By @Definingmum Becky Kearns
I’m a big believer in the power of sharing – as therapy for the one sharing and also as a way to make others feel less alone
It encourages understanding, can change perceptions and, most importantly, give hope. All things that are so important in what can be a lonely world of infertility, surrounded by years of taboos and stigma.
You may not know it, but there is actually a welcoming community and platform for sharing and support sitting right there in the palm of your hand – Instagram.
When I joined Instagram in November 2018 I was amazed by the sense of community – I could see the support given day-in, day-out to people that had never even met from others who were also experiencing fertility struggles. I’ve heard people say that Instagram had become their fertility support system with the beauty of it being that you can be as open, anonymous or active as you like.
I wondered how we could keep encouraging these connections and support even further. It’s why I created an initiative called Fertility Support Saturday, a weekly opportunity and platform to encourage sharing, support and making connections.
I wanted to provide a platform for people to say ‘this is me and this is my story’
Over the past few months I’m honoured to have shared more than 100 inspirational stories from those facing infertility, all with a different narrative providing hope, courage and encouragement to others. So many new connections have been made and I’ve come to realise just how much support, love and understanding can come from a virtual network of people who simply ‘get it’.
Many have told me just how liberating it has been to speak out and share their story whilst making new friends along the way. I’ve especially loved the diversity we have started to see more of, one example leading to the creation of a fab new account designed to show women of colour experiencing infertility that they’re not alone (@ananassistas – check them out), the two founders met as a result of story sharing on Fertility Support Saturday.
Let’s face it, with so many varied conditions, treatments, experiences and outcomes (both positive and negative) in the world of infertility, it can be a minefield. By enabling the facilitation of connections we’ve helped people feel less alone and understood. And it really doesn’t matter whether people have totally come out of the ‘infertility closet’, or if they wish to remain anonymous – what everyone has done is shown vulnerability, and this is where strength lies.
As a result, with so many stories shared already – it’s clear to see that this is not just a group of people who happen to have met on social media, this a strong, empowering, supportive community.
So how can you get involved?
As @DefiningMum on Instagram I share up to ten stories every Saturday, along with a few other members of the ‘Fertility Support Saturday’ gang (including the lovely Big Fat Negative girls and the inspirational @thisisalicerose, to name a few). To get involved all you need to do is send a short description of you and your journey (no more than 150 words), a picture (this can be of anything if you want to maintain anonymity) and your Instagram handle. All of the previous stories shared can be found in the @definingmum bio under ‘Sharing Stories’ – simply browse through and connect with anyone you would like to.
And if you’re new to Instagram, the easiest way to start your support network is to simply follow the hashtag #fertilitysupportsaturday. By clicking on the likes and comments you can find thousands of people there who want to support, make you smile and hold your hand throughout your fertility journey and beyond.
There’s plenty more coming as part of Fertility Support Saturday. Over the coming weeks I’ll be bringing you Instalive opportunities to ask questions to some of our experts – a fertility doctor, nutritionist and counsellor.
Do you have a story or initiative you would like to share? If yes, we would love to hear from you. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org