Today is Veteran’s Day. I first and foremost want to take a moment to acknowledge all of the valiant men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. To those currently serving, I wish and pray for your safety and stand in awe of your courage and dedication to protect our homeland. Many thanks for all that you have done and continue to do.
My Facebook page this morning was peppered with an odd combination of posts. The personal posts from online friends about Veteran’s Day coupled with images of themselves or loved ones in uniform were interspersed with a variety of posts related to infertility, adoption experiences, and National Adoption Month. It got me thinking (a frightening concept, I know) about all the days out of the 365 per year that we spend in remembrance and recognition of some thing, person, group, or cause. There are the religious holidays: Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Easter to name a few. There are the big national holidays, of course, like Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day. There are the awareness months like Black History, Breast Cancer, and Emergency Preparedness (I had to throw that one in there since it’s what I do for a living). And finally there are the random days where we celebrate just about anything and everything: a sugary donut, a tree, beer, the ice cream cone, hamburgers, ground hogs, the Earth, mothers, fathers, six-toed cats, administrative professionals, bosses, vanilla cupcakes, a day of men making dinner (yeah, somehow I totally missed that one, but ladies–it’s November 7th–mark your calendars for next year), and much to my chagrin and my husband’s delight, there is even a day to celebrate SCRAPPLE!
Note: If you’re not from the mid-Atlantic region and asking yourself, “What’s scrapple?” Brace yourself. Like, you know how a hot dog is basically made out of pig scraps? Well, scrapple is made out of the stuff that’s left over after they make hotdogs. It’s gray and comes in a block and you fry it in a pan. If you care to know more then you can Google it. It’s one of the grossest things I’ve ever encountered and I’m getting nauseous just thinking about it. But I digress.
The point I was attempting to make before getting distracted by gray pig meat is that you can pretty much search, and find, a day that celebrates just about everything… except… the women who do battle with infertility, and the people that struggle against what sometimes seems like countless odds to build their families through adoption. Sure there are specific days, weeks, and months devoted to infertility awareness and adoption, but those days really seem sort of sterile and focused on the pragmatic processes of infertility and adoption–or a celebration of reaching the milestone of parenthood.
I’m very fortunate to belong to some online communities of women (and men too, but it’s mostly ladies) who have willingly put their bodies and souls through the ringer for the simple goal of becoming a parent. Each person’s story is certainly personal and unique, but it’s a common battle. I meet these women online–my sisters, my comrades, my heroes. These women endure so much. They get kicked and punched in the gut and fall to their knees gasping for air just to stand back up and risk the pain again. Amidst their own suffering, they celebrate the triumphs of those around them and often put their own pain aside to come to the aid of others who seem to have gotten knocked around harder than themselves. These women openly and unbegrudgingly relive their pain and tell their stories as a way to comfort those fallen friends to help them find the courage and strength to stand. And if they have been lucky enough to triumph, they speak of it modestly and humbly–gently, to give hope to those who need it, with not an ounce of boasting.
It’s a sad thing to endure, but there is something truly beautiful and courageous and inspiring about it. Particularly since some of these women have been long fighting their battles to no real end. The capacity and courage to continue and thrive despite their wounds and experience is awe-striking.
So, there may not be an OFFICIAL day to CELEBRATE the veterans of infertile wars, or to HONOR a daughter of the adoption revolution, but there should be. She has scars that you may never see and she may never talk about, but they are there–some fresh, some old, and sometimes she has wounds that may never heal. She may be slightly bent, but she is not broken. She may look fragile, but she has the heart of a warrior. She has willingly gone to battle and would do it again. She is nothing short of amazing and deserving of celebration!