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.
A woman struggling to get pregnant