What Your Infertile Friends Want You to Know
We're happy for you, but we're also dying inside.
I married my husband back in 2010. For eight years of our marriage, we had no plans of starting a family, no means to support a child; at the time, we were living with family and the idea of bringing a baby into an already unstable situation would not be the wisest of ideas. We needed a place of our own, we needed to make sure we could provide for a little one. I wasn’t worried about being a mother. I had nieces and nephews that called me Aunt and that was good enough for me.
I see an endocrinologist every 6 months or so. She helps me with the PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and all the problems that come with it. Recently, I found out that the inevitable was happening: I’m 37, almost pushing 40. (Make it stop.) My biological clock is counting down and if I don’t conceive soon, I’ll lose that small window of becoming a mother. A part of me wants this badly, to have a family of my own… and then there is another part of me that, I don’t see myself as the motherly type. I like to stay up late playing video games, I like sleeping in, eating what I like when I like, I’m selfish. It’s like a moral crisis that is pulling me two directions at once.
With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, it’s hard to conceive and my menstrual cycles are hit or miss. I and my husband have been trying since 2017 to have a child. Nothing is more devastating than to think you’re pregnant and be confronted with a negative pregnancy test. It’s soul-crushing, and it makes you feel like a failure not only as a woman but as a wife. I can’t remember how many times upon seeing that negative pregnancy test and just crying, apologizing to my husband that my body is broken. Although he puts on the bravest poker face, I can see it’s killing him too.
I can’t count how many times in the past year that I’ve been sent a baby shower invite, whether it be Facebook, or mailed to my house. Now, don’t get me wrong... I am happy that someone is having a baby; I’m happy that they are starting or extending their family. I am not one to judge someone, and one’s fertility is none of my business. I have no idea what they’ve had to go through, whether they got pregnant naturally, or IVF, or a fertility doctor. Nor am I going to curse and hate someone for being pregnant. I don’t know their story or their struggles.
Women who are infertile, or struggle to conceive are not looking for sympathy or a pity party; we are not trying to make you feel bad for us. Every pregnancy announcement, baby shower invites, and birth announcement is like the sharpest knife plunged deep into our already fragile and broken hearts. It’s a constant reminder of something we may never be able to have. This is why these events are a major trigger to those of us who find it hard to have a child. A baby shower is supposed to be about the mother and the upcoming child. it’s their day... and as much as it kills me inside, I refuse to spoil a happy occasion because I’m sad about my situation of bearing children. I’m not bitter, I’m not even jealous. I’m sad about my situation, but I’m happy for the woman who gets to bring new life into the world.
One thing that infertile women want people to understand, is we’re broken inside mentally and physically. Although we are very happy that you are expecting, we envy you. We’re not sure when or even if we will be blessed with our little one, and that just kills us. As mentioned, although we are not looking for sympathy, we need others to understand how we feel when we find out someone is pregnant. Instead of “Relax and it will happen!” or “Kids are such a burden” maybe understand from our point of view that we dream about having a baby every day, praying that fate is kind and grants each of us the joy of raising someone into a wonderful person. That’s not too much to ask, is it?