Awareness is such a useless word. Of course, that’s the cynical part of me talking, a part that has grown increasingly larger as I’ve gotten older and the longer I’ve known my husband.
[air quotes] Awareness [air quotes] seems silly to me because of how it’s used/overused in society. Just do a quick Google news search, and you’ll find an exhausting array of topics that the media seems to think we’re ignorant about: autism, sexual violence, infectious diseases, alcoholism, poverty, wildfires, stress, deadly feline toxins, and something called biodiversity.
Gotta admit, those last two I know nothing about, nor do I really care (I’m more of a dog person, and biodiversity sounds like a meaningless concept made up by a pretentious academic). But the rest I’m at least familiar with, and some are such no-brainers that you must be living under a rock to not know of their existence.
The sarcastic part of me also wants to chime in here: Shut up. You mean there are poor people in this world?!?
At one point in time, people didn’t have a clue about breast cancer or racial discrimination or the dangers of distracted driving, but in today’s Digital Age, everyone knows about these issues because they’re continually blasted with information via their connected media devices. That’s why awareness campaigns tend to rub me the wrong way; they come off as buzzwordy gimmicks contrived to make money and/or portray an organization or individual as noble and generous, when in fact they might not have a personal interest in the issue or even know how to spell it.
Ignorance isn’t necessarily bliss, but awareness sure can be asinine.
The preceding rant might not be the best way to introduce the purpose of this blog post: to highlight National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), observed this year April 19-25.
Launched by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association in 1989, NIAW aims to “raise awareness about the disease of infertility and encourage the public to understand their reproductive health.” The 2015 theme is “You are not alone,” a message of comfort and camaraderie to the 1 in 8 U.S. couples of reproductive age diagnosed with infertility, according to RESOLVE.org.
Yeah, yeah. I know it doesn’t make sense to start promoting a type of crusade that I spent the first three paragraphs ripping on. While the awareness in National Infertility Awareness Week does make me cringe, I can nevertheless appreciate one simple goal this and other similar movements strive to accomplish: education.
I’m not talking about education as in, “Hey, this disease is out there. You should know more about it.” I mean, “Hey, this disease is out there. You should know how to help those suffering from it.”
During my time of struggling with infertility and waiting to become a mom, I found myself fulfilling the roles of both student and teacher. I put my overachieving tendencies to good use and threw myself into the task of researching reproductive pathologies and diagnoses, fertility treatments, alternative therapies, and the legal, social, and spiritual issues related to the process of adoption.
Overall, I learned waaaayyyy more about female and male anatomy than I ever thought I’d care to know. By God’s grace, after enduring what seemed like an onslaught of hurtful comments and questions, I also learned how to reframe my victimhood status into something more worthwhile and began informing others how to be more sensitive and supportive to loved ones facing infertility.
Through it all, my Lord and Savior taught me about my pitiful weakness, His supreme power, and the incredible ways He can transform awful, gut-wrenching disappointment into beautiful, life-renewing hope.
So, what will be my little contribution to this large-scale national initiative? I’m endeavoring to do something I’ve never attempted before: write a new blog post for every day of the (work) week, covering topics intended to encourage women longing for children and educate those who desire to walk with them throughout their season of waiting.
This will not be easy. I’m a slow reader and even slower writer, due to my stress-over-every-word-and-punctuation-mark perfectionism. But, as stated by Teddy Roosevelt and misquoted by numerous social media inspirational memes, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.”
This challenge is worth it to me. And who knows, this could even be fun, especially if I win my bet with Colin to write all five blog posts without using a single pun.
A big thank you to whomever decides to share this endeavor with me. No judgment to those who drop out over the course of the week or who write me off from this point on. Then again, maybe I will manage to pull it off just out of sheer spite for all the doubters, myself included.