Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Open Letter to Women of Infertility Everywhere

Dear Infertility Sister:

I’m writing because I know that you’re hurting. I know it’s not easy being you. I know you feel wounded and alone.

I know that it doesn’t make sense that you are being excluded from experiencing what your own mother, sisters, aunts, cousins, and friends have all been able to do without any trouble.

I know that you feel immeasurable desperation to have control and a say in when to have a baby. You wonder why everyone else gets to plan and choose and you don’t.

I know you feel powerless at the hands of your body. I know you hate your body because it has betrayed and rejected you and made you its victim. When you were a little girl, your body deceived you into believing that one day you’d get to have a baby. Sometimes you remember when you played with your friends and put a ball under your shirt and pretended to be pregnant. You remember how much you loved your baby dolls and how you believed that one day the scenario would be real.

I know that you feel stupid when you recall the times you had pregnancy scares and all the years you used contraceptives. You now realize it was all in vain because your body isn’t able to do what it was created to do.

I know that you feel defeated and resentful for doing everything you were supposed to do to prepare your body for pregnancy. You ate right. You stopped drinking. You bought pre-natal vitamins. And I know that you still take prenatal vitamins, you still avoid alcohol and all the other pregnancy no-no’s …just in case maybe this month you really are pregnant.

I know that you’ve kept track religiously of your periods for what seems like an eternity and that you have tried every imaginable trick and tip you’ve heard about or read about in an attempt to conceive your miracle.

I know you are sick and tired of seeing doctors and being physically and emotionally vulnerable with each insemination or in-vitro you do. You’re exhausted of being poked and prodded; of having ultrasounds, blood tests, procedures, and surgeries. You’ve endured enough humiliation to last a lifetime, opening your legs for strangers month after month, each time praying that this will be the last time.


I know that you hate yourself for gaining 10lbs due to fertility treatments and had to buy bigger clothes but not for the reason you wish it were.

I know how nervous you were the first time you had to give yourself an injection and how you made your partner do it for you because your hand was shaking so badly.

I know you don’t sleep for two weeks after you ovulate, wondering if this is the month that the stick will have two lines.

I know that you obsess over your cycle and every symptom you feel or think you feel that could indicate that you are in fact pregnant this month. You push on your breasts hoping they are tender and sore more than usual during this time of the month. Each time you go to the bathroom, you check the tissue to see if there is any sign of your period…even if it’s in the middle of the night, you turn on the light. And if you see pink or red, you say some strong prayers that it’s only implantation spotting and not really your period.

I know that you feel like throwing those injections, vaginal suppositories, and pills out the window after every failed cycle or that you sob when the doctor calls to tell you that the test was negative.

I know that each month when you get your period you privately fall apart and cry out in anger, frustration, and sorrow because with each failed cycle, you have a little funeral in your head for a baby that wasn’t. You cry and grieve for the loss of your dream.

I know that you don’t know how much longer you can put yourself and your partner through this torture. You question if the strain on your marriage, on your savings, and on your sanity is all worth it.

I know you feel like you’re going crazy because infertility has taken over your life and has become a full-time job; a round-the-clock obsession; the only topic you think about and talk about.

I know you wonder if you are a terrible person for not being happy for your friend when she tells you that she’s expecting. I know that you feel jealous and sad that she gets to have what you want so desperately. I know that when you hang up the phone with her, you cry. I know that you feel guilty for avoiding her now that she’s pregnant but it’s the only way that you can cope with your misery.

I know that you feel like screaming when you get yet another invitation to a baby shower and you contemplate if you are emotionally strong enough to attend. I know how much courage it takes to RSVP. I know that most of the time you don’t go to baby showers, but that if you decide to go, how draining it is to endure three hours of fake-smiling pretending to be happy when you’re not. I know how painful it is to make it through the party listening to everyone talk non-stop about pregnancy and babies. And how much it hurts when someone you’ve never met asks if you have children.

I know that buying a baby gift seems like an impossible task. I know that walking into Babies R Us is out of the question because you don’t think you can handle it without breaking down in tears in the store. I know that sometimes you’ve given your friends money and asked them to buy the gift for you.

I know that seeing co-workers go on maternity leave is like a knife in your heart. You wonder if your turn will ever come. You started trying to conceive long before any of them and here you are, still trying. They all got pregnant within a few months of trying, had a full-term pregnancy, went on leave, came back, and you’re still there, feeling left behind, still waiting for your dream, still feeling incomplete.

I know that you cringe at the sight of the maternity department and wonder if you’ll ever get to wear the clothes so many women complain about. I know that maybe you even have a pair of maternity pants at home and that occasionally you try them on and imagine what it will be like to someday have a belly big enough to fill them out.

I know that sometimes you have thrown away birth announcements unopened. And in a moment of rage you’ve torn them up into a million pieces.

I know that when you stand in line at the grocery store, you avert your eyes away from the baby sitting in the shopping cart in front of you because it’s too painful to see his smiling face. And once in a while, when you’re feeling strong enough, you steal glances, imagining what your baby might look like someday.

I know that it hurts when you walk past the baby section in stores because it is a reminder of what you want and can’t have. I know you daydream of one day shopping for diapers, strollers, and baby clothes.

I know that when you see a pregnant woman you feel envy and a deep sense of injustice. You wonder why she has the right to be pregnant and you don’t. You wonder if she struggled with infertility too or is it just you who is going through this torment.

I know how difficult it is to walk past the room in your house that should have been a nursery by now. I know that some days you walk in there and look around, wondering if you’ll ever see a baby sleeping in a crib. And sometimes you just have to close the door of that empty room because it represents the emptiness you feel inside.

I know that you wait until the last minute to plan vacations or parties because your life is on an indefinite hold. How can you plan a trip six months from now when you might be pregnant by then? Your live your life in a perpetual state of uncertainty.

I know how hard it is when you run into old acquaintances and they ask if you ever plan on having a baby because you’ve been married for so long and you’re not getting any younger and your clock is ticking.

I know you avoided going to your high school reunion because you couldn’t bear the thought of hearing old friends sharing stories of their children or having to explain why you don’t have any of your own.

I know that the holidays are difficult and depressing because they are not what you envisioned for yourself this year. You wonder when your turn will come to celebrate your baby’s first Christmas. When will you get to shop for gifts for your little bundle? When will you get to send out holiday photo cards featuring your pride and joy? And I know that you disappear from the room at the holiday party when you see the moms coordinating a group photo of the kids.

I know that you detest Mother’s Day with a passion because you yearn to celebrate what is supposed to be the highlight of your life.

I know that you change the channel when you see commercials featuring babies, pregnancy tests, and ovulation kits. It makes you feel cynical seeing the giddy faces of the women in the commercials because that is not your reality. Everywhere you look, you see happy mothers with their sweet, warm, precious babies. You are surrounded with reminders – when you drive past a playground, when you see a mother on a walk with a stroller, when you attend a child’s birthday party, when you see ultrasound photos on friends’ refrigerators or on co-workers’ desks. No matter what, you can’t escape this hell on earth you’re living.

I know that you have a secret shopping bag in your closet with gender neutral items like pacifiers, rattles, and onesies in hopes that maybe the Law of Attraction is real and it works. And maybe you’ve already bought a card to give to your spouse telling him he’s going to be a father.

I know you daydream about telling your spouse that you’re pregnant and you imagine how you will announce it to your family and friends. I know you actually already have it all planned out.

I know that you wonder how your partner can choose to remain with you if you are unable to produce a child. You wonder if maybe he will leave eventually. You feel like a disappointment. You feel like a liar for promising him a family someday. You feel the need to apologize to him month after month, year after year. You feel the need to thank him for sticking it out and not running away.

I know that when you got the dog you didn’t think you’d ever have or wouldn’t have for a long time, it was because you needed someone to nurture, mother, and love. Maybe you cried the first time you cuddled with her because the happiness you felt was so bittersweet. She isn’t the baby you wanted but she is someone that needs you and loves you unconditionally just like you know your baby would. She is someone you can take care of and brag about and share stories about. She gives you a reason to get up in the morning and she always licks your tears away.

I know that you feel tremendous sorrow when you see children being mistreated or you hear news stories of babies found in dumpsters. You think to yourself…if only those mothers knew what a precious gift they have been given. You get angry with God. Why did He bless those women with motherhood and not you?

I know that it upsets you to hear your friends laugh and make jokes at how fertile they are and that they got pregnant even while being on the pill or on their first try. I know you can’t stand to hear women say they got pregnant by accident or when they call their child an “oops baby”.

I know that it angers you to hear women complain about their pregnancy or babies. How dare they not appreciate what you wish so badly you could have?

I know you feel uncomfortable and awkward when you’re among women and the conversation turns to pregnancy and babies. You feel like an outsider; like you don’t fit in; like you aren’t part of a club you so desperately want to be a part of.

I know that you feel like punching people in the face when they make stupid, ignorant comments in an attempt to make you feel better about your childlessness.

I know that your friends think they’re easing your distress when they say “Well, at least you’re having fun trying” but they have no idea that sex is no longer passionate or playful, but rather an obligation and a job. Your friends don’t know that your sex life is no longer spontaneous. Sex is always scheduled and only for the purpose of reproducing. They don’t know that you lie in bed for 30 minutes afterward with your hips propped up on a pillow, with tears streaming down your face, while you pray to God, Jesus, and all the angels and saints to please make your dreams come true this time around.

I know you resent your friends and family for their obliviousness to your suffering and that they think that if you “just adopt” or “just don’t think about it” it will all be better. If only it were that simple; if only they knew the depth of your wounds.

I know that you feel despair as you wonder if maybe you are meant to have a child-free life.

I know that you are afraid that it’s never going to happen. You are terrified of living the rest of your life feeling unfulfilled, unloved, bitter, and inadequate.

I know that you wonder if you will ever be able to walk away; to let go; to make peace. You question how you will know when it’s time to stop trying; you ask yourself if giving up means you failed; you question if you are indeed a failure.

I know that you feel like you’ve been robbed of your innocence because you can never look at a pregnant woman or baby the same way.

I know that your infertility and your desire to get pregnant, to have a baby, and to be a mother have become your life’s mission. I know that you wake up every morning and fall asleep every night thinking about pregnancy.

I know that sometimes you wonder if the only pregnancy you’ll ever experience is the one you have in your dreams while you sleep.

I know that you wonder if your turn will ever come; will your dream ever come true; will this chapter of your life ever end; will you ever feel the joy of pregnancy and motherhood; will you ever hear the word “mommy”; will the pain ever go away.

I know that you ache to have morning sickness; to feel a kick; to have a baby shower; to go through labor and delivery; to hold your baby; to see his face; to feel like God didn’t forget about you.

I know that you feel that this is all some sick, cruel joke and you wonder if you are being punished for something; you wonder why this is happening; why is this the life you’ve been given; what did you do to deserve this kind of pain and suffering; why are you not able to experience what you feel is your divine right as a woman; why don’t you get to have what every other woman seems to take for granted; why don’t you get to be like everyone else; why have you been deprived of this joy and wonder of life.

I know that you live in a lonely world feeling like the only woman in your circle of friends or in your family to be burdened with this tragedy.

I know that you feel broken and less-than. I know that you feel shame. I know that you wonder if maybe you aren’t worthy of being a mother. I know that infertility has dimmed your light.

I know you wonder if the storm you’ve lived in for so long will ever pass; will the sun ever shine again; will you ever see a rainbow.

I know how you feel because I was once you.

I wish there were magic words I could say to make the hurt stop. I wish there were some deep words of wisdom I could give you that would have it all make sense.

All I can tell you is this:
You are not broken. You are not less-than. You are worthy of love. You are whole. Forgive yourself because you’ve done nothing wrong. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You are deserving of acceptance and belonging. Be kind to yourself and love yourself. Know that you are enough. You matter greatly. You are loved. You are not alone.

All my love,

Jackie





Image Courtesy of Iyanla Vanzant's Facebook page

Image Courtesy of Iyanla Vanzant's Facebook page

66 comments:

  1. Just balled my eyes through this entire post. So real & raw & exactly what I am going through right now. Thank you for writing this!

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    1. Dear Jordan - Thank YOU for reading and commenting and you're so very welcome. I am so sorry to know you are dealing with the struggles of infertility. I wish nothing but the best for you. Take care.

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    2. Thank you so much for this!

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  2. I couldn't have said it better. Thank you for being a voice.

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    1. Thank you Devon for your kind words. They mean the world to me. All the best. XO - Jackie

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  3. Big thanks for writing this. It's helped me, as the husband, to better understand my wife's actions and emotions during this long and sad road of infertility. This letter describes her side of our journey perfectly, so it's refreshing to know she is not alone out there in how she's dealing with the situation. It's made me realize I need to be more supportive through the process. I don't deal with the sadness of thr journey the same way she does and that can be interpreted to represent indifference on my part when it couldn't be farther from the truth. For all the women out there reading this, I'd like to add one important thing from the husband's perspective. Just because your man doesn't react in the same way that you do does not for a second mean that he cares any less. Trust me on this one. We feel incredible hurt and pain on the inside as well, we just sometimes have a different way of showing it. All the best to everyone reading this and i hope each or us gets what we deserve in the end.

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    1. Dear Gary - Thank you so much for your comment. Your wife is lucky to have someone supportive and who understands. I was blessed in that way too. I know that my husband suffered silently alongside me, feeling helpless. Even though our infertility journey ended about five years ago, my husband still has a hard time when he recalls everything we went through. He even had a hard time reading this post because he says it took him back to such a dark time in our lives. Again, thanks for your support and for sharing your perspective on behalf of so many other men. All the best...Jackie

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  4. Jackie,
    That is so beautifully written and touched my heart and soul. And i sobbed all the way through it, there really is no way to express this to people who have not been through it and this isn't a reflection on them. Thank you for this, i wish for us all the get the precious gifts we so long for. xx
    Nikki

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    1. Dear Nikki - thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. It means so very much to hear the impact of this letter. I'm so sorry to hear of your struggles and I hope the dreams you deserve come true someday. Hugs...Jackie

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  5. WOW, what a beautiful post. I was in tears reading most of this, it's just so tough sometimes. Even now, we're on a year long break after our second miscarriage (an ectopic) it's still not out of my mind, I don't know if it ever will be. Thank you for sharing Jackie, I loved this post.

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    1. Dear Infertilitywhyme - I'm so sorry to hear of your losses. I too suffered a miscarriage and know the pain of losing a baby that should have been. You're in my thoughts and I wish you peace on this difficult journey. Thanksfrom the bottom of my heart for your comment. What I have been through was not in vain, if I know I am helping others. Big hugs...Jackie

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  6. I want to Thank you Jackie for your beautiful letter to all of the infertile ladies like me. Every bit of it is so true and real, it was like my feelings were spilled upon the page. It validates my sorrow and my actions because we do feel badly for them all the time. I know that I am not crazy and the only infertile lady that feels this way, but some how we still feel we are. The horrible unfortunate circumstance that I am in has consumed me and I can't help it. I read everything under the sun to learn what I can do to improve my fertility and now improve my chances at IVF. I do think to myself all the time, "will I ever be the same, will I ever be truely happy again.' We embark on our next IVF cycle in January and I hope and pray everyday and every moment that we will finally be blesses with our child. Within all of the sorrow, anger, and grief this journey has given us. I know that it has also changed me for the better too. I am a better person because of my infertility.

    Much love and light to you and all of my IVF sisters!

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    1. Dear Reader - Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. You are not alone. My infertility journey lasted 7 years total and they were the hardest, ugliest, angriest, most grief-ridden years of my life. Today I look back on my infertility with so much gratitude. I always say that if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. I am who I am today, and have what I have today, because of all I went through - and for that I am so thankful. Much love to you too, friend. XOXO Jackie

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  7. Yes to so much of this. A must-read for anyone wanting to understand the experience.

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    1. Dear Melissa, I really appreciate that you took the time to read this. I'm a big fan and your compliments mean a lot. Thanks for the validation. Sincerely, Jackie

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  8. I am 31 now and I have had a complete hysterectomy almost 2 years ago. I not only had infertility but also a genetic disorder that I had a 50/50 possibility of passing to our child. We had to make the decision to put our unborn and unconvinced child before our wants hopes and dreams. All my life all I ever wanted was to be s mother and wife. I was broken inside for a couple of years, but we are happy. I hope and pray that my husband is truly as happy without as he let's on and as I have came to be. So if you st the end you can heal, I did it is hard but you can. The biggest issue is we lose friends when they have children, and seeing family have them, and being able to give my family niece/ nephew, grandchild, and cousins, that also makes me feel like a failure. It shouldn't and it doesn't all the time but it gets to me from time to time, I do not think anyone will ever be 100%. I all ways wonder what my husband is feeling when it comes up in tv, family, friends and work.

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    1. Dear Reader - I'm so sorry to learn about your situation. May you continue to find peace and inner-strength on your journey. Thanks for sharing your story. By doing so, you give others permission to do the same. Take care of yourself.

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  9. Thank you for writing this. I have been incredibly lucky and am now mum to twins after a long journey. It is amazing how they have removed so much of the past pain, and helped me forget, but I have friends who have not been so lucky. I plan to print and keep this to help me be able to continue to remember and to understand my friends as I walk with them in the future. X

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    1. Dear Reader, thank you for reading and for sharing your story with me. And I admire your commitment to being a compassionate friend. All the best...Jackie

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  10. YES to all of this. 9 excruciating, heartbreaking years of this. 3 pregnancies that all ended in miscarriages, and still no living children. All I ever wanted was to be a mom. You summed up all the grief, anger, frustration, brokenness, and shame that I wish the people closest to me would understand. I am a different person now because of all that I have experienced. We are moving forward with adoption, but I still carry all of this pain in my heart. Thank you for writing this.

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    1. Dear EveryoneButMe, Thanks for commenting. I'm so sorry to hear of your long unsuccessful journey to motherhood and your losses as well. I had 7 years total of infertility and the second-trimester miscarriage of my sweet baby Gabriel and I consider both events the most tragic of my life. And I am the same as you...my only goal and aspiration in life was to be a mom. Infertility is such a shame-ridden and taboo subject for millions and so very often women suffer silently. I wrote this with the intention of giving women permission to release the shame as well as with the hope that people will share it with the outside world. I believe this letter can be used as a tool in educating others on the painful experience of infertility. I wish you much luck on your path to adoption. I can attest that adoption is the best thing that ever happened to us. I firmly believe that these are the children I was meant to have. The scars of infertility remain but I am able to now look back with gratitude for all of it. I hope one day you can too. All the best, Jackie

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  11. I can't thank you enough for writing this letter. When I think I have it under control, and I've convinced myself that I didn't really want children anyway and that I'm just mad that I can't do something I'm supposed to be able to do, something comes along to tear my lies away and I break. I forget that I'm not alone, and that so many walk this path of frustration and anger with me.
    I have not attempted treatment of any sort yet, I have been too torn apart from the testing and prodding to see why things aren't normal when I am reportedly 'healthy'. I am sick of new pills to try, a different set of bloodwork that tells me nothing new. And the guilt of resenting those close to me or hating them for their words of encouragement that come from a place of not understanding that it's not a 'lack of trying' and that their friend who got pregnant when she wasn't trying isn't the norm.

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    1. Dear VanMitch ~ I'm so sorry to hear about the struggles you're enduring. There is no need to feel guilty for being resentful or for hating those around you. You are human and you are hurting. My prayer is that the day will come when you will heal from this pain. Sending you wishes for peace and comfort. All the best, Jackie

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  12. I have to add my thanks to those above - I am now 51 and resigned to be childless after many years of unsuccessful IVF/ICSI cycles. It takes time but I think you learn to live with the emotional pain and find some way of moving on with your life. I don't think however that the feelings go away completely - just reading your words brought it all back for those few moments!! Your words however are a gift to those presently in the "thick-of-it" - letting them know they are not alone, their feelings are valid, and as you say "You are not broken. You are not less-than. You are worthy of love. You are whole."
    Thankyou again for being our voice.

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    1. Dear Reader - Thank YOU for the gift of your comments. You have no idea what they mean to me. I'm so sorry for all that you have endured and I wish you continued peace. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your story. All the best...Jackie

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  13. Jackie,
    Thank you for your article. I too suffered from infertility. I am now at a point in my life where I feel like I could give back to others. You have inspired me to speak out too.
    Tamara

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    1. Hi Tamara - Thanks for reading and commenting. There is something very empowering about standing in your truth and sharing your story. You not only bring healing to others but you also help heal yourself. Best of luck...Jackie

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  14. Jackie, you have given me the best Christmas gift I could have hoped for. Stumbled upon this on Christmas Eve - it feels like an answer to prayer. Thank you for verbalizing everything I feel and everything I feel too scared to say out loud. Your article and the comments finally make me feel fully understood, fully known. I have a long road ahead still but I feel you words were a gift of God to re-energize and comfort me as my husband and I make some crucial decisions regarding our treatment options in the new year. Thank you so very much.

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    1. Dear Laura - Wow! You have just given me the greatest compliment in knowing that my writing made a difference for you on Christmas. I know how scary it is to voice our feelings for fear of being judged, misunderstood, rejected, and minimized. I wish you strength and courage as you face the next part of your journey. Thank you for your beautiful words. All the best...Jackie

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  15. I felt like you were talking directly to me for most of it. Thank you for writing this.

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  16. Dear Renuka - Thank you for commenting and reading. I'm so sorry for the struggles you're enduring and I wish you much luck on your journey. All the best...Jackie

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  17. "I know that you wonder if your turn will ever come; will your dream ever come true; will this chapter of your life ever end; will you ever feel the joy of pregnancy and motherhood; will you ever hear the word “mommy”; will the pain ever go away."

    This is the most salient part for me, Jackie, as it is where I am now.

    Thank you for giving us a voice and for the throbbing heart behind it. It isn't easy to be here, but the Here is made better by knowing we're not alone.

    With heart,
    Dani

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    1. Sending you more love, positivity, and hope than you can ever imagine. Many prayers and blessings to you, friend. You're in my thoughts, Dani.

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  18. Reblogged! http://girlryanne.blogspot.com/2015/04/reblog-open-letter-to-women-of.html

    Jackie, thank you so much for writing this. It made me cry and spoke right to my hurting, waiting momma heart.

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    1. Oh Ryanne, I am so terribly sorry you're going through the painful journey of infertility. I know my words can't take away your hurt, but just know you are not alone and that you're in my thoughts. Thank YOU for re-blogging and for commenting. It warms my heart to know that my experience was not in vain if I am able to help others in even the smallest way. Big hugs, Ryanne.

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  19. All I can say is "WOW." Thank you for writing this. It was very poetic and beautiful! It was refreshing to see how I been feeling in words! Reading this was therapeutic for my soul! May God continue to Bless you!!

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    1. Thank you, Shermel. I'm humbled and honored that my words were able to provide your soul with comfort and hopefully some healing. Best of luck to you on your journey. God bless you too!

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  20. I just ran across this...... and all i can say is THANK YOU for this......... just..... thank you.... it is everything i have felt in the past and still feel..... the surgeries, the bloodwork, injections, ultrasounds, medication, weight gain, acne, physical, mental and emotional pain... this letter is everything..... thank you! God Bless you

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    1. Hi Simpli, thank YOU for taking the time to comment and for sharing your story with me. I am so sorry that you are dealing with the physical and emotional pain of infertility. I remember it all so well despite having a bit of time away from it now. The scars remain. I am so grateful that the letter spoke to you. I hope life gets better for you soon and that your baby dreams come true. God bless you too.

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  21. I am currently coming to terms with accepting my infertility... so I simply googled- "accepting infertility" for some sort of direction and support. I found your blog. Thank you. Thank you for helping me know that I am not alone and I will be ok. Thank you for making me cry and love my only child (a 95 lb black lab) even more. Life will go on and I will have the life April was destined to live. Thank you.

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    1. Hi April, your comment means so much. Thank you. No, you are not alone. There are SO many who have walked/are walking in your shoes. I do believe everything will be ok. It's hard to believe it when the outcome isn't what you hope, but it really will all be ok, however it may be that your story ends. My prayer though is that you get the ending you long for. For me, my happy ending came via adoption. Ultimately, I realized that what I passionately wanted was to just be a mother and it didn't matter how it happened. Thanks again for commenting. Sending you love, blessings, and positivity. Jackie

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  22. Dear Jackie,
    I can't stop reading this letter. Everytime I read it, I cry. It has been a tough journey and it scares me deeply to think that it may continue to be like that for a long time or, even worse, for ever. Thank you for making me feel that I'm not alone, that I'm not crazy or cynical. I wish people understood that it takes so much more than just "relaxing" or "finding inner peace". I wish I didn't have to wake up every morning feeling so empty. You have given me the right to feel this way without feeling so guilty. And that's a lot. Thank you Jackie for your kind words.

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    1. Dear Cecilia, I'm so sorry to hear of your struggle and grief. I wish I had the answers to what your future holds, but I can tell you this...nothing is forever. It may feel like the end to this journey is no where in sight, but you will know when it is time to move on to the next step or chapter. That is how it happened for me and so many other friends I met on my infertility journey. One day you just know. And maybe you could share this letter with others who don't understand your sadness and pain. I wrote it with the intention to help women dealing with infertility but also with the hopes that it could be used to educate and enlighten outsiders. Just an idea. ;) You have nothing to feel guilty about. You are not crazy and you are not alone in feeling cynicism and bitterness for what you are enduring. I pray that your dreams come true and that your heart is able to heal like mine did. Love and blessings to you! All the best, Jackie

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  23. Hello, Jackie--
    Not sure how often you review comments to this piece since it has been awhile since you first published it, but almost every word resonated within me. I am 32, and my husband is 45. We have been trying for two years as of April, with no success. We both had all of the testing done, to find out nothing is wrong. Sadly...Our health insurance only covers testing, NOT treatment, and since we never in a million years expected we would have an infertility issue, we do not have a separate fund to finance IUI, IVF, or adoption. CareCredit had to be almost maxed out after my husband needed reconstructive LANAP gum surgery or we would choose to use that as a resource. Like you and many ladies, I have heard it all, tried it all, and seen it all. The advice from doctors, fertile-myrtles, friends, family, old wives, naturopaths. Only to wake up and find that another drug addict, or alcoholic, or person otherwise unfit to raise a child is pregnant with their second or third child. It pains me each and every day knowing we have an unexplained infertility diagnosis and no money to use intervention or adoption. Thank you so much for your words--I am glad you got your blessing!

    --Laura from CT

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    1. Dear Laura, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I'm so sorry to hear of your struggles. It's so frustrating and crazy-making when you know you are doing everything right and that nothing is medically wrong, yet you aren't able to get what you so desperately want. That was my case too. My RE believed I had a mental block preventing me from conceiving. She believed in the Mind-Body connection and although at the time I hated her for saying that, I think she was right. I had suffered a second trimester loss in 2000 and that scarred me for life. My fear of experiencing another loss was far greater than my desire to conceive again. At some point in time, you learn to let go, surrender to what is, and just allow life to unfold as it is meant to happen. I wish you all the best and thank you for your kind comments. Jackie

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  24. I have tears running dien my face, you captured how I feel so brilliantly. Sometimes we forget we are not alone in this awful struggle. Thank you

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  26. I was so moved by this, could not stop crying. You captured exactly how I feel. We forget we are not alone on this awful journey.

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    1. I'm so sorry it's been so long since you wrote this. Just wanted to let you know I appreciate your comment and I hope you always remember you are not alone.

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  27. Thank you for writing this! Tears tears tears. Wow what a soul struggle infertility is. Nobody can know unless they have been there

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Allie. Sorry it's been a long while since you wrote. I don't blog anymore but this post is the only reason I've left the blog up. Yes, infertility is brutal. So glad we don't have to walk the path alone. Hugs.

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  28. I know this is a few years old, but thank you. Reading this felt like I had finally found one person in the world who understood how much it hurts. I am 35, my husband 40. We've been trying for 2 years, and I was just diagnosed with a unicornuate uterus and endometriosis. We're still waiting on our "next steps" appointment (3 weeks between appointments... feels like 3 years...) Since we started our journey, I have congratulated cousins, friends, my sister and sister-in-law on their own pregnancies (none of whom took longer than 3 or 4 months to conceive). I am so incredibly jealous, so incredibly angry, but I feel guilty "just in case" I ever manage to conceive (because of course, if I do conceive at some point I lose the right to have ever felt these feelings in the meantime). I have been planning the same vacation for a year now, but never take it - "just in case" I would be pregnant. I haven't even flown home to visit my family "just in case" I shouldn't be flying, I gave up running "just in case". Thank you for giving voice to the pain - and letting us know we aren't alone.

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    1. Hi Anna - I'm so sorry for your infertility struggles. I remember those days so vividly of having to fake a smile for everyone else while inside I was dying. But then I gave myself permission to be real and just prayed that when the day would come that my true friends would still be happy for me, even if I hadn't expressed happiness for them. That guilt is a killer. I hope your limbo has ended or that it will end soon. hugs and I apologize for the long delay in replying. I don't blog anymore but have left the blog up for this post alone. Take care.

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  29. I'm lucky to have my little miracle and I've recently given up on being able to give her a sibling. I'm scared to go in and find out I'm infertile even though they had said the issue was fixed. So this letter is just what I need my family has been less than supportive with how I've been feeling because everyone else is announcing their pregnancy. I think the most heart breaking part is the ones who didn't want to get pregnant and the ones complaining to me about it, last thing I want to hear when I'm struggling to conceive is how bad someone wants an abortion. Not enough people are sympathetic to the plight of a woman who can't conceive. Thank you

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    1. Hi Natalie - Thank you for sharing your story. I hope your prayers have been answered and that the pain will someday only be a memory. Hugs.

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  30. This describes me almost perfectly. Except now I have a beautiful 8-year old son, conceived through IVF, and I still am going through everything, with the added pain of still not being able to conceive naturally, and the guilt of sometimes not being content with what I have. My son makes comments sometimes about wanting a brother or sister, and it breaks my heart, because I'm afraid I can't give that to him.
    IVF is no longer an option, and adoption is not an option. My heart is full and empty at the same time.
    And my cousin, whose life has completely fallen into place since he was born, posted a cutesy video on Facebook, announcing he and his perfect wife are pregnant again, for the second time, just like they planned. It sent me into a tailspin, and I deactivated my FB account, again, because I am sick of the cutesy announcements, belly pictures, ultrasound pictures, and daily updates that have started popping up again.
    Anyway, I know you posted this awhile back, but today I went looking for some kind of support, and your letter came up. So, thank you. It's nice to know I'm not really alone, even when in my small corner of the world, I feel completely isolated.

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    1. Hi - I can't tell you how many times I hid people from my FB feed because I couldn't handle seeing their posts, ultrasounds, pg belly pics, babies, etc. It was all just too much and made me want to scream. I'm so sorry for your pain and the heartache of not being able to give your son a sibling. I felt that too after we had adopted our son and he wanted a brother or sister. And I was even brave enough to do treatments again, just in case the 2nd time worked. I know it's not easy. Hugs to you. And a big apology for the long delay in responding. I don't blog anymore.

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  31. Thank you for this you have put into words almost exactly what I'm feeling. It reassures me to know that I'm not the only one feeling like this as I've found it an incredibly isolating experience. Thank you Jackie.

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    1. You will never be alone. Thank you for commenting. Big hugs.

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  32. Thank you so much for writing this. It's been 4 years of praying , waiting and despairing and then hoping again. My self esteem is almost non existent now. Thank you so much for writing this.

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    1. I'm so sorry for your pain. I know the toll infertility takes on one's self-esteem is unbearable. Hugs to you.

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  33. I stumbled across this after looking online for support after my best friend told me she was pregnant tonight. I have been trying for 2 years with surgery, hormones and tablets and I feel like I've never been able to think out loud how I actually feel, but that has captured my every moment so far. Thank you, tonight for the first time I don't feel so alone.

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    1. oh, my heart aches for you. It's not easy and it can be an isolating situation when everyone else around us seems to get pregnant with ease. So frustrating and so gut wrenching. You are not alone. Hugs to you.

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  34. I am not sure if you still check this, as it has been two years since you posted, but if you do...
    I cannot really find the words to tell you how much this meant to me. Every single word you wrote felt like it was coming from my heart. You captured the pain and despair and roller coaster of emotions so accurately. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for letting us know we are not alone. Thank you for letting us know we are not crazy. After 3 miscarriages, I feel I am starting to lose hope that I will ever hear "mommy." After reading this (5 times:)), I feel validated and somehow stronger knowing that others have been on this journey and have survived. I showed this to my husband and he started crying because you wrote what I have been voicing to him for several months. Know that even two years later, your words are helping us find comfort and healing. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you Jenna so much for your kind words. I am deeply sorry for your losses. I suffered a loss too (before the infertility) and it was the greatest tragedy of my life. Even greater than not conceiving again. I can't imagine going through a loss like that 3 times. You are in my thoughts and I'm sending you support and hoping for your heart to heal even just a little bit, knowing that you are not alone. Sorry for the delayed response. I don't blog anymore, but this post is the sole reason I've left the blog up - because I know how many beautiful women it has comforted and helped and I want to continue offering the validation they need. Big hugs to you and your hubby. Take care of one another.

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Hello Dear Reader:

If you comment, I will buy you a cookie. Not really. But we can both pretend I gave you one. To get you started...what's your favorite kind of cookie? Mine is chocolate chip. I especially crave them when I'm PMS'ing.