Saturday, 26 April 2014

My draft letter. Looking for your feedback.

I'm thinking about sending this letter to those friends.  What are your thoughts are on it?  How would you feel if you received this letter (if you were a fertile)? What should I take out or add?

Honestly, I'm not sure if I have the courage to send this.  It leaves me feeling very vulnerable.  I don't want to alienate or anger these friends.  It's hard to know when to listen to the little voice telling me to stop.  Is she being a coward or saving me from more grief?


This week, my feelings were hurt.  I hate to admit it, and it's uncomfortable for me say anything about it.  But I feel I need to. 

As you know, two weeks ago, D and I suffered another deep heartbreak when we lost our fourth baby.  

I know that every loss is different, and everyone copes differently.  And things could be so much worse.  For us however, this new loss just adds salt into an already very big wound.  After almost 6 years of failed fertility treatments and losses, we have learned that (for us), the grief of infertility and loss is compound.

We are exhausted, discouraged and feeling very isolated in this experience. 

While we hope the road ahead from here will be a smooth one to parenthood, we know all too well that this may not be the case. There could be more rough road ahead.  We are very scared, especially because this journey has already left us so low. 

I know we want to be there for each other, because we do things like we did for E and K this week.   Seeing the support for them made me happy, but it also made me yearn for a little more of that myself.  Of course, I'm not asking for flowers.

After hearing our news, some of you reached out right away.  And it was genuinely appreciated.  That first week was filled with nothing but pain and tears, and a message was the perfect thing.   The week after, though, I heard mostly silence, and it makes me sad.  I wonder if it is because I have not communicated in the past how devastating this has all become? 

I don't expect anyone to say or do something to make us magically feel better.  Because trust me - I know there is no magic pill, only time, a listening ear, or a quick note to tell us you are thinking of us.   

I'll sign off by sharing this video that shows a glimpse of what infertility is like.  If I could, I would add something about to the video loss, because for us, infertility is only half of the equation.   

(This video won't work on an iPhone.)


I wrote this for something else, but thought I would share it with you too.

7 years trying
Countless tests
8 procedures
5 surgeries
5 canceled cycles
8 months off for stroke rehab
2 donor embryo families
1 failed egg donor relationship
1 homestudy completed and updated again 2 years later
1 adoption agency, we are a "family in waiting"
3 pregnancies and 1 chemical
1 set of twins, lost
1 singleton, lost
1 singleton, after hearing a longed-for heartbeat.


  1. I think your letter is very good.

    The **only** thing I would change is I would start out with the "As you know.." (the 2nd paragraph) and add in the "I hate to admit it, but my feelings were hurt" (1st paragraph) to the part of the one paragraph about not wanting flowers. I think starting off with "My feelings were hurt" immediately will put them on the defensive, even if they are good friends and their hearts are in the right place and just didn't know what to say, so they said nothing. I think explaining it and THEN telling them you didn't get what you needed from them will make them read your heartfelt letter more clearly without being defensive.

    Good luck. I always say if you need something, ASK. Don't go around hurting without at least giving people the chance to help. Then if they don't respond, you know they knew what was needed and they CHOSE not to. Then it becomes easier to make the call whether they are truly good caring friends that don't get it or they are just friends of convenience.

  2. I agree with the suggestion above--putting the first paragraph down into the paragraph that mentions flowers, and just starting with paragraphs 2-5. I think the tone is very good, striking a thoughtful and productive note, and even allowing them to tell you what you can say/do to communicate with them better.

    All that being said, I can still understand why it is scary to send. But my thought is that if anyone gets bent out of shape or doesn't respond well, then how worthwhile is that friendship honestly? You are hurting, and friends care and try for each other when there is pain and hurt. You have been going through some life altering experiences, and I hope your friends can find a way to recognize these experiences and be there for you.

    It's so hard to read this "as a fertile," though. It makes me wonder how someone who hasn't experienced any of this could ever really "get it" fully.

  3. Your letter is so delicately and carefully written. I can see how much you are trying to share your grief without being seen as some kind of jerk! I think the biggest reason you didn't hear from your friends much is because people are inherently caught up in their own lives and generally selfish. I mean this about all types of people - whether it's work, family, or whatever. And some people love to hear those things but just don't want to pick up the phone because they don't know what question to ask. It seems ridiculous to text you "how are you?" when the person asking is scared it might bring up more heartbreak or bring you to tears at the wrong time of day, etc. I'm certainly not defending your friends, but just offering some perspective. I hope you get the support you need.

    As an afterthought, maybe you could include what questions you want people to ask? I really think they have no idea what to say so they are ignoring you just because of that, and no other reason.

  4. I tried to comment on your last post, but every now and then Blogger freezes and I can't post my comments. Your post really resonated with me as I felt alienated by my closest friend after my second miscarriage. She seemed more interested in knowing if it was an IVF pregnancy and gave the usual "I'm so sorry" but never asked "how are you doing?". Then after my first failed IVF, she started to bring up all the negative aspect of parenting that she thinks I'll eventually experience and offered to send me videos of her daughter throwing a tantrum to serve as birth control.
    I avoided her calls for weeks, and contemplated what I would say to her, as I wanted to call her out on her response to my disappointing news. I played with some phrasing "I know how difficult it is to deal with my situation, and I know I haven't been very supportive to you as you've been navigating motherhood, but you don't come across as being very sympathetic to what I am going through, and it really hurts."
    Then the more I thought about it, I realised she would probably make the situation about her... how she feels she can't say anything right to me, how she can't talk about her daughter...after my second failed FET, I decided I didn't have the energy for that fight. I called her and got her voice mail. I left a message and added that I received more disappointing fertility news and I didn't want to talk about it. To further my point, I mentioned that she could call me back to talk about anything else. Yes, I swept it under the rug.
    Amiss my crying fits last weekend, she called and she followed my instructions and we avoided the elephant in the room. It was great. We chatted about how annoying our mothers can be, irritating things our spouses do and how under appreciated we each are at our jobs. I felt as if I was reconnecting with my friend. It was just what I needed.
    I am really hurt that I didn't received flowers or a sympathy card after my miscarriages. When I passed my first un-due date, I thought about the fact that if the pregnancy had been successful, I probably would have been showered with flowers, balloons and other unnecessary gestures that I really didn't need at that moment. I actually have been contemplating that if I do get to that point, I will send a thank you note for those trinkets, and mention that I really needed something like that to cheer me up after my losses, not when I'm celebrating.
    I admire you for dealing with this now, rather than later and not sweeping it under the rug. Your letter is very heartfelt, the only thing I could add would be to make it more specific. From my experience, others forget that dealing with a miscarriage is an on-going process, you need others to keep checking in, keep in touch, keep offering to help. and I think it's okay to ask for flowers...

  5. I'm sorry you're in a position to have to write such a letter. I hope that this brings you the peace you need and garners some understanding among your friends.

  6. I agree with the others on the rearrange and on adding in some specifics. There is a list out there on the internet that is tongue-in-cheek about things not to say and it uses someone in a wheelchair as the example. It is a nice lighthearted way to provide some guidance on conversations and you might add in that link as well. Hugs to you and I am so proud of you for writing this letter to your friends. I think they will be grateful to receive it.

  7. You are so strong for writing such a letter. I'd consider adding a part of how miscarriage isn't just "one day and then it's over", but that it can drag on, adding physical pain to the emotional pain. You probably know Holly's (re)post about stillbirth and miscarriage, and how others often don't seem to understand what that means:
    If that resonates with you you could work in something along those lines, or simply include the link - especially as you link to the video and then say you'd like to add something on loss, as that is a major component of the pain you're experiencing.
    I hope your friends will rise to the occasion of supporting you in the way you need.

  8. I would NOT send out the letter. If you do then everyone who reaches out afterwards would do so out of guilt, because you prompted them to do so. They would feel awkward - pushed to do what you requested. you would feel like it doesn't count as they didn't reach out on their own. Just pay attention who is there for you out of their heart, not because you sent out a letter. Sometimes these situations make you re-think who is important in your life and who isn't. You want to keep those who care without being prompted to do so.

  9. I would not send out the letter. I am an infertile, currently navigating some unrelated distressing health problems. I have chosen not to spell out to people how distressing these health problems are but, in the scheme of things, my infertility journey is no longer my biggest problem. What I'm saying is, don't assume that people's circumstances are better than yours. Everything is relative, but distress is distress. Your friends may have issues they're not ready or willing to share, and might just be unable to be there in the way you want. I know I wouldn't appreciate receiving your letter and it would make it very uncomfortable to reach out to you about my own problems. I think it'd be better for you to find an opportunity to have conversations with your friends individually, and to let them know, on a one to one basis, what's going on underneath your surface and ask about what's going underneath theirs.

  10. Hi... What a heart felt letter... From this, you can see how much you are hurting... I am also an infertile with 7 miscarriages... I/we kept pretty private about our struggles and when we experienced a loss I wanted everyone to reach out but as my request, no one could do that BC they didn't know.. When we finally let some people in and suffered a loss, I wanted them to say something but then I didn't...
    Everyone of your friends has a different relationship with you and I feel that you should NOT send out a blanket letter... From experience.... Let people in, talk to them, and then keep the people in your life who make you a better person... And you make them a better person, thru their struggles... We all have them.... Support each other :)
    I am sorry for what you are going thru. The losses hit your core and it is am emptiness that is unexplainable...
    I will tell get's better....

  11. I actually don't think you should send this letter. Because if you do, and your friends don't respond then you'd feel even worse. I know because even though I didn't send my crass, insensitive friends a letter, I did pull them aside and tell them individually about my own loss, and they persisted in ignorance. So now, these people aren't my friends but I've made new ones, ones who have also grieved horribly.

    I should also add that infertility isn't the biggest tragedy of my life--it's just the latest one, but I've been through significant traumas that my friends have not. I've matured out of these friendships, because they all seem pretty shallow to me. I'm just trying to get through life, and I can't stand those people anymore. Also remember that if these long-term friends of yours say something crass or stupid (because they can't possibly understand), then you'll feel worse than if they ignored you.

    To make new, more compatible friends, I suggest joining Compassionate Friends, which is a support group for people who have lost children. There's a sub-group for neonatal & pregnancy loss.

    I recently read something about the STOOPID things that people say about infertility (it's supposedly from STILL STANDING magazine but I couldn't find it on that site, so I had to share this in the form of a blog post).


  12. My advice would be to tell your friends exactly what you need from them and some specific things they can do to help. I am sure that if they are good friends they want to be supportive but don't know how. Try to ask for very specific things you need, rather than general understanding and support. Like "I would really appreciate irbid you would text me once a week to see how I am doing" or "please set aside time for is to do a fun activity together once a month" or "please do/do not ask me about our treatment". People do better when they know exactly what you need

  13. I'm so sorry you have to write something like this. I hope you are able to connect with your friends in a meaningful way and eventually receive the support you need.

  14. Such a gut-wrenching letter. I'm so sorry that you are in this position to feel the need to write something so raw. Whatever you decide, I hope it brings you peace. xoxo


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