A letter to women struggling to get pregnant

March 9 | Guest post by Sarah
A letter to women struggling to get pregnant
Infertility Support Card from InvitesDotTiff

To the woman struggling to get pregnant,

I've been married almost four years and have been trying to conceive for most of that time. My husband and I did all the right things: tracking my cycles, taking prenatal vitamins, the whole nine yards. After a year, we started going to specialists and went through a variety of tests and procedures, including semen analyses, hysterosalpingograms (HSG), and intrauterine inseminations (IUI). The tests came back fine but despite reassurances that the procedures would lead to pregnancy, they didn't.

It may seem like nearly every woman around you is pregnant and you may wonder when you'll have your turn.

Fertility treatment can take a huge physical toll; often after the IUI I was in significant pain. It can also impact your emotions. Being on fertility medications negatively affected my mood, plus it was stressful to regularly rearrange my work day to account for doctor's appointments. Adding to the stress is that timing with fertility treatment is so precise that being unable to make an appointment on a specific day means waiting to continue treatment until the next month. Last fall, my clinic closed early in preparation for a hurricane, so I missed my next appointment and had to restart my treatment cycle the following month.

To add to the stress, you will probably spend a small fortune on doctor visits and exams (fun fact: insurance covers few fertility treatments past diagnosis), then contend with the "two-week wait," which may inexplicably be longer. It's also rough when the wait falls around a significant date, such as Mother's Day.

You may become overwhelmed with emotions. Anger and envy over those who you assume became pregnant easily. Frustration and sadness over another negative pregnancy test. Fear and anxiety that you'll never get pregnant. It may seem like nearly every woman around you is pregnant and you may wonder when you'll have your turn.

The emotions you experience are totally valid. It's okay to feel upset when someone you know announces their fourth pregnancy. Or to avoid areas where there may be children. Or to hate your body for not working the way you feel it's supposed to. Give yourself time to experience those emotions. But don't spend all of it wallowing. You're so much more than some baby machine. You're a person. Acknowledge that you're having a hard time, maybe talk to someone about it. You're not alone.

The emotions you experience are totally valid.

I've accepted that I may never get pregnant and steered my attention to the positive aspects of this situation (yes, there are positives to infertility!). One is that this has brought my husband and I closer together. Going through this with him has made it easier. Another positive is that I've developed a stronger sense of self. For so long, I thought that part of being a woman was the ability to have children, and it doesn't have to be. Define yourself in your own terms. Pursue new hobbies or engage more in current ones. Traveling will never be cheaper.

My husband and I recently decided to take a break from treatment. Think about doing that for yourself if you're feeling burned out by constant doctor visits or you're feeling emotionally depleted. This letter is for the woman who is still struggling to conceive. Stay strong and make each decision based on what you want, not what you feel you're supposed to do.

Sincerely,
A woman struggling to get pregnant

  1. Thankyou for this. Im barren, yes I like that word, it's so Shakesperean and I reclaimed it. I'm 51 now and after years of PCOS, unsuccessful fertility treatment, a severe breakdown and break up of my marriage and poor mental health where I cannot even work anymore never mind be considered to foster or adopt, yet I'm good with children. I had womb cancer and getting rid of my useless reproductive organs was cathartic, the problems arising with being an older woman are padt pains resurface as my peers become grandmothers. I became a great auntie but sadly my great nephew and niece live a long way from me. I'd love nearer but as the childless woman of the family I'm the one who will be caring for my aging mother so I can't leave her.

    1 agrees
    • Sorry to hear about your situation. I'm glad though that my article inspired you to share your story.

  2. This month marks one year of trying for my second child. It took two years for me to become pregnant the first time around. Two years and a total mental breakdown. Here I am at the one year mark and I've started having a conversation with my husband. I don't think I can do this anymore. My heart hurts. I know other people like yourself struggle(d) to become pregnant for longer but I just can't do it anymore. I want another child so very bad and I feel like it's time to move on to looking into adoption. My husband wants to keep trying. I love him dearly but I don't think he really understands how much it takes a toll on my mental and physical health.

    2 agree
    • Thanks for the comment! Sorry to hear that you're struggling as well. It's important consider how much this taking a toll on you in relation to how well you're able to take care of yourself. I've reached the point where trying to conceive became too much to handle since other aspects of my life were being negatively affected. Good luck with whatever you ultimately decide to do.

  3. Thank you so much for this. My husband and I started trying to get pregnant almost a year ago, and eventually my doctors uncovered a whole host of health issues including PCOS and type 1 diabetes. Not how I had planned this to go! I’m trying to keep things in perspective but it gets harder and harder to see my friends and acquaintances (and even strangers!) getting pregnant with what seems like ease. I am also trying to keep my expectations low since I have a higher than average risk of miscarriage and complications even if I manage to get pregnant. My heart goes out to you and others who are struggling with their fertility. It is so important for us to know that we are not alone.

    1 agrees
    • You're welcome! It's been incredible to learn how many people, friends and family, who have struggled with infertility since I wrote this. I wish this was talked about more openly so fewer women have to suffer in silence. Thank you for the comment!

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