By definition, an anecdote is relatively brief. I’m not adept at brevity, but I’ll give it a go.
Many, many moons ago, before I became Mrs. Sparring Partner (and maybe for the first couple of years after I became Mrs. S.P.), I had this recurring “female issue” that made me avoid having sex. First I was dealing with periods that lasted a good week/week and a half – and I’m using the term “good” loosely here – and just when I thought things were finally normalizing, I would get this…OK, I have to whisper here…discharge for a couple of days. It was usually clear, but alarmingly copious.
I never sought a physician’s advice. And while occasionally I would get a little crampy, it was towards the sides and not uterine-centered. It didn’t accompany any other symptoms that I would have chalked up to a potential yeast infection, but it made me avoid intimacy for fear of spreading some kind of funk to SP. I would wear panty-liners for a couple of days and then finally, it’d go away on its own just as quickly as it’d shown up.
Now, if you’re infertile and you’ve tried, or are currently trying to have a baby, go back and read through that and diagnose my “problem”.
Did you figure it out? It wasn’t until I stumbled across blogs after our first miscarriage and into our first IUI with an RE that I realized that what I was experiencing was none other than EWCM. That’s Egg White Cervical Mucus for those who have stuck around this long after I mentioned “discharge” and “funk”, which is indicative to ovulation. EWCM is indicative to ovulation, not discharge and funk. Just to clarify. Those side pangs? Ovaries getting ready to fire one off. It’s out of embarrassment of what my body was actually designed to do that we didn’t end up “accidentally” pregnant before we were ready.
The reason I shared that with you is because I honestly think that trying to make people aware of infertility via National Infertility Awareness Week, April 26-30th, is akin to bolting the stable door after the horses have been stolen.
I would rather have been made more aware of my body’s fertility BEFORE it had been lost. While one in six couples will experience infertility, it means that five in six will remain fertile, BUT do those five couples have a clue at what that even means? We’ve all been in the middle of discussions with our friends who have no idea how long their cycle is; or who have never known when CD1 was. The mistake of mentioning luteal phases to these friends results in sideways looks as if you’ve COME from the moon. Five in six couples have no idea how morphology, motility and concentration are parameters used in determining sperm’s health.
The understanding…no, the AWARENESS…of infertility can only come with educating one’s self on FERtility. Because I eventually learned what EWCM was, I now understand that its virtual nonexistence means that I’m most certainly peri-menopausal. If more women were made aware of how long their cycles were; or were aware of the signs of ovulation; or men were aware of their concentrations by taking a simple test that usually costs less than $100, don’t you think that’s more meaningful to all six of those couples? Becoming aware of fertility also can go a long ways in recognizing those first hints of when something might be amiss. Hell, it might even help the five couples understand more of what that one unfortunate couple is experiencing physically and even emotionally.
NIAW lasts for one week. That gives all of us the chance to make Fertility Awareness count for the other 51 weeks of the year; consequently making that one week more significant and relevant. Maybe some day, only one of 10 couples will be affected; or one of 15 couples. I dare to dream it for my children’s sake.