Dear (Fertile) Friend,
I’ve had this letter on my heart for several months, but I wasn’t sure how to start it, what to say, or how to finish it. Thoughts have rolled around in my head while emotions have filled my heart. Before I begin, I want you to know that I am happy for you. Yes, I am EXTREMELY happy for you.
I don’t understand and never will what it’s like to not wait. Infertility is a struggle-a daily struggle. It’s the loss of a dream and an idea that you had for your life. My journey is much different from your journey. You see, I won’t know the joys of a “surprise” pregnancy, the emotions of an “oops” turned into the greatest joy or being able to “just try.” I won’t know what it’s like to surprise my husband with big news. I used to think that would be my story, but it isn’t.
I want you to know that the struggle is not just physical, it’s emotional. The emotions that surrounded your pregnancy will be very different from the emotions that surround mine. My journey has been long. Last month we started our sixth year of trying. Six years. Can you imagine waiting for six years? I don’t want you to have to imagine it. I don’t want you to have to endure it. It’s painful and it’s hard. For some six years is a long time, but there are others out there who have been waiting even longer than me. For the past five years, this journey has been a series of ups and downs, tests, procedures, medications, injections, and a roller coaster of emotions. You see infertility gets in your head and you can’t get it out. The “just don’t think about it and it will happen” doesn’t work. It’s always in the back of your mind and it rears it’s unrelenting head at every turn at every sight of a baby, toddler, child, and yes even a teenager. My heart longs for all of those milestones no matter how difficult you say they are. There isn’t one thing in the world that I want more than to add to our family and there isn’t anything more difficult than trying to make a family in the face of infertility.
So, yes I am jealous of you. I envy you and your beautiful family. And, working in a school I see the other’s that no one wants to talk about. The children who are unloved, taken for granted, and pushed aside. You know the children because like me you have cried at the news reports, you see them in your own child’s school, or in the park. The question “Why do they get a child and not me?” is always lingering. But, in both situations, you have what I want and for me, it’s always just out of my reach. But, more than my jealousy I’m sad for me, I’m sad for my husband, I’m sad for our parents, and I’m sad for our siblings because they see the hurt that this journey brings. So, when you share your big news I ask for a little grace, just a moment, and then I’ll be okay. I’ll be rejoicing with you and loving on your precious new baby. Please, remember I am really, really happy for you!
I want you to know I’m not always jealous, or envious, or sad. I am truly, truly happy for you. More days are filled with laughter and happiness than the negativity of infertility. It’s just this journey is tough. It’s long. It’s tiring. It’s just hard knowing that a lifelong dream is taking so long. You know that life plan that I had flew out the window several years ago.
I want you to know that your journey is a blessing and a gift. I want to remind you to be thankful that your story isn’t like my story. That even on your hardest days, I would trade places with you and there are millions of other hopeful moms and dads who would too. I can only imagine how tough it is with your #threenager and #meanager or whatever other titles, label, or hashtag you want to give, but in reality, I long for even your toughest days. The days are long, but the years are short. I want you to know that you’re doing a good job. You’re a great Mom and watching and listening to you is teaching those of us who are waiting. I know it has to be tough, but those precious babies are your blessing and I hope you take a moment to remember what a gift they really are even when it’s hard.
Our journeys will always be different. While I will never know, what it’s like to get pregnant when and how I want you will (hopefully) never know the wait and longing. I never thought my journey would include IVF. I never thought it would include days’ worth of shots, an egg retrieval, an Embryoscope, and more and more waiting. Foreign terms and procedures limited to those of us who are in that 1 in 8. So, I ask you to remember those of us who are still waiting for our blessing. Who month after month and year after year are told “not yet” and continue to wait for the month that will be our month.
I don’t know how hard it really is. No, I don’t know the struggles of motherhood. I know you’re tired, I see your struggles, and I hear your mumbles, but just remember you are the perfect mother for your children and you are doing a great job. It’s a job that I can’t wait to have and that so many others are dreaming of just like me. It is the hardest job in the world, but I would still do anything to be in your shoes.
P.S. If you’re a fellow infertility sister, I’d love to hear your story and add you to my prayer list. Infertility is lonely in a world full of babies so, it’s nice knowing you’re not alone.