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The last week in April, from the 22nd to the 28th, is National Infertility Week, a time to raise awareness and to support people coping with this life-changing problem. Infertility is defined as not being able to get or stay pregnant. National Infertility Week is your chance to break down the barriers associated with infertility and look for ways to cope.
It is estimated that one in every eight couples is infertile.
National Infertility Week, a project sponsored by The National Infertility Association, encourages couples to:
The goal of The National Infertility Association is to raise awareness about infertility issues and to reach out to those suffering from them to provide resources and support.
Infertility is a medical condition that brings with it both psychological and physical stress. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Loss and Trauma states the inability to get or stay pregnant has a lifetime effect. For couples who go through procedures that fail, like in vitro fertilization (IVF), the stress is financial as well.
The key to surviving this trauma is learning ways to cope, and that starts with identifying your feelings. Some common feelings associated with infertility include:
Once you can put a name to your emotions, talk to someone about them to allow you to dig deeper to figure out where they come from and why. For example, maybe you feel sad when a sibling brings his or her kids over for a visit, but where does it come from and what can you do to brighten things up? Often you might find that the expectations of others is a driving force behind those emotions and that’s not being fair to yourself. National Infertility Week helps address these concerns and to change the way other people view this medical problem and how that affects those who do face it daily.
Exercise is a powerful tool for most problems, including the feelings that come with infertility. Working out triggers the release of endorphins that make you feel better and more able to process the things in your life. It also improves your cardiac health and helps to manage your weight — both of which can be factors in infertility.
Developing a set exercise routine doesn’t mean you have to go out and run marathons. Maybe start with a scheduled walk every day. Walking is a low-impact, low-stress way to work out problems.
Use National Infertility Week to find resources in your area for support. You might be surprised to find people you know deal with this just like you do. Reaching out also allows you to spend time with people who understand, as opposed to that person who makes light of it or suggests you adopt every time the subject comes up. Social media is a great place to find support groups for those with infertility problems. You might also ask friends to help you find resources, and check with your church and any other social or volunteer activity you take part in, like a club or community organization.
Networking also has the potential to open up new possibilities for you. Maybe there is a treatment out there that you are not aware of or a study that can provide some answers. Only about 44 percent of women with infertility look for a medical solution to the problem. Of those who do, about 65 percent find one without resorting to IVF.
National Infertility Week runs from April 22nd to the 28th and gives you, your friends and family a chance to get involved in something that affects so many couples around the world.