An Open Letter on Infertility

Last week was National Infertility Awareness week. Infertility is medically defined as a person who has tried to conceive for over 12 months with no success. I had no idea of this definition until my doctor told me that I fell into this category.

With this in mind I wanted to do something a little different this week. I’ve written an open letter to people (in general) who ask “When will you have more kids?”. Many people ask this, and it seems to be a common question. But with awareness in mind, I just wanted to give those people a glimpse of how that question is received on the other side.

Last, I just want to say if you suffer from infertility, you are not alone. Many of us suffer in silence, but please know that I am with you. I’m rooting for you. But more importantly I’m praying for you.

To whom it may concern,

This is the hardest post I’ve ever written. Mostly because I don’t want to write it. But I feel like I have an obligation to speak on behalf of the women who are going through the same thing I am. I want you to know that this is all coming from a place of love. This is to the aunties, the moms, the nice church ladies. The women who mean us no harm, the women we love. But unbeknownst to them, they are causing us pain, and I thought it was time to explain why.

The other day you asked me when I would be expanding my family. It was a light hearted question to which I mumbled some kind of response. You then responded with ‘don’t wait too long, you aren’t getting any younger.’ But the thing is— I already know that. I know that every day that passes decreases my chances of being able to conceive. And I really didn’t need the reminder.

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that you don’t know about, and honestly, I think that’s why we’re in this situation. You don’t know that I got another baby shower invitation in the mail and I cried. I was happy for the parents-to-be, I really was, but it was just another reminder of the thing that I wanted so badly. But had no control over. After I cried, I felt bad. What kind of monster cries because they got an invitation to celebrate an impending birth? Apparently this one.

You don’t know how excited I get every month when my period is late. Maybe this month we beat the odds. Maybe it’s going to happen for us after all. But the more hope I feel, the more devastating it is to me when my visitor comes and I realize, it wasn’t this month after all.

Maybe it was easy for you. Some people hop into bed and come out pregnant. Maybe you never wanted kids. Maybe you just never realized that this process is really hard for some people. I know you aren’t deliberately trying to be cruel. But, I don’t think you know that this simple question reveals so much of your fertility journey to me. How much you didn’t have to struggle. Because if you did, you would never ask this question. It’s one that I’ll never ask.

You don’t realize that I take a big white pill every day to increase my chances of ovulation. And the medicine makes me physically sick. My outings are mapped by bathrooms along the way, because I can never be too far from one. Just in case.

I cry to my husband. I cry to God. The commercial I saw last night triggers it. Days of intense sickness trigger it. Looking at baby pictures trigger it. Everything, it seems, can be a trigger. I try to emotionally detach, knowing that it’s the hope that’s killing me inside. If I could just let go of it, it wouldn’t hurt so bad. Every. Month.

But if I did, what kind of person would I be? So I don’t. I hold on to it. I wipe my tears and put on a brave face. I pray thanking God for the things that I do have. I RSVP yes to that baby shower invitation. And all is going well.

But then, I run into you. And you ask me, “Where’s the next baby? I thought she’d be here by now.” 

“Don’t wait too long!”

“When are you going to add to your family?”

“Don’t you want your girl?”

“Are you already pregnant?”

“Is there something we should know?”

This is what I want you to know. Your questions rips me to shreds. I am medically infertile, and the one child that I do have is a miracle. I suffer from PCOS, the most common cause of infertility in women. Please know that this question is more personal and painful than you ever intended it to be. When I do have news to share, and decide to announce it, you will know. But until then please respect my silence.

Again, I know you aren’t asking this to hurt me. It’s just a lighthearted remark. But I think if you knew how much it did hurt me, and the millions of others just like me, you wouldn’t ask it anymore. So this is my plea to you. Please don’t ask me this question anymore. Please don’t ask anyone this question. We just don’t know how many women are silently struggling, trying to hold it together. We don’t know when they’ve reached their tipping point. And we’ll never know, because this is a load most bear alone.

Instead, here are a few things you can do. Pray for us. Encourage us. And be ready to celebrate whenever we finally do have glorious news to share with you.

All my love, 

(44) Comments

  1. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way, but I’m glad I learned it. I have so much more compassion, and I’ve learned not to ask people those questions. It’s true that most people aren’t trying to hurt you by asking them, but everyone needs to read this to see why these questions can hurt! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. Amie says:

      So true, most people really do have the best intentions. Thank you for reading 🙂

      1. I totally feel you with this letter! My husband and I waited a couple years to start trying and people always asked when we were going to get started. When we decided we would we got pregnant right away and lost our first baby. Then got pregnant again and lost our second baby. I felt hatred in my heart for all of my friends and family that were able to get pregnant right away and keep their baby. It then took us about 6 months to get pregnant again. All in all it took over a year to have a viable pregnancy and then we made it to full term! Our little boy is coming any day now. It was such a hard journey for us and I understand the pain you feel.

        1. Amie says:

          Wow, you’ve had a long journey, and I bet a rollercoaster of emotions! I’m so happy that you’ll be able to hold your little one in your arms very soon. Congratulations on your new addition!

    2. Thank you for writing this post. It needs to be out there. My heart breaks for women who want children and can’t. I’ve been a surrogate 3 times to do my part.

      1. Amie says:

        Wow, thank you so much for giving that amazing gift!

  2. I pray this letter encourages those out there facing infertility. Such a sensitive topic where many are hurting. Thank you for being vulnerable with your feelings ❤️

    1. Amie says:

      Thanks so much Tisha.

  3. So heart felt and sweet, thank you for sharing you’re true feelings. I know it can’t be easy and you’re not alone. Stay Strong.

    1. Amie says:

      Thank you Maya 🙂

  4. This was really sweet and real! Great post.

    1. Amie says:

      Thank you!

  5. Dear Amie,
    Thank you so much for bearing your heart to us. I know that this one had to be a very difficult one to write. I will pray for you and your husband. Know that i am here if ever you need to talk. I lost my first child at 22 weeks. When he was born he was the size of a ten week old. For the longest time even after my second child was born i still struggled with depression. Between my second and third child there is seven years. Then my youngest came not long after my third. I say all that to say this your miracle will come….. I know that its devastating, but dear one just hold on…. Hold tight and cherish every moment with your little bundle. Love deeply, and hold tightly to your dreams. You will see something good will come of this time. Till then know that we are here holding you in prayer.

    1. Amie says:

      Thanks so much for the prayers Tara. I’m so sorry for your loss. That must have been a very challenging time for you. I’m going to hold my little one a little tighter today.

  6. This was so beautiful and sweet! Unfortunately too many of us women feel this exact same way. I’m sending u love and light

    1. Amie says:

      Thanks so much Tasha!

  7. Jarid says:

    This topic is always heartbreaking to me. Thank you for opening up. Awareness for the emotional impact our questions/comments can have is huge.

    1. Amie says:

      Thanks so much Jarid! Yes, I really think people have the best intentions, they just aren’t always aware.

  8. Hugs!! Infertility impacts people in ways we cannot imagine. It’s important to have compassion and grace.

    1. Amie says:

      Thanks so much Mamie! Yes, this is so true.

  9. Oh this is so very powerful. My sister had cancer when she was younger so that has hindered her having kids. It has been so hard for us as a whole family. I want to be able to give her the kids she so desperately wants. I pray for every single woman, couple, family, who are struggling with this. Thank you so very much for this share.

    1. Amie says:

      Thanks so much! I can’t imagine what that must be like for your sister, my prayers go out to her. It sounds like she has the support of a great family, and that is priceless.

  10. This letter was so beautifully written. I and other women with a certain rare disease can relate to this. I have shared this post with them. We cry when we get baby shower invitations, we cry when we find out someone close to us is pregnant. I am in tears, I know what it’s like.

    1. Amie says:

      Thank you Miriam. Yes, it is extremely hard. I’m so happy that you have the support of what sounds like a wonderful group of women. For me that’s been the most helpful thing, knowing that I’m not in this alone, and knowing that this is nothing to be ashamed of.

  11. Emma says:

    Thank you for sharing! Infertility affects so many more people than we realize. I know a handful of people who waited until after their child was born to share their infertility stories.

    1. Amie says:

      Thanks for reading! I also know people that wait to share. Sometimes it can feel lonely and a bit embarrassing until you have a success story to share. I hope this changes though, because after writing this, I’ve realized just how ‘un-alone’ I am.

  12. This is a great post. I suffered from infertility. It took me five years to conceive my son and then three and a half for my daughter. I always told people that I was close to what was going on. I just figured I could help someone with being open because I had learned that it’s something most women do not want to admit or talk about if they are going through it.

    1. Amie says:

      Thank you, that is so true!

  13. I think I cried all the way through reading this. I suffered from infertility as well. After 2 miscarriages, and 18 months of trying, we were finally able to have our son. He is the light of our lives and so very precious. He’s a teenager now, and an only child. We continued to try to get pregnant again when he was a year old, but it never happened. Three years ago I went through menopause at the very young age of 43 and that loss is still so fresh in my heart. God bless you, Amie, and don’t give up!

    1. Amie says:

      Thank you so much Julie.

  14. So beautifully written! Thank you for sharing! Sometimes seemingly innocent questions aren’t so innocent to the recipients. This is a topic that needs more focus. Being alone in grief is a hard place to be. Hugs and prayers!

    1. Amie says:

      Thank you so much Abbie!

  15. Thank you so much for being so brave and obedient in writing this. Life has taught me so much and that is you never know what someone is struggling with or battling just because they are smiling or seem like all is well. This post was necessary and nothing is wrong with you allowing yourself to feel all the feelings that you do! It’s what makes you beautiful and human!

    1. Amie says:

      Thanks Ashle!

  16. I found this to be very interesting. I never thought if it like that. I will definitely think twice before asking a women these questions. Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Amie says:

      Thanks Ashley! I really think most people have the best intentions when they ask these questions, it’s just some of these things aren’t even on their radar.

  17. I can tell you poured your heart into this. I think as woman there are a lot of things that we hold in and put on a brave face for, but we dont have to (I am also guilty of this though). We need to share with other women, share our pain and have some support. Everything is easier with someone in your corner. I empathies with you and other women and I wish you the best of luck!

    1. Amie says:

      Thanks so much Virginia!

  18. Thank you for sharing and being so vulnerable. I was able to have 2 children but wanted more and went into early menopause in my early 30s so wasn’t able to have anymore kids and so I feel that pain at a different level – still a hole of missing what I wanted and still many asking why I was not having more kids, etc. So many different ways to feel…

    1. Amie says:

      Larissa, there really are! So many of us are dealing with so many feelings, and typically you’d never know.

  19. Thank you so much for posting this. I suffer from PCOS as well, and I have one child as well. People sometimes end up thinking that just because we have one it should be easy to have another. What they don’t see are the days and months and years trying. Thank you!

    1. Amie says:

      Sara, this is so true. Thanks for reading!

  20. Infertility is not my struggle (I have others). I’ve learned by listening to friends what not to ask. I think the biggest point here, is that you turn to God. By definition, you are therefore not alone. Jesus bore all your sorrows, griefs, etc. in the Garden of Gethsemane. He PERFECTLY knows your struggles, and mine, and everyone else’s. Life is messy! And our human interactions are the messiest. Sharing our stories is one of the bravest things we can do. How do we know what NOT to ask someone who has your struggle if we never hear a story like yours? So.. thank you for sharing. It takes courage that I can appreciate.

    1. Amie says:

      Thanks so much Mindy! Yes, God is a great comfort. Knowing that He knows what I need better than I do, and that He knows what I’m going through is a gift that I treasure. Thanks so much for reading.

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