…Brené Brown, offered the idea that shame is essentially the fear of disconnection. As she says, we are wired for connection. So we feel shame when we are different from others, when we are not connected, when we can’t do what is considered to be normal.
Suddenly, the emotions around infertility made complete sense. That simple definition – the fear of disconnection - explained why we all feel shame. It explained why the shame comes even though intellectually we know we have no reason to feel shame. It explained why we felt so isolated, so lonely, so embarrassed. It explained why there are so few women who are prepared to speak up about infertility. It explained why I didn’t want anyone to know about my pregnancy losses and infertility. It explained why I felt so exposed simply walking into the building with the fertility clinic. It explained why many women who, parenting after infertility, might try to ignore their infertile past. It explained why celebrities don’t admit they have had difficulties conceiving, needed IVF, or used donor eggs. Human beings are tribal. We like to belong. And most of us don’t want to be the black sheep. Even those who thrive on being non-conformist connect with other non-conformists. It explains Stockholm Syndrome, and patriotism, and even bullying or enmity towards others.