An Open Letter to My (Fertile) Friends

I originally posted this as a blog post, but its the best way I can explain my feelings right now. 

I just wanted you to know that I am struggling. No matter how okay I might seem, I am really not. This doesn’t seem like it could really be happening to me. It’s not fair. I am doing my best to cope, but sometimes I just can’t. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that I am jealous of you. How could I not be? You have everything I am trying so hard to get. I am not mad at you. I do not blame you for my situation. I am happy for you and I love every baby you bring into this world. But I am also heartbroken over my own situation. I am thrilled to hear you are expecting, but it still stings. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that pretending my infertility issues don’t exist is hurtful. I really just want to know that you care, that you are there for me, and that you are praying for me. I know it is an uncomfortable subject, but it’s one of the most prominent aspects of my life right now. I do not ignore that you are pregnant, so please do not dismiss what a struggle this is for me. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that it’s ok to ask questions. I want to be open and talk about this with you. I want your support. There is probably a lot that you don’t know about this whole process. There is a lot I don’t know. We do not have to go into the details. I really great starter question is “How are you doing?” Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that right now we are not considering adoption, so please do not ask. I think adoption is wonderful, but it is also not simple, fast, or cheap. It does not guarantee you anything. I know that there are lots of kinds in foster care that need good homes. I have very sound reasons for not taking that path (or any adoption path) right now. This may change in the future, but for now, this is where we are. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that making jokes about infertility is insensitive. You might be trying to make light of the situation, but I do not think that Octomom is funny. Chances are you do not know much about IVF or any other fertility treatment and telling me I will end up carrying “a litter” does not amuse me. I have done copious research on the risks I am taking, and I plan to be very responsible in my decision making, but sometimes God intervenes. Just ask the couple in Utah that is carrying two sets of identical twins (A one in 70 million chance). There is nothing about this process that I find funny. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that you are not an expert on baby-making. I want your support, but I do not want your advice. It might be coming from a good well-intentioned place, but I promise I have heard it all before. If you think I haven’t done my fair share of research on this you are absolutely nuts. Telling me to take up yoga, go on vacation, stop eating dairy, eat more dairy, or relax is not helpful. You may not realize it, but you are actually sending the message that “I’m doing it wrong”. I promise I paid attention in Sex Ed and I know where babies come from. There are bigger medical issues in play here (that they do not teach you about in Sex Ed) and I am paying some very good doctors a lot of money to help me overcome them. I appreciate that you want to help, but please don’t. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that sometimes this completely consumes my life. This is especially true when I am undergoing a treatment. Going through a fertility treatment is stressful. I take pills, give myself shots, go to the doctor a million times…..it’s just a lot. It’s a lot to do, and a lot for me to wrap my own head around. I do not feel like myself. I am full of hormones that have some serious physical and emotional side effects. I am not trying to be self-centered during these times, but I really can’t help it. I do not expect you to know what I am feeling, but I hope that you can sympathize. I love when you check up on me. You have no idea how much it means to me. I will get back to normal eventually. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that I am sorry. I am sorry if I did not tell you congratulations on your pregnancy announcement right away. I am sorry if I had to walk away or change the subject when you were talking about your pregnancy. I promise, I am happy for you. Maybe it came after some disappointing news on my own journey. Maybe it was just a bad day. I am sorry. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know (again) that you should not tell me to relax. If you can spend 10k, 20k, 30k (or more) with absolutely no guarantee of any return on your investment without feeling even the slightest ping of stress good for you. I can’t. Unfortunately I do not have the blessing of unlimited financial resources and this shit gets pricey quickly. If you know someone who wants to bankroll all of this for us, I might be able to relax a little, otherwise I promise I am doing the best I can to just make it through. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that age is linked to fertility and time is of the essence. In the scheme of life 32 is young. Hopefully I am only 1/3 through my life but I have a documented issue which affects my fertility. There is no way to know for sure, but I may have had problems conceiving at 25 or 22 because this condition has always been present in my body. Please do not tell me I am “still young”. I have no idea how many more years will go by before I am finally a mother. Sure there are women who get pregnant at 40, but I am 32 and my already challenged fertility is declining every day. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that I do believe in miracles. There is always a chance that I could get knocked up the old-fashioned way. I think it’s great if your cousin’s husband’s brother’s neighbor got pregnant after adopting, or after ten years when they “stopped trying” or when they went to Maui.   Amazing things happen all the time and I have all the hope in the world that it will happen to me, but it may not. I am at the point in my life that I am ready to have a child. I was also ready three years ago when I started trying. I am not sure what God’s plan is yet, but I do know that I feel like pursuing IVF is the right thing for us right now. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that I never thought I would be doing IVF. It’s extremely difficult to fully realize that this is my circumstance. I wanted you to know all of this because I need you. I need a shoulder to cry on sometimes and sometimes I just need you to listen. I have dreamed of being a mother since I was a little girl. I have perspective. I know that my life is blessed in so many ways. But it is impossible for me to see a future without a child to call me mother. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that this is just the next step in a three year journey. There may be complications, disappointment, and heartbreak. This is not going to be an easy road and I have no idea what the future holds.  Things just might not turn out like I had hoped.  Infertility touches almost every part of my life; my job, my marriage, my bank account, my friendships. It consumes everything. It has probably changed me, some for the better, and some for the worse. I really need lots of hugs, and sometimes I need grace when the hormones get the best of me. Sometimes I am going to be selfish. I don’t mean to be, but I am trying to protect myself. Please understand. Please be gentle.

I just wanted you to know that I don’t expect you to actually understand. I didn’t understand until I was in the thick of it. I always had a fear in the back of my mind that I would have fertility issues, but I think that is normal for women who want children. The reality is a nightmare come true. I do need you to be gentle. And most of all I ask for your prayers. No matter what road we take it is all in God’s hands.

Finally, I just wanted you to know that I am thankful for you. Thankful that you are reading this.   Thankful for your support. Thankful for your love. Thankful for your prayers. I am thankful for all of the parenting advice you will be able to give me some day when my time has finally come. I am thankful to have you here you here during this extremely difficult time. I am so thankful that you are trying to understand. And of course, that you are gentle with my broken heart.

4 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My (Fertile) Friends

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