Ten words that describe infertility

March 26, 2013 — 457 Comments

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about the hilarious and exasperating journey of parenting small children. But for seven harrowing years of infertility, Mary and I would have given anything to have children, no matter how hard it was.

Here are ten words I would use to describe how infertility feels:

1. Lonely. We saw couple after couple get pregnant before us, our best friends included. When they told us, we high-fived them, then we went home, and hardly knew what to say to each other. We felt lost, sad, and even lonelier than before. We were excited for them; we were just very sad for us.

It’s okay to go home and cry your eyes out when your friends get pregnant.

2. Exposed. Everybody wants to give you advice, and some people say incredibly stupid things. My favorite: “You just need to stop trying so hard!” Some people want to know every excruciating detail of what you’re doing to get pregnant. Suddenly, your most private details are the subject of casual conversation. Once people know you’re trying, people want to know how it’s going, if you’ve done artificial insemination, if you’d consider IVF, and how it felt in that small white room with the gross leather chair & the bad magazines.

It’s okay to avoid the question, smile, and change the subject. Keep as many things private as you can (except to a few trusted friends).

3. On Hold. We were always checking the calendar, wondering if we should plan that vacation, or that work trip, because what if we’re pregnant? Then we stopped doing that, because we would have never lived if we would have scheduled everything around a “what if.”

It’s okay to miss a month or two; you have to live your life. This is hard, but over the long haul, it will create more stress if you feel so trapped that you can’t plan anything. We even found that it’s good to take a month off now and then.

4. Invaded. For women, there are so many things entering your body (probes, needles, drugs) and so many people measuring your progress. Even sex, at the mercy of a calendar or a temperature reading, can feel invasive. The loss of control can almost merge into a loss of self.  But, it feels like once you’ve started down this road, there’s no stopping until you get pregnant.

It’s okay to say what you need, and it’s okay to shore up your boundaries in whatever ways you can.

5. Awkward. During one of the first visits where I was given the small cup and ceremoniously ushered into the small room, I actually ran into some people from my church afterwards. Of course they had their baby with them. I had a small cup that contained very personal contents with me. They asked, “What are you doing here?” I mean, what do you say?

It’s okay to laugh at yourself sometimes. And when someone catches you with your cup in your hand, that’s all you can do.

6. Angry. Unfair is the password that gets you into the infertility club. Mary tells a story of a friend asking her if she was angry with God. “No!” she blurted. “I’m angry at pregnant women!” She knew this was irrational, but she also knew that it was good for her soul to be honest in safe places. You actually may be angry with God, and you may need to find some safe places to be honest about that.

It’s okay to express the darkness, even the stuff you’re terribly embarrassed about, because it’s good for your soul. But in the right places, with people who can handle it.

7. Stressed. Even though it seems like a stressed out couple is less likely to get pregnant, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine finds that there is no proof stress causes infertility. Besides, trying hard to “not be so stressed about it” never worked for us. It also didn’t help to “just stop trying.” Everybody has a friend who was infertile for 73 years, and the day they stopped trying, they got pregnant. That never happened with us.

It’s okay to be stressed. Don’t stress about your stress. Trying hard not to be stressed is silly.

8. Despair. The cycle of hope and despair with infertility can take you out. I remember getting so excited when Mary was 2 days late, and just knowing that this time, it’s going to happen! Then, a few days or hours later, when she told me she got “it,” I would plunge into despair. The alternative is to temper your hope so that your despair doesn’t get so low. After about a hundred months of experiencing this cycle, we found that the best route is to keep hoping, and if it doesn’t happen, keep crying. It’s too hard to pretend that you’re not excited and that you’re not depressed. Be excited. Be depressed.

It’s okay to hope, and it’s okay to cry. Keep hoping and keep crying.

9. Loss. This was not how it was supposed to be. This was not what you dreamed it would be. And you don’t know how it will end.

It’s okay if you don’t know how to wrap your mind around your emotions. Be gentle with yourself for not totally having control of how you feel from moment to moment.

10. Ambivalence. Every time you have to go through another kind of treatment, you ask yourself: “Is it worth it? Do I really want it that bad?” And then in the very next breath, you are taken out by the sheer magnitude of how much you want a baby.

It’s okay to want and not want. That’s normal. 

If you’re struggling with infertility, it can be such a dark time. You have to be out loud with each other about what you need, and every journey will be different. You have to give yourselves permission to do this journey in whatever way makes the most sense for you.

My blessing for you as you struggle: May God give you what you need, when you need it, over and over and over again.


P.S. If your story involves adoption, you might want to read my friend’s beautiful and messy journey with adoption here.

457 responses to Ten words that describe infertility

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  5. My only child was born December 1985. She will be 30 years old this year. I recently found this article and can’t believe how deep the pain of being unable to have a second child is after all this time. Back then when I tried to talk about it people gave me the ‘be happy you have one child’ speech. I AM happy I have my daughter but that doesn’t negate the fact that I wanted more children. And nobody talks about the pain of the children that long to have a sibling. I felt like I had failed her on top of my own loss. In 1992 I had a vision of a little boy named Jesse that I believed I would one day tell how much he was loved before he even came to be. Maybe I’ll meet him in heaven.

  6. My husband and I have been trying to have a baby since the day we were married. We have had two failed IVFs and so many heartbreaks. I feel completely gutted and alone. I regret all of the time I wasted when I could have been getting married and having children. Please pray that God will answer our prayer or at least make us strong enough to live with this pain.

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  8. These are the first thoughtful words I have read about infertility, and I have read quite a few. I always tell my husband that it will be the first questions I ask God. Although, somehow I feel like I’ll already know.
    We have been married almost 13 years. In the first 11 years of our marriage we had 2 full term pregnancies and 10 miscarriages. I feel like I was pregnant or in some stage of a miscarriage for 11 years.
    Besides our 2 biological blessings we have adopted 3…. so far.
    I don’t think any words are helpful but your words were affirming and thoughtful and I appreciate that.

  9. Wow, I didn’t release how much I needed to hear this. Especially the “its ok” statements. My husband is much better at handling the month to month roller coaster than me so I often get frustrated at myself for the way I am feeling. Thank you!

  10. As someone struggling with secondary infertility, I just wanted to tell you how much of a blessing this post was for me. I didn’t even realize I wanted permission to feel ALL of the things you mentioned (so conflicting at times. I love what you’re wife said about not being angry at God, but feeling irrationally angry toward pregnant women!). Thank you for adding those “it’s okay” statements. I needed them desperately.

  11. Thank you so much for this. We’re almost five years into this wilderness, and it often feels like no one understands how hard and complex it is. I will definitely re-read and share your words many times.

  12. I think what you wrote was very reasonable. However, what about this?
    suppose you wrote a catchier post title? I ain’t suggesting your content is not solid., however suppose you added a title that makes people want more? I mean Ten words that describe infertility | The Actual Pastor is a little plain. You might look at Yahoo’s front page and see how they create news titles to grab viewers to click.
    You might add a related video or a pic or two to
    get people excited about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it might make your posts a little bit more interesting.
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    • Ae you serious right now? This man has poured his heart out over not being able to conceive and you’re going on about not getting excited over the title? Have a heart.

  13. Thank you. In a way I’m glad to see and feel that we are not alone.

  14. Thank you for writing this post. Very heart warming, such a blessing for me. I laugh and cry at the same time while reading this

  15. Thanks for this post. The heart wrenching feeling every month and the I’ve given up but I haven’t because I know I have hope and know God will answer our prayer still remains. My husband gets angry when he hears people are pregnant, I just cry.
    This post spoke volumes to me. After nearly 4 years noone understands how it feels. Being told to lose weight doesn’t help, trying to do that when emotional is torture. I’ve lost 3st 4.5lbs now for treatment and I have 9lbs to go. I’m petrified now it’s getting so close. Is it all worry it? What if clomid doesn’t help? Then ivf and another 1.5st can I cope with that as well as the failed clomid?! This is what has been going through in my head recently and after reading your article I realised it’s ok to feel this way. Thank you. God is in control I know he is. I just wish it didn’t hurt so badly some days.
    God bless you and your family in all you do.
    Marie x

    • Thank-you for this :) Just before Christmas I found out I was pregnant finally after going through IVF treatments and IUI’s for the past few years. Naturally I was on cloud nine but still feeling apprehensive. Then on the 31st of January I woke up with bleeding and told my husband to take me to the ER. They couldn’t see anything on the ultrasound :( I think I’ve just been in shock, but I don’t think that I’ve given myself full permission to grieve until now. In the past few weeks I’ve found out that more women at my work are pregnant and I’ve listened to them talk about their symptoms. I feel like this past week I’ve begun to cry regularly. It’s been really hard to talk to anyone about it including my husband. I think I’m beginning to accept that I might need help from someone besides my family and friends.

      • Im so sorry to read your post Shannon :( What a long horrible journey and roller coaster for you. What a wonderful month and Christmas you would of had and then to end this way must be devastating. I imagine you feel very lost and lonely and scared to try again. Unfortunately with situations like this, time is a healer and you need to give yourself time to adjust to all this and also for your body to recover. I think we don’t really realise how much our bodies go through when doing IVF and then to conceive as well. I also found it hard to talk about things when it first happened but that does change. My thoughts are with you and I hope for a better outcome next time. Don’t give up, the long road is very much worth it when you arrive. Much love Naomi

      • Hey I just wanted you to know – I went through a very long time – and can relate to emotions. My heart aches for you. It was almost impossible to face friends who had children on Que….we ended up gravitating to older friends with older children – it was really the only way we could survive! I will pray for you both!

        In the end – we ended up with a miracle – just one and she is now 18. We were 38 when she was born…..I just wanted you to know your feelings are totally normal – email me if you need an ear

  16. I contacted Dr Edeki after 3 failed attempts at IVF. While I have conceived naturally in 08, I unfortunately miscarried. After 3 months of treatment using your natural herbal medicine approach to infertility, I got pregnant with my little girl. I do believe that your unique program and techniques are nothing short of revolutionary as it helped us to have our daughter at age 43 and a half. I followed your recommendations before and throughout my pregnancy and still do today. Your guide gave me a whole different perspective on infertility even for a bitter skeptic woman who had three failed IVF attempts. Thank you, Dr Edeki for all that you have done for me.contact this great Dr on edekiherbalspellhome@hotmail.com or you can possibly reach him on +2348135200383 Jody Gonzales Ohio, USA

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  18. I can only imagine what those years must have been like. I am the proud father of two beautiful little girls and now that I have them I couldn’t imagine life without them. I actually think I was lost before they were born. I am truly glad you have found happiness now, and hope this article can lead others to do the same.

  19. Thank you for reminding me that I can be happy for my pregnant friends and then go home and cry my eyes out. It takes a lot not to feel like a selfish, miserable person in those moments.

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  25. This post just made me cry cry cry. Even my husband doesn’t understand why I’m so tearful lately – he says if it hasn’t yet worked out then it’s not the end. But I think loneliness and inadequacy would be at the top of my list. And weepy. Is it the pills or the fact that I have no-one to talk to that is killing me? What about IVF? Well I’m not sure it fits into my idea of God’s plan for children – what happens to the unused embryos? How many times must I pray? How many healing services must we go to? How many more stupid questions and insensitive comments will I have to dodge? I want to crawl into hole. I have one very supportive friend who has just found out she’s pregnant with her second child. I can’t even bear to talk to my parents. Thank you for a very accurate post.

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  29. Thank you for writing this! It is so heavy. I have seasons of really deep sadness. Some days/weeks God gives me peace with the present and possible future. I am surrounded by everyone I know being pregnant, having babies, and the NEVEr ending chatter about it. I feel guilty for feeling the way that I do, because God loves me so much and I know He is good, just, faithful in everything He does. But the truth is sometimes no matter how hard I try to hold on to His promises I feel despair. The most encouraging thing for me is that tomorrow is a new day and his mercy is new every morning. Try to stay focused on what the good Lord has already done and know that He is with you. We will NOT be judged with what we have not been given but we will be judged with what we do with what we DO have. It helps me :) I hope 2014 is a new year of revelation and opportunity for everyone that is suffering from infertility! Love in Christ

  30. I just wanted to thank you for this post. We have been battling with infertility for over 2 years now, and this last year has had numerous challenges..many of which you mentioned.
    I have read this numerous ttimes since it was std, as it is the only truly honest infertility post. I am to the poi nt where I wonder if I would even be excited of we became pregnant… Since it has been such an , exhausting journey.
    Thank you again for this post. It helps validate all of the feelings I cannot express and others will never understand.

    • Trish – so glad you feel validated. Infertility is one of the hardest journeys there is, partly because no one understands it and it seems like no one wants to talk about it! Thanks for adding to the conversation. In it together!

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  32. A beautiful blog. With 4 precious children through IVF this has touched me x

  33. Hi Everyone. We all have our infertility pain. Reading some comments, i just want to say: today i will be praying for all posters here. God can give us all a miracle. God bless.

    • Thank U for this article…It pretty much sums up how I feel…But I do believe that there is a time for everything and that each of us WILL have what our hearts desire in GOD’S time…

  34. Thank you for posting this…. I think it sums up what every couple feels like when getting pregnant doesn’t happen right away. While my husband and I have been trying for months and not years, every month I go through the cycle of feeling hopeful, anticipation, disappointment and sadness. I find it so difficult to see pregnancy announcements on facebook and especially difficult when it seems like everyone around me it getting pregnant on their first try. I totally get the anger towards pregnant women, I find I’m jealous of every pregnant women or mother with a baby that I see, and I can’t seem to step outside my door without running into lots of both. It’s really nice to see someone articulate what it feels like and to know that we are not alone.

  35. Thank you so much for putting into words what I cannot. No one will understand unless you have gone through it… and no one I know seems to be going through it. I’ve heard it all (as we all have) “stop trying and it will happen” “you are so young, you have plenty of time” (not really) “enjoy your marriage” No one seems to understand the monthly cycle of anticipation, excitement, disappointment, tears, anger and frustration. As a woman of God, I felt terrible every time I would cry and get angry/jealous when yet another person would announce their pregnancy. Just made me cry even more (if that was possible) because I had such feelings of anger. My husband (maybe trying to make me feel better or realize how I was acting) keeps saying “Why are you angry? don’t you want people to be happy for you?” Yes, of course I want people to be happy for me…. but it isn’t me…. and it doesn’t look like it’s ever going to be me. It still hurts a lot but I act like its a joke with my friends now… (laughing) “got another test at the obgyn this week, pray for my uterus.” It makes it less awkward for friends instead of me breaking down in tears when someone brings it up. God is still good through all of this. I truly believe that HE has a plan for me much greater than I could have for myself. All I can do is pray for strength and patience. Thank you again for writing this and helping me feel less lonely in this struggle.

    • I know how you feel. I don’t even talk about it to anyone anymore because no one understands what I’m going through. All my friends are having babies and moving on with their lives. My husband has had cancer twice (in 2010 and again this last year) which is why we can’t have children. It feels like we are sitting in the storm watching life through a window. I don’t even talk about it much with my husband anymore because I always just break down crying and I know he feels bad enough knowing that it’s because of him we can’t have kids. We can’t really afford IVF so we don’t know what to do. We are on the adopt list in our province but that will take years and we would like even just one baby naturally (or as naturally as possible anyways). I make it worse for myself because I run a dayhome and spend every day taking care of other people’s kids. I am just naturally drawn to taking care of kids…being a mother is all I’ve ever wanted. I pray every single day that God would bless us with our own child. I just don’t know what to do. I think that if I stopped working it kids I would become even more bitter. It’s a lose-lose situation all around. It seems like we are destined to never be happy and to keep going through these enormous trials. We are only 23 and have already had to deal with so much….

    • I am so glad I found this site with the right post, cos this is exactly the way I feel, but I think I feel more pain,cos in my case I experience rejection,bad comments,n less love rather than consolation from my husband,he cause me more pain,cause he feels I am the one with a problem and this is making my marriage pretty unenjoyable aand miserable for me,he has decided to take another wife,and this seems my marriage is going to hit the rock, and will then make my situation seems worse, please you all should remember me in your prayers cause what I feel right is beyond words. Thanks

  36. I would add inadequate – sometimes when you don’t have children you feel a subtle judgement and then you feel the need to explain that you don’t have children because you couldn’t conceive. I hate the feeling of explaining why we never had children when people ask if we have them. Simply saying no we don’t have children, doesn’t seem like enough of an answer – you feel that there is an expectation that as a christian couple you should have children, so you feel the need to explain why you don’t. Maybe it’s just a pressure I put on myself, but it is there.

    • thank you so much for this post and to this last poster, i can definitely relate to the inadequate feeling. after years of trying and several miscairrages using eggs of 2 different donors we gave up. throughout our treatment I was very open with freinds and fam about what we were going through, but now that it’s over with no child – sometimes I don’t want to tell a new person that I’m infertile – but when they ask about children (how many do i have, they ask if my sister is my daughter, etc etc) and I tell them I don’t have any, I fell like I have to say why. because just having no children makes me seem like a horrible selfish person who hates kids, and that’s not true at all. I am a person with an illness that prevented me from having kids. period. and i am too old to adopt (as we all know that is always the next question as if adoption is free, easy and uncomplicated)

      • Thanks. Yes, the adoption route – it always seems like a foregone conclusion to everybody, but sometimes it’s just not what you are supposed to do. For the most part I have made peace with not having children, but sometimes it crops up and hurts. I know God in his wisdom has plans for us, so I trust in Him. I just wish I didn’t feel the need to qualify why to others.
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  37. Thank you so much for this post. I shared this post on my facebook page, in the hopes that it would help my friends and family understand what my husband and I go through. I hoped that it would help them understand why I get so frustrated when I see pregnancy stuff on facebook, or when I hear that someone else is pregnant.

    I was also hoping that it would help them understand that when they tell us if we don’t try so hard, it will happen. Or the classic, just get drunk, it will happen then, or there must be something between you and your husband that needs to change, and then God will give you a baby. Or the myriad of other reason people come up with.

    My body doesn’t work the way it is supposed to, plain and simple.

    Again, thank you!!!!! It brought me comfort and expressed exactly how I feel!!!!

    • thank you for saying you shared it facebook. I’m torn. Its like, everyone else is sharing their baby announcements and weekly prego pics…. why can’t I share this. Maybe it will open their eyes to what I am going through.

  38. Thank you. This article brought tears to my eyes because someone finally pinpointed exactly how I feel. If only I could find the courage to share this with the people in my life, and hope that it helps them to understand what I have been thru.

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  44. I found this recently released book really helpful (comes from a Christian perspective). It has really turned things around for me http://sheridanvoysey.com/resurrectionyear/

  45. Steve – thank you so much for this point of view!! One of my best friends in the world is going through this right now and I have, at many times, been at a loss as to what to say or do. I know that loving her is all I can do, and supporting her through each cycle of frustration, but to hear someone else’s thoughts (the crazy hatred towards pregnant people is one she’s definitely struggling with hard core right now), and somewhat make it more “normal” as to what she is feeling, somehow helps me in knowing what to do. I’ve bookmarked this entry and maybe at some point it will be okay to share with her, but for now, I think I shall keep this jewel to myself.

    Thank you so much for your words, you have obviously touched many folks deeply!

  46. Three years and still waiting for that special gift. We just found out our fertility issue. My husband has diabetes for 25 years. Sometimes it can effect the body due to high blood sugar. He has something called RE (you can look it up). Right after we found out, the planning started, treatment, what can we do, when is a good time, how much medication, things like that. i forgot to realize that my husband feels like a failure. So everything was ready and planned and he just “flaked” out. Why was he acting out. I was so disappointed, my expectations were so high for this cycle. We got to talking (after the yelling) and he told me exactly how he felt. He held in so as not to look weak. So we realized we needed a break. We needed to grieve, we needed to breath the situation and find ourselves. Especially my husband who has the “problem” the talk brought out many feelings about Gd giving him diabetes causing these issues, feeling like he has no control. Number three really just hit home “on hold” what wise words. Thank you for this, really thank you! Hatzlacha!

  47. Read this today. I have felt all of this. I sometimes still feel it all. Because after all the trying, I ended up with 4 miscarriages and 2 stillborns. I actually was relieved when I went through menopause. But at 57 years old, now people want to know why we DECIDED not to have children. I just tell them it wasn’t our decision. And go on teaching the Sunday School class. Isaiah 54:1 “Sing, O barren, You who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, You who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate Than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord.”

  48. Thank you for writing this post. It has obviously touched a large number of people, myself included. My husband and I tried for over 2 years. Needles, blood work, pills, waiting… Hoping… Praying then repeat. 2 years probably doesn’t seem like a long time to some but every single month you sink lower and lower and start to feel crazy for a number of reasons. Last year I was scheduled for a surgery that was supposed to help with infertility, but pre op blood work showed that surprise!… I was pregnant. Not for long though as this baby was stuck in the tube. It ruptured, we lost the baby, and I felt more sad than ever. Now my chances were cut in half … Maybe even less since we didn’t even know if the tube I had left was going to work. It was ALMOST my darkest moment. I waited out the 3 months the doc suggested and we started trying again. Ad then again, and again…. Months ticked by and more friends got pregnant, but why not me?
    I didn’t give up and then get pregnant, I got the most angry I’ve ever been with God and every other single pregnant person on the planet, and then I got pregnant. I have no idea why God has chosen us to be pulled out of the pool of people waiting on a blessing but this post is such a great reminder of what a miracle we have on the way. After the struggle we had to get to this point, there are certainly days of guilt and even though my protruding stomach would suggest the little guy is in there, there are still moments of disbelief that this has finally happened.
    I wanted to post this because no matter the length of struggle – don’t lose hope. It’s okay to get angry, it’s ok to take time off but don’t lose hope in Gods plan for your life.
    Praying for those that are still waiting on an answer.

  49. I loved your post on Parents to Small Children, and I just saw this one. I struggled with infertility for 4 years. Two failed IUI’s, two failed IVF’s, and 4 miscarriages later, I had my first baby. I have never seen anyone articulate the experience as you have… both articles, actually… Totally spot on!!!

  50. Thank you…..guilty is how I feel. Everyday when others are celebrating their new beginnings and I can only muster up a small congrats. I want to be happy for them all but most of all I want to experience what they have.

  51. Oh yes, you get it. I remember seeing what seemed like a billion 16-year old girls who were pregnant. My favorite was when you found out somebody was pregnant and they told you, “Oh my goodness, we weren’t even really trying. We just got pregnant so fast.” I’m really proud of myself for never punching one of those people in the face!

  52. Thank so much for this post. I knew when we got married that it would be hard for us to get pregnant. Although we have only been married less than a year, we wanted to get stated as soon as possible knowing what could potentially lie ahead. 11 months of disappointment later, I needed to read the words that you wrote. I feel guilty all of the time. So many people tell me that I should “enjoy our first year together” and not rush what God has planned. These comments, although meant to be supportive, leave me feeling like a terrible wife who isn’t grateful for the wonderful husband and life I have.
    Another challenge that these words have spoken too, is when you described you wife feeling angry with other pregnant women. 25 friends have gotten pregnant and had babies in the last 11 months, as well as my sister in law. How can I not be “baby-crazy” when I am surrounded by it? I often times find myself sad and angry after each new announcement but in particular with my sister in law. I am so excited to meet my niece but each interaction with her leaves me feeling raw.
    Thank you again for posting.

    • V – I think you need to feel your disappointment and be OK with it! I’m sure you ARE enjoying your first year of marriage – you can enjoy that and be disappointed with infertility at the same time. It’s very hard stuff. Hang in there.

    • I know exactly how you feel. I always feel terrible talking about it to people because I feel like I should be happy enough knowing I have a wonderful husband, a job, 2 cars, a house, some pets…. My husband had cancer in 2010 and again in the past year which is why we can’t have kids. I don’t even want to talk to him about it anymore because I always start bawling and he feels bad enough know that he’s the reason we can’t have kids and he know that’s all I’ve ever wanted. I feel like I should just be happy that my husband is still alive after fighting cancer twice…so why should I be worried about having kids, right? I don’t know what to do anymore…I just keep sinking lower in to depression.

  53. I am infertile. Even after five years, I refused to go in for testing; if it was me, I didn’t want to know. I would blame myself for being unable to give my husband a child. If it was my husband, I’d blame him, destroying our marriage, and still find a way to blame myself, but I couldn’t do it.

    There is nothing that can express the immense grief of watching teenagers get pregnant out of admitted stupidity, watching my brother give my parents their first three grandchildren, watching my sister give my parents grandchildren, watching friends conceive without a problem…”Get drunk and have sex. It works for all those teen girls.” So helpful. “Don’t try so hard.” How do I manage that? “It’ll happen when you least expect it.” Well, that would be now, and it’s physically impossible. Even my niece-in-law and nephew have conceived. Me? No.

    I will never have a child. I will never see the mix of my husband and me in the face of our baby. I had a hysterectomy back at the end of January. My sister just gave birth to her third child, and my parents flew overseas to meet their new granddaughter. I will never have them coming to see MY baby, and I live an hour from them.

    My husband and I are raising my three nieces. They are my children. I love them more than anything. They are mine. I fought for them. We spent months in horrible legal limbo as we waded through the court system, doing everything we could to protect these three girls from the people who were supposed to care the most for them. They are mine, they are ours, and nothing will change that. They belong right here, in our arms. I reassured the middlest one of that tonight: there’s nothing she can say, nothing she can do, that will ever make me love her less (when you’re six and you touched Daddy’s tablet and you’re afraid you’ll get in trouble for it, and you’re tired, life is awful). My home is littered with little-girl toys and laundry is endless and I can’t believe how much they’re growing and I can hardly keep track of homework and some days I think I will collapse before they’re home from school for five minutes. I love being their mom. But I would be lying if I said I never feel the soul-deep agony once in awhile that I’ll never have a child who looks like me.
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  54. Exactly!
    Here’s a short version of my story, http://mmmbym.blogspot.ca/2013/01/journey-to-isabel.html. It only took a dozen years…

  55. Thank you so much for posting this. I came here from your other post after it was reposted in HuffPost, and I was excited to see you mention that you would be writing this post. There’s nowhere near enough out there from the guy’s point of view about infertility. It made me cry again, but I needed the reminder than I actually AM ok.

    What I have the most problem with is the idea of hope. After having hope crushed so many times, I’m WAY too frightened to have hope. Hope hurts too much. Even though I’m with someone new who wants to try with me when we get married, and even though I don’t know if I’ll be infertile with someone new, steady despair just feels easier than hoping again and inevitably getting crushed.
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  56. I think one thing that helped me understand my feelings surrounding my husband and my infertility was when I was given an article about infertility and the grieving process. I read about all of the steps through the grieving process…denial, anger, depression, bargaining…etc…resolution. It was as if a light went on in a very dark room, and I began to understand my feelings.

    Infertile couples grieve, again and again…each month they experience their loss anew. It is a heartbreaking and challenging place to be.

    I am 43 years old. I have been married for over 20 years. We have never been able to conceive. In the beginning, I felt so alone. It seemed we were the only ones suffering from infertility. I wasn’t able to make my way through the grieving process until I finally turned my struggles over to God. To honestly tell Him that I trusted Him to give me what I needed. Into my mind came many of the notable women of the Bible…women who knew my pain, and I realized that I was part of a strong and remarkable group of women. That is what brought me to peace after all of the grief.

    After seven years, we adopted our son, and three years later our daughter. My needs to be a mom, are almost completely filled as their mother. There is a very tiny part of me that still yearns to know what it feels like to have another person growing inside of me a person made by my husband and me, but it’s ok now…it’s kind of a sacred quiet feeling now after all these years…just a part of my heart. It helps me have empathy as I love my adopted children, who love me but also have a sad place in their heart for the loss they feel being separated from their parents.

    Hugs to all…it’s a hard road.

  57. Thanks for this….I truly appreciate it.
    We are blessed to have one boy, but have been trying for another one for a while now to no avail. I always felt bad for “those people” who couldn’t get pregnant, and now I’ve become one of “those people.”
    Whether you already have a child/children or are childless, infertility affects so many at different stages of life. It’s definitely been a hard journey, but I have hope that good things will happen. I still question if it will ever happen, or if we’re meant to have more children, but I do have hope in the future, hope in God.
    Thanks again for bringing it back to the basics, back to being human, back to real life, real emotions.

  58. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for a bit over two years. In March I was pregnant. Just long enough to start getting nervous/excited. Right around when a friend had her first child.

    I have been so angry and frustrated. I’ll be fine, and then I’ll be crying out of nowhere. And I’m crying now. Yes, this is how it feels. Yes, I spend every month wondering what I should have done differently. My heart hurts.

    Thank you for this post.

  59. Thank you thank you thank you. We’ve been through all this with miscarriages thrown in. Best line by an unknowing friend, “At least you can get pregnant! Miscarrying is so much better than not being able to get pregnant at all.” I. almost. died. Yep, buying onesie’s and making the announcement and seeing the heartbeat and then…losing it all…is so much better. We’ve had both, I’d say they’re about even. Infertility has made our hearts heavy and for awhile made our marriage miserable. We tried so hard not to stress about stress, not get “too” excited, but really, all I did was stress more. We’re taking a year long break and then jumping back in after 3 long years. And this time, Ill be hopeful and let myself laugh and cry when I feel like it. Thank you again.

  60. Thank you. Just thank you. I think it also needs to be said that infertility is extremely hard on a marriage. I always hated that comment on relaxing! 5 years of surgeries and procedures and fertility treatments gave me my son, 2 more years of trying resulted in no more pregnancies. (After one more year of no birth control and no pregnancy).

  61. Thank you. So very, very much.
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  62. You hit the nail on the head. We struggled with unexplained secondary infertility for 18 months. While I know that is a drop in the bucket for some, anyone who has ever dealt with infertility knows that each month is an eternity. I was angry at anyone who was pregnant. I was angry at my husband who didnt seem to be hurting like I was. I was a person I didnt like very much. I finally learned to let go of that anger but it was hard. Each of the words you identified, were me at the time. Now we have 2 beautiful daughters, a 5 year old and a 7 month old. Through it all, God was with us and even in the darkest moments I felt his presence.

  63. wow! I just came across your blog. This is just what I needed to hear tonight. Thank you for sharing it in such a beautiful way! We are going through all these emotions, and it is so hard for others to understand. It felt like God as sharing these words to reassure me that I’m o.k. with how I feel.

  64. Thank you for this. I am a childless pediatrician now on my third year of infertility with two failed IVF cycles. I recently found out about my failed IVF and my world seems to be crashing around me. And what makes it even more difficult is the fact that I deal with newborns and small children and pregnant women on a daily basis and get asked almost daily if I have children. It is so incredibly difficult to explain my emotions to those around me. My friend sent me this article and I had an epiphany. Anytime anyone wants to know what I am feeling, why I have ups and downs, I will send them this article. I have always maintained that the only people who understand me are people like you. And I especially loved that you said that this isn’t what we hoped or what we expected and we don’t know how it will end. I must admit I am in a dark place right now and I am blessed in life in general but I have never felt so empty as I do now and I pray for hope for the future. Thanks again Steve for this article.

    • WOW, I hear YOU. I am a pediatric occupational therapist for 14 years. I have wanted a child for as long as I can remember. I was the little girl that never played with Barbie dolls but loved to play with her baby dolls. Perhaps that is why I am a ped OT, I get to play with children all day long. In my field you have very intimate relationships with the children and their families. In some cases you may be in the home treating an hour a day, five days a week. You almost become a member of the family. You see the good, the bad and the ugly-just like you do with your own family. I loved my job-every minute of it. I love children. I still do but since we have been struggling with infertility I have had moments where I have thought about switching to an Administrative job. There have been days where I just could not stand to have my heart open to “my kids”- because the pain from another failed attempt was so raw. I would look into their eyes and just keep asking God “Why cant I have one? I would take one like little Joey, I would love him with all my heart-just the way he is. Am I so unworthy that you will not allow me any child?” I will go on record as saying this journey SUCKS. It is awful. It has made me question everything, even my faith, even myself. How many times have I thought “maybe I am not worthy. maybe I am so terribly flawed that I cannot see how flawed”. Working with children makes this journey so much more difficult……at times. There are other times when I consider that perhaps this is the journey God has chosen for me. Perhaps having children would hinder me from giving my all to the children I treat. Perhaps I am meant to care for other peoples children and never have my own. UGH….And as all of these thoughts-some rational, some off-the-wall, swirl in my head and I feel myself drowning in them I grab hold of a rope and pull myself out because little “joey” needs me to focus on him. In his eyes I am reminded of love-how much I love “my kids” and that holds me over until the next failed attempt! Ugh, what a journey this is. Humor and faith and love are what keep my head above water. I wish you and everyone on here all the best. You have a very important job as a pediatrician. So, many children rely on you. They are “your kids”. God Bless.

  65. I enjoyed this article. I haven’t been there with trying to have children, but I have been there with trying to get married and it has been a long and lonely path, with which there is now a wedding happening in a week! All I can say is that all the words you used to describe this fit into my struggles in getting to where I want to be. May we all be more kind and empathetic to the one who is trying so hard to have their dreams be realized.

  66. Thank you for writing this. I’m working on an anthology of writings about infertility and loss, and just shared an excerpt (along with links back to here) on my blog.
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  67. I am from a big family and all of my sisters have had babies no problem. My husband and I are on this same journey and after losing 3 are at the place where we are deciding what the next step is. Thank you for sharing this. It is hard to explain to people the pain when they have never been through it, but this is spot on and helps me know that we are not the only one and what we are feeling is normal.

  68. Sandra Kellerman May 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you for this great little story. We’ve been in fertility for 9 years, 12 Invitro. Alot of money, and alot of disappointments. For me, what I find hard is when do I stop? When or how will I know that I just cant conceive ? Maybe if I Force “nature” with all those chemicals, this should be a sign not to continue? This is also very difficult on our marriage and I’m very distant now. I’m so sad and angry, I dont know what else to do then wanting a child. We’ve been planing and talking about babies for the past 10 years!!!!! What are we going to talk about if we cant have that? This scares me very much and we talk about it. I have to stop stressing about stressing and let it go. I have to thank life for being able to pay for all this treatment. This is what makes me go forward.

    Thank you Steve
    G*d bless

  69. Thanks for writing about something so personal – it will mean a lot to many people, including those whose challenges are totally different. I’m in no-man’s land – I can get pregnant no problem, but if I do, it will actually kill me. Our family is small, so here in mormon-land I get a lot of stupid comments like, “how come you ONLY have two children?” But if the time is right to talk to someone about how I endured constant, immense suffering just to get my first here, and how it was even worse the 2nd time, invariably the response at the end of the conversation is “wow, I can’t believe you managed to get 2 children here! amazing!”

  70. Thank you for writing this, as well as your other blogs. Just hearing your experience, as well as others, makes me feel not so alone.

  71. Ok, so I’m behind the eight ball on finding this post. But this is an amazing post. My husband and I didn’t struggle with infertility, but we did have a late term loss. Even in the 7 months it took us to get pregnant after that, we went through all of those things. It’s helpful to see someone else who gets it, and does a better job finding the words to explain it. Thank you.

  72. You’ve said it all perfectly. I have 4 year old twins but after 5 years of infertility you never forget. Reading this article I experiences all those emotions again and it brought tears to my eyes.

  73. I love what you wrote. I have felt all of these things and it is so frustrating when others do not understand. I especially liked what you said about having hope because that is one of the things I have struggled with the most. It is so hard to be happy and hopeful when you have been disappointed so many times before. But it is even worse to go through another cycle of treatment thinking this is not going to work again. Thanks!

  74. Thank you! We have been trying for 2.5 years with no results yet. We have had test after test only to hear everything’s fine.. there’s no medical reason you can’t get pregnant except you are over 40.. Relax and have fun with it.. And you are correct, every female friend I have has been pregnant during this 2.5 years, some of them even twice. We don’t even talk about it anymore with family and friends, it’s just easier that way and we don’t have to feel like we have to answer countless questions about things that aren’t their business.

    I never thought it would be like this, I never planned to be over 40 when I had my children, but I didn’t meet my husband until my mid 30’s and we got married when I was 38.

    It is very lonely, very emotional, and very private, so thank you for your sharing your struggle, it gives me hope.. that and the fact that the scripture says in Psa 25:5, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long”.

    • Barb, I love that verse, too. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • You are not alone. I have the same story. I finally met my soulmate at 35. We were married by 37. I have had 3 surgeries to correct ‘issues’. We have done 3 IVFs and 8 IUIs-some with meds some without. It has been 5 years. We had one pregnancy that failed in miscarriage. This happened on our first attempt after the corrective surgeries. We have not gotten pregnant since and they have no explanation. Insurance would only pay for 3 IVFs. Now, I feel it is time to stop trying because I will soon be 42. After this summer we will begin the process of adoption. Perhaps then I will get pregnant!! LOL Good luck to you on your journey. God Bless

  75. 100% spot on.. after 5 years of trying and finally having my little hard earned IVF miracle baby 4.5months ago – I can really relate to every single word.

    And one of the most annoying thibgs ti hear when you finally have that little bundle of joy – is that ‘everything happens for a reason’ and ‘maybe you just weren’t ready till now’.

    I wish every human being who holds a healthy baby in their arms realised what an amazing gift that child is and how lucky and blessed they are.

  76. After 2 years of trying (so far), multiple tests and procedures, 1 recent surgery (which will hopefully resolve my fertility issues), and countless prayers, I so desperately needed to read this. Thank you for sharing.

  77. Thank you for writing about infertility. I was eleven-years-old (in 1983) when an emergency hysterectomy was performed on me to save my life from a lethal infection. I grew up knowing I would never have children. These 10 words you use in this post are ones that could characterize the way I felt about being barren throughout most of my adolescence and adulthood. I am now the parent of 2 children adopted out of foster care, and we are in the process of adopting a baby relative of mine. I no longer consider my life barren, but instead I feel quite blessed (hence the name). My blog, http://www.barrentoblessed.wordpress.com is about my experience with infertility, faith, foster care, adoption, and parenting. Thanks again for a wonderful post! I look forward to reading more!

  78. Those words really sum it all up. We were blessed to have our son very soon after starting treaments, so we were optimistic for a second child to come just as quickly. It hasn’t happened, yet, but we thank God every day for His blessings. Thank you for sharing.
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  79. Thank you, I really needed every word of this post.
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  80. Great blog..both about infertility and life with little children. I have 2 boys, both from many years of IVF, and I am gratefull every day for them. I only want to add one comment about infertility….
    “It’s ok to say to yourself….Why do they get FREE kids? I have to pay a few college tuitions just to get mine. Must be nice to have free kids.”
    Thanks for letting me say my peace.

    • From another Mel. :) This…this is what always got to me. I felt so incredibly blessed that we had the finances that allowed us to have options, but that didn’t mean it was easy. We never felt led to IVF, but we are so blessed to have a child through adoption, and yes, the expenses we incurred could have bought us a really nice car, or a down payment on a house. I remember thinking so many times…what must it be like for it to just happen for free? (Or at least the fairly limited expenses of doctor visits and a hospital birth if you have insurance.) We would love to adopt again, but truth be told…it would kill us financially. And it still makes me rage with the unfairness of that when I see friends blissfully announcing their 4th pregnancy. That being said, I wouldn’t change a thing, because it led me to my child, who is such an amazing human being.

  81. This hits home with me SO much right now. I just suffered an ectopic pregnancy after 5 years of infertility and am struggling so hard right now. I’ve decided to help me get through it, to be more open and to blog about my feelings and experiences with this whole journey. It definitely is something people just don’t seem to get that leaves you feeling very isolated and lonely. Everyone around me is trying to be positive, and all I can think is what if it takes another 5 years, only to lose it again?
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  82. this post was so spot on. i laughed at your wife saying she wasn’t mad at god, but at other pregnant women. i can so relate!! every point you made was somewhere along my journey with three years of recurrent pregnancy loss.
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  83. Thank you, it is really great to hear such honesty. It never gets easier, for me it is seeing pregnant teenagers that really upsets me, I mean why would God grant someone who is still a child themselves that joy and not me, right. Then I remember that if such things were not allowed to happen then my husband, and my self for that matter, would not have been born. We were finally blessed with a beautiful baby boy after 3 years of treatment, now I would want to say that it happened once I gave up and stopped treatments, but it turns out that because of the delayed discovery of said pregnancy, I was in fact still under going treatment when I became pregnant. We also adopted a teenager… what a journey that has been. She is 22 now and the mother of a beautiful boy who make my heart burst with love every time I get to see his sweet face. Our son is now 9, we have not prevented pregnancy in anyway since and have tried many treatments to no avail… it is very hard to discuss with our extremely religious southern families, if I hear that it will happen in “God’s time” one more time then I very well may snap lol. It is a breath of fresh air to hear you as a pastor say that it is ok to be angry and feel that way about it all! Thank you!

  84. Infertility was so painful. Now with triplet daughters, the rude comments have not stopped! I forgive them mostly….they probably have gone through something I know nothing about….and most people really mean well, even if they ask if my kids are “natural”. I use the “tell all” method…usually lose them by the time I get to the cup!

  85. We went through IF with our first for 3 years. It was pure misery. The saving grace was the Resolve organization. Most cities have local Resolve chapters where people in a similar boat meet to support each other, share resources, etc. It was such a relief at the time to be around people that “got it”–we are still best friends with a lot of the people from the group we met. Check out Resolve’s website for more details on local groups.

  86. I stumbled across this as a link from a link from a link…it was the answer to a prayer. I struggle daily with the desire for a baby and the ability to trust in God’s plan and His timing. I have attended 23 baby showers in 2 years, there are at least 4 more on the horizon, and it hurts. I work in mental health…every month I see women give birth to babies who are handed directly to DSS and I get mad. Why can people who can’t care for themselves have a baby but I can’t?

    It’s refreshing to be told it’s okay to be a wreck. It makes me feel better to know that infertility may not kill me but it’s allowed to make me crazy.

    Thank you for you courage and honesty.

  87. Stumbled across this site researching REI, I’m a medical student thinking of going into infertility as a field. I’m so sorry for all the pain you’ve been through, and hope there’s happiness on the other side. Your story is inspiring and reminds me why I want to go into this field, despite the 7 years of post-medical school training it requires.

  88. Thank you…

    • Wow! We’re you in my head when you wrote this? Especially the bit about loss. It was such a profound pain it made me physically hurt deep down in my chest. Even 11 years later it is still a very raw and painful memory. We were lucky – we have an adorable son who has helped heal the pain.

  89. me and my partner do not do feelings he is a rough and ready fisherman i cannot be pregnant i laugh every day i tell the small community you can buy my dodgy eggs for £2.oo each no cunt has bought them yet …….. the stingy bastards

    thats the way i deal with it

    miss susie fae orkney islands

  90. Wow, you got it exactly right! After 7 years of ART & 3 miscarriages, we created our family through adoption. When we first started trying, I didn’t even want to consider adoption, I wanted to be able to have babies like everyone else I knew. My sister even once suggested I just wanted to be pregnant if I wasn’t willing to adopt (she doesn’t want children though so she doesn’t understand). I am so happy that I changed my mind, my darling child is the very best thing that’s ever happened to me, regardless if the way we became a family.

  91. Steve,
    After reading what you wrote in regards to infertility, I was glad to hear someone finally post how hard it is to go through infertility! I felt all that you wrote and then some! I lost several babies & suffered through miscarriages! Then told hold on you may have been carrying twins & still be pregnant! “NOT” Went through the emotional roller coaster ride over & over again! Cried all the time! The drugs they use for infertility make you an emotional wreck! I had to watch my nieces & nephews saying they were having a baby when I couldn’t! Yes, I was happy for them but inside you were angry because they were young & had time but I was getting old! Or the students I teach, (High school age) say they were pregnant & I’d say why does God bless them with a child & not me! They can’t raise them, they’re too young, have no jobs, or homes! It was all so painful! I would cry if I saw a baby! Even if it was on TV! After 10 1/2 yrs. of trying we couldn’t go on financially any more! We already took out a bank loan to get through what we did to that point! We gave up hope & went on with life thinking of adoption! A religious family friend brought me a huge statue of the Blessed Mother of Fatima for a weeks visit told us to pray & she’d help us! Unbelievably, right after that I was pregnant on my own! A true miracle! The friend told me our Daughter was a special child! A true blessing! I am so happy to say we finally were blessed by God with a beautiful child! She is our one & only, but she is the love of our life! Thank you for letting others read your infertility thoughts, because there are many who don’t realize what some couples go through to have a child!! It’s so painful, personal, and very upsetting! God bless!

  92. Steve,
    After reading what you wrote in regards to infertility, I was glad to hear someone finally post how hard it is to go through infertility! I felt all that you wrote and then some! I lost several babies & suffered through miscarriages! Then told hold on you may have been carrying twins & still be pregnant! “NOT” Went through the emotional roller coaster ride over & over again! Cried all the time! The drugs they use for infertility make you an emotional wreck! I had to watch my nieces & nephews saying they were having a baby when I couldn’t! Yes, I was happy for them but inside you were angry because they were young & had time but I was getting old! Or the students I teach, (High school age) say they were pregnant & I’d say why does God bless them with a child & not me! They can’t raise them, they’re too young, have no jobs, or homes! It was all so painful! I would cry if I saw a baby! Even if it was on TV! After 10 1/2 yrs. of trying we couldn’t go on financially any more! We already took out a bank loan to get through what we did to that point! We gave up hope & went on with life thinking of adoption! A religious family friend brought me a huge statue of the Blessed Mother of Fatima for a weeks visit told us to pray & she’d help us! Unbelievably, right after that I was pregnant on my own! A true miracle! The friend told me our Daughter was a special child! A true blessing! I am so happy to say we finally were blessed by Gog with a beautiful child! She is our one & only, but she is the love of our life! Thank you for letting others read your infertility thoughts, because there are many who don’t realize what some couples go through to have a child!!

  93. Thank you for writing this. I so deeply needed to hear these words right now.

  94. Thank you. I needed this.

  95. Thank you for posting this… infertility hurts like crazy, and there are days it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It seems most people can talk about infertility after the baby arrives, but not during, because it’s just too personal and painful.
    country wife recently posted…Faces around the farmMy Profile

  96. This was such a beautiful testament to the infertility experience. I related on so many levels and it was a blessing to read. My husband and I struggled with 7 years of infertility and were eventually blessed with twin boys (now 3) and a daughter (7 weeks).
    While the infertility journey was painful, it was also one of the defining journeys of my adult life (the other being my twins extreme premature birth at 29 wks gestation and NICU journey). Those 2 experiences led my husband and I to have a much stronger marriage (which is amazing considering the lows we experiences), an understanding of myself as a person in ways I never imagined, a knowledge of how much I could endure and how strong I was/am, and most importantly a much deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father. While both experiences were deeply painful, they ended up oddly being two things I’d consider blessings. I praise God for his ability to turn everything to his good, as I would not be the same person or parent without having walked this path.

  97. From a Grandmother May 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Just read the “Ten Words” AND the 200+ comments! My daughter and her husband have been going through infertility treatment for almost three years. I am extremely fortunate to have a relationship with her where she has shared many of her feelings; but the “Ten Words” I truly hope she shares with friends and family when she is far enough along to tell them she is now pregnant! They, and me, cannot possibly understand what they have been through but reading this helps.

  98. Mary Elizabeth May 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks for this. I wanted you to know that we posted this on the Project Pomegranate Facebook Page. I am glad it came our way. You might like to see what is there.

    Mary Elizabeth

  99. thank you for putting into words how I felt so many years ago. Many people who don’t go through this hardest of trials can never understand the gut wrenching heart ache that comes every month when you realise you are not pregnant and the AI, AID, IVF and other interventions don’t work, I was married at 18, 6 months later we decided to look into treatment because my husband was older than me and already had very few swimmers, as it turns out he had none. So we started down the path when I was 19 to try and have a baby through AID 15 cycles later we were told go away lose weight and come back for AID with assist ( ovulation drugs ) so thats what we did, still nothing, by this time I was 23-24 and we were both stressed and what had been a great sex life was dead due to my husband feeling what is the point it doesn’t work so why bother, we moved started to live our lives, looked into adoption, but due to my husbands age it was out of the question. Then I saw an article about fostering, well, 15 years and 19 children later I am now 40, my husband passed 5 years ago but I still had my kids we, we/I have had the same family for 13 years 4 kids and now 4 grandchildren, 2 of whom now live with me in my care. I have met and gotten engaged to a wonderful man and shockingly for me I am now 4 months pregnant, and I have to say the wait is worth it. While I wish with all my heart I could have given my late husband a child to love I know he loved our foster children as much as I did, and if I had of had even 1 child of my own back then I would never have considered fostering and would never have met the very special people whom I love so much.
    Again thank you for your article, you said all the right things

  100. Thank you for this post. Your blessing at the end is beautiful and would have been just what I needed to hear so many times.

  101. Thank you for sharing this intimate and personal reflection on this experience. I am endlessly grateful not to have struggled with infertility, though there was a heartbreaking miscarriage with which I struggled mightily. (And then once our son was born, there was postpartum depression, which was the worst — to have yearned so much for this and then to find myself feeling completely undone by the misery! I thank God every day for the loved ones who insisted I talk to someone and get help for what I didn’t want to admit was PPD.) Your bearing witness here is a blessing.
    Rabbi Rachel Barenblat recently posted…Waiting to Unfold is part of the Ask Moxie Summer ReadalongMy Profile

  102. It was so hard. So hard to go through month after month after month of disappointment. People said the dumbest things. One lady told me to eat more ice cream. Um, okay?

  103. Thank you for this post. My husband and I are going through IVF and it is such a struggle. Your words resonate so strongly with what we’re feeling and it’s encouraging to see such honesty and know that there are people who do understand. All too often, I think people are hesitant to speak about infertility, especially in Christian circles: thank you for speaking openly and honestly about it.
    Colleen recently posted…“Good” FridayMy Profile

  104. Some great thoughts here.

    Loved reading it and it helped with some of my thinking on how best to communicate the pain of this process to friends and family.

  105. How about 10 years of infertility and then 5 years of infertility! It was a very difficult time in our marriage to say the least. We had discussed adoption, but when one of us was ready, the other wasn’t. Many emotions you described, sadness, anger, communication breakdown, more anger, seeing friends, sister-in-laws getting pregnant and going home crying. Sometimes we barely made it to the car before breaking down. One day, after being done with my last surgery (had 2) I was finally done! Couldn’t deal with it any longer, no more doctor visits, no more surgery, no more crying at every Mother’s Day or Father’s Day celebration in our families. No more monthly emotional roller coasters for us! Then a few months later I went in for a blood test to see if we were pregnant. Not excited in any way, just numb. My doctor’s office called me at work with the results. We were pregnant! I just sat there on the phone, we hung up, I just didn’t know what to think. We had gotten a “no” for 10 years! Really? I had to call them back to really find out what I heard and if it was real, when was I due? Due? Was I really having a due date? Then I finally talked to them….Yes! We were pregnant! We had a baby girl! After she was born, we were elated! Time went on and pretty soon, 1 year, 2 years, then we started to think about having our second child, We started trying again and then nothing, We tried a few things and nothing. Secondary infertility…oh how we knew the routine, painfully so! Finally after 5 years and a move to a new home, I was feeling sick with what felt like the flu. It wasn’t the flu….I was pregnant! We had a son! After we had our son, our doctor recommended that we try again soon if we really wanted that 3rd child (and that was my magic number for the kids that I wanted). Within a few months, I was pregnant with our 3rd child. We had another girl!

    I just want to encourage anyone out there that’s going through infertility, whether it’s 1 year or 10 years. Keep trying, find a good doctor and work with them. Keep finding ways to encourage each other and make time for each other. You’re going through quite a battle and teaming together is so important. God bless you!

  106. Whn does the pain go AWAY!!!! Im tired of cryin, the depression & emptiness feeling. Ive been married 5yrs now, every yr is gettin harder. We cnt afford any treatment. I feel like a failure. This is slowly killing me. My husband is slowly watchin me fallin apart. Sometimes i hate for him to touch me. God meant for man & woman to lay together to create something beautiful. If i cnt produce, whts the point

    • Craig Chiswell May 4, 2013 at 8:02 am

      Hi Nita,

      I can feel the pain you have with what you are going through. The last statement jumped out at me though, and I felt from an outsiders perspective that this is a killer of you freedom and joy with what you have to look forward too. Have you shared this feeling with your partner? Not for you to answer here, but a question to ponder. If that is what you think, that there is no point without a child, then you have no freedom to live life to it’s fullest, with or without a child.

      There are always other options, but the following happened to me. I don’t have children, and this pains me too, but I have chosen to ‘adopt’ in my heart, the children my friends have who don’t have a father in their lives. I get to look after them occasionally and although it’s not the same thing if you looked from the outside, but I have adopted them as my own in my heart, meaning I love on them with a fullness of a parent. I thought once, that if some parents can have children and not express love to them, then there is a gap for those without children, to fill this void of love. It still leaves a spot of yearning, but it is not completely empty. God never loses control, and you are never out of his sight.

      Just think, as much as you pain to have a child, there are as many children paining to feel loved, regardless if they have parents or they are orphans. There is a point, you can be the fullness of love and be a blessing to many children who are paining with the exact opposite situation. Volunteer at a centre where there are children who are ward of state is a great way to find this spot. Sponsor and visit an orphanage in another country.

      If I never have children, my life is not pointless. Be blessed.

    • Nita, I have to agree with Criag about finding children who need your love. God has a plan for you. The plan might be as parents to a child or children that you did not give birth to. We didn’t have a lot of $ to put into infertility treatments, international adoption, or even the often expensive and long wait for infant adoption. We became foster parents with the goal of adoption and welcomed two young boys (4 and 6) into our lives – that was over 10 years go. The state we live in even gives us adoption subsidy – a monthly stipend which has been an amazing blessing to us. Parenting isn’t easy, no matter how you become the parent (grin – that is my “be careful what you wish for”). As for the pain, It may never go away, but God promises us that He is there to help us through it. Every once in a while something happens which makes me think about the infertility, but I now am too busy with with the what is to dwell as much on the what might have been, but I know that it is ok to still think about it. Please don’t loose hope for your situation and keep the communication open with your partner. God brought you together for a reason – work together to figure it out and make it ithe best for both of you.

    • I struggled with wether or not to reply to you. But, I felt the Lord tell me yes. My husband and I have been married for 8 years and when we were in our third year and began trying and after I went off birth control had major pain, endometrisos, ovarian cysts etc. I thought…..it’s done…it;s over… this is ridiculous… I did have to have surgery because I kept ending up in the hospital… but they were fairly certain I could not have children and almost lost an ovary during surgery. I began a journey that year after surgery. I began to living in the now instead of my what IF’s. I donated the baby outfits I had bought in anticipation of our arrival who never arrived and began listening for the Lord’s voice. What and Where should I be Lord… He spoke… Be here! I began to train for my very first sprint triathlon and dug in deep! to the Lord!!!! In the midst of biking down the very last hill on the second leg of the race….I could see something in the distance…It looked almost like a mirage in the morning mist…It was my family and friends!!!! Signs, hands in the air, waving, screaming, hollering, …..WE LOVE YOU!!!!! YOU CAN DO IT …… they shouted over and over and over. God swiftly spoke in that moment….I love you MORE!!!!! than even they do,if you can imagine that. Tings will not only be okay they will be great!
      I walked away from my race not wanting to win but just to finish. I did finish!!!! I continued to walk in faith and believe the Lord knew what I needed. I kept thinking of my our family missionary friend in Pakistan. She never married and she never had children. But God was using her tremendously!!!!! She has surrendered to the will of her Papa:) If she could do it so could I:)

      Our gift came at year 5 of our marriage. His middle name means Gift and he is so joyous to be around!

      But the story doesn’t end here. Even after God had done this incredible miracle I continued to live in fear and unbelief. People began asking when he was 2 If we were going to have more? I want more, but felt helpless, judged, shamed, like something was wrong with me like before. I started have the same symptoms as before with all the pain. then I went to a women’s encounter weekend was prayed over to be healed and the pain was gone!!!!! I am healed!!! I have no evidence literally, except that I felt no pain and heard God tell me I am. There were other things during that encounter that were a part of this journey including letting go of my fear. I don’t have to fear what will or will not come. God has exactly what I need everyday. All I am doing is yielding my heart and spirit to him each and every day. He continues to work miracle after miracle in my life. Baby or No Baby he has plans for me and he has plans for you! May his blessing and peace be yours in full abundance. You father God loves you sooooo much and wants to work in you.

    • Nita,
      I understand the pain you are experiencing. I’ve known since age 11 that I would never have biological children. I never got the chance for infertility treatments because of having an emergency hysterectomy (uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovary), then losing another ovary at age 20. There is significant loss with being barren, but there is an even greater blessing in realizing purpose beyond infertility. It feels like your whole life, but it is not. We adopted our children out of foster care after being their foster parents. My heart leaps with the joy of knowing that we were meant to be our kids mom and dad. I feel for the pain you are going through. I felt like a walking wounded for many, many years – nearly most of my life, but now, the grief I experienced is just a memory. Feel free to stop by my blog and read about my story. I hope you find peace and meaning through all of this. Blessings- Caroline
      barrentoblessed recently posted…Journey of Infertility (my post for National Infertility Awareness Week)My Profile

  107. I am not as skilled a writer as many so I fear I am about to waffle but I will do my best…
    I am a mother, I have not experienced infertility. My sister – who is the closest and dearest person to me – has been / is going through the struggle to conceive.
    No matter how close we are, I will never be able to fully understand what they are going through and how this makes them feel, but I try to do so as much as I can. I cannot help, I feel so guilty about this but that is my problem.
    I cannot thank you enough for sharing this, I have a feeling it is providing support to more people than you could imagine.
    My sister is the most amazing Aunt to my children and it breaks my heart daily to think of what she is going through, how hard it may be some days to look at our family but I know it doesn’t stop her loving any of us. Yet I cannot ever understand exactly. I have crazy guilt some days. So thank you for helping me understand a bit more.

  108. One of the wisest things I’ve read. SPOT ON…thank you!

  109. A friend of mine sent me your link. Infertility can make a person crazy, everything you said is something we have been through or felt. We are STILL going through it. 2.7 years of trying is nothing compared to your 7, but it still hurts all the same. Reading that others have felt the same INSANE feelings, makes me feel more normal. It is so awful, such a terrifying thing to go through, thank you for writing this and for adding a voice to infertility. I blog a lot about it, we need more so others don’t feel so alone. Thank you thank you thank you.

    • try 13 years out. that’s where I am. you have to keep hoping, otherwise you’ll find your darkest hours of contemplating of purgatory for suicide is worse than the purgatory of one more holiday, one more birth announcement being a worse.purgatory here on earth. one day at a time, you can’t stop hoping.

  110. Beautifully written and far too relate-able. Thanks for writing!!

  111. 5 years of marriage and no kids yet. Went to IVF clinic for initial test, but when they said “unexplained infertility” and pushed for next stage U couldn’t do it not understanding why would I put my body through such preassure not knowing more abour underlying reasons. I just also got a sense that this is an industry and I was just another revenue. I stepped out and started searching blindly for more information, poking in the dark, but hoping there should be smth else than just IVF.
    And I found NatProTechnology. Found a practising doctor in Australia April 2012. Started following the programe, charting cycles. We learned a lot! After being monitored for a whole cycle through blood test, I was identified having progesteron hormone bellow minimum. Never heard this frim IVF doctor. I was prescribed to take natural progesteron after the ovulation. Then we went traveling, missed several charts and etc, but was back on track by December 2012. February 2013 I concieved naturally for the first time, all went sooo well until I got very sick with cold/flu at week 9 and started spotting. Unfortunatelly I had miscarriage at 10.6 weeks 1 day ago, recovering after D&C. But what a joy we had and what a lifted Hope it has given. I trust everything into Lord’s hands and have strength to go forward. I will resume the NatProTechnology charting as soon as my period is back and allow myself to continue the journey.

  112. Drífa Arnardóttir May 2, 2013 at 6:23 am

    After 8 years of trying, 4 artificial inseminations and 3 ivf’s, me and my husband were blessed with twins. All these feelings you talk about and more went through our heads and hearts. I really hope your writing will help someone who is taking this journey. Thank you for sharing.

  113. Thank you so, so much. I have lived the last 12 years of my married life believing that I was a complete failure for not only my inability to have children, but for my inability to accept the inevitable. It’s so nice to know that there is a whole community of women like me out there that feel like they’ve failed because of infertility. Is there some blog group or facebook page for gals like us? It would CERTAINLY be a lot cheaper than therapy. :) Maybe we should start one? Thank you sir and thank you to those that have shared your stories-you have cheered my soul.
    Katie recently posted…Dear Blank Please Blank…Part 3.My Profile

  114. Thank you for this. I think for so long, I felt like a failure because I couldn’t do what other women could do so easily. Unfortunately, my husband and I cannot afford the treatments, so we keep trying after several miscarriages and two ectopics. I don’t get excited any more. If anything, it’s the opposite…if I think I might be pregnant the initial reaction is fear and worry. Thank you for agreeing that it’s okay to be sad. I try to hide it a lot. The worst moment for me was receiving a baby shower invitation for the wife of a friend on the same day I miscarried. Yes, I was a little mad at her! And YES can people be stupid in what they say! I know they mean well, but come ON! I’ve made more peace with it the older I get, but news stories of people “throwing” babies away still make me cry. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Not many people get it, but you do.

  115. I am in tears. You summed it up perfectly. Thank you for voicing what I am thinking and feeling. May God bless you!

  116. This sums it up perfectly – several years of infertility with 3 miscarriages…and finally a beautiful set of twins and a very chaotic exhausted household. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. At least being the parents of small children, you know things will get better. When you are in the grey realm of infertility, you are never sure that they will get better. Infertility changed my whole perspective on everything. My heart goes out to everyone who sits in those clinics.

  117. I’m not one to usually comment on these things, but this blog hit close to home for me. After reading this, and all of the comments, I finally don’t feel so alone. After a year and a half of trying, 7 months of fertility treatments and 3 miscarriages, I’m on my last leg. We’re about to try again with an IUI next week and I’m terrified of getting pregnant and losing another baby. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us are feeling. When I see people like you with houses full of children after enduring this journey, it gives me hope.

  118. Great post — moving and informative. I’d like to add a different perspective. I’m in my 30s, and spent the last 10 years in a dating rut. I want a spouse and child so much. These infertility words can almost be mirrored for me — being single in a married world, when all you want is a partner and family. Listening to married people complain about their spouse. Being left out of functions and society. This is a different kind of infertility — wanting a baby but not even having the partner to bring that about. Thanks for listening.

    • Im sorry that you don’t have the family you want but that’s not infertility. You’re single NOT suffering from infertility issues, MASSIVE difference and a bit of a slap in the face for those of us, who do have genuine infertility issues.

      • S/B, just because someone else’s struggle is different to yours doesn’t make it any less relevant or any less painful. In fact, the empathy that Misty feels for couples experiencing fertility issues even though she hasn’t experienced exactly the same thing should be commended.

        There is so little empathy in the world that I think anyone trying to relate and build connections with other people can only be a good thing.

        • My point was “social infertility” is not infertility. Just because you are single, that doesn’t make you infertile, it makes you single.

          There is a HUGE difference. Misty might meet Mr Right & get pregnant straight away. Someone who is suffering from infertility may never get pregnant.

          “Social infertility” is not a recognised form of infertility and nor should it be, sorry.

          • S/B I agree with you, bring single and wanting a family so bad although sad and frustrating doesn’t scratch the surface of the heartbreak of continued infertility and the loss of a child. I don’t ever remember uncontrollable vomiting into dry heaving when I was single. But I will never forget it after finding no heartbeat at 12 weeks… this after well over a year of TTC.
            Agreed being single was frustrating but it isn’t life altering!

          • You ladies sound a bit harsh. Perhaps not having compassion for others while you are in your own dry season doesn’t really set you up well for success, whether it be emotional success, physical success, psychological success, etc. I’m in the same boat with the same issues regarding infertility, but it doesn’t mean we can’t embrace each other as women and help carry each other and support each other. Seems like Misty needed this blog as much as you did and yet you’re denying her? That’s not good for the soul, S/B and EK. Food for thought.

          • I completely disagree with S/B. Such lack of empathy with other peoples’ pain verges on cruelty. I am married and suffered the pain of infertility for years. The only thing that helped me through this dark time was the genuine understanding of others and their wish for my suffering to end. I have no idea how it would feel to long for a spouse in that way, but the longing for a family which may never come, whatever the reason, is all too familiar. To disregard somebody else’s pain in such a manner is utterly shortsighted and what a sad reflection of human nature to set conditions for whether or not somebody elses suffering is worthy of a mention.

        • Wow, well said!

      • I agree with Nikki. If you felt the emotion that Misty expressed, there would be no room for your words. We all have struggles that we are going through, and it doesn’t mean just because someone isn’t experiencing the exact same thing that they can’t understand and empathize with you. I felt her sorrow because I have my own. Isn’t that the Christlike way to be? There was no offense taken by me for her words, and I have never wanted anything more than being a Mother, and after over 8 years of trying, and 2 miscarriages, I see and empathize with people with different trials from me, because pain is pain, and heartache is heartache. From whatever “cause” it comes from. That doesn’t matter. Love, and understanding matter. That is all.

        • Thank you, Shannon! I so agree with your comment about pain being pain. Everyone is walking or has walked through one kind of pain or another. I do not believe that any one person’s pain is greater or lesser than another’s pain, just different. Not more sad or less sad, more depressed or less depressed, just different. I can now look at someone else’s situation and empathize with them. I can be happy for someone else (most of the time) but still be sad for myself in my situation. I can also see what someone else is suffering through, and know that I would not give up mine to be in or have theirs. There is enough sadness and pain to go around. Let’s not make it worse for each other.

    • Misty, I didn’t marry until age 36 and I totally understand your point. Those who have no struggle in finding their spouse cannot understand the barrenness of extended singleness. I often refer to myself as barren during those years, terrified as I helplessly watched my years of fertility drain away. I am so grateful that my husband and I found one another in time. Today I hold a beautiful daughter in my arms and I thank God for her every day. My years of barrenness are finally over.

    • Dear Misty,

      Please ignore the naysayers replying to your post – it is ridiculous that they can’t understand your pain is very real too, and in some ways even more devastating. I can understand because I have friends who are in the same position. They don’t talk openly about it but I know it weighs heavily on their minds, and it is painful to see.

      For those of you who don’t “get it” (S/B in particular, your lack of sympathy is truly galling, you need to work on your compassion for God’s sake), this is what it means – she’s in her 30s, maybe late 30s and is not close to finding a potential husband to have a family with. She is scared to death that she will end up in her 40s still single and her window of fertility potentially gone because of age. What if she finds someone at 50 and the window is gone? Now, don’t you think that could be seen as more devastating than couples who have had years of infertility but still have the hope of things turning out in the next try because at least they have found each other and have a partner who is willing to be parents with them, and, age may still be on their side?

      Think about it for a minute and you’ll see why Misty is saying what she’s saying.

      To Misty – I truly wish you all the best, and don’t ever give up. I met my husband the very day I swore I would never find love and was giving up for good because it had become mentally and emotionally exhausting. I wasn’t even at my best when I met him (through online dating), was a total emotional basket-case and really, any other man would have run the other way screaming, LOL (yes, I can look back and laugh now).

      As for my own fertility/infertility issues – age (turned 40 in March) and health (PCOS among other issues) are huge factors, unfortunately, and I am trying every day not to be terrified out of my gourd. It’s pretty lonely because many of my married friends are popping out babies (or have already), and I have no idea what the future holds. No idea.

      • Also, about the article itself – excellent, excellent post and many thanks and blessings that you wrote this for so many of us going through this. It was just what I needed to read at this moment, and has helped me immensely. Thanks.

    • Hi Nita,

      I can feel the pain you have with what you are going through. The last statement jumped out at me though, and I felt from an outsiders perspective that this is a killer of you freedom and joy with what you have to look forward too. Have you shared this feeling with your partner? Not for you to answer here, but a question to ponder. If that is what you think, that there is no point without a child, then you have no freedom to live life to it’s fullest, with or without a child.

      There are always other options, but the following happened to me. I don’t have children, and this pains me too, but I have chosen to ‘adopt’ in my heart, the children my friends have who don’t have a father in their lives. I get to look after them occasionally and although it’s not the same thing if you looked from the outside, but I have adopted them as my own in my heart, meaning I love on them with a fullness of a parent. I thought once, that if some parents can have children and not express love to them, then there is a gap for those without children, to fill this void of love. It still leaves a spot of yearning, but it is not completely empty. God never loses control, and you are never out of his sight.

      Just think, as much as you pain to have a child, there are as many children paining to feel loved, regardless if they have parents or they are orphans. There is a point, you can be the fullness of love and be a blessing to many children who are paining with the exact opposite situation. Volunteer at a centre where there are children who are ward of state is a great way to find this spot. Sponsor and visit an orphanage in another country.

      If I never have children, my life is not pointless. Be blessed.

    • Hi Misty,

      Thanks for sharing that.

      Weird how some cannot see that correlation, perhaps taking their relationship for granted like they might assume people take having children for granted.

      Well, I agree, it is a relevant pain, and twofold, as someone older myself, it adds to the weight of also not being able to have children, but in a different form. You don’t just get a partner and have a child just to feed this need, that is not the way, so it is not so simple as time goes on. I feel the pain of being single and also the pain of not having children. That yearning is no different whether it be by life’s way with you, or a medical issue. No one can question the depth of your pain and I know from my own feelings, the pain and yearning is as deep as it gets.

      There are many positive stories here to encourage us though. :)


    • may I suggest getting some eggs frozen for (if/when) you get married. the eggs will be the same age; if you are younger than 38, IVF will then go better for you. older eggs are far less likely to implant. that’s why I have had 2 failed IVF cycles at age 42. we are yet seeking God’s will and perfect plan!

    • Misty, I can relate to what you feel. I got married at age 32, which doesn’t sound old, but I’d wanted to be married and a mother in my early twenties already. It hurt so much when my married girlfriends complained about their spouses/didn’t appreciate their spouses. It hurt attending friends’ weddings. There was even one time, when one of my best friends showed me her wedding dress, and I just broke down because I felt life was so unfair – I had dated men, but the relationships didn’t last, and I felt so rejected that no one wanted to marry me. The worst was when friends didn’t understand – I had prayed and longed for a husband, but nothing. Of course, that changed, and I’ve been married 4 years now. And I believe it will happen for you too.

      Regarding infertility – this was a great article. I currently do not ovulate because of my weight, but I’m trying to lose weight now, and will have bariatric surgery in November if I’m not pregnant by then. I am 37 in a few weeks time and I know that as we get older, the chances to become pregnant become slimmer, but I am trusting God. I keep thinking that if God could give Isaac to Sarah (who was much older than I am now), that for sure the Lord can give me children as well.

      I haven’t experienced the emotional lows except for in the first few months of my marriage when I was hoping to fall pregnant – every month when my period came I would feel so depressed. Once I had a false positive (urine test), but when they did the blood test it was negative for pregnancy. That was disappointing.

      If I have the gastric bypass in November, I will have to wait 18 months before trying to conceive. But I am stressing about my age… Plus hubby is 12 years older than me and really really wants children. So here’s hoping that I as I continue to lose weight, that we’ll conceive.

      Thank you Steven for what you’ve shared. And thank you to all the ladies who have showed compassion to Misty. It really is painful when you long to have a husband and family but you feel like it’s being denied you. But I’ve learned that a delay is not a denial. Waiting can be hard, very hard, but when the blessing finally comes – wow.

  119. Great post on infertility! And on parenting small children too. That’s actually how I got here. But back to infertility, my husband and I went through 5 years of trying. 3 years prior to fertility treatments and then another 2 years with fertility treatments. We know the heartache all to well. But everyone’s heartache is different, believe me.

    After spending thousands of dollars, poking myself with all kinds of needles, experiencing the joy of a pregnancy, then experiencing the loss of that life, we decided to move on to our plan B – adoption. It’s too bad that adoption is almost always considered a backup plan. But yes, that’s how it was for us too. And now that we have our beautiful son James, I wouldn’t change a thing.

    That whole path lead us to him and I’m thankful for all of it, even the heartbreaking parts. When we got the call that the birth mother who had chosen us had given birth (2 months early, in fact), we were filled with all kinds of crazy emotions. I could write so much more on that point in time and on open adoption too, but I will say just this: We had not yet even seen our son and I knew deep down in my soul that he was our boy and that we needed to get to the hospital immediately to be with him. For my husband, he knew only after he met him.

    Anyway, It’s crazy how life plays out. My wish for everyone struggling with infertility: may you find peace however best you can and on whatever path you take.

  120. i know exactly how they feel i have been trying for 5 years now and still can not get pregnant it is so frustrating and very sad i dont know what to do and i want to get pregnant!

  121. Found my way here via a friend who shared your “to parents of small children” post. Now I’m here. So much I relate to, I can’t even begin to tell you. Thank you.

    I just wanted to say something about being mad at pregnant women. I get it, I really do. After a long journey though infertility, however, I was one of those women! And one thing that helped me from scowling at every pregnant woman and crying like a baby over every pregnancy announcement was to remember that I didn’t know their journey to get there (unless it was a really close friend or family member). Many of us don’t share a lot of the intimate details of our infertility struggles. (Unfortunate, because that might help with the loneliness.) Sure, the woman you’re angry at (and I get it, I do!), might have gotten pregnant accidentally or on their first month trying OR they may have been trying for years and had lots of heartache along the way. When people saw me walking around with my huge, hard-won belly they had no idea what we went through to get there. Anyway, even while still pregnant, I did have to remind myself of that many times, that really we don’t know what these maddening pregnant women went though.

    Thank you again. Again, I can’t tell you how much needed your two posts.

  122. Couldn’t have said it better myself! My husband and I got pregnant with our daughter right after we got married when we were not trying. A couple years later we decided it was time for number 2. Since we didn’t even try for our daughter, we never imagined that we would have to go through the painstaking process of fertility treatments. After 7 years of different infertility treatments, we decided that it was time to move on and just live our lives. We will at some point adopt more kids but for now we are putting it all on hold and enjoying every moment with our 9 year old daughter who has been such a blessing.

    One of the worst things anybody ever said to me (and almost everybody said this) was, “at least you have your daughter”. Trust me when I say, that just because a couple already has 1 or more children, it doesn’t make it any easier or less painful.

    • Thanks for this… I have that sadness too sometimes, then feel guilty that I’m not being grateful for the one I do have. Your post helped me feel less guilty.

  123. THANK YOU for this! My husband and I tried for 13 years to conceive, and then ended up adopting 2 beautiful children. We too, struggled with “unexplained” infertility; I wanted to know why. Three years ago, I reached a point and the decision had to be made…I underwent a complete hysterectomy. That was the hardest decision I believe I’ve ever had to make. I didn’t want to give up! We love our children, but every single pregnancy announcement, birth, baby shower, etc. still hurts. People think it’s over and done with because we have kids now, but it will never fully go away.


  124. A wonderful article I’ve ever read. Thank you. very helpful…
    fertilitycreation recently posted…Natural infertility treatment can save you money as well as your healthMy Profile

  125. I really, really needed to read this. Thank you for posting this, just especially to hear someone else say ‘it is okay to get depressed, and it is okay to be really excited’. Sometimes I feel like freak because I am SO up and down with this whole thing. My husband seems to be able to do the ‘middle road’ thing pretty well, and as much as I love him for it, it’s like…how are you not going crazy like me?! (He is, he just is actually literally able to give it to God and I seem to hold on like crazy).

    And I swear, if one more person tells me to ‘just relax’ they will NOT be invited to my birthday party.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing…really I will probably read this many times over.

    • After several years of listening to people say “just relax” I started to speak up and responded with “rape victims get pregnant and they are not relaxed”

  126. Thank you for writing this. My husband and I are in the middle of our journey now. It has been 6 years with a diagnosis of unexplained infertility (which I find very frustrating because if there was at least a cause, then maybe all of this would make more sense and have a better path to a solution). I feel a lot of what you wrote about. The hardest is taking a break if life calls for it. I am learning this is okay and necessary sometimes, but it takes time to get my head (and my heart) wrapped around it. I mean, it is really hard to not want to have every moment you can get at a chance for the baby you so desperately want . And then there is the feeling that if you are not fighting every second, then you are just wasting time. But, sometimes our minds and bodies need rest and that is okay. Also, sometimes things out of our control like work trips or family events happen in the middle of this journey and take us off path for a time. This is the most frustrating for me. It just feels like something else we have to fight. But, the world does not stop around us and we have to do what we can to accept that. But, I think we also need to know the times we feel we need to put this journey above anything else and say no to the outside world.

    The anger is another thing I struggle with. I didn’t believe I am angry at pregnant woman. I am angry that it is not my turn. Everyone deserves to have a family and experience parenthood if that is the path they want. I would never not want that for someone. But, I want it for myself and my husband too. And I want it to be easier for us too. I get that not everything is simple in life and not everything comes easy for everyone and I am okay that it hasn’t for us. I am strong and I know how to keep going and fight with a smile on my face and hope in my heart, but even the strong need a break once in a while. And, I think it is okay to ask for it.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your story and thoughts. It helps to know that what you are feeling in this journey, someone else feels too.

    Best wishes to all those still fighting for their turn at parenthood and for those that are enjoying the experience already.

    • Lisa, I really feel you on feeling like you’re wasting time when you aren’t trying. Even though I KNOW we need a break, mentally, I just know if we do, I’ll be more upset that we wasted a month than if we just kept pushing on. It’s not a super healthy way to live, since there should be so much more to life than trying for a baby, but for me, right now, there just isnt. I also feel you when you speak about being angry at things being hard, I think thats what I’m most angry at now as well.

  127. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. I’ve tried so many times to write about infertility in just this way, to express to my friends and family exactly what my husband and I have been battling for 8 years. We are now in the throes of fertility drugs for the first time and I find, more often than not, that humor is the way I deal with things (like the blog I linked to below, if you’d like to read it). I laugh about it in public, so I can cry about it in private. Thank you for your words–they are wise, and soothing to a frayed soul of someone desperate for a baby.
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  128. Thank you so much for this. And thank you for your story.
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  129. This is exactly how I feel. Especially being angry at pregnant women… I know their being pregnant isn’t like they stole my baby, but that’s how it feels sometimes. Thanks for the blog. When I was little I thought it would be easy! Time for reality.

  130. Thank you so much for the words that I can’t sometimes express. My husband and I have a beautiful 4yr old today through IVF, but to give him a sibling has been so heart breaking we had a miscarry at 9 weeks and at xmas we loss our 2nd son at 20weeks, most of my friends have no idea how hard it is to go through IVF knowing that a lot of women take for granted their fertility, but to then lose a child before they are born, I just don’t have the words to express myself. Thank you for giving us a man perception, my husband isn’t the most talkative when it comes to his feelings, so to get the man point of view helps a lot. We are going to try again. Fingers crossed to all of us trying, may we all be so blessed.

    • That was such a good insight, was like I wrote it myself. I tried for 4 years to get pregnant with my 1st husband but never got pregnant. I had a daughter from previous relationship and step children but that doesn’t dull the desire for more. THen the worst happened and my husband got sick with a brain tumor and after a long fight died. MY dream of more children died with him. BUt god had a plan for a new life for me, once my heart healed. I met a wonderful man who is now my husband and We both wanted more children. I got pregnant and it seemed So unreal, but wonderful. BUt sadly I miscarried. I was devastated. IT then took another ten months to conceive. Which felt like forever. So after 8 years of prayers and endless tears I had my beautiful little girl, now 2 years and I am due to have a baby boy in ten days. So very blessed and thankful to be a mum all over again. NEver ever give up…..

  131. THANK YOU for this! My husband and I tried for 7 years to conceive, and then ended up adopting 3 beautiful children (all bio siblings) from overseas. We love our kids to death, but every single pregnancy announcement, birth, baby shower, etc. hurts like crazy. People think it’s over and done with because we have kids now, but it will never fully go away.

  132. Amen to that! Very true and it made me cry. Read it to my fiance as we starting our second cycle on Monday th 29 :-/ I’m a very worry it won’t work again.
    God bless you all. Stay strong xx

  133. Let me tell you that even after 2 out of 4 successful IVF and 2 beautiful boys… These feelings are all still there. It was never my decision to “be done” and it still hurts at age 41 when someone is pregnant…..
    Thanks for putting some words to the feelings

    • Alena,

      You feel the same way after having children?

      • Having children doesn’t negate the desire when you want to have more. The kids she had clearly are a blessing but they don’t make up for the losses. Hopefully you never are in the position to understand that desire!

        • I was asking to genuinely to understand her heart. I never had thought a women would have children and then desire more and be in the same painful status that she was in before having children. That surprises me, and I was curious to hear more about how the children she has now – have not brought healing to that painful place in her heart. But clearly, only she can answer that. Based on some of your responses here, you appear to be bitter. I’m really sorry for that. I know it’s painful and hard, but in it all God is faithful. That is one thing I’m sure of. I encourage you to take your troubles sincerely and whole-heartedly to God he will heal you and he will fill up the gap in your life with His love. You just have to have faith.

          • Sorry, just seeing this…
            Yes I DO…i really do. If I could I would have 10 kids by now. There is nothing more that I love than this gift of children that I have been given. And I am grateful beyond words. Those constant reminders of infertility do not go away–why don’t you try for a girl, when are you gonna have a girl (i have 2 boys)- oh, you should have another you have the best kids… and my own kids asking me for a baby brother or sister. Believe me I do not weep like I did pre-kids wondering if I would ever have babies, but I was not DONE mentally or emotionally but physically. So, yes the feelings are still there.

  134. Thank you. This is especially poignant for me to hear from a male perspective. After 5 years of trying, and 2.5 years of progressively invasive treatment (drugs, IUI, IVF), we finally have our miracle – our 10-month-old daughter. Luckily I found a wonderful outlet in a women’s support group, where we could share our hope and our pain. I always wished we had found something comparable for men in our area. My husband was right there with me for every high and low, and I felt like his role was sometimes made secondary to mine throughout treatment. Thank you for voicing what so many men may never get the “permission” or forum to express.

  135. barelybreathing April 25, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    For reasons no doctor can explain, I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at age 30. After seven years of trying, we found our babies through donor egg IVF. Despite the “success”, The journey leaves me shattered. I often feel like my family’s DNA died with me… that I do not really exist. Decimating. I will always feel unwhole. And no one ally understands. I hope I live long enough for science to discover what has caused too many women in my generation to be incurably infertile.

    • We have our precious son thanks to both donor eggs and donor sperm. After 5 years and 13 IVF cycles. When accepting that the donor route was our only option I too felt cut out of the human race as my DNA wasn’t being passed down but now I feel that I played a very important part in the human race as this amazing little boy wouldn’t be in the world without me. We brought the donor eggs and sperm together and I carried him and birthed him and we are raising him and watching him grow into this incredible little person. It still hurts when other people easily get pregnant or new nieces and nephews come into the world but I wouldn’t change our journey for anything as it brought us our son and I wouldn’t trade him for anything!

    • Christina, the same exact thing has happened to me. Only, I was 31.5. I had thought about egg donors (in particular my sister(s)). Not sure yet….most likely not maybe a little too weird? Anyway, I wondered that too about what you said regarding how your DNA stops here. But in reality, it doesn’t. Perhaps your physical DNA. But think about all the lives you have touched, influenced, and share stout love with. That lives on forever. And, I have learned that my value/worth as a human being doesn’t lie in whether or not I have children but my value is in God. I truly believe there is a reason for everything. Some answers will be given to you in this lifetime and the rest when you pass through from this life into the next. I don’t have te answer as to why, I have to trust that God is not going to being me this at just to leave me. He has plans for my life. And, he is goon to fulfill yours and my dreams. It just may not be in the order we thought it would be in. Keep your head up. Your DNA will live forever. I’m sure of it.

  136. After having no problem conceiving our first child, we’ve now been trying to conceive our second child for almost two years during which time we experienced a heartbreaking miscarriage. It has been the most challenging time in my life and in my marriage. So many people have told us to stop being stressed, relax, enjoy the child we have and that God has a reason for everything. These words seem so hollow when we are experiencing constant disappointment and the pain of loss. Your words, however, really resonated with me. Thank you for being honest in sharing your struggles.

    • Hey Sarah – we’re in the same boat…easy peasy with #1 (daughter who is now 2) and nothing but heartache trying to give her a sibling. 4 iuis and a chemical pregnancy – now mid-IVF so we’ll see. Anyway – I know it is really tough so just figured I’d send a hug from a stranger and wish you all the best!

    • Hey Sarah, it was the same for us. We had number one pretty easily, but number two eluded us for many long years. During those years we endured failed inseminations, a failed adoption, and 2 miscarriages, not to mention enduring the friends and family suggesting we just be happy with our daughter (as though we weren’t). It’s hard for people to understand, and their words just cut right through you. One of my in-laws suggested I “get over it (the second miscarriage), and get on with my life” – this, a mere 2 weeks after said miscarriage. People just don’t get it. I wish you all much strength to make it through these dark times. And I hope you all find light at the end of the tunnel.

  137. Thank you thank you thank you for writing this! This is just so bang on that you had me near tears and my journey is already over (ended by the world’s most awesome daughter!). Even when you finally have the wee babies, the pain pops back up again for some awful, terrible reason, doesn’t it?

    People just don’t get it unless they’ve lived it. I think what you’ve written will give them a tiny peep into infertility.

  138. Great post! The only advice I personally don’t heed from your list is to “keep it as private as possible”. You see, the less people talk about it honestly (like you have done yourself in your post) the less the topic is considered okay and the more people have misconceptions about infertility. :)

  139. Heather Delveaux April 23, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Well written. Thanks for hitting on some things that I have struggled with myself. It’s nice to see from another persons perspective.

  140. Thank you! You made me laugh, cry and smile, and through this experience its nice to be able to do all of that. I hope you don’t mind, I’m sharing your blog on my own (of course, my blog is still private, as I’m not quite ready to share with the world)

  141. Loved this. We are currently going through our 22nd month of TTC and this made me bawl. Laugh. Cry. And most importantly, feel “normal”. Thank you for sharing your humor and challenges with “us”. The more we talk about our struggles with TTC, the more people are aware of the beauty of conception and life.

  142. Thank you, this helped.

    I’m young, and that might piss some of your readers off, but I recognize those same feelings. I’ve had a couple miscarriages, of unintended pregnancies, but hurtful all the same.

    Anger, loss, stressed, lonely, unfairness. Those words describe it.

    Angry, or maybe more just irritated with all the pregnant women I see at work, and why couldn’t I have had those kids? Wasn’t I more qualified and ready to have kids, despite my lack of spouse or money?

    Loss, because they were a part of me, that I was trying to decide how to say hello or goodbye to, and then wasn’t given the chance to make that decision.

    Stressed, because what if those losses cause future losses, when it counts even more?

    Lonely, because I am not waddling around with the rest of them, when I *was* on my way there, I *felt* them. And people don’t seem to understand that although I’m glad I didn’t have a kid as a teenager, I feel the loss just as deeply as if I was well into my 20s or 30s, and married.

    Unfairness. They were *my* children. And then they weren’t. What did I do to deserve them being taken from me?

    Then I also feel guilt, because I am so young, and I shouldn’t be wanting babies right now, at this point in my life. That the babies right now should be going to folks like your readers, and you, not to me, even if I want a baby, and am emotionally and mentally ready for one.

    Now I feel a little better, that although it isn’t quite the same, there are others struggling with these feelings.

    Good luck to all of your readers, and good luck wrangling the kids.

    • Kethry – thank you so, so much for adding your authenticity to the conversation! Yes. Unfair. Anger. Guilt. We all feel them, and it doesn’t matter if you are “young.” Have you ever read any of Shauna Niequist’s books? She writes about her experiences with miscarriages. Her book Bittersweet is really, really good.

  143. Thank you for writing this… it is incredibly hard when others around you are popping out babies and everyone asks “when will you be having a baby”.. My husband has to be from the most fertile family ever, and then there is me… I have never been pregnant and guess I wont be blessed with a child of my own. It makes me feel so better that others go home and cry when they hear of another friend or family member being pregnant!

  144. Thank you.

    Thank you for letting us (my husband and I… And my parents, and my sister…) be exposed to this article. Infertility isn’t our problem: We’ve been pregnant twice, but can’t seem to stay pregnant. Even so, every experience on this list, I know we’ve felt.

    Angry, Dispair, Loss: these are my top three. I feel a lot of “What if…”
    What if I’d been more healthy?
    What if I hadn’t been in that car accident (I was hit on my bike about 6 weeks into me first pregnancy)?
    What if I’d been more careful?
    What if…?

    “I’m angry at pregnant women!” Thank you SO MUCH for this quote! I can’t explain how many times I’ve felt this! I know my husband feels it too. There is such a bitterness that we both feel when we find out someone is pregnant. It’s a “good for you, now f- off” reaction. I honestly thought we were alone in this, and it helps to know that we aren’t.

    Loss is the biggest hurdle for me. What would our lives be like if I’d had my children? We live in such a mixed-up world, that these two babies are treated like they never existed. But they did. I felt them. Some people who know treat it like we need to get over it and move on, but it’s not that simple: there is a lot of grief that goes unmentioned because of our messed up society. I feel my love for them every single day. I didn’t get to hold them in my arms, but I’ll carry them in my heart forever.

  145. My husband and I tried for 6 years to get pregnant. We felt all of the feelings you described here. I think our hardest part was seeing unfit or teenage girls pregnant. Why were they getting a baby and we weren’t. We finally put it in God’s hands. On Oct 25th, the weekend of our last fertility treatment, I hit my knees that morning at church with my parents by my side and my husband supporting me. I begged God to send us the baby we had wanted for so long. On Nov 11th, 3 weeks later we found out we were pregnant. We have a wonderful little boy that I know with all my heart was sent from God.

  146. This is so good! My husband and I have been married for almost 23 years and 17 years ago was when our journey began. It never resulted in a child being born to us, which was so devastating, but the hardest part for me as a Christian was feeling like I was not worthy of the blessing of a child. When God finally showed me the truth of it all… that is when my healing (spiritually) began! God is so good! And I know He is so faithful in every circumstance! Thanks for sharing this!

  147. I needed this! The lonely aspect has been one of the hardest and surprising to me, this helped!

    As the mother of one already, I’ve added guilt to my list. Each time I have a bad parenting moment, not only do I have the normal “mommy guilt”, but now it is followed by “no wonder you can’t have another one”.

    I am also floored by the number of people that tell us “you need to have another” and/or “your son needs a sibling”. I am sure they mean well, but these comments are usually followed by awkward silence because it is taking everything I have not to either spit or cry. I need to work on a pre-determined comeback for these situations.

    Thank you for the honesty.

    • Maybe….”You are so right. Will you make a sibling for him?” I don’t know. I usually just nod and then get away from them so I can cry.

  148. Thank you for sharing this. On one of the many infertility blogs we usually have a Infertility is or feels like… It is a great way for us to feel connected to others going through the same thing. We are blessed because we had two kids naturally in our 40s. This last one is taking lots of work. Wishing everyone support and encouragement.

  149. My cousin emailed me this link and I’m so grateful she did. My husband and I are coming up on year three of infertility struggles and while there are good days and bad you hit the nail on the head with each of these words.

    I’m a big advocate of sharing about struggles to take the stigma out of infertility, but I know all are not able to do that. I’m sure you helped more people than you know with this post. Thank you.
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  150. Wow, this is a blog post I can relate to on so many levels. Thank you.

  151. We did treatments for 5 years. Our very last embie was a FET, and after misleading HCG tests, she took off. I greatly appreciate you stating that it is okay to be angry with God. I was so upset. First for not getting pregnant, then for a miscarriage. So angry and bitter. I’m still not the same, and I never will be, though I’m in a better place with God. It did seem like it was a punishment, and that it wasn’t meant to happen. Even after I was pg, I had complications at delivery. I almost lost my life, my daughter was in NICU, and then my father died unexpectedly two days after she was born. He never held her, and I never saw them together. Infertility leaves so many scares, even some that you could never imagine.

  152. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They completely summed up the way I felt about infertility while we dealt with it for however many years. We moved on to the path of adoption which has its own challenges when dealing with others who are not knowledgeable about it.

    Even now after becoming parents, those feelings of infertility rear their ugly head when someone I know becomes pregnant, especially if they become pregnant extremely easily or are flippant about it. I don’t think these feelings will ever fully go away – the emotions cut too deeply to not cause permanent scars.

    And of course, now I deal with guilty feelings when I am not the “perfect parent” to our two daughters when we jumped through so many hoops to become parents.

  153. Thank you for this post. I have battled with infertility for over 10 years. Now all that is coming to a close on May 30th with a total hysterectomy. I have lived these 10 words for so long and now feel a great failure. Somehow this post is helping me see that it’s ok to feel these things and that I’m not alone. While I never was able to get pregnant, I do have a beautiful son through adoption that I wouldn’t give back for an number of pregnancies. He is amazing and while I still grieve over the loss through infertility, I find God’s grace renewing and ever present. Thank you for making me feel a little less crazy and helping me know that I’m not alone.

  154. A friend referred me to your blog today and I’m subscribing already. As someone who has gone through the hell of infertility and is now a grateful parent in my 40s, I am thankful for your honesty here (and in your recent hilarious post on parenting young ‘uns!). Encouragement for the journey is so important.

    Keep on keepin’ on.

  155. I have been trying to find the words to express how I have been feeling for a long time. Thank you for helping me define them and not feel guilty or alone.

  156. Kudos for putting the rollercoaster that is infertility into perspective. It’s okay to feel how you do because it’s real. All you need is a safe place, an empathetic ear and maybe some wine to decompress.

    Thank you for posting!!

  157. Thank you and Amen!

  158. Thank you for validating my feelings….:)

  159. Thank you for this post – I cried the entire time I read it, nodding my head. All very gently put, and very true.

  160. your post was so thoughtful, so beautiful. I loved the way you finished every paragraph with “it’s ok to feel this way… It’s ok to be stressed” and so on. It helps us newbies in the infertility community (2 years of ttc + ART + surgeries). As a Christian, I have struggled with God and with the concept of children as His blessing. Am I not blessed? Infertility is hard on both men and women, of course, but I think we ladies take it extra hard on ourselves, especially when we are the man issue :-( Thank you for sharing this post!

  161. Thank you for your great thoughts. It was so good to see in words what has been tumbling around my head for quite some time. I have hit several low points over the 6+ years of TTC…..one which makes me laugh now when I tell the story. But I was in church watching people worshiping and I was a ball of soggy, snotty, teary mess telling God that it wasn’t fair that “women of a certain kind who take substances they shouldn’t” (rhymes with “back s’mores”) get pregnant and I can’t. I felt His love that day in a way I never had before. He knows. It isn’t fair. It also sucks when you get a phone call one night with the person on the line saying “a young, single mother is pregnant with twins and wants them to go to a good Christian home and your name came up. Do you want them?” and you can’t take them because neither you or your husband are citizens, therefore adoption is out of the question (here, or in our respective countries). We continue down the road of TTC with more aggressive forms of treatment. Thankfully we have a cheer squad who have come along side us and cry with us and laugh with us. They will be rejoicing with us as much as we will on that glorious day when we hold our baby. Until then I will probably be feeling those 10 things, and probably all of them in one day sometimes. Thank you again for sharing.

  162. Thank you so much for this thoughtful and insightful look into infertility. We’ve struggled with not being able to conceive for almost 5 years and it is SO difficult to talk about. I shared this blog on Facebook, holding my breath when I pushed the button because it made me so jittery inside, and am amazed at how people have responded: with love, with well wishes, and with their own stories. So may people deal with this in their lives, and we don’t talk about it. Thanks for talking about it, Steve, and for inspiring me to talk about it, as well.
    Katrina recently posted…Abraham and SarahMy Profile

  163. Thank you. Poignant and appropriate… we have one son, 8 now, and have struggled over the last 3-4 years for another baby. I have medical issues that make pregnancy harder and more dangerous, but have still hoped for at least one more. It has been SO HARD every time there’s a pregnancy announcement via Facebook or whatever… I can’t even “like” anymore, usually – I really just want to say “shut up” and every time I hear “is he your only one?” – I could scream. At one time, I hoped for four and maybe God still has something in mind, but right now, I struggle for His peace and grace.

    • Hi Nancy,
      We have one beautiful son through adoption and I just wanted to say that when people ask, “is he your only one?” It really just brings up all that hurt and pain again. We tried for many years to get pregnant and then for many years to adopt an infant and in the end our son was adopted through foster care at 22 months. I feel like we have journeyed a million miles for our “one” and as much as I would love to have more and give him a sibling….I can’t. So when you come up with your response please share it!
      God bless you and my you find peace and that second little bundle you are praying for. Colltte

  164. Thank you for this. It describes our situation exactly and right now with a church filled with babies (17 brand new ones in the nursery), it is extremely lonely. This is the first time I feel SOMEONE understands. Thank you.

  165. I love this. The part about being angry with pregnant women really hit home with me. I am actually nasty about it. I privately hope they get so fat they can’t get through a door. My sweet hubby noticed that I scowl and roll my eyes when I see one. Not proud of it, but don’t really care.

    I would add that having a baby doesn’t make it better especially if you want another. I resent women who get pregnant “accidentally” and then have the nerve to complain about it. Why do I have to spend thousands of dollars just to try and they don’t?

    I know, God’s plan, blah blah blah, but it still stinks!

    Thank you for this wonderful post and for giving me a little latitude to vent. God Bless!

  166. Thank you for this – it’s right on! I remember feeling all these emotions so intensely while my husband and I were dealing with infertility. Even though I wouldn’t wish it on anyone I am now thankful for my journey through it because it has made me much more sensitive to those walking that same path.

  167. Heart Broken But Still Have Hope! April 5, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing. I feel all 10 all the time. For me it is the hardest when you have to go to family function and you get compley ignored because you do not have any children. Or that you and your husbands pictures are no where to be found in the house when all of the other siblings family pictures are all over the place. It is like you don’t even exist because you don’t have children. If they only knew what we are going through.
    Another thing that upsets me is when people ask. “So when are y’all going to start having kids?” I just want to scream!!!!! We are trying!!!!!!!
    Last is when ever one tells you that “you are going to be an amazing mother” or “do you have any children? You are amazing with kids!” And you have to answers “No” then you have all the Wh? Questions to follow.

  168. Thank you so much for that articulate, compassionate and honest account of infertility and the complex emotions surrounding it….been there, survived, made two beautiful babies, and God willing….one more. Blessings

  169. Thanks for #1 especially. Makes me feel less crazy.

  170. Thank you for this! Just what I needed to hear. After 2 yrs of IUI’s and 2 failed IVF’s, we are taking a break from the poking and proding….I need to breathe for a minute :) Will start again soon.
    My favorite part was about having doubts you even want it at all. I always feel so guilty after feeling that way….thank u for confirming that’s normal.
    Can I ask how you got your 3 boys?? Congratulations!
    Thank you again…

  171. Hey wow – I thought I was the only one who felt ambivalent about it all! (And of course I wondered if my infertility was a “punishment” for not being maternal enough to want a baby ALL the time.) But after I went through surgery and a miscarriage I started to wonder if I really did want a baby that badly – and of course we did, so we kept at it. But oh, yes, the dumb and thoughtless things people say!

    We are now the parents of three girls five and under, so I got here from your other post about your three boys and how being a parent of young children is hard too.

  172. “It’s okay to express the darkness, even the stuff you’re terribly embarrassed about, because it’s good for your soul. But in the right places, with people who can handle it.”

    I had a friend who I thought I could express the darkness to without judgment, I thought she would allow me to have my irrational moments of grief, but she accused me of “stealing other people’s happiness” because I was angry that others could have babies and I couldn’t. You have to be careful who you vent to as they may not be as supportive as you hoped.

    • May I add, we had been TTC for several years and I suffered at least 4 miscarriages…. now my marriage is over, I am sure that our fertility issues were one of the major reasons for the relationship falling apart :-( now I am 38 and recently separated, no hopes left of finding someone and having a family with him now…

      • Blinda – it is becoming more and more common for women in their late 30’s and early 40’s to have children – I know several. Have you considered fertility treatments, or adopting, on your own? If you have the desire to love a child, I dont think you should rule it out.

      • I am so sorry. I wish there could be more that I could say to help soften the blow. The best I can say is you are not alone!

    • Yes, I agree, and it’s tough to learn this the hard way. Only very trusted friends can usually handle it.

  173. Thank you so much for this Blog. We’re thankfully on the other side of the journey with 2 healthy IVF bubbas, but your words rang so incredible TRUE!!
    I’m thankful for my journey really, although I wouldn’t wish it on anyone!! All I wish is I’d read this advice at the start of our journey! It’s such great stuff I shared it with my fb Ivf support group. I hope it helps them as much as it did me :). Great stuff, thanks for sharing!

  174. Thanks for this article Steve! My husband and I tried to conceive for 2 1/2 years…we got the usual tests, but both decided we didn’t want to go the IVF or AI route. We started considering adoption, and at some point God planted the idea of adopting an older child from the foster system. 2 years later, we met a 6 year old boy who is now our 8 year old son. At times, especially after reading stories of people who tried for 10+ years before getting pregnant, I feel like we maybe “gave up” too early. But then I think of our son, who has come such a very long way from the angry little boy that came to live with us 2 years ago, and I know that this was God’s plan for us. We are currently starting the process of adopting another child to complete our family.

    So to those of you who feel like you’re “giving up” or “don’t want it enough” by not wanting to pursue invasive and painful fertility treatments and more months of waiting and hoping, be at peace. Sometimes God calls us to pursue a different path, and there’s nothing wrong with being OK with it. Not to say you won’t feel sad sometimes – even now I sometimes get a twinge when I see a mother and baby, or hear someone is pregnant. But I believe God knew what he was doing when he sent us down this road.

    • Lisa,
      Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I got married at 29 and have been trying to have a baby for almost 5 years. We’ve had the tests and have also decided not to go the IVF/AI/chemical intervention route. We don’t think it is right for us, and God has very strongly placed on our hearts that this is not the direction to take at this point. I have struggled to find people who identify this route – most seem to take the fertility treatment route, so I just about fell over when I read your comment. Thank you for being open about your journey. We are not pursuing adoption yet, but I don’t think God’s done with us yet.

      • I just have to say that we didn’t choose the medical route, either. After 4 miscarriages in my early 20s, I couldn’t emotionally do more. I have nothing but admiration for couples who go through AI/IVF/IUI, it takes so much courage and strength! We spent a few years actively preventing so I could try and heal. Then we stopped preventing, but not actively trying… nothing. Then, after 16 years of marriage, I started feeling odd symptoms. I was pregnant. At 38 years old! I carried to term (not without some scares) and have a beautiful daughter who is now 3 1/2 years old. I walked and breathed for 14+ years believing I’d never get to be pregnant, in emotional pain to one degree or another, sometimes able to be happy for pregnant friends, sometimes in anguish. My heart just aches for all of you walking this journey right now, for all of you who desperately want that test to be positive, to buy your first maternity shirt, to feel a baby kick, to pick out onesies. I am praying for you. I am praying the God of grace and mercy will meet your heart where you are today and give you comfort. I am praying that He will fulfill the desires of your hearts. Please don’t give up hope, as I did for many years. There is always hope! I am proof!
        Kim recently posted…Living Life with the Windows Wide OpenMy Profile

    • Thank you for sharing your story Lisa! We too have decided to go the adoption route instead of IVF. It’s amazing some of the insensitive things that are said to us, even by our infertile friends. I fell as if people are indirectly implying that a family created through adoption is somehow inferior to a biologically created one. It really infuriates me. My husband and I both feel very strongly that God has led us down the path to adoption.

  175. If there’s one positive about infertility, for the lucky ones who finally reach their goal, it makes you truly appreciate how fortunate you are. Sleepless nights, no time, living in a chronic clutter of toys, the whining … who knew just how lucky a person could be? My little bit of luck finally fell asleep in the next room after 45 minutes of procrastination. I wouldn’t have her any other way. She’s perfection.

  176. A Miracle’s Mama April 4, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Thank you. There are no other words to say how grateful I am for this. You encapsulated the days, weeks, months and years that are so excruciating that they begin to numb your soul, heart and mind. Smiling so no one knows just how much it hurts, getting angry that friends who tried “on a whim” and got pregnant right away, avoiding the baby section of Target, WalMart, the grocery store as if they were made of quick sand because you know those itty bitty treasures might never be yours.
    Almost 2 years ago, I got my miracle. Was all that time worth it? Yes. But you never truly forget it. Am I grateful? Yes. But the sting is still there as she will be my only. Again, I thank you.

  177. After trying for 13yrs we were pregnant, but it wasn’t mention to be. So we kept on trying after what seemed forever we were pregnant again, we now have a 31/2 yr old little girl. She is an absolute dream come true, to everyone who is struggling don’t give up hope one day you too will be blessed.

  178. This is a wonderful post! 13 years we dealt with infertility until our miracle arrived! Thankful for God’s sweet mercy! Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts, it will help others that are going through this trial.

  179. Hi.

    I just saw this re-posted.

    At first I was upset. What right does someone have to post something about a topic so sensitive. Then I thought it was insensitive to blatantly advertise how ppl feel who are going through this! It’s private! But I realize that it was done under good intentions albeit in an awkward and public medium.

    Then I read it.

    And it’s all true. It’s all exactly true. Each one of those points will be experienced individually and differently, but still true.

    So if I can pass my thanks for the post, I would appreciate it.

    Mr. Private

    PS: 2.5 years and still no luck…

  180. Very, VERY well done…passing this on for sure.
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  181. MostlyHopefulSometimesHurting April 3, 2013 at 3:23 am

    I really appreciate what you had to say and can identify with some of it. I guess I struggle because I don’t feel like I fit into a “category.” Maybe it’s God’s way of encouraging me to go to Him alone, but sometimes it’s hard to not have anybody who really understands. I don’t know if we even fit the “infertility” category.

    Long story short…years ago (about the time we thought we were finally in a place to start trying to have kids) my kidney function was such that my doctor said we shouldn’t try to, maybe even couldn’t, get pregnant. (My kidney stuff wasn’t a surprise, but the background isn’t important here.) I really mourned at the time and started looking at adoption. Then my kidney function decreased so much that I needed a transplant. I found out that after receiving a transplant and maintaining at least a year of stable health, we could try to get pregnant – “there shouldn’t be any complications.” The transplant story is something else wonderful altogether, but suffice it to say, the transplant/wait time took place and we pretty much got pregnant within a few months (which is one reason I don’t feel like I belong in the “infertile” dept). At that time we’d been married over 10 years. For some unknown reason complications arose at around 6 months and we lost our son. We waited the recommended time and after being told the first situation was a “fluke,” we got pregnant again. This time we made it slightly longer, but similar complications arose and we lost our daughter a little over a year ago. If we could, we might keep on trying, but these pregnancies took a toll on my transplant and I can’t risk another pregnancy. So now we’re back in the process of adoption, waiting to be chosen by a birthmother (domestic). I’m excited about that and I’m sure God will do amazing things through that situation. But. Sometimes I get bitter at having to be back on birth control. Sometimes I get angry at having to be scrutinized under a microscope to “qualify” as a parent after 14 years of loving marriage and responsible employment, when other people give no thought at all to fooling around and getting pregnant or what it means to be responsible and accountable and truly loving. Sometimes I get frustrated that I will have to navigate the tricky waters of a birth-mother relationship in the middle of being a new parent (and beyond), when other people just get to focus on the task at hand.
    So…it’s really hard to find that “Post-transplant and Baby-death, Can’t Even Try Anymore” group to fit into (much less Christian). Oh well.

    P.S. I know it’s all part of God’s amazing master design and even in the midst of it all He’s has been so good. I have been blessed a million times over. Sometimes you’ve just gotta put your junk out there though, so people can know you’re keeping it real. These frustrations (any many more) occasionally go through your head no matter how much you try to rely on God and avoid unhealthy thought patterns.

    • Thanks for sharing your story. I’m an infertile (for the past 6 years) with three adopted children. Your description of some of the thinks you feel echoes a lot of what I have felt. I think those of us in the “infertile” category would welcome you with open arms into this “club.” I think even though it seems your body is physically capable of becoming pregnant (i.e. fertile), your inability to conceive for medical reasons coupled with recurrent pregnancy losses absolutely resonates with those of us who either cannot become pregnant or have experienced pregnancy loss. You are not alone. Blessings to you in your adoption process. Each is unique, full of miracles, and ultimately such a blessing. I know the waiting is hard, especially when you have already waited so long.

    • You are not alone and there are so many different circumstances surrounding the ability or inability of being able to have a child. I also have some medical issues where my specialists told me that they felt it was too risky for me to get pregnant again. Prior to this I had been pregnant 4 times, but only one pregnancy lasted to full term. Blessed with one beautiful, amazing daughter, I (and my husband) thought we were okay with this.
      That lasted for a year or maybe a little longer and then I had to get a fourth, fifth, sixth opinion as we wanted to have another baby. Was there anything I could do to decrease the risks facing me and there was. I did everything I was told to do and we started trying again, but now month after month after month nothing. After a couple of years of trying it was determined I was now infertile but for reasons unknown. So the probing, testing, surgery and trying IVF ensued for over eight years.
      Even though I wasn’t able to conceive again, I would do it all again, but the only thing I would want is for people to stop asking “when are you going to have another?”, “don’t you want a brother or sister for your first?”, or any of those annoying, abnoxious, inconsiderate, questions and comments.
      Personally I have had dreams where I make them write their question or comment down on a piece of paper and make them eat it! Or the other dream where I have the balls to retort and ask them an embarrassing personal question right back. And very very loudly!
      But this is my story which has made me who I am and I think an even better mum to the one beautiful and amazing daughter I do have.
      All children are amazing and adoption is a blessing for the child and parents both.
      Best of luck with your adoption!

      • am in the same position so grateful for my daughter but so sad after 3 years of trying not to have a sib for her. And people always ask ‘just the one?’ which despite my absolute joy in my daughter, makes me feel all of tjose emotions again, 4 iuis and 2 ivfs later.

  182. Wow! I’m so in shock with this post and I’m shock because it comes from a man. Thank you for this!
    My husband and I know all the feelings you expressed here. We have struggle with infertility for almost 6 years and it has been a really hard journey. We had IVF and conceived but we lost our babies. We are still praying and waiting on God for our miracle babies. I recently started a blog about our journey as way of getting my feelings out because we have kept this as a secret. You can check our story on: http://www.ourdreamedbabies.wordpress.com

    Many blessings!

  183. Thank you so much for your blog!!! I first of all read your blog post to the parents of young children – and I am totally in that boat now – and I howled and cried and laughed and it was SO GOOD! So perfect!! We are now the very blessed and very humbly grateful parents of four children who are 8, 4, 3, and 1. But, we went through many years of trying to get pregnant before our oldest was born and years following his birth before the flat out miracle of the pregnancies and births of our three youngest children. We also endured the loss of four babies through miscarriages at different times and for different reasons during the years of trying. We watched ALL of our friends get pregnant easily, complain about pregnancy, felt the “topic” change every time we walked in a room, understood that I’d totally gone crazy when I empathized more with the lady who’d kidnapped someone’s baby than I did the woman who’s baby been taken, was suicidal when our third miscarriage happened on our anniversary, sobbed when my sister called to say she was pregnant, HATED all pregnant people….ugh….EVERYTHING you wrote I can totally remember feeling. The funny thing is, that even now, after being blessed with four full-term pregnancies and four healthy children, I still think of myself as someone who has infertility issues. I am CERTAIN that that is insulting to someone who is reading this now, but, that ache and trauma and fear and desperation never really seemed to have left. I still really, really can feel all of those agonizing, heartwrenching emotions, just like it’s still happening, even though PRAISE GOD, my family is here now and that chapter is over.
    Anyways, thank you for writing. I would have eating this like the sweetest honey if I had read your words in my darkest days. I know you have blessed so many people by writing from your heart. Blessings to you and your family!

    • It’s unfair that you have to worry that others may not support your identity as an infertility survivor. Yes you were successful, but you had your journey. I’ve had 5 IVF, 3 prior IUI, and 4 miscarriages. I’m grateful that I don’t take away from someone’s pain because they were successful.

    • Stephanie, many of my infertility friends assure me that, even though they have had their babies now, the pain of their struggle to become parents never goes away and they feel like they are defects because of what they endured.

  184. Not sure how you got into every thought and emotion my husband and I went through! Were you eavesdropping??!! HA HA
    Our journey of 8 years had a joyous ending on April 10, 2012 at 6:13pm! Hard to believe she will be a year old in a week.
    This article is amazing…I’m going to send to my infertility doctor because this would have been so helpful to both of us along the journey. We were “the only ones” that couldn’t seem to get or stay pregnant! This article reminds you that you are not alone, not crazy and everything you are feeling is normal on this abnormal journey.
    Thank you on behalf of the many couples that will benefit from reading this one day!

  185. NoMoreAStranger April 2, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    We struggled with infertility for 2.5 years, and while a short time, looking back, it seemed interminable. We recently found out that we are pregnant again, without intervention, and it seems pretend. Like we’re pretending. And I feel guilty for still considering myself as struggling with infertility. Those feelings never leave completely. But on the positive side, I learned a lot of humility and reliance on the Lord. On my darkest days, He understood when others didn’t and I didn’t. My heart aches for those who are still dealing with this. But I feel good that I can KNOW how to give my friends a hug and tell them I know exactly how badly it sucks. That’s really all I wanted. No solutions or platitudes. Just a hug and a “That sucks. Let’s go get a pedicure”. Thank you for your honesty and beautiful words. :)

  186. Amazing post! Totally hit the nail on the head! I laughed, I cried….it was totally what I needed today! We endured 6 rounds of IVF to get #1 and have had two unsuccessful rounds on our journey towards #2. We know one way or another we will have a second child but the waiting can be so difficult. I came to this post from your post on parenting small children and I could completely totally resonate with that one as well!

  187. Oh my word, I could just punch all those people who have said to me, “Just relax and it will happen!” Or my chiropractor who said it just took positive thinking. Idiots.

  188. Secretive

    Because who wants to tell your father in law that you got your period yesterday? And does your dad really need to know how many times you had to have sex this week?

    What I found is that I didn’t want to talk about it – I was tired of it all and I didn’t need the opinions of those who don’t know anything about it. I didn’t need to hear anything from my mother. I had all of the information I needed on line and from my doctor and all of the rest I didn’t want to hear.

    We were lucky/unlucky… We started down infertility lane in the summer… then we were interupted by a large disaster where our home (and nearly 1700 other homes, too) was destroyed. So, we finished our journey while in the midst of disaster recovery while living in an RV on our burned out property… Luckily for us, we only needed chlomid but the monthly emontional trauma with the disaster trauma was much more difficult than I think it otherwise would have been. For either situation I think. We couldn’t wait as I turned 40 that fall, too. (Yes, it was one HECK of a year.)

    Luckily, the old Robetussin infertility trick actually worked for us… and we found out we were pregnant a couple of days before Christmas. It was our last month of trying, we were just so emotionally spent… I still get upset thinking about it all, even while I am sleep deprived with a 7 month old.

    It was just a hard year. And it’s still the part that we don’t talk about when talking about the disaster. But it’s still the part that made those first months of disaster recovery that much more difficult.

  189. Wow, thankyou. As a couple still going through the infertility journey (about to start IVF in the next couple of weeks) it’s been a long, tough few years. Friends have had 3 kids in that time and then it’s even harder when younger family members have time to get married and then have a child and then are about to have a second! I’m happy for them and I love them but it’s so hard sometimes.
    I laughed out loud at the awkward one, fortunately I am someone who can laugh at myself and really there’s not much you can do in that situation!
    For anyone else who is still going through the journey, I would like to say let your emotions out when you need to. I’ve had them get too much for me twice and I’ve had to make sure I was alone so that I can let it all go. Punch, kick, cry, yell, pray as long as there’s no people or animals nearby it’s ok. The first time surprised me, the tiniest thing happened and tipped me over the edge without warning, I then accidentally dropped the F bomb under my breath at church and then knew then I needed to go and have some me time, first time I’d cried in years (only just made it home before it all came!) but it was such a huge release, it was years of emotions coming out.
    I know that we will have kids one way or another in the future and I feel that our journey is to help others in the future. We’re discovering it’s a lot more common than we think and we are not alone, we want to be able to help others in the future.

    Sorry for the big rant but I felt I really had to say thank you.

  190. Thanks ..I enjoyed reading…Really well put…you must have a great relationship.There is a child for you.Somehow Somewhere .God Bless
    Louise Jones recently posted…The Last Period Drama.My Profile

  191. This post was so well written. I could identify with everything you wrote. Thirty-three years ago my husband and I were in the midst of our infertility story. The encouragement I felt from my journey, oh so many years later, is that God allowed me this experience because he planned to put other people in my life that I would be able to identify with, cry with, and learn from. All these years later, I’m still learning.

  192. (sigh) SO true. Every single one was spot on. I am at work so I tried really hard to hold back the tears, as I can totally relate! Thanks for the post!

    I’m pregnant right now with embryos we adopted and, I think, out of self preservation, I have taken the last couple months off of grieving. I haven’t even thought about all those painful years. I just want to move on, but it is good to reflect on what that felt like. One; to have compassion on those couples still in the midst of it, and two; we aren’t out of the woods, there will still be emotional challenges ahead.

  193. Great blog! I wrote something similar – I hope people trying to get pregnant might find it helpful if for no other reason than a laugh. http://www.muchgooder.com/Home/adam.nsf/LookupContentByKey/stupid_things_said_to_us_2009

    Also, some fun from the clinic (you can’t make this stuff up) http://www.muchgooder.com/Home/adam.nsf/LookupContentByKey/one_guy_one_cup

  194. I’m sitting here reading this at work (and no, I shouldn’t be..), and now I’m crying. This is EXACTLY how I’ve been feeling. Thank you for posting this.

  195. Steve, thank you so much for these words. Just the other night as I held my weeping wife after she found out good friends of hers were pregnant again, I felt ashamed for the feelings of jealousy and spite that I felt that night. This post really hit me right where I needed it to.

  196. We went through 6 yrs. of various infertility treatment and now have 2 magnificent kids (13yrs. 9 yrs) who were adopted internationally. The trauma of infertility has been healed by the gift of parenting these two heavenly gifts. However, reading your post, it brought all of the horrible memories of that experience back. I thank you for sharing so openly and honestly about it. I wished I had access to your sharing back then, when we were in the deep throes of treatment. However, I might add to your list, that I felt like a complete failure as a woman and a human being in not be able to do something that was supposed to be so “natural” for various species to do. That sense of demoralizing failure was a heavy burden all the time and I think clouded everything else. It wasn’t until we could become parents that that sense of being “defective” lifted. In reading your post on parenting young kids, I could also relate to those experiences. Having gone through the infertility experience, my parenting got an extra dose of supreme expectation, which only led to more guilt and ambivalence about the whole package. I think that it might be unavoidable for those of us who’ve gone through infertility treatment to not have a different experience of that early parenting experience due to the extraordinary circumstances under which our parenting is born. Over time this has normalize for us, and now we just feel like the rest of the parenting world in flying by the seat of our pants with this enormous job of raising kids. Even with all of this, I would do it all over again. Parenting is the great equilizer, making us more humble than we ever thought possible.

  197. Thank you so much for this post! My husband and I are experiencing infertility and are about to start the journey of IUI in May. These 10 words most definitely describe all we’re going through. So happy that you and your wife finally got your happy ending. God Bless!


  198. Bless you for posting this. I stumbled across your blog today, Easter Sunday, and the day of my egg retrieval for my one and only IVF. Thank you for speaking such true words, they really hit home today.

    Blessings to you.

  199. Thank you for this. My husband and I struggled with infertility for 8 years now, but God has blessed us with a baby for us to adopt. Would love for you (and anyone struggling with infertility) would read my post to see how God is using my infertility to bring Him glory! http://rejoicealways-clarissa.blogspot.com/2012/10/hi-friends-and-family-this-is-going-to.html?m=1

  200. My husband and I experienced 5 years of infertility, including 3 failed inseminations, 4 rounds of IVF resulting in (2) miscarriages, (1) complete failure, and FINALLY (1) beautiful (now almost 2 year old) miracle. In the process I lost and found myself. I am stronger and more capable than I ever imagined. God truly does always give you what you need. In hindsight I see that I needed the losses and failures to humble me, so that I would appreciate the true miracle of my son that much more. The bond I feel with my boy is so much stronger than anything I have ever felt before. I am so honored to be his mom, even as he is downstairs right now having a terrible two tantrum with my husband….. :)

    Happy Easter to all!!!

  201. I have read 3 of your blogs (Infertility, Lines of a story, and To parents of small children)… have you been secretly spying on my life??!! LOL! My husband and I went through 2 years of infertility, We now have 2 beautiful children (who we yell at from time to time and feel totally horrible for doing so), and I often look at myself in the mirror and wonder what happened to my body until I look at my children and remember how badly I wanted them.
    Thank you (and your wife) for saying the things most parents and mothers don’t feel right about saying out loud, but we all know that when someone else says them we are so relieved to know we are not the only ones.

  202. Thanks for this. Especially for words like exposed because of the well-wishers who don’t know /boundaries/.

  203. Thank you very much for your honesty and transparency about a very personal subject. My wife and I have not struggled with infertility ourselves, but we love and do life with a number of couples who have and who do. Your words are insightful, and will help us to more intelligently support others as they struggle, pray, question, weep, and–we pray–celebrate.

  204. Thank you for sharing. We also had fertility issues & after several rounds of fertility treatments tried IVF & got pregnant with twins. We also adopted two. Our last baby is less than a year old & miraculously got pregnant without trying. We now have 6 children, 5 of them are 4 & under. Can relate to all three posts.

  205. Thank you for this post. After 3 years of trying, my husband and I are about to try IVF for the first and hopefully, last time. I’ve experienced all of this and incredible guilt about all my wanting and yearning for another child: Am I being selfish? Am I being financially irresponsible? What happens if it doesn’t work? Infertility is very trying and it is a lot to go through, especially, when you feel alone. All the platitudes in the world from those that have never gone through it don’t help. Your post helps make this time a little less lonely. God bless you for sharing. Any prayers you want to pass along for us during our new IVF adventure will be greatly appreciated. 😉 Thanks again.

  206. This is so beautifully and honestly written and I can relate to each one, 10 years into our infertility journey.
    As we start treatment again this month, after a 2 year break, I can only pray that our story ends with the miracles so many talk about in the comments here.
    I have gone through some REALLY DARK places but I have finally gotten to a place where I turned it over to God and trust Him fully with our future. I should have done that initially but it can be so hard to let go. I think this is the best I have felt since starting on this rollercoaster ride!

    Thanks for sharing and Happy Easter!

  207. My son was either our 7th or 8th (we had two at that time) embryo transfer. He is now 7 months and I know we would endure all the above and more a million times over just for him. Eye on the prize – those were the words we kept at the forefront of our mind when all the other words you listed threatened to take over.

    Thank you for sharing, I don’t think I have read a truer account of infertility.

  208. Thank you for your post… it really did hit home.

  209. Thank you for your openness, and thank you for the reminders. My husband was an associate pastor at a mid-size church when we were going through our 5 year struggle with fertility, and I can remember running to the bathroom to ball my eyes out when yet another couple would announce they were expecting, not to mention the ones ‘surprised’… Now I need to make myself remember how that was, especially since after an additional 18 months of treatments to have a 2nd child, we’ve now had 2 more ‘surprise’ blessings. My husband hated that creepy room, and I can just picture his face every month as we watched the ovulation tests for the day to run into the city.
    I’m going to be more careful about who I tell my story to, because any young(ish) couple without children could be in that pain stage. I’ve always wanted to be an sympathetic ear, not just a reminder that they’re still struggling.

  210. Thank you for writing this. After 3 years of infertility and treatment after treatment we have a beautiful 18 mo old son. We are starting to try for #2 but to be honest, I’m terrified to go through potential infertility again. This post describes what I felt and I couldn’t even make it through #1 before the raw emotions of that 3 years came flowing back.

  211. Thank you. Your words made me cry and smile, laugh and sob. They were just PERFECT. Like I say to all my fellow infertiles, “Welcome to the club!” While I know that no one wants to join, we can’t leave either. And wouldn’t want to.
    I used to say my infertility journey would make me a better mom. While I hope that’s true, I seriously doubt it sometimes. Which is why I enjoyed your parenting post almost as much as this one. Your intelligent and touching words have left me mostly speechless, but also inspired. Thank you.

  212. Thank you! Just thank you! We are blessed with one fantastic daughter. We tried for years to have another. We got one easily, so why not more? After countless drugs, shots, and tests, one miscarriage, 2 failed IUIs and 4 failed IVFs, we had to stop. We, of course, hoped it would just happen some time. I’m going to be 45 tomorrow, so the chances are very slim. As I said, we are blessed with our daughter. God’s plan was for us not to have more. I wished I had read a post like this when we were in the middle of it. Your post sums it up perfectly. Happy Easter.

  213. Great post! I read it while nursing my second IVF miracle. After 7 years of off and on fertility treatments we have our two beautiful sons, ages 5 1/2 and 2 weeks. Your words describe the emotional roller coaster so well.

  214. We tried for seven years as well. And on our 3rd IVF attempt we were successful and have the best little boy in the world (at least according to us.) It’s very hard to find anyone who understands this so well, and even harder to find someone who can articulate it this well. Thank you.

  215. I’m really grateful that my (fertile) friend sent me a link to this blog post. It is so helpful for me to hear many different perspectives and stories around infertility. I would love to read an anthology on this subject — so let me know if you know of a good one or would be interested in creating one.

    My personal story is one of marrying and trying to start a family late in life and feeling guilty for ‘complaining’ about our infertility, since, what did we expect? But this was just another way to beat myself up…

    My husband and I also had always been interested in foster parenting — since before we even met. So, when pregnancy wasn’t happening we thought we’d focus on our other goal of becoming foster parents. And at least one of us (me) and maybe both of us thought that becoming foster parents might bring about that magical “And then they adopted and got pregnant” scenario that well-meaning but ill-informed friends and family love to share.

    We did become foster parents of two beautiful girls, but we never became pregnant. Then, in addition to watching all our friends and family who wanted to become parents _get_ to become parents, we watched almost every foster family we knew _get_ to adopt their foster kid or kids. And our foster daughters went back to live with their bio mom after living with us for 18 months. Lots of loss, lots of grief.

    Now we are hoping to adopt a “special needs” child … and we hope to continue to be a part of our ex-foster-daughter’s lives as they grow up. We’ve managed it for over a year so far. Our experience of parenting has been pretty different, overall, from that of our friends and family. And though we try to focus on the similarities and connect with others over parenting, in some ways it might always be quite different. The pain of being different and “not belonging” is a huge theme in my life and in my experience with infertility and it is a theme that runs through Steve’s post and many of these comments.

    “Not doing it right” is another theme in these comments, where ‘it’ can mean anything from accepting the situation to relaxing, from letting go to trying hard enough (putting your body and bank account through the ringer). One thing people dealing with infertility absolutely do not need is yet another thing to do or not do or another judgment on their choices and lives.

    Many fertile friends and family do not seem to get it — as others have commented. What is more is that they do not seem to _want_ to get it. Three reasons occur to me. First, exhaustion from parenting (see Steve’s blog post ‘To the parents of small children: Let me be the one who says it out loud’); second, survivor’s guilt (they didn’t have to deal with the horror of infertility); third, simply not knowing what to say. Speaking just for myself: I really want them to get it; I want them to want to understand, to want to know more, and to inform themselves so that they can be more supportive and sensitive. And it is up to us to teach them. To continue to talk about what we’re going through, what we’ve been through. Or to start talking about it. Even years later. So, thank you Steve and thanks to all who’ve commented for sharing your stories and feelings.

    Lastly, some people have commented that they wouldn’t change a thing. Well, I would. Growth and learning are all good, but I’d like just one biological child to go along with it!

  216. We are 13 years into our infertility journey. I’ve felt all that to the point of depression and anxiety.

    But giving a trial over to God is always a win. I’ve won gains in being still (trusting God to fight the battles) and abandoning my elaborate life plans to God. And that token “eternal perspective” which can save a bad day. Also, the pain and travailing has forced me to learn to “take every thought captive”, really listen to people and speak with sensitivity (hard for even sensitive people to *really* do this), and truly put my identify, hope and fulfillment in Christ. Infertility has been like the ugly outer crust of a geode. But God put some beauty inside, which I found once it was cracked… once it stopped defining me wholly. But for me it got so dark before it cracked… love and prayers to everyone going through this.

  217. Our own battle was seven years long as well. No words make it better, but prayer helped. Our Faith got us through, and when we were finally blessed with our little peanut that is the name we gave her. :0). No words can express the joy we felt, but also that fear of another disappointment. We prayed A LOT and cried as often as we prayed. Thank you for sharing!

  218. WOW! So beautifully written and spot on! I will be passing this along and thanks for sharing your experiences. It’s always great to know your not alone!

    My husband and I tried for 3 years (just counting years of fertility treatments) and went through a few clinics and several doctors with our first child plus an other year when trying for our second child and it will be the same thing or something similar when we try for baby #3 in a few months. Infertility sucks! If you do get pregnant it by no means you are “cured”. Questions like, ” when are you going to have another one” can cut you to the bone (when trying for baby #2) and make your heart bleed! Most people mean well, many are clueless and a few think they are helping my telling your their very unhelpful views. I too am a christian and from my experience, the topic of infertility gets messier when you add God to it …when talking about views and comments of corse. To some, fertility drugs, treatments, ect. is not accepting or “forcing God to give us a baby” or how we just aren’t “giving it to God” and “not praying hard enough”. We don’t need help beating our self up or made to feel selfish for our desire to want kids of our own in stead of adoption, which isn’t for everyone. All I can say is those things are very Hurtful and a VERY sensitive subject! You cannot even begin to imagine what it is like to want something so bad that you would literally do anything to have it and while not letting that very thing run you and destroy your marriage and your faith in God. The best thing you can do is Not share your views or ask too many questions and really just be there to listen and pray for them. It’s a very painful road and I don’t wish it on anyone nor would I change that part of my life. Ministry often comes from a place of pain or passion and for me it is an area where I can be a source of strength and a shoulder to cry on. I love it and helps me heal too.

    I do wonder if any one else felt like they were robbed of joy when you “finally” got pregnant, the dark clouds hovering over change to a new era of disappointments and fears because so far the journey has not been easy or wonderful. Emotionally getting ready for the the next wave to it you and send to back to square one.

    Thanks again for posting this!

    • I have had 1 failed attempt at IVF, and as a Christian, it was such a tough decision for hubbie and I to even try the IVF. Were we trying to take the decision from God? Should we have stronger faith, pray harder? We currently can’t afford another round, but have discussed and are unsure as Christians, what our next move should b, as we previously said, if we don’t fall with IVF, we will know that its not Gods will for us. However I don’t think we actually thought it wouldn’t work. It is so hard, so much guilt. Thanks for the original post and also to all those who commented and shared their own stories. So great to here from other Christians.

    • Thanks for the comments you added to the blog about “10 words to describe infertility”. You asked at the end of your post if anyone else felt robbed when they finally did get pregnant because they weren’t able to enjoy their pregnancy. I thought I’d share my perspective with you.
      I can’t answer your question about pregnancy after infertility as it hasn’t happened for me (?yet? not sure if I’ve given up on trying?). However, I will say that I do feel robbed that I didn’t enjoy the pregnancy I did have. My husband and I became pregnant with our first without even really trying, but my dad’s fight with cancer and eventual death meant that I wasn’t able to enjoy so many of the milestones (first heartbeat was the day after I really realised he was sick; first Mother’s Day (while I was pregnant) was the day after Dad died; ultrasound was a few weeks later, going across the street from the hospital where he died and realising that he really wasn’t going to be there to share this journey with me). As the pregnancy progressed, the emotions of grief made me feel like I was trapping my child in an emotionally toxic environment. When we became pregnant a second time, there was some relief that I miscarried because at the time, my cousin had terminal brain cancer (she died 2 days before her 29th birthday). I didn’t want to have to mix up pregnancy and cancer again. That was over three years ago now and no pregnancy since then. I don’t know that I would even be able to enjoy a pregnancy if it ever does happen to me, and this is difficult for me as it’s something that I have looked forward to pre-first pregnancy. As a nurse who’s worked in the maternity field for the past 10+ years (hospital, community and now I teach prenatal classes – yes I’m serious!) it’s hard that I can’t enjoy a journey that I’ve helped so many others on.
      Anyways, I don’t think you’re alone in this. I hope you continue to struggle until you find yourself in a place of peace and grace… that’s where I am on my journey. m

  219. Thank you for your openness about this common struggle! I have several cousins and several in my church family who are struggling with infertility and secondary infertility. This really gives me some perspective about how to love them through this even though I have not personally “been there.”

  220. Thank you for this-you hit the nail on the head. I especially agree with the lonliness and loss part. There was a point, when my sil had her first baby after 3 years of marriage, when we had been trying for 5 years. I think I cried for a week straight. And then, on top of the depression, I felt guilty. It is a viscious cycle. And I would feel like this every time one of our friends would announce a pregnancy or have a baby.

    It is helpful and soothing to hear others’ experiences with infertility. Thank you for writing this and for being so open.

  221. Thank you for writing this. We struggled with infertility for four years, went through countless tests, medication and were on the verge of using a fertility specialist when we discovered we were pregnant. After she was born we never stopped trying, afraid it would take another four years. Miraculously we were pregnant in two years. I think everyone thinks we meticulously planned their age span of 25 months but truth be told we didn’t. We are trying for our third now but since we don’t know HOW we got pregnant with the first two, we have no idea about what to do to be successful this time.

    Your words to describe how it feels are perfect. Even though I have two children I still feel many of those emotions.

  222. I could barely make it through the end of this article without crying. Dealing with infertility I have gone through all these emotions. Thank you for posting this. Now I don’t feel so lonely.

  223. You hit this one out of the park. You some how managed to put words to the most powerful feelings that infertiles have. Bravo.

  224. I actually ran into this through a friend. My husband and I are still going through infertility and it’s been 14 years. Your words are exactly right, but it gives me hope to know that someone’s gone through it for so long and has come out on the other side with 3 beautiful kids. We’re looking into adoption, but we’re not yet ready to give up on biological children either. So, our plan is to do both, hopefully with the help of good friends and lots of prayer.

  225. I think the summation word of this post could be “Grace”.

    I know this article isn’t written towards my version of infertility, but as a thus-far-God-ordained-single-girl who has been taught by a gracious Heavenly Father that He Who did not spare His Own Son, but gave Him up for us all, Who will, along with *Him* freely give us all good things, but who still has the deep desires for a husband and children (I always kind of hoped for 12 but was open to settling for six!) :) I appreciate the graciousness that pervades your comments towards those who want children and cannot have them.

    I know that it is *very* different for those who ‘should’ be able to have children, but for whatever reason, cannot; but for those of us who want children and for whatever reason have not yet met up with the person God would have us to marry, and who seek to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and not on any ticking clock, as-yet-unmet-desires, and other things that can so easily entangle us, the same grace mercy of our God that saved me is also the grace and mercy that sustains me, that gives me joy, that helps me to trust Him in the moments where ‘lonely’, ‘exposed’, ‘on hold’, ‘awkward’, ‘isolated’, and more, threaten to invade and set up camp.

    Which brings me (via too-long sentences) :) back to Grace. God provides His Grace which is Enough. Words like yours, also infused with Grace, are a beautiful God-gift of a reminder that yes, the pain is real; but it is not the whole story. God is doing what God is doing. He is working in the lives of so many, and if I am trusting Him for my eternal salvation, surely I can trust Him for these fleeting years in the here-and-now that sometimes seem to pass so quickly, and at other times appear to drag on interminably.

    Extending Grace and Love to one another in our struggles, whatever they may be, rather than setting up an ‘us vs. them’ mentality is *SO* critical to bearing one another’s burdens and in helping one another to keep on this road that God has for us. I agree with one of your earliest commentors…love one another, pray for one another, weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice…and keep on… <3

    Thank you…
    Deborah recently posted…He Has Placed Eternity In The Hearts Of Men…My Profile

    • Deborah, I totally agree with you about Grace being the only missing word. After fifteen years with no options for fertility treatments, my husband and I have experienced good friends that cried with us, and laughed at the ridiculousness of situations and just were there in the middle of the mess. We also had wonderful friends who “shared their families” with us, which was a pathway to healing for us. As a teacher, around kids all day with various family situations, strength and joy were both plentiful, and again, when I just couldn’t cope, there would be that one person who could hear and encourage. Finally, being given the opportunity to be there for others in the same type of pain was the final crowning act of grace. Grace abounds in the valley, but we must experience the pain to also know God and His care intimately. I wouldn’t have chosen it this way, but I am thankful for what has come of it as a result. Grace is the operative word!

  226. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve never seen anyone sum up what this experience has been like (especially from a Christian point of view) as well as you did. I’m on the “angry” end at God, and you helped me feel more normal! Thank you.

  227. Gillian Rodgers March 28, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I wish that this had been around when we were trying to conceive my daughter. She’s as old now as it took me to become pregnant with her (we lost two babies before her, including her twin.)

    It amazes me sometimes how much that whole journey hurt then, and how much it still hurts now in a lot of ways.

    I think reading this while I was still in the trenches would have been so reassuring and comforting. It seems like a lot of times, when we reach out for support, or ask friends or family to be considerate of our feelings that we’re dismissed, or made to feel we’re a nuisance or a downer, in addition to the burden of our own heartache.

    Thank you for the validation, even 3 years since “graduating” to parenthood.

  228. I came here looking for perspective. A close relative of mine has always been one of my best friends but when the pain of infertility took over her life and I had young children, she could no longer bear to be close to me. It broke my heart and I cry everyday for the loss of this special relationship. She will sometimes talk to me by text, but that is all. Every night I pray for her and her broken heart. When we do talk, I make sure it is not about kids, but that in and of itself is awkward. I love her so much and I don’t know what to do or say. I cannot take away her pain but I wish she would still love me and her nieces and let me us in her life. For now, I just have to accept she is not ready. But it hurts, just as she is hurt.

    Infertility is, as you said, unfair. I just wish I knew what to do.

    • Ack didn’t mean for icon to show. Don’t know how to get rid of it….

      • Don’t worry about the icon, Tammy. Thanks for the love you have for your friend. It sounds like you are doing the right thing. My suggestion is that time sometimes is the best way to heal some of these things. Keep praying, keep loving, keep being OK with her holding you at a distance, even though it hurts. My guess is that it won’t be like that forever! You sound like a very good friend, indeed.
        stevewiens recently posted…Through Which We Glimpse Something MagicalMy Profile

    • You’re doing the right thing, just giving her space and time. She will reconnect when she is able.
      I’m having to distance myself from some close friends at the moment because of my infertility struggles. I feel so guilty about it at times, but it’s just too painful to see their ever expanding bellies and attempt to have normal catch ups. It’s not forever though.

  229. I think you hit every point that we went through. Although it took us a shorter amount of time, about two years to conceive, we went through all of these emotions and all of these problems. It was like I was being stabbed every time we found out someone was pregnant, some of them pregnant twice in the time we were trying. But it’s amazing what you learn about yourself and your spouse through this process, some of which I wouldn’t give up. Thanks again for your post!

  230. This post was incredibly well-written, and much of it resonated with me. It was after much prayer and many cycles of disappointment that I was able to conceive my son. I noticed on your other post that you now have three children- would you possibly be interested in writing a follow-up post on how it was alike or different to conceive child #2 and #3? Did you grieve in the same way? We’re just now starting to earnestly try for another child, and it feels different than the first time around, but I’d like to hear from someone who has been there what the next months and years might look like. Thanks for the post!

  231. Selina Stansmore March 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Beautiful !! This depicts exactly how I feel everyday going through this infertility journey !!! I have faith and will never give up until I get my miracle!!

  232. Great list. Spot on. I have felt all of those things. Also, I love that a man is blogging about infertility! :)
    Whitney Anderson recently posted…Up, down, up, downMy Profile

  233. This is just beautiful. We are in year five and I’m king in bed reading this, crying my eyes out, on the first day of “it”. It’s hard to have your heart broken every 26 days like clockwork and nobody understands. I swear if one more person tells us to calm down and stop trying I might very well get violent. I totally understand the feeling of NO FAIR! I feel like shouting it at pregnant women randomly on the streets, but more especially to my irresponsible sociopath sister who cannot seem to stop getting knocked up by degenerates she meets in bars and literally on the street. NOT FAIR! This makes me feel not so wrong all the time, like there is something I did. I love my husband and he loves me and maybe we are here to just love each other. I imagine a few of our nieces and nephews will turn up on our doorstep sooner or later too. I feel better already. Thank you.

  234. Your words describe things to a T. We’ve been struggling for close to four years with unexplained infertility and had a few losses along the way. The grief and isolation can be all consuming and it is a helpful reminder that we are not alone on this painful journey… but I would give anything to be on the other side!! Thank you for sharing your experience as I feel your words in my heart!!

  235. Thanks so much for your article. This will be our 16th year of trying and we haven’t given up hope yet that God will bless us with a child.
    Gizelle M recently posted…Through Which We Glimpse Something MagicalMy Profile

  236. Thank you. This is beautifully written. It’s great to hear a male voice address this topic.

  237. This article touched me today. Our own journey involved 8 long years without children, and we experienced so many of those emotions. It was a struggle to decide just how far to go, how much to spend, when to say “Enough!” Even more maddening was that we couldn’t find a solid reason. I tried to remember that God sends children and it was up to His timing and maybe there was some service He had in mind for us besides parenthood. But it was so hard to accept that.

    I came from a large family and always just assumed I would be a mom someday. I had read the agonizing heartache of Hannah, Rachel, Sarah and other barren women and I read Prov 30:15-16 and I just never understood how someone could long for children THAT powerfully…until I did too. I still cringe inside when I hear people telling their detailed plans of life and when they will have kids and so on. I took it for granted too. I always think, “I hope it works out for you, but not everyone gets to be a parent.” It is a blessed privilege, not a right, and absolutely not a given.

    After many wrestling sessions with God, much soul-searching and agony, after frustration, hope and despair, I finally reached the point that I could accept not being a mom. It was still hard and unutterably heartbreaking, but I knew with God’s grace I could make it. We got a dog, we moved on, we started to plan our life without kids. Maybe that acceptance was the lesson God had in mind, I don’t know. Maybe His timing was just not ours. But He threw us another curveball. Seemingly out of the blue, He sent us a child.

    It feels like our lives have done so many 180 degree reversals my head is still spinning, but I am thankful. I know not everyone gets this chance, and I understand that heartbreak like I could never have understood it before this journey. I hope that I can use my experience to encourage and empathize with others going through similar struggles. I know where they are because I was there too. And in some ways, I think it has made me more grateful, aware and thankful in life. I realize a baby can never be taken for granted. Each one is a precious gift and not something we just “make” or “decide”. God has to send it (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

    As I sit with my 3 month old daughter sleeping in my arms, I know I am unspeakably blessed. I know not everyone gets this chance and I pray the Lord will guide us to be the best parents we can be and make the most of this opportunity He has given us. And unlike my former self, I try not to take a single moment for granted.

    My prayers are with all those struggling to conceive – that God might grant your deepest wish to be a parent, but perhaps more importantly that you would reach acceptance of whatever path He has in store for your life. Some of the most profound lives in history never included marriage or parenthood. That comforted me during dark days, and I hope it might also comfort others.

  238. Thank you for this. Thank you.

  239. Thank you for this. Exactly what I needed.

  240. Thanks so much for this piece. It helps to know that other people have gone through the confusion, ambivalence, anger, etc, and that it’s completely normal. Through this journey, my husband and I have discovered we aren’t always on the same page about how best to proceed. Though I hope other couples don’t have to go through that divergence, I just want to say that it’s possible to work through it and get to the other side. My husband and I had been trying for 7 years, with multiple invasive treatments, and we’ve decided to not carry on any longer with our baby quest, but instead devote our lives to what makes us truly happy- creating art. Thanks again.

  241. Yes! It’s just so comforting to know you’re not alone. I’ve just had my 4th miscarriage in 2yrs and for me I’m really learning to acknowledge the thoughts & feelings I feel are ‘bad’. Like yes I get angry at pregnant women! I get angry that others walk this journey so easily. That life gets put on hold. That cycle of hope and despair.
    I have a daughter who was conceived and carried without problems and that is also why I find this battle so confusing and unexpected. This isn’t how it’s supposed up go. Just because I have one child, it doesn’t lesson the grief of losing four others.
    It feels so good to be honest here ‘in a safe place’ where I won’t be judged.
    Thankyou xxx
    Kate recently posted…A Mother’s GriefMy Profile

  242. Thank you. I don’t recall reading such an empathetic description of infertility before. Of course,it is impossible to expect empathy from our parents and families and fertile friends who were lucky not to travel this road. I would add to the infertile, be understanding- they really don’t get it.

    We found out we were infertile after we got married. Test were inconclusive and ours is unexplained infertility. After seven years of waiting and assessment we adopted a little boy who is now four. This was an international adoption. Further adoption is not possible from where we live for bureaucratic reasons too long to describe.

    I was sent your parenting article also. I empathise with all of the sentiments and am no perfect parent and have days and moments where I don’t do it at all right. I think your wise words are eapecially relevant for previously infertile parents and adoptive parents. After “all that you have been through”, as some might say to you. It is still ok to get frustrated at the fifty fifth iteration of “just, get into the car seat.” However, after our journey to parenthood forgive us if we are a little more indulgent of our children. Hopefully, they will be good human beings in the end. Becomming a family was so difficult we do try and mostly succeed in enjoying every moment.

  243. Christina Wall March 28, 2013 at 2:09 am

    Very complete list. For me, even after my daughter is 3 (ivf) and I am currently pregnant with naturally-conceived twins, I still find myself working with the invasive “worst-case-senario” mentality that pervades many aspects of life beyond reproductive issues…maybe I had a little bit of that before, but infertility definitely exasperated it. Yet, it’s mixed. I also find that I gain a level of compassion for those who a struggling with an issue that is beyond their control. I’ve become a better ear as result. Would I go back and change my path to have my daughter? I realize that my lens is a rosy one because I do have my daughter, but my answer is a resounding no. It was the path that I was meant to be on. I struggled and was forced to grow in the ways that I needed to. As always.

  244. This is the perfect list. I think I have many a post that contain many of these points. We are infertility survivors and this list is spot on.
    Nicole Miller recently posted…March BirthdaysMy Profile

  245. I saw this post after someone forwarded me your “to parents of small children” article. I would love to add two things if you don’t mind. 1. laugh… I know it does sound silly, but like you said, you kind of have to find the humor in some things, like how many people have seen every inch of your body! or how much you now know about bloodwork, and how, how can they take 10 vials of blood and you still be standing! I laughed and that is what got me through!
    2. As a non-Christian person, I also encourage everyone to find a support group. I am forwarding this on to my doctors office where they have the most wonderful support group for men and women, where we met each month to bitch and complain and cry and laugh… there are studies that show that support does help the process.

    Thanks for this great blog post!

  246. I needed this right this minute. Thank you so very much.

  247. Thank you for putting into words how this feels. I have been trying 8 yrs to get pregnant and we are thinking about a 2nd cycle of IVF with a gestational carrier. Good to know others go through the same thing and sometimes and all the pain and suffering does lead to a happy ending. I will keep the hope alive for myself and others like me.

  248. I wish this post had been available ten years ago, for me to share with friends and family. Hubby and I wanted a large family, and we wanted to start that family as soon as possible. God had different plans for us. I spent over a decade experiencing crippling depression, made worse by infertility, while pretending that everything was okay.
    A few months before our 12th anniversary, we watched our son being born -it was the scariest, most beautiful, moment of my life. I cannot imagine my life without my son. I cannot imagine what his life (and mine) would be like if his birthmother had chosen another family.
    Though I have to admit, I still feel like a failure as a woman. I still get angry at pregnant women. I still get mad at God. It still isn’t fair that I don’t get to experience a child moving from within my womb.
    Thank you so much for this post. Blessing to you.

  249. I too want to say thank you for writing this post. And I am sure like most who have struggled with infertility, most of your words are the words that could come from my own heart and mouth!

    In the same realm, we also need to realize that just because someone has one child, does not mean they might not be struggling with infertility.

    My husband and I tried for 3 years before conceiving our daughter, who was then born at 30 weeks and that opened up all kinds of new challenges and rewards. However our journey didn’t stop there. We continued to live with the pain and struggles of infertility for another 8 1/2 years before finally conceiving again. Those 8 1/2 years were so hard because most of the time people see you with a child and figure that you don’t have any problems with fertility. I used to laugh when people would use phrases like “secondary infertility” to describe what we were going through. I would laugh because there is nothing secondary about infertility. It can consume you if you let it. But it can also lead you in a closer walk with Jesus and make your faith become real and something you never imagined because of that closeness. And as a previous commenter pointed out, it allows for the opportunity to minister in areas and form relationships that you might not have if not for the infertility.

    While infertility is still apart of our journey and will always be, I can say that I have 3 beautiful babies that I get the privilege of raising here and one that I can’t wait to meet in Heaven. We are still trying for number 4!
    Tzigane recently posted…Zephaniah John MondaMy Profile

  250. Wow. This is spot on. We just found out at the first ultrasound of our third IVF that I am miraculously pregnant and don’t need the procedure after all. Now I don’t know what to do with all of the leftover infertility feelings. When we get around to telling people, I dread stupid responses like, “You finally gave it over to the Lord, and look how he rewarded you!” I might have to practice not punching someone.

  251. Lianne DiMarco March 27, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you, Steve for putting all of these feelings I’ve experienced, sometimes all at once, into words. I’ve tried so hard to explain this harrowing journey to my “well-meaning” friends and family. This post does that beautifully. It’s been three long years and counting on this trek and I don’t know where it will take us but I’m glad to know we’re not truly alone in this; that my feelings are not new; that my feelings are shared by so many couples wandering down a similar, scary, frustrating, painful, hopeful, and humiliating path. Thank you for sharing these private thoughts.

  252. Thank you for this I shared it on facebook… Its been a long 4 year journey. I get tired of hearing “Just Pray about it” “Just relax” “You can always adopt.”

  253. Thank you So much for this article. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for three years and I have had three surgeries and it is been one of the hardest things we have ever had to go through. Everything you said was true about how you feel when you can’t get pregnant…. and almost every other couple in the world can. As a woman, i I feel like I let my husband down because I have so many problems with myself. We want to parents more than anything and it’s been such a hard time so I thank you for voicing your thoughts on this.

    • Rebecca, thank you so much for writing and for sharing some of your story here. I’m so glad this post was helpful. It really is one of the hardest things, and very few people know how to relate to it. Blessings on you and your husband!

  254. So right on it made me cry. I think I go through highs and lows on #3. There are days and weeks where …it’s not so much I don’t want to do anything but it really feels like my life is on hold. Like waiting for my life to begin. My real life. I’m just doing busy work until then. Lots and lots of busy work so I don’t think about it too much.

    10 years infertile. Trying to adopt now. <3

  255. Thank you for sharing your story. We had some infertility issues conceiving our third child. It was difficult dealing with the feelings and questions – will you have another? I refuse to ask these questions of others now. I realize how difficult and personal the questions are if there are infertility issues. After our miscarriage we were wondering if we were being greedy. We have two beautiful boys, why are we working so hard to change that? What if it is not in God’s plan for us to have three kids? Our family just did not feel complete yet. I told my husband that this was my last round of drugs, I couldn’t handle the ups and downs anymore. The circumstances were not right – the eggs were small, I was going to be out of town on one of the best days to conceive and we were tired. We were thrilled when we found out that we were in fact pregnant. There is a 5 1/2 year gap between my second and third sons. My now three year old eagerly waits for his brothers to wake up before greeting them with a hug and a “Good Morning, Best Friend!” and “Good Morning, Buddy!” each morning. I could not imagine life without him.

  256. Thank you… You did a wonderful job of putting my own feelings into words. I read your “To parents of small children…” and had to come here to see your thoughts on infertility. My husband and I are now the parents of 5 under 9, 3 through adoption and 2 home made. We went through 7 years of infertility and I remember the pain and despair like it was yesterday. Having wanted children so badly, I often feel like I am not allowed to complain or ask for help now that my hands are full. Thank you for the encouraging words in both articles.

  257. Steve, thank you so much for writing this. It’s so hard for people on the “outside” to know how it feels on the “inside” of this club. Often they want to say the right thing, but just don’t have a clue how to do that. So thank you for this article!

  258. Thanks for saying ambivalent. I’m in the throws of that one right now and feeling so guilty about it. And thanks for reminding me it’s ok to hope. I sometimes feel like I’m not allowed to.

  259. Great post.

    I think for women, another word is ‘less’. Motherhood is usually touted as ‘the most important thing a woman can do’… for those of us who remain childless, it always feels as though everything we do is significantly less. It’s a complete lie straight from the enemy, but it’s a battle. For this woman’s heart, especially.
    Thelma Nienhuis (@lifeastwo) recently posted…ChangelessMy Profile

  260. Thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I struggled with infertility for 4 years before getting pregnant with a lot of medical assistance. Every word and emotion you list is so true. The hope, anger, despair each month is sometimes too much to bear. My heart goes out to all that struggle with infertility.

  261. Thank you, Steve! My wife and I considered collaborating with some friends to write a book titled: Infertility Sucks, A Christian Perspective. We wanted to add the “Christian” part mainly in how painful it was to listen (or preach from) all the miracle births, not to mention going to church on Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days… The strangeness of coming from rather sheltered and sexually uptight backgrounds to many of the things you described. Also because of the ways a few people wanted us to feel grateful and blessed by our infertility, since it eventually led us to adopting our 2 wonderful boys. Well, yes, we wouldn’t trade them for a dozen conceptions and they are a blessing in themselves (hah, most of the time), but we still grieve the children we dreamed about and had to let go of when we started the adoption process. Anyway, thanks for offering insight and permission. I also enjoyed your earlier post “To the Parents of Small Children.”

  262. Steve, thanks for putting into words what many of us who have shared the same jouney have felt. An article like this helped me feel so much more ‘normal’ while walking the road. I hope that this is able to make a difference in the lives of those still in ‘fertility battle’ as it has with those of us that have walked the road.

  263. Katie (Solberg) Welter March 26, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I am so glad that I discovered your blog! Thank you so much for writing on this topic. It is always good to hear that other people feel like me. It helps me to feel a little less crazy and a bit more normal :) We were extremely lucky to blessed with our son but have had many problems since and are now looking forward to adoption. I look forward to reading more from you!

  264. Barbara Minton March 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing honestly. My husband and I have been there… and it was agony. You described it well. We now have a son and two daughters–an equal number of in-laws… and eight wonderful grandchildren. But those years of limbo were difficult. Thank you for putting words to the journey.

  265. Beautiful, Steve. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  266. I just wanted to say thank you for writing something that soothed my broken heart today. We’re at 10 years, and still counting… and it is the most painful thing I think I will ever live through, except perhaps outliving my amazing husband someday FAR in the future (I always tell him I have to go first because I can’t do this crazy thing called life without him).

    The loneliness is something that really resonates with me. When we got married, we were in our mid 20’s and it wasn’t THAT big a deal that we didn’t have kids, as none of our friends/siblings/cousins did, either. But now, in our mid 30’s, just about all of them DO have kids. It’s tough to figure out where you “fit” in when all the people who are your own age, who should be your social group, talk about their kids all day long and you have just about zero in common anymore. The church Sunday School system is like a microcosm of the daily dilemma we face when trying to form (or foster) relationships in our lives… should we attend the “Young Marrieds” Sunday School class? Well… no, they are all about 10-15 years younger than us and still stay out past 10pm on a weeknight (lol). “Parents of Preschoolers?” Nope… that’s the crowd always talking about their kids, who also seem to always have a pregnant mom (or 10) in the mix. Yep… not going there. “Empty Nesters?” Well… it’s true our nest is, and has always been, empty, but does that mean the only people we have something in common with now are old enough to be our parents?

    The loneliness is a killer.

    Anyway… it helps to know someone understands. I’m thankful God blessed you and your wife and that you’ve come through it. I hope we get to join you someday. Thanks again for what you wrote. It helps.

    • “The church Sunday School system is like a microcosm of the daily dilemma we face when trying to form (or foster) relationships in our lives…”
      Yes, yes, and YES! I think that is one of the areas I feel isolated…. the lack of support in my faith community – there just isn’t a place to fit in – it is exactly as you have described it. I’ve had family members APPALLED when I said “Maybe it’s not in God’s plan for me to have children, I need to accept that”… as if my considering that possibility was blasphemy and more, revealed a perceived ‘lack of faith’.

      I actually look forward to when my peers are empty nesters, maybe then we can reconnect. I just moved and my current group of friends are all 50-60 yr old women, they are wonderful folks, but I long for a conversation with someone my age that doesn’t have to do with children – or isn’t obviously trying to AVOID said conversation about children.

      • I’m right there with you. Sending you some virtual hugs… and the hope that we’ll both find some friends near us that we don’t have to struggle to relate to!

    • Wow, thanks Tracy. I feel honored to have read a part of your journey. Thanks so much for taking the time to add to the conversation here. I know many who share your story.
      stevewiens recently posted…Ten words that describe infertilityMy Profile

  267. Wow. I think you just climbed inside of my brain, downloaded all the thoughts I had over those years, and then you wrote them in a way I never could have. Thank you. All so true.

  268. Wow. It’s hard to know what to say. Thank you for putting a good deal of my experience into words. And you’re right — each experience is so different as well. For us, when we learned we couldn’t have kids, we did some serious soul searching and felt strongly that our path was to accept what we were offered. Who were we to tell the universe it was wrong? With infertility so prevalent these days and the majority (or so it seems) making heroic efforts in one way or another (which is everyone’s right) we caught flak for not trying hard enough to defy the odds. Everyone has an opinion and one of the hardest things about infertility is hearing them. Still the biggest question is “do you have kids” and when I say no the questioner either gets uncomfortably quiet, or feels entitled to know why. And then give their own commentary. So one word I would sadly add to the list is “judged”. Gratefully, we’ve been lucky enough to channel our energies into being the best auntie and uncle we can be. (I just wrote about our experience at: http://www.wonderofallthings.com/special-day/) Thanks again — such an important topic!

  269. Thank you for sharing all your laughs, lessons and struggles to help others find their meaning in the midst of the messes too. It’s a gift, God bless you for it.
    Sharing this post on my facebook to encourage others who have struggled here.

    mel recently posted…Shop the Nest: more neck.clays.My Profile

  270. Very well said.
    Natasha Metzler recently posted…when dirty floors meet graceMy Profile

  271. C’est fantastique!!!
    “Trying hard not to be stressed is silly.”
    I welcome hearing this phrase over and over.
    I need to take a lesson in being gentle with myself.
    I cope with loss.
    I’m the one that initiated placing our desire/plans for a child on hold.
    Our story is complicated with a seasoning of age being a factor.
    I’ve learned that I’m not exempt from having a broken heart…

    You will guard me and keep me in perfect and constant peace whose mind is stayed on You, because I commit myself to You, lean on You, and hope confidently in You.
    Isaiah 26:3

  272. This is a great post and I agree 100% with all ten, except I would add one more: empowerment. Maybe that’s easy for me to say now that I’m on the other side of it, but even in the midst of it I knew the experiences were making me stronger. I felt my heart growing closer to God as I had to learn to trust Him, pray to Him, and let Him carry the burden more than ever before in my life. I felt empowered with knowledge. I read and researched so much, talked to several doctors and nurses and embryologists, went to seminars and networked with other women going through infertility. I learned enough to become my own advocate, a valuable skill to have I never might have acquired otherwise. I learned the power of empathy and compassion. I learned to love myself despite my body and its failings; despite these negative emotions that surfaced far too often. I learned to be a better wife by communicating with my husband, sharing my most private thoughts and feelings, and realizing he accepts me just as I am. Our marriage feels unbreakable after what we’ve endured together. And I feel different as a mom. I see parenthood as a true gift, something sacred. It is truly that to me (even if it is hard, frustrating and maddening most days). But these are the silver linings of infertility. It forever changed who I am and my relationship w God. And I wouldn’t trade nothin for my trouble now.

  273. Thank you for sharing this, as a man and a leader in a Christian community your voice is often not heard on this topic. Infertility tests marriages, faith and your own sense of yourself. Adding to your observation about ‘lonely’, it is difficult when your peer group is at ‘mommy and me’ groups, play dates, MOPS, boy scouts, etc. ad infinitum. It is natural that their lives should center so fully around their children and activities – it is just as natural that my life can’t since I don’t have them. It is unfortunate that the end result is an often unavoidable, yet understandable, separation.
    Your tag line of ‘living life as is, not as if’ really resonates for me- as it is a daily lesson you learn while working through infertility. Maybe God will bless me with children – maybe He’ll bless me with something else entirely… and maybe He already has. The myth that a ‘happy ending’ is marriage to your childhood sweetheart with 2.5 kids robs us of finding joy in our current lives, our current blessings…. and measuring our lives against those around us is using the wrong yardstick.

    • What you said about the unfortunate yet inevitable separation can be very true. We have been distanced from many good friends by infertility. Yet gratefully, it has opened us up to new relationships as well.
      ~Christy recently posted…Special DayMy Profile

      • And I meant to add, the life without children has shown me it’s just a different way of being in the world — you’re so right that we rob ourselves of our own joy if we buy into the belief that there is only one way to do this crazy thing called life. No matter our circumstances, life is what we make of it. Profound words. Thank you!
        ~Christy recently posted…Spring BreakMy Profile

  274. Thank you Steve for transparency, raw honesty, compassion. 11 years of infertility was a painful, lonely time. May we all be more compassionate to our friends who struggle with this difficult journey.

  275. We also struggled with infertility. All these things you’ve listed? Holy. Cow. We went through the exact same things.

    For seven years.

    We never got pregnant.

    So after spending more money than what the house we currently live in cost trying to be parents, we decided to try foster parenting.

    We ended up adopting four of our foster children (two sibling groups). Three boys and a girl. They are my Pride, my Joy, my Heart, and my Soul. They are all special needs. And while there are times I would give them back in a heartbeat (I identify so much with your “To parents of small children” article), the good far outweighs the bad. I thank God for allowing me to raise other people’s children. It’s both a blessing and a boon–we can claim it’s not our fault they are the way they are, and we are so blessed that God chose us to be their parents anyway!

    Although I do think He has more confidence in me than I do sometimes…

  276. One thing I wish people knew is how incredibly personal the questions about pregnancy are. Are you pregnant? Do you want kids? So painful during the waiting time! Thankfully, God has blessed us with 2, but both pregnancies took time and had their challenges!
    Rachael recently posted…Easter is Coming!My Profile

  277. That was beautiful, Steve. Thank you for sharing this experience!

  278. What a beautiful article! People also say crazy things when you’ve been trying for a long time, finally get pregnant, and then lose the child. Sometimes it’s best to tell people that you love them and are praying for them, and let them cry on your shoulder instead of trying to make them feel better :).

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