Thursday, 16 January 2014

A Letter

What would I write to my friends and family about our infertility journey?  What do I really want them to know?  What have I not been able to articulate to them in person that I want to tell them in a letter?  

Maybe something like this?

Hi Friends, 

We are grateful that you continue to ask us about what has been going on with our journey through infertility.  You've asked about what we've been up to lately and how we're doing.   We are thankful to have your support and to know that you are cheering us on.  

As you know,  it's been a long road for us to try to become parents.  It's coming up on 6 years of infertility and 7 years of trying.  It's hard for us to believe that after this time we're that we're still a family of two.  

We thought a letter would be a good way for for us to share where we are at right now.  We also want to share because now, more than ever we will need your continued support.  

We are entering into our final few attempts with our fertility treatments.  We are immensely thankful for a wonderful woman who has donated her eggs to us.  After these are gone we are expecting that this will be as far as we will go.   We are deeply scared and anxious of another negative result, and/or what third pregnancy loss would do to us emotionally.   Our hope of a successful outcome is quieted by our fear of knowing that if this doesn't work, it will be the heaviest emotional burden that we have faced yet.  We are "all-in" right now.  

On the adoption front, we are also in the thick of things, having just completed our home study update requirements and signed up with an agency.   We are preparing ourselves for the chance to welcome a child into our lives, while also being very cautious.  We know from the professionals that surround us  that finding a match could be very difficult.    While we are hopeful, we aren't feeling overly optimistic about our chances, especially because of how many couples are already waiting, and the declining number of adoptions each year.   

After trying so hard for so many years, we feel flattened by all of our unsuccessful treatments.  If we were to give a score of where we are at infertility-wise, I would say we are  a 3/10 emotionally.   The positives are that we feel confident that we are under the care of one of the best clinics in the USA and we are fortunate that we still have some savings left to pursue this option.  We know many people don't have this opportunity, and so we are grateful for this.   

Something we've learned about infertility is that at its core it is really about loss and grief.  We have been grieving since we learned our diagnosis, and we continue to grieve.  Infertility is like a wound that reopens before it has a chance to heal.  A new fresh loss such as a negative pregnancy test, a miscarriage, or other fertility setbacks usually just adds to the pile.  At its worst, our grief feels cumulative.  None of the individual scars are more than we can deal with, but all together they can be a very heavy burden.

I think some of you may wonder about whether it bothers us to discuss our infertility?  For the most part, we aren't afraid to discuss it.  This is in part because we are desensitized.  Infertility has put us in a position of sharing things with people that we never imagined. We have had to, and choose to talk about it regularly.  As a couple, we talk about it almost every day.  On difficult days, we talk about it many times throughout the day.  On the days when we aren't talking about it, it's usually not far from our minds.  It's important to us and talking about it and knowing you care helps.    

What is sometimes difficult, is the social situations that we find ourselves discussing it in.  Other than the facts and dates that go along with our story, this topic is a deeply emotional one for both of us.  This is the biggest struggle of our lives, and something we are hesitant to discuss at a lighthearted gathering.  We don't want to bring down the mood by sharing our burden.  Also, we enjoy breaks from thinking about our infertility too. 

Two other difficulties with of our infertility treatment are regular hormonal manipulation, and restrictions on our lives to make our treatments a high priority.   However one of the hardest parts of infertility is that it is a socially isolating experience.   

We are truly happy for those of you with children and we want to be a part of your lives.  We want to learn from your experiences in parenting.  However, sometimes it can be difficult for us to see the joys and difficulties of your parenting because we wish that we were experiencing those too.  The times that we find this is harder for us is when we are feeling emotionally vulnerable after a new loss or setback. When this happens, we have learned it is better for us to protect ourselves from these situations.   We know that you have been considerate of us in the past, and we thank you for this. 

Thank you for continuing to lend us your support.  We are grateful for your empathetic phone calls, prayers, emails and tokens to show us that you remember our struggle and that you are still here beside us.


J & D 

PS) On the topic of donor egg, we ask that you keep this information to yourselves.  We are not ashamed of this.  However, if we are successful and have a child from these treatments, it will be their information to share.  We do not want the world knowing about this before our child gets to process this information, and decides to share it if they see fit.  We have trusted you and we are very serious about this.  Please do not mistake our casualness and comfort with you on the topic as permission to discuss it with other people.  Thank you for respecting our wishes. 


What do you think?

I'm on the fence if I am going to send it.  Mostly leaning towards the don't send it side.

For the send it side - I want people to know this stuff.

For the don't send it side:
1.  I don't want to make anyone feel bad, especially my more sensitive friends.
2.  If this is all over soon and I get pregnant (if I say that 1,000 times fast will it help increase my chances?),  I don't want all of the attention that this might get me at the nail biting time of the first trimester.

It did take a load off my mind for me to gather my thoughts on the topic.  I think it will help me in the even that someone does ask me how I'm doing the next time?


  1. I think it's an amazing letter, and don't see how it could make anyone feel bad. But that's just me. I think you should send it.

  2. I think it's a beautiful letter that sums up a lot of what we've gone through as well. I would send it to family and close friends so that they can "get" what you're going through, especially now.
    I really hope DE works out for you. For someone who has been beaten down by IF for so long, you sound remarkably together!


I'm interested in what you have to say