Infertile Women Find Support on Instagram
Even though some 12 percent of women in the U.S. deal with infertility – about 7 million in total – most of them currently going through treatments and dealing with difficult decisions about pregnancy and motherhood say they feel alone.
Many naturally turn to friends and family for support, but unless those women have been through something similar, most simply don’t get it, these infertile women explain.
They get tired of hearing responses such as “Oh, just give it some time”, “Maybe it’s not meant to be”, or “It took me a while to get pregnant, too.” Those are declarations, most infertile women explain, that make them feel more like an outsider than part of the mommy-to-be crowd.
So many of these individuals, including Lauren Mendoza, who was recently interviewed by Good Morning America for a National Infertility Awareness Week story, turn instead to social media to find a group of like-minded women with which they can commiserate. For Mendoza, age 30, it was Instagram.
Mendoza and her husband had gone through seven failed Femara cycles when she went to Instagram and began to search for hashtags that related to the problems she was facing. That’s how she found a community of very supportive women to whom she could turn for answers or to if she just felt like venting.
“This isn’t Insta-perfect. This is about empowering others to share information and be supportive,” she said. “These women get it like no one else can. It’s a sisterhood.”
Instagram reports that more than 50,000 fertility-related hashtags have been used on the popular social media platform in just the last two months.
Some of the most widely used include “infertility,” “ivf,” “ttc,” (trying to conceive) “infertilitysucks,” “infertilityawareness,” “ttccommunity,” and “pcos” (polycystic ovary syndrome), as well as many others.
Still, says Mendoza, there are a lot of anonymous accounts on Instagram – owned by those battling infertility – because there is still such a stigma attached to the inability to get pregnant.
She created an account last year called “ivfgotthis_baby,” dedicated to documenting her fertility journey. Though she doesn’t share lots of personal details, she does share photos of herself “in hopes of destigmatizing the process”, Mendoza adds.
But the network of women of Instagram remains very therapeutic, she says. Each day, she reads posts that are encouraging and enjoys trading stories and reading accurate information about infertility.
She says she even received a thoughtful care package from a faithful follower on her first egg transfer day. Mendoza was beyond touched by the gesture.
Some of the women have even arranged meet-ups with those in their area that they’ve met on Instagram and stress that this new community of friends is the most supportive they’ve ever found.
And it helps them realize that despite all the bad raps it gets, social media can indeed do plenty of good.Go back