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Stories from Inspire, Wellness

We Meet the Women Behind #IDIDNTKNOW, a Campaign Raising Awareness for Infertility

by Voices Wellness 04 May 2022
Photo: Fertility Support SG

We chat with Sophie Sanders and Velda Tan to better understand the struggles they’ve faced in their infertility journeys. Interview by SAMANTHA FRANCIS.

For every woman celebrating her newfound motherhood, many others struggle to keep the faith in their conception journey. We’re talking about infertility, a medical concern more common than you think on the sunny island of Singapore. In fact, a report shows that about 15 percent of couples in Singapore are unable to conceive within 12 months of trying for a baby.

To raise awareness of the struggles of infertility, a campaign #IDIDNTKNOW has been launched by local community fertilitysupport.sg, in light of National Infertility Awareness Week. Aside from a quiz and educational posts, the campaign will also highlight the infertility stories of various individuals, including local personality and the founder of Our Second Nature, Velda Tan. We speak to Sophie Sanders of Fertility Support SG and Velda Tan to understand more about the campaign, as well as how best to support women dealing with infertility. 

How was the #IDIDNTKNOW campaign first envisioned? What does it entail and how can the public participate?

Sophie Sanders: #IDIDNTKNOW was envisioned when we thought about how we felt at the start of our infertility journeys. Most of us did not know about the problems we would face and the road we would have to go down, hence the idea of the campaign #IDIDNTKNOW came about. We wanted more people to learn and understand what we hope we had known, hence making it easier for them.

The campaign’s main objective of creating awareness during the Infertility Awareness Week is being rolled out in three ways: Campaign posters showcasing nine infertility journeys from all walks of life, a complimentary #IDIDNTKNOW quiz that we designed with two fertility doctors to test your fertility knowledge and health, as well as community engagement efforts including an #IDIDNTKNOW Photo Challenge and Live Hangouts.

What are some things most people don’t know about infertility?

Sophie Sanders: That it is a very lonely, difficult, and potentially long journey, not only physically but mentally as well.

Why are fertility checks important?

Sophie Sanders: Fertility checks are so important because they can give you a better idea of how to preserve your fertility for when you are ready to start a family. We often hear the ladies in our community say, “I wish I had gone for fertility checks earlier, then I wouldn’t be here today”, hence our group’s zealous push to make fertility checks as important as normal medical check-ups.

How can family and friends better support couples who are struggling with infertility?

Sophie Sanders: Infertility can be really a very lonesome journey because most people around us are probably not going through it and do not understand the changes we are physically facing. These can include hormonal changes, weight gain, discomfort, and mental challenges such as negative thoughts, fear of failure, and financial pressure. Therefore, having the right group of friends, family, and support groups to help you through this journey is extremely important and can make that difficult road slightly easier. Support systems can help by providing an empathetic listening ear, checking up on those who are going through fertility treatments, and being an optimistic light in their lives.

Photo: Fertility Support SG

Velda Tan: Being there for them and listening even when it’s hard to understand is a good start. It also helps to know what not to say, for example, “You’re still young” or “Don’t be stressed.”

You’ve shared your infertility journey through #purposeineachseason. How do you think this has resonated with your followers?

Velda Tan: I was very surprised at the response and grateful for all the women who have shared their stories. It helps to know that we are not alone and that infertility doesn’t have to be an isolating journey. I think it also allows those who may not be family planning or facing fertility challenges to gain more understanding on how to better support their family member or friend who may be struggling.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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