I See You: An Open Letter to All The Future Mamas Struggling With Infertility

I see you.

I see you hiding behind your Facebook wall.  Silent and purposefully not “liking” the photos of my babies.

I see you rolling your eyes and saying out loud how annoying it is that my profile picture is of my children and not of me. After all, you are friends with me, not my kids, you don’t want to know what’s new with them, you want to know what I’m up to. You might be blocking me from your feed.  I do post a lot of photos of my babies. I can’t help it. And that profile pic IS what I’m up to. It is not me, but it kind of is me at the same time. But you already know that.

I see you liking the snarky memes about parents being assholes.  Selfish, egotistical, ungrateful fucks.

I see you smiling that fake smile when we talk in the break room about our children.

I see you walking out the door when you think it’s safe to make your escape. I see you eating at your desk instead of joining us later in the week.

I see you crying in your car after going to a baby shower, or meeting your friend’s new bundle of joy or hearing another pregnancy announcement from someone who didn’t even try to get pregnant.  Maybe I don’t catch you every time.  But I know you do it.

I see you at the doctor, staring at the photos of the babies on the wall, wondering if that will ever happen to you.  Thinking that maybe it won’t.  But going back anyway.

I see you staring at me in the waiting room, a mother, wondering what the fuck I’m doing in there and wishing me out of your sight.

I see you watching in horror as you bleed, much more than you should be bleeding, as you feel yourself losing it. Him. Her. Maybe even Them. Knowing you will not ever be the same after this.

I see you out shopping, trying to avoid looking at the cute baby things.  I see you, very rarely, pick up something from the rack.  You always put it back. Except that one time. That special thing you saw and couldn’t help but buy.  No one sees it because it is hidden in the back of a closet right now, but you think of it often.

I see you cringing at every insensitive and thoughtless complaint about pregnancy or parenting.

I see you watching a mother hug and cuddle her child as she waits to checkout.  I see you watching another scream at her kid in the backseat while the child cowers. I see the rage in your eyes as you witness both encounters.

I hear you screaming.  Even if you’re only doing it on the inside.

I see you struggling, even though you are trying not to show it.

Don’t worry.  You’re hiding it well.

It’s just that since I’ve been there too, I know you’re there.  I want you to know that I see you, that you’re not alone, and even though it feels like it will -and even though it feels like it will – the anxiety, anger and despair really won’t last forever, even if there is no guarantee of a biological child as an end result of all the turmoil.

If you are looking for support, Reddit has a phenomenal infertility group  and RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association, has resources as well.

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40 thoughts on “I See You: An Open Letter to All The Future Mamas Struggling With Infertility

  1. Thank you! We lived “here” for 8 years before we finally had O. I wish just once I would have read these words back then.

  2. What a kind post.

    I struggled for years with infertility without the resources available now. 25 years ago I was pretty much on my own.

    I made my peace, though. My husband and I adopted a baby boy. He is23 now. And while Ido sometimes wonder the what ifs, I never regret. We call it the Jacob paradox. He is our baby/young man. And we love him period.

    May wanna be parents get the comfort understanding and support they need.

  3. This was lovely and very well written. It’s an interesting companion piece to this article I read on Cracked recently about miscarriages: http://www.cracked.com/article_22126_4-important-things-nobody-tells-you-about-miscarriages.html

    Interesting perspectives that tend to be swept under the rug. Hardly a soul knows what to say in the face of someone’s losing a child or finding out that they can’t bear children at all as a result.

    Thank you for posting this.

      • I’m glad that article resonated with you as much as it did with me! It was compelling reading and a really excellent, not to mention necessary, addition to a conversation with far too few contributors.

  4. I absolutely love this. I find myself correcting others, too, when they comment on “oh do you think so and so wants kids, they are getting up there in age” – I remind them that some people struggle and who are we to assume they either do or don’t, we don’t know if they are trying and shouldn’t push the issue because it is a very painful thing to deal with.

    This was beautifully written. XOXO

  5. A lovely piece. I resigned myself to not being a natural Mum years ago, but it still hurt. It’s too late for me now anyway, but I’m certain this post will bring hope and understanding to so many, and not just women. Men feel the loss too.

  6. I struggled with infertility for just about 6 years. I now have a 7 month old, can’t seem to bring myself to post pictures though. I’m insanely in love with my son and want to share him with the Facebook world, but I’m also so sensitive to others that might be going through the same thing. Infertility can be so incredibly sad and lonely. Thank you so much for your well written, thoughtful piece. I think you’ll bring hope to lots of women out there. xoxo

  7. Thank you for such a beautiful, thoughtful post. I just wanted to add- sometimes, it does last forever. Still, I am so grateful to you for looking back and offering your support. Thank you! 🙂 ❤

  8. Thank you for this very touching post. It is really nice for those who may not understand can get a glimmer of the reality people who struggle with IF deal with everyday. We are hoping these feelings won’t last forever, but while we have them it is so nice to have the support of others who are also feeling the same. And having the understanding and support of those with children is such a bonus.

  9. Thank you for writing this! It made me ugly cry, even as my 5 month old adopted son plays beside me. This was my life for so many years. And the pain is still there, I don’t know if it will ever go away. Like many others have already said, I also refrain from posting much about my son on facebook because I’m sensitive to what others may be going through.

  10. Maybe change the subtitle to “an open letter to all those who want to be mamas but are struggling with infertility”? Because the truth of the matter is, not all of us who struggle will indeed be able to be someone’s mama in the future. Thus, this letter, though beautifully and lovingly written, appears to make the usual erroneous assumption that all infertility will eventually be resolved through a miracle. Yet, this simply isn’t the case, as I, a childless infertile who’s just turned fifty and is beginning menopause, can attest. I would like to think that I, even though I can never be a “future mama,” am still seen and my grief and loss are still acknowledged.

  11. Yes. This is my life. And I can’t say this to anyone – even my husband. He will tell me that it’s selfish to not be happy for other people. I don’t know a single soul who understands this in my life. Hardly a week passes when I don’t hear yet another pregnancy announcement at work, on Facebook… Conversations about kids and families leave me feeling left out and alone. I guess it’s good to see that others struggle with this, too, but it seems like the ending of other women’s stories is always, “but now I have my baby…” and I always am left wondering why I’m the only one who does not have that. I appreciate the piece but it’s not true that this won’t last forever… for some of us, it will.

  12. I was told at age 19 that I would never have children. At that point in time it really didn’t seem like it was that big of a deal, I was 19 and didn’t even have a boyfriend. Within months I found the man I married. He was 7 years older and didn’t want children so hey, we were a perfect fit. Four years later, we found out that we were expecting. We were both floored and I must say a bit embarrassed now by the way we handled the news. We had our baby girl an d we were thrilled but I had a very strong feeling that we weren’t done. I was hooked and wanted more. We tried alone for a few years, then started seeing the specialists, tons of blood work, tests, shots, pills, tracking calendars, and still nothing. I hated watching people that didn’t want their kids get pregnant time and time again. Watching movies with babies made me cry. I wanted to punch people in the face when I was asked when or why we haven’t had another one. It was exhausting telling people that it just wasn’t in God’s plan and we were more than blessed to have the one.after about 6 exhausting years of trying, we gave up. We both secretly realized that number two or even three wasn’t an option for us and we moved on. Like the article said, it got easier, not necessarily forgotten, but easier once we moved on. My husband will be 40 this year and We just received the schlock of a life time. Baby number two is in my oven. I’m 10 weeks and we have mixed feelings about the journey we out of the clear blue sky just started. Obviously we’re excited, over the moon, beyond happy, but also scared. My husband will be 40 this year and just when he thought we were pretty much set in our ways, BAM, God says we got too comfortable. I love it! We live in a tiny 2 bedroom house that all of a sudden we realize we’ll have to move or add on to. I attribute this miracle to God and to the fact that I started raising our own meat and veggies last year. Now it’s a trend that I definitely won’t give up. The garden will be bigger this year, more meat chickens, cows, and pigs. I’m so glad that there is a place for people to talk about this issue. I’ve been there for so long and honestly I still feel like I’m there. I Don’t think it will sink in until I’m actually holding him/her. And there’s a lot that can go wrong between now and then. I try not to think about it but it’s been 9 years, kinda hard not to. Bless the lady for writing this. Just knowing you’re not alone is huge.

  13. Pingback: A Focus on National Infertility Week | A Healthy Slice of Life

  14. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award | the learning, earning and fitness mama

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