We Are the One in Eight

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This month I am having a special guest present a mini art workshop at my RESOLVE peer led fertility support group. I am so pleased to have become friends with Elizabeth Horn Walker, the Founder and Co-Director of the "Art of IF,"  a traveling art exhibit. I met Elizabeth when I went to Washington D.C. for Infertility Advocacy Day in May of this year. Elizabeth shared with me how art has been very therapeutic throughout her own fertility journey.  I thought it would be a great idea to have Elizabeth come out and share with the members of my support group about her own artwork and her journey. 

Recently I had another wonderful exposure to art. I had the privilege and honor to attend the ArtPrize Exhibit in Grand Rapids, MI as the guest of one of my friends who is an artist. Several of Janet Blackwell's pieces were entered into the exhibit. We spent the day together and enjoyed so many different forms of art. I was especially struck by the number of finalists in the art exhibit who created their work to increase awareness regarding a heartfelt topic of social interest (ie. environment, community life, hunger, poverty etc.)  

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When I was going through my fertility journey, I found that writing was therapeutic for me. I kept a journal and wrote in it practically every day. It helped to get my feelings out on paper and it was powerful to look back at what I wrote to see how far I had come and what gave me the courage to continue trying to conceive a baby through assisted reproductive technology. 

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I never really thought of my writing as a form of art until I went to the ArtPrize exhibit. It was then that I realized that art is any form of expression; and the written word is just as much a form of art as an oil painting, a piece of jewelry or a clay pot. I was truly inspired by one finalist at ArtPrize who wrote a poem on hunger. After hearing the artist deliver her powerful poem in person, I thought to myself, "I can do that. I can write a poem on infertility in order to raise awareness about this dreaded disease." 

For several weeks after ArtPrize, I worked on my poem. I shared my poem with the editor who helped me with on my book, Detours: Unexpected Journeys of Hope Conceived from Infertility. My editor loved the poem and thought it was very powerful and would benefit many of my fellow fertility warriors.  I would like to share it with my readers today. 

We are the One in Eight

Trying… crying… dying to conceive a baby. Biological clocks ticking, needles sticking, and we are left licking our wounds after another BIG FAT NEGATIVE.

Many friends are pregnant or have already completed their families. We cry out to humanity that it’s just a fallacy to relax and we’ll conceive. Oh, the brutalities we face looking for abnormalities through medical analyses to determine the possibilities of what may be wrong with our bodies.

We are the one in eight.

 who wait…

                and wait…..

                              and wait…

Minutes drag like hours, too painful to attend showers with pink and blue flowers that adorn cakes.

We are powerless and our world is colorless when we have so much love to give.

How can we live without a child?

We are the one in eight.

If babies are a gift from God, then why do drug addicts get pregnant? Are they more deserving of this extraordinary gift? It’s repugnant to think that God allows abusers to harm their descendants or a woman who is expectant. Why can those without a remnant of love become parents? And those who’d make great parents, can’t… no matter how hard they try. It makes us want to cry out to God… WHY?

Infertility affects her ability to fulfill the very essence of what’s the most natural and womanly thing. Admittedly, she feels less than acceptability within her circle of friends and even her family because of the possibility that she cannot create life…

the one thing that her body was created to do!

Each month the bloody reminder of failure doesn’t stop her from being a crusader with assisted reproductive purveyors. We forge onward against all odds because nothing… not



                                   thing in the world is as important to us as family.

We are the one in eight.

A man questions his virility and his ability to offer stability for the woman he loves.  He is compelled to be strong for the love of his life because she needs him now more than ever. His seeds are studied for abnormality, morphology and motility. His results are shared clinically and impersonally. He’s reduced statistically.                How difficult this must be.

Infertility takes its toll emotionally,




We are the one in eight.

The cost is even greater for those whose bodies have been ripped apart by war. They serve our country and face adversity that leaves them scarred for life. And what is the answer for our youth who battling cancer? They query how to preserve their fertility? They are young and haven’t even found love. How can treatment be considered elective when injury or disease leaves them defective?

There are atypical options: such as adoption, childfree living, or third-party-reproduction. These actions don’t come without losses and heartfelt emotions.  And for most, these don’t fit their lifelong aspirations. Some are not legitimate choices, as they are cost prohibitive for those with limited resources.  

Consider this…

Abortions are covered twice as often as fertility treatments.




                               this picture?

How do we resolve the disease that affects one in eight? We must give our all. Get involved to dissolve the stigma surrounding this overwhelming disease. Infertility must evolve from the shadows of shame. We must make our government officials listen to us and put a face to the injustice of infertility.  We must talk and share with others who care about the dysfunction of the most basic of all our bodily functions… reproduction.

Even more importantly, we must offer reprieve for those who mourn their losses and grieve their misconceived or miscarried or stillborn babies. We must open our arms, our hearts and our souls to provide a safe place to share our stories. We are warriors who lend ourselves to fellow warriors, listening with compassion to others who are asking for support.

For at the end of the day…

we are the one in eight

who advocate, articulate and incorporate hope into each new day as we continue 

                                   to wait …

                                             and wait…

                                                            and wait…

~by Sue A. Johnston, author & anthologist


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I hope you enjoyed "We Are One in Eight."  I invite you to email me: sjohnstonadvocate@gmail.com with any thoughts, questions or feedback you might have. 

In-Fertility & Friendship,