Here's how you can make a difference during National Infertility Awareness Week.
It's never any different.
I sit in one of the few empty chairs, and I place my purse beside me on the chair.
Within these walls, my smartphone is useless.
Within these walls, I am completely cut off from the outside world.
There is a thick silence, and the only sound in the room is that of measured breaths.
And although I look around me and I see myself in each of the other patients, I am somehow still very alone.
There seems to be an unwritten rule that we all avoid making eye contact. Asking questions seems entirely inappropriate, and the comparison of stories is oddly missing.
We are each here for one purpose. We all want a baby, and none of us can have one without medical intervention.
But we don't talk to one another. We don't share our stories.
I'm one of the lucky ones, though. When I leave the infertility clinic, I have a support system of friends who listen, ask questions and offer me room to express anger, sadness and worry.
So many other women leave the clinic and return to a world that also ignores their struggles, a world that echoes the silence of the clinic.
April 22-28, 2012 is National Infertility Awareness Week®. The goal of this nationwide campaign is to educate the public about infertility and the concerns that go along with it.
This year, RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, has chosen the theme "Don't Ignore Infertility."
Their website explains why they chose this important message: "Every voice that speaks out about the realities of infertility, and every act that acknowledges infertility as a medical condition with far-reaching social and emotional implications, helps tear down the wall of ignorance and silence that surrounds this devastating disease."
If you are struggling with infertility, here's how you can help bring the issue out into the open:
If you aren't personally struggling with infertility, it's likely you know someone who is. Reach out and offer your support. Together, we can bring infertility out into the light and offer support to couples who are being ignored and are suffering in silence.
And the next time I go into the clinic, I plan to initiate a conversation with the woman in the chair beside me. Because we have to start somewhere.
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