A Week of Awareness Around Trying to Conceive: NIAW
NIAW stands for National Infertility Awareness Week, started by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association in 1989.
It’s really not a celebration. We don’t celebrate infertility. We take this week to bring awareness about the medical, emotional and financial challenges of infertility. When NIAW started twenty-four years ago, raising awareness was much more of a problem than it is now.
Now we can ask folks to share on Facebook, talk on Internet chat rooms, write on blogs (like this one), tweet, post on Pintrest and more. Twenty-four years ago, it was much more grass roots. Getting the information in newsletters and having doctors’ offices put it in the waiting rooms. Trying to get celebrities to talk about it and hope for media coverage. Put up posters in libraries.
How to Bring Awareness to Infertility Challenges
What can you do this week to bring awareness to infertility challenges? Here are some suggestions to bring awareness in a public way:
- Talk about it with a friend, family member or colleague that you have not shared with before. It’s a risk, I know. You may find out that you have opened the door to someone who is having similar problems.
- Write something about your own experience and share it where you feel comfortable or go a step further and share it where you’ve previously felt uncomfortable.
- Offer your help to RESOLVE, volunteer!
- Pledge to join in on Advocacy Day, May 8th, in Washington, D.C. Read more about Advocacy Day on PathtoFertility blog.
- Find a peer support group and make the commitment to go to the next meeting. Your presence can offer comfort and support to someone else going through similar troubles.
For many of us, infertility is something that is private. Bringing awareness to an issue that we are not willing to discuss is difficult. If you are one of the people out there who are not sharing their infertility struggles with friends and family, you are not alone. Consider more private ways to bring awareness. Is there a way that you can raise your own awareness? Here are a couple of ideas:
- Read some information on reputable websites so that you are as informed as possible. Some suggestions: ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine), SART (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
- Add a form of meditation to your life. It may mean sitting quietly or it could be a walk.
- Notice how infertility is affecting you. How it’s affecting your relationships. How it’s affecting your job.
- Give yourself a break. Put aside some time each day where you focus on something other than infertility.
- Consider finding a mental health professional (therapeutic counselor). Talk about how you’re feeling in a private place where you feel safe and comfortable.
Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system, recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as such.
Goals for National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW)
Here are the goals that RESOLVE has put forth this year for National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW):
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association founded this movement and continues to work with the professional family building community, corporate partners, and the media to:
- ensure that people trying to conceive know the guidelines for seeing a specialist when they are trying to conceive.
- enhance public understanding that infertility is a disease that needs and deserves attention.
- educate legislators about the disease of infertility and how it impacts people in their state.
In 2010 National Infertility Awareness Week became a federally recognized health observance by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Thank you to everyone who finds the courage to bring awareness to infertility this week. Whether it is something you do publically or privately, it helps.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+