technically no woman is barren until she dies without a child…if she is still alive then it’s only a matter of time. So why call her barren? She is just waiting her time…” When I read it, I just fell in love with those words. It’s so true; it’s something I firmly believe in. I asked for permission to quote him and he “graciously” granted it.

I do not know, what prompted that post but I do know, it feels great to have someone stand for something so sensitive publicly. Comments followed wondering the place of menopause in this instance and Sarah in the Bible came to mind and I also thought about these modern days, where older women are giving birth safely.

This year alone, two women above age 60 have given birth. One was the Spanish mom, who gave birth to twins at age 64. The other is the Indian mama, who had her first child at 72. She and her husband have been married for 46 years. The baby came after two years of fertility treatment.

If you still doubt the fact that no woman is barren, those are proofs. Proof, that as long as there is still life, then there is hope.  The waiting is terrible but it is always worth it in the end.

If you notice, I have dwelled on the everyday people, because they are the ones, who matter most in this fight against stigmatisation that infertility still brings. They matter in getting the issue of infertility into our social consciousness in a good way.

We, our neighbours, our friends, our sisters, our brothers, church, mosque, our schools, our workplaces, our homes are the best means to propagate the gospel that infertility is a disease, a condition, much like high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and so on. With these diseases, you treat them right? You are not ashamed to let people know that you have these conditions, in fact, you state it first in situations that might affect your health, so you can have some concessions. Why not infertility?

Why do we have to hide it, pretend, it doesn’t exist, wish it away, when it is a lot closer to us all than we care to admit? Why do we stigmatise couples, women especially, who may seem to be battling with the condition? Why do we make it seem as though, it’s their fault? Why do we keep up with the victim blaming?

This is the week for raising global awareness about infertility and we can all make an impact, one way or the other. A one line showing support for those going through fertility issues and using the theme for this year’s celebration to cap it; #Listenup on social media is one way.

If you are not a social media person, you can still reach out to your friends and family, who are going through this phase, even if all you do is listen.

Regarding the theme for this year, Listen Up, I can’t help but wonder, what are they listening up to? TTC mama, it’s your story; a society’s story of psychological, physical, mental pain, it doesn’t matter if you have overcome it or you are still deep in the trenches of the infertility battle field.

If we don’t share, we cannot expect better health package. We cannot expect our friends and family to say and do supportive things when we do not share our story. We cannot ask our society for acknowledgement,  if we do not share our story. We cannot expect to come out of this journey happy and healthy people, no matter what our happy ending is if we are not sharing our story.

The result when you share your truth  is often compassion and support. Of course, there will always be the people, who are unwilling to get it and who say hurtful things. But, the majority, if not all of it, will be love and support with the gratitude of connection.

Besides, when we share our struggle, not only do we create the space to be seen and heard ourselves, Nicole is a perfect example in this case. We also make it easier for others to share, (think, The Fertile Chick) and there goes the spiral effect.

Let infertility be heard, let it be seen.




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