Dear Fertile People

Things an infertile girl wants you to know

Tag: loss

Guilty

I have PCOS.
I have a blood clotting gene mutation.
I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
I am infertile.
I suffer from recurrent miscarriages.

This body and these genes have determined my life path. They have also chosen it for my husband.

My guilt over this is tremendous. My husband is so good about this being “our disease” or “our monster.” How can I not blame myself though? How can I not blame my body for killing his children?

I can’t.

Don’t Say This

You are so lucky with no kids, you get to sleep in!

Sleeping in is pretty great. I will freely admit that.
I’m not sure it is quite comparable though.
Sleeping in or a lifetime of broken dreams?
Sleeping in or the overwhelming sadness of your husband never being a father?
Sleeping in or celebrating due dates for lost children rather than birthday’s?
Sleeping in or….

Please don’t say this. There is nothing lucky about having this path chosen for you.

A tip

Why are Mother’s and Father’s Day so close?
Why not space them out to give us infertile/loss people a bit of time to breathe?

As I was falling apart, my husband was working desperately to help me keep it together.
Reverse that, only one month later and I am feeling off-kilter and unbalanced.

This year was particularly hard for both of us. We have already decided that next year we are going to try and ignore it all and go to a movie. We just sat around, looked at each other and cried occasionally. I do not want to do that again anytime soon.

Here’s a tip for the fertile people: it’s ok to acknowledge these two days. If you are thinking of it, you can be sure that we are as well.

Purple nail polish?

In the last month or so, I have had several unexpected infertility and loss bonding sessions.
A sweet co-worker going through her first loss. The lovely tech taking my blood the day before Mother’s Day while being surrounding by pregnant women. The online friend trying to figure out how to mark the due date of her lost baby without falling into the pit of depression.

These three conversations were a result of my openness and willingness to talk about infertility and loss. This is fairly new for me. I used to be fully in the closet. I don’t even know why. Why don’t people talk about infertility? It’s too personal? That just seems silly now. I gain so much from these interactions. Infertility, despite the strong online community, is very isolating in real life. Fertility is all around you – literally. You feel alone in your grief with only your spouse to hang on to. Until you start talking about it. When you find a person dealing with infertility too, the bond is immediate. You are sisters. Sisters in loss. We have our own club. It sucks, but it’s ours.

I wish that there was a way for us to find each other IRL. Without stupid rubber bracelets. Something more subtle. Purple nail polish on our pinky fingers?

Announcing a pregnancy

Dear Fertile People,

This is a tough one. You’re having a baby and you’re super excited about it. I get that. I’m happy for you. I’m also sad, sad, sad for me. Regardless of how you announce your pregnancy, it’s always like a blow to the head, unexpected and crushing. A reminder of what I don’t have.

So what’s the best way to announce your pregnancy to someone dealing with infertility? Slowly, allowing for sufficient processing time. If you’re close with the person, chances are that they probably know if your pregnancy was planned or not. A planned pregnancy is easier to deal with because everyone knew it was coming. Eventually. An unplanned, out of the blue pregnancy announcement is hard. On both parties. Do your best to be sensitive and once again, allow time for processing.

I am a fan of announcing a pregnancy via email. Not to everyone, but to those that might have a hard time with the news. Email allows me to have my reaction, whatever it may be, by myself. I control when I can/want to respond. The extra processing time is a godsend.

It’s a crappy experience for everyone involved. Sensitivity goes a long, long way.

Stolen

Infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss has stolen a lot from me. I was just thinking today that I will never again see a positive pregnancy test and be happy like I was the first time. That was a wonderful time. The testing like crazy, watching the line get darker and taking lots of pictures to send to my mother-in-law. After we lost that baby, every other positive test has been met with fear. And usually, “Oh shit.”

I just want to have that first feeling again. I want Joe to have it too. It’s one of the many things that this journey has stolen from us.

Don’t Say this: Miscarriage Edition

Dear Fertile People,

I’m just going to flat out say it. Unless you have suffered a miscarriage yourself, the majority of your expressions of condolence are going to be hurtful. It is one of those things that has to be experienced. Most people are so well meaning but in the moment, as the tears are welling up, you just want to scream at them.

Don’t say this after a first miscarriage:

At least you know you can get pregnant.

Is that supposed to make me feel better? Like yay, my baby died! At least I can maybe, possibly, have a replacement baby and everything will be great?
What if I want this baby?
You might have been able to get pregnant but now you have no idea if you can carry a baby to term.

We were elated during our first pregnancy. Almost 9 weeks of bliss. And then the bleeding started. I am forever altered because of that experience. It was a slow, drawn out miscarriage. Our little one’s heart just kept slowing down at each ultrasound until it stopped. But yay, at least I knew that I could get pregnant. And lose a baby. A child.

Would you say it to a person who lost their 5 year old? Well, at least you know that you can have another child. Regardless of how far along you are, your baby is a child. Your child. Who died.

Before offering your condolences to someone who has had a miscarriage, ask yourself this question: Would I say this to a woman who lost her 5 year old?
If the answer is no, don’t say it.

The best thing that someone has ever said to me after a loss? This fucking sucks dude. I’m really sorry.

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