This open letter to couples facing infertility is a great read for anyone struggling with infertility, written by someone who’s been there. If you’re wondering what infertility feels like or how to stay positive, this one’s for you!
To the couple facing infertility,
I am so sorry. Infertility is one of the most painful, difficult struggles someone can face, and it sucks. I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone, and I’m so sorry you have to go through it.
I’m sorry that people who haven’t experienced infertility don’t understand. I’m sorry that you have to hear lots of unintentionally hurtful comments about your childless family and how your priorities aren’t in order.
I’m sorry you weren’t prepared for this. Nobody is ever prepared for infertility, and it’s so painful to get negative pregnancy tests month after month, with little to no explanation why. You always think that having a baby is going to take a few tries and then that’s it, but for many, that’s not the way it goes.
I’m sorry it’s all-consuming. I’m sorry infertility takes hold of you. I’m sorry it’s overwhelming and constant and feels like a nightmare you can’t wake up from. I’m sorry that worrying about getting pregnant is all you can think of.
I’m sorry if you feel like you have to put on a fake smile and give a fake “I’m good” when anyone asks how you are. I’m sorry you can’t feel like you can tell anyone what you’ve been facing. Infertility is so common, but unfortunately people still don’t talk about it enough.
I’m sorry that infertility treatments are so expensive. I’m sorry that there’s no guarantee that those expensive treatments will work. I’m sorry if you’re one of those without access to insurance coverage for infertility care or the economic means to pay out-of-pocket for treatments. It seems so unfair that most people don’t have to pay anything to make a family when some have to pay so much.
I’m sorry for every friend, family member, or co-worker who gets pregnant while you’re struggling to keep your head above water. I’m sorry that it’s hard to be happy for them, and I’m sorry that you have to watch them experience pregnancy and parenthood while you watch enviously from the sidelines, wishing you could be feeling morning sickness and contraction pain.
I also want you to remember that there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re not being punished, and it’s not your fault that you are faced with this trial. It can happen to first-time parents, second-time parents, or fifth-time parents. Infertility does not discriminate based on sex, race, religion, age, or even socio-economic status, and it certainly doesn’t happen as a result of something you’ve done or did not do in the past.
You’re going to feel a roller coaster of emotions, if you haven’t already, and you’re allowed to feel all of those feelings. You’re allowed to be angry, sad, jealous, frustrated, stressed, anxious, and exhausted. Acknowledge your feelings and let yourself feel them. You can’t process, grow, or move on from these feelings if you deny or suppress them.
Remember that you’re not alone. It might feel like you are because infertility doesn’t get talked about as much as it should, but 1 in 8 couples have trouble either getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy (source). You may not even be aware of people close to you who are also struggling. Find a few people you can talk to, share your struggle, and be there for those who are also struggling. You are not alone in this.
Remember to talk to each other, too. Infertility is something you go through together. Stay connected, put each other first, and always treat each other with kindness and respect. Don’t let infertility become a wedge in your relationship.
Remember that there are many ways to make a family. What works for one couple might not be possible for another. As long as you don’t give up, there’s always hope. It might not be through pregnancy, but surrogacy, adoption, and fostering are incredible ways to make a family, too.
Most importantly, don’t forget that it’s worth it. It’s worth every tear, all the pain from negative pregnancy tests, all the money you spend on creating your family, and every uncomfortable, miserable, depressing, stressful moment.
I wish you the best of luck, all the love in the world, and hope that one day soon you will experience the joy of holding your own child in your arms.
I wrote this post as part of National Infertility Awareness Week and the 2019 theme #InfertilityUncovered. Together we can raise awareness about the significant lack of access to family building options and emotional support for millions of women and men struggling to build a family.