‘For when I am weak, then I am strong’.
2 Corinthians 12:10

Talking about infertility is really uncomfortable. No, really, believe me, it is super awkward. Whatever side of the conversation you are on. I think I make it worse as I have a habit of using humour to diffuse the awkwardness.

An example of this is my recent discovery of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). This was a rather exciting find but I seem to be unable to talk about it without creating a jingle for it (which it doesn’t really lend itself to easily) or even worse…a dance.

I’m trying not to let my humour get in the way of those awkward conversations. It even occasionally helps. In reality, the situation is awkward is because I feel vulnerable and quite possibly so does the person I’m talking to.

Is that discomfort a bad thing?

Recently, I’ve realised that this vulnerability stuff is pretty full on. I can’t hide because people know me. They really know me. Not just the glossy, highlight reels, good time girl version of myself but the snot dripping down your nose as you sob, heart breaking, weak, real and raw person that I am. The shocking thing is that not only do they see all my different sides, they accept me, affirm me, encourage me to dream and get stuck into my life. Wowzers!

But it all starts with a really uncomfortable feeling. An awkward conversation. I had to take the first step to be vulnerable. It was a choice. It is a choice. The desire to have deep, meaningful relationships is greater than my discomfort. I’m grateful that throughout my life there have been people who have been prepared to be uncomfortable with me. To have the awkward conversation and allow me to be known. And in return, let me know them.

Heartache, like infertility, can often make us look inwards. Self-pity is fed by our shame at not fitting in, not having what we desire. We can become closed off, consumed by our hurt and unable to let people in. Or perhaps we try to open up but are met with misunderstanding, hardness or trite responses. That can hurt. Fear can stop us wanting to open up.

Don’t let fear win.

When we choose to be vulnerable and let people in, we give them permission to come and sit with us in our pain. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate for pouring out your heart to the whole world and his cat (although on the whole, I find cats very responsive) but choosing appropriately, in a safe way to take a step of bravery and be vulnerable. Now that is a good thing. It doesn’t mean it is easy. Brené Brown describes how we can have a ‘vulnerability hangover’ when we are brave and put ourselves in a position where we lay ourselves bare, being seen.

Is the reward greater than our discomfort?

I believe so. Be brave. Share your weakness because my experience has been that when you do, you open yourself up to the prospect that those you let in will want to stay with you. In the pain and the joy.

Let’s be awkward. Let’s have some uncomfortable conversations. And maybe we will find ourselves dancing, singing, laughing, weeping and rejoicing together knowing we know one another.

We’d like to thank our friends at Saltwater and Honey for this post for National Fertility Awareness Week. 

Written by Sheila Matthews // Follow Sheila on  Twitter //  Saltwater and Honey

Sheila is a fan of coffee dates, big ginger cats, laughing until she cries and good food. She lives in London with her curate husband, their baby boy and their big ginger cat. She is part of the Saltwater and Honey family where she shares their infertility story.

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