Sunday, April 19, 2009


This post has been ruminating in my mind for quite some time now. I have been worried about how to approach it, but after a talk with my bestie Jamie, I realized that there is no reason to sugar coat my experiences or thoughts on said experiences.

As some of you may have noticed, I have a link at the top of my blog for National Infertility Awareness Week. I hope that many of you have been curious enough to click on it and read about infertility. This subject, especially in Mormon culture, can be so taboo. It's a silent trial that many are experiencing but are afraid to express. I am positive that each and every one of us knows someone who has or is struggling with infertility. I think it's wonderful to raise awareness for this subject because there is so much others can do to help. In my mind just knowing the basics, the facts and the myths, will help both sides.

Here's the catch...

An 'awareness week' does not mean, 'Be aware for awareness week.' It means taking the time to learn and to incorporate that throughout the other 51 weeks of the year. I oft times find that any 'awareness week' can be a cop out. I am hyper aware of infertility almost every moment of every day. Every week, every month, every year. It is never ending and even when the day comes (and I pray it does sometime in my mortal life) that I am able to have what I desire, the scars will still be there.

How many of us who are experiencing this struggle feel so misunderstood? Alone, scared, introverted. I am not saying that it's 100% on my friends and family to understand me. To be supportive in a way that I need, and not what they think 'works for them.' I am, however, saying that it's give and take, 50/50, and it's NOT just 50/50 during 'awareness week.' While this sounds like an awesome idea, I have learned not to expect anything. After the 10th time of certain people saying certain things, I wonder if they even take the time to think it through.

Perhaps this is exactly why we have an 'awareness week.'

I know I need to be better as well. I am not going to lie and say I don't have issues, because I do. There are some people that I just can't stand, some things said that I just can't figure out. I am hyper sensitive, especially when it comes to my situation, but perhaps that is slightly understandable?

I live in a culture that revers women for their ability to procreate. I cannot not tell you how many times I've gotten the question, 'Do you have kids?' followed by, when I answer, 'No,' 'What do you do then?' As if there obviously isn't purpose in whatever I am trying to accomplish in my life. There is purpose in motherhood, I won't deny that, but there is just as much, just as important purpose in my life even though it's void of my own children. No one should expect me to have children, or want them, or even think about it. No one should have to 'accept me' even though I'm not what they expect, or do what they expect, or live the way they expect.

I am more than infertility, as are all my sisters out there who are walking this road with me.

There is more to us than our ability to reproduce, and no one should ever make us feel that we are less than women who can. Even ourselves.

So please, let's all be a little more aware.

***apologies for the random, non-fluidity of this post. so much in my mind that my fingers can't keep up***


lauren said...

i think you bring up a very important point my dear. and i applaud the fact that you have the courage to post what you're feeling.

Val'n'Ben said...

That's exactly where my mind went when we were talking. Thank you for saying what I hadn't gotten around to.

I love you!

Alli said...

I really like the part about there being other, just as meaningful purposes to our lives. Thanks for the reminder.

Stephanie said...

Perfectly said... and applicable to so many types of "awareness" and concern we should have for each other. Thank you. :)

Jess said...

I hope I have never made you feel that way. I have seen so much more in you than that. I love you so much McKenna, and we all have more to offer this world than motherhood. We have ourselves, our heart, our mind, our love and our experiences. I can't tell you how much I have learned from you and I am so grateful to you for sharing these things with me. You are an amazing person McKenna!!

Lance and Jewls said...

Love you Kenna!

Lisa said...

I think it's great that you help people become more aware! You are a good person and you definitely have a lot to offer the world!

Jamie said...

I loved this post and I'm so happy you finally just typed it up. Kenna, you have been such a blessing in my life. You are truly one of those amazing people in the world. You are brave. You are the greatest friend. I love your guts.

Erin said...

I don't know that our culture really reveres women just because they can procreate... I don't respect women just because they have kids. I admire the ones who are giving and thoughtful. Look at Ardeth Kapp and Sheri Dew - who is single even. I'm sure some people are clueless about this, but the majority of people I know would never judge someone because they didn't have kids. Sometimes I have been curious as to why, but I also realize that it's none of my business and definitely a decision that should be made between the couple and the Lord. Whatever the reason is, it doesn't matter. I just want you to know that I would never judge you or think that you aren't as much of a woman because you don't have kids. I absolutely agree that your purpose in life is just as important as anyone else's. It reminds me of Pres. Uchtdorf's talk at women's conference on creating. You can create lots of amazing things, even if you can't create another human.

Also, I just want to thank you for being so honest and open. I think if more people talked about infertility than it would be easier for others to remember and be more sensitive. I know you have helped me to be more aware. I think if was Joseph Smith who said you should treat everyone you meet as if they are carrying heavy burdens, because more than half the time you will be right. You have helped me to do this and to remember that I have no idea what other people are going through. I knew that infertility was hard, but I had no idea exactly what you go through every day until you told us. Thanks. I'm still on the look out for a knocked up teenager to convince her to give you her baby.

Karen and Dave said...

"There is more to us than our ability to reproduce."

Amen times a billion.

Thank you for being open and honest and just sharing your feelings.

Dad said...

Mck you are an amazing woman. I wish I could express myself as well as you do. I am sooo lucky to have such great kids!!

Leah said...

I am Stephanie's sil and just wanted to tell you that I appreciate your post about how you feel and hope that you are sharing it with those you meet day to day (at least what you feel comfortable sharing-maybe just that it is happening for you) because, here where I am, among a HUGE population of procreating females it has been those women willing to come out and say it is happening to them and that they are willing to talk to others about their situation and experiences and advice that has made the most difference in awareness among my peers. Others have responded with their circumstances and it isn't so taboo anymore. You are right about awareness being an all the time kind of thing-for most people they need to be taught the etiquette of being aware, and talking about it (ie non-hurtful responses to those questions about kids) and it is those who have personal experience or are close to those who have personal experience who make the best teachers! I hope that all came out right! Thanks again for sharing!

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