On Mother’s Day: An Open Letter to Women of Infertility Everywhere

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Dear Infertile You,

I’m writing this because I understand that you’re hurting. I understand that it’s not easy being you and going through what you’re going through. I know that you feel insignificant and wounded. The journey you’re experiencing is less than appealing, and you find yourself getting lost-often.

I understand that you’re struggling to understand why you’re being excluded from experiencing motherhood. Understand that you’re not alone.

You’re feeling immeasurable desperation, and I know that you feel powerless. You may even hate your body because it has betrayed you. Keeping from you what you so desperately want.

You recall the pregnancy scares and use of contraceptives when you were younger, but now you’re married and you’re trying to start a family. You know understand, unwilling, that your body isn’t able to do what it was created to do.

Defeat and resentment are a few words you find yourself feeling. You did everything right to your body when preparing to start a family. You worked out, ate right and took prenatal vitamins. You continue doing these things month after month, just in case this is the month you really are pregnant.

You religiously track your periods and sex, and you get a glimpse of hope when you’re a few days late only to start your period a day or so later. Tears. Lots and lots of tears. Month after month you try every single trick in the book to try to conceive. You eat certain foods, schedule sex, avoid certain foods, exercise, lay with your feet up in the air after sex and everything else that says it might aid in conceiving.

You’re sick and tired of trying. Sex is no longer fun. It turns into more of a chore than anything pleasurable because it reminds you of your situation. Seeing doctors often is also overwhelming. You nearly choke on the amount of pills you have to take. Being poked and prodded gets old. You have test after test done and tons of blood work. Procedures after procedures. Each time you’re praying for a different result, one favorable to your desires.

Giving yourself shots is painful and tedious, but so is tracking your cycles and when you ovulate. Rounds of IUI and IVF take a toll on you both physically and emotionally. Your marriage and relationship easily tested.  You don’t sleep for a solid two weeks after your procedure.You pray without ceasing. Asking God to bless you with a child.

You monitor every symptom and feeling you experience hoping it means pregnancy. You check to see if your breasts are tender. When you wipe you look for any indication of a period. When you see small amounts of pink or red, you pray to God it indicates implantation and not your period.

Every month when your period comes, I know you secretly fall apart more. You cry out of anger, frustration, desperation and sorrow because yet again, you mourn the loss of a baby that never was. Your grief you feel for a shatter dream is increasingly overwhelming, month after month.

You question how much longer you and your partner can go through this journey. This torture. Your marriage might be strained, your savings dwindling and your sanity slowly drifting away. Infertility has taken over your life. It’s become an obsession and a full-time job.

You start resenting those announcing their pregnancies. Your guilt for feeling resentment and jealously is there, but having such feelings are the only way you can cope with your misery. Receiving invites to baby showers also hit a nerve. You find yourself questioning if you’re emotionally strong enough to endure such an event. Most times opting out of it entirely. The thought of venturing into Babies R Us is enough to nauseate you.

Sometimes you find yourself throwing away birth announcements or un-following friend’s posts of their babies because seeing them hurts you so much. Even seeing a baby smile at you is a knife to the heart as you wait to check out at the grocery store or drive by a park that is full of happy toddlers running around laughing. You know how petty and silly that all sounds, yet you don’t care.

You are often envious of a pregnant woman as you try to understand the amount of injustice you feel for what you cannot have. Maybe you find yourself wondering if she had struggled with infertility. But then you silence your thoughts, because in that moment the answer to your question is irrelevant, because she is pregnant now.

Your life is partially put on hold. You start planning events around the idea of being pregnant. You buy a bridesmaid dress a couple sizes too big in the hopes that you’re pregnant by the time the wedding comes, but you’re prepared for that. Hoping for that.

Holidays are never easy, especially Mother’s Day. It’s like a slap to the face every damn year. You prepare yourself for Halloween each year and seeing all of the children dressed in their costumes. You avoid opening Christmas cards because you’re 99% sure that when you open it, you’ll be greeted with a happy family picture staring back at you.

No matter what, you can’t escape this hell on Earth you’re living.

You have pinned every unique way to tell your spouse that you’re pregnant and have already planned how you’ll reveal the news to family and friends. It’s all planned out.

I understand that you might question your relationship. How can your spouse remain with you knowing they may never have a child? You feel like a failure. A disappointment. You feel inadequate and you feel pity for your spouse. You find yourself apologizing month after month, and you fear they they may run.

The immense amount of sorrow you feel when you see children being mistreated or read stories about babies found dead is overbearing. You wonder how any parent can harm such a miracle. Why had God blessed those women with motherhood only to see them take it for granted and hurt the child or mistreat them? This infuriates you.

“I just look at my wife and she gets pregnant.”

You despise hearing such insensitive jokes referring to how fertile someone is. In your mind, there is no “oops” baby. Furthermore, you  are frustrated when you hear a woman complain about pregnancy or the lack of sleep they’re receiving because of having children. They lack appreciation, and you’d do anything to be in their shoes.

I understand that you avoid answering questions regarding when you’re planning on starting a family. They don’t understand how long you’ve been trying and what your body has been through month after month, year after year. Your resent when people comment on the fact that all the sex you’re having is at least good practice. Your sex life is no longer fun, spontaneous or romantic. It’s scheduled.

You’re scared that you will never become a parent. You’re scared that you will live a child-free life. You’re afraid that it’s never going to happen and that you’re going to live out your days unfulfilled, bitter and inadequate.

You can’t just walk away and let go, and I understand why.

Your desire to become pregnant, to have your miracle baby and to be a mother has officially become your life’s mission. I understand that you fall asleep every night and wake up every single morning thinking about pregnancy.

You yearn for uncomfortable pregnancy pains and morning sickness. You yearn for those two pink lines instead of the one you’ve grown so accustomed to seeing. You want to feel your baby kick. You want to experience a baby shower. You even find yourself looking forward to labor and delivery.

You have wanted nothing more than to hold your baby and gaze into their face, tears streaming down your face, because in the moment you realize that God hasn’t forgotten about you. He was with you the entire time. Hearing your prayers, unknowingly wiping away your tears and holding your hand on your journey.

I understand what you’re going through or have been through. I have gone through it. I’ve been in your shoes. After two years of trying to conceive, we finally did, but not without heartache, tears, sorrow and pain. Now we are struggling with secondary infertility. As we prepare ourselves for IVF, I have some words to share with all of those struggling with infertility.

You are not broken. You are not insignificant and useless.You are worthy of so much love. Incredible, powerful love. Forgive yourself because you have not done anything wrong. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Love yourself and all of your flaws. You are enough and you always have been. You matter so much more than you can imagine. You are so loved. And mostly importantly, you are not alone. You will never ever be alone.

All my love and prayers,
Danielle

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Pictures: Sarah Greybeal, Julia Ceasar

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