Writing a letter

I am so tired of you. I am tired of hearing your name. I am tired of thinking about you. I am tired of even hearing about you.

I am sorry if that sounds harsh, but it is the truth. You have a lot of nerve, and I’ve decided to let you have a piece of my mind.

I always knew about you. But in 2003 you decided to insert your big, obtrusive self into my life. Not only my life but my husband’s life. And you know, while we are it, I’ll go even farther and blame you for messing with every single person we knew!

Seriously? Do you think of yourself as that important that you had the right to reach your tentacles into the lives of nearly everyone we loved?

You messed with my parents. You told them they may not be able to be grandparents. And while all their friends were celebrating being a grandparent, you thought it was OK to leave them in a state of limbo.

You even had the nerve to tell my only sibling he couldn’t be an uncle. Maybe not ever. Really nice.

And your reach went farther than that. Your coming into my life meant that you even messed with my girlfriends. They had to dull their own celebrations to help ease my pain. They had to walk through this journey with me. They had to cry with me and grieve with me and try to say the right things when sometimes there just wasn’t a right thing to say.

For five long years you inserted yourself into every single aspect of my life. You thrust yourself into the most private recesses of my relationship with my husband. Birthday parties. Baby showers. Church. Reunions. You were there. You not only thrust a disease onto our marriage but you brought huge words along with you: jealousy, frustration, anger, grief, pain and sadness.

You made me feel alone. You made me feel different. You made me feel left out. You made me feel afraid. You made me question every thing I had ever dreamed for my life. You made me question my relationship with God. With my husband. With my friends.

What right did you have?

And you know what? Even after five years of all that pain, I feel like I could have forgiven you if you would have left me alone as my story came to a close.

But you didn’t.

Here I am 12 years after meeting you. Twelve years later, and I am still hurting because of you. This week I cried in my living room to hear of a miscarriage in a womb of a woman I loved dearly. Another friend shared with me that she has been given the final nail in her infertility coffin. No children. Not ever. Three others wait for a birth mother to choose them while still grieving their barren womb. Another is in the midst of treatments and feeling helpless in the wait.

There are celebrations. You don’t win nearly as often as you lose. One friend got news that her IVF was successful this week. Another is preparing to deliver a baby over five years in the making. Yet another celebrates new life through a donor egg.

But in the midst of that joy, I find myself thinking about you all too often, and I have begun to realize you will always be a part of me even though I no longer stare at negative pregnancy tests or allow my body to be a pin cushion of needles. I do not answer questions about myself or cry on a table while doctors attempt to fix an unknown problem. But yet I think of you.

All the time.

And I hate that about you.

I am changed forever because of you.

Anytime I hear a pregnancy announcement, I think of all the people who are pained by these words. Pained because you are living in their home.

Every single time I walk into the baby department of a store, I think of women who speed by that aisle — fighting back a lump in their throat and wondering if it will ever be their turn.

I want to wear a shirt that says, “Wait! You don’t know my story!” I don’t want anyone to look at me and feel like something came easy for me. I don’t want to cause anyone pain.

I still have trouble with Mother’s Day. Even though I have reason to celebrate the mothers in my life and the mother I have become in non-traditional ways. And I blame you for those mixed emotions.

But despite my grave dislike for you, despite how much I loathe having to listen to a woman whisper your name and despite how my heart hurts each time, I stand alongside a woman doing battle against you. I must admit you have made me a better person.

I am stronger.

I am more compassionate.

I am more resilient.

I am less afraid.

And because of that, my fear of you has lessened. So much so that I am not afraid to stand alongside another woman as they fight you. I will do battle by her side as she fights an unseen enemy. I will cry with her. I will encourage her. I will push her to fight you with everything she has. I will educate myself and her and anyone who will listen.

I will explain what this disease called infertility does to a woman’s heart. What it does to a woman’s body. What it does to her relationships.

I will never stop doing battle against you and against what you bring into homes and lives. You have no right in doing what you do.



Follow this journey at flakymn.blogspot.com.

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Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images


My husband Philip and I are a couple who have been dealing with infertility for the past three years. We have tried to keep our struggles to ourselves, and we have only shared with close friends and family. I have taken drugs from a fertility doctor to help me ovulate better, I pee on a stick daily to check for either conception or ovulation, and my hormone-induced rages have left us (me) rather stressed at home when we get questioned about our unknown future, from friends, coworkers, doctors, etc.

Questions and comments come in all forms from our “support system.” Things like “When are you guys going to start a family?” or being told “It will happen when it’s supposed to” or it will happen when we “relax.” We have heard them all, and believe us when we tell you, it’s not that simple. Sometimes friends who don’t even mean to hurt us end up hurting us with their words of “wisdom.” Comments like, “If it’s not meant to be, then it’s not meant to be” and “If you guys are so great, why haven’t you guys had a baby yet?” stab our hearts like knives, but we strive to not show our the pain that comes with waiting.  That is, until we are home with each other, and we can face the harsh words together with a good cry (for me) or talk.

I went to the doctor’s office recently for an unrelated issue. I was sent to a hospital bathroom and peed into the cup, submitted it and waited; fingers crossed, just in case. Before I even took the test, I knew it was negative — our new record is 40 months pregnancy-free (sarcastic woo-hoo!) My husband knew it would be negative, too; we always expect a negative. We are pretty positive it will be a negative, as we like to say.

While the nurse hooked up equipment, we discussed my medical history, everything from my stomach to our infertility issues. As we were discussing my procedure and what to expect, another nurse came in to inform us of the pending pregnancy test results so we could complete my prep.

As she entered the room to give us the news, she wiped her brow with her palm in a “wiping away the worry”-style gesture, and she told us very cheerfully, “Shew, the test was negative! Thank goodness, right?!” And she looked to me for approval as I stared through her, my blood boiling and everyone speechless.


How could she have known I would find offense to these words or her excitement? How could she know we had just celebrated our third anniversary of not having a child or pregnancy? How could she know that some couples, like us, are actually trying for that positive, not worried of a potential pregnancy “scare?” How could she know how much money and time has been invested into pee sticks, thermometers, doctor’s visits and prescriptions? How could she know how many sleepless nights we are tormented by our lack of ability to build our family?

I know the first nurse felt my pain and was embarrassed for the other nurse’s lack of bedside manner and concern. She looked at me and then to the bad news nurse, and no one said a word. I couldn’t breathe, I could feel my heart breaking and my mind was racing. The approach taken by this nurse had me in a fluster that I never experienced. We were not some teenage couple, we are a couple who have tried for years — years that felt like decades.

In my opinion, this nurse should have kept her comments to herself and should not have shown any emotion regarding my pregnancy status. Her job at that time was to express test results, not form an opinion on my pregnancy status, as if I was a girlfriend of hers who had a pregnancy “scare.” She should have thought about how her words could further hurt those who are already in pain, like so many others who make the mistake by voicing their comments.

People who assume younger females are hoping for that “negative” result aren’t around for the years of waiting these women, like myself, endure. They are not there for you when you are late for a period and stressing out in worry or hopefulness. They are not there for you when you are temping, hot-flashing and peeing on a stick. They don’t see the other side of the story before they make their opinions or share their comments.

The female who is physically trying everything possible to conceive is not comforted by enthusiasm for a negative test and we don’t need to “relax.” How is it anyone but the (future) mother’s business?  Assumptions that I’m too young to be trying, too stressed, too baby-crazy come from anyone I share my infertility story with. Advice sometimes joins the assumptions, but unless you can share from experience, I think it’s best to keep comments about infertility to yourself.

When ignorant comments come our way, I spend the rest of the day dwelling on how “broken” we are. Dwelling on how broken I am. We shall try again next month, fingers crossed.

man and woman at game wearing orange jerseys
Mary and her husband Philip.

Follow this journey on Mary Horsley.

The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a moment when you were at a hospital and a medical staffer, fellow patient or a stranger made a negative or surprising comment that caught you off guard. How did you respond to it? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

After a year and a half and multiple in vetro fertilization (IVF) cycles, one mom made a powerful statement about her journey to motherhood by placing her old syringes in the shape of a heart around her infant daughter.

The Sher Fertility Institute posted the photo on Facebook on Oct. 5 and thanked St. Louis-based specialist, Dr. Molina Dayal, and her patient, Angela, for showing the “true definition of love that went into making this gorgeous new baby girl.”

Dr. Dayal told ABC News the syringes in the photo weren’t even all the supplies the mother used to conceive. Angela, who did not wish to reveal her last name to ABC, added that, “The needles were the easy part. It was the emotional struggle, the ups and downs, that really took a toll.”


Wow, what a photo. Thank you to Sher Fertility St. Louis and Dr. Dayal patient Angela, who shows the true definition of love that went into making this gorgeous new baby girl.

Posted by Sher Institutes on Monday, October 5, 2015

“We felt like it was a provocative, emotional photo that captures the joy and pain of IVF,” Lisa Stark, director of communications for Sher Fertility Institute told USA Today. “We are overwhelmed by the response pouring in from women who can relate to the photo.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that in the United States, 12 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. Conditions affecting the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus may contribute to female infertility.

After seeing Angela’s photo, many women took the opportunity to share their own photos of their children conceived through IVF on Facebook. Stark added that the Institute is trying to “encourage a culture of openness and [elevate] the dialogue around infertility.”

Imagine living month after month after month on an emotional roller coaster… hope, expectation, anticipation and crushed dreams yet again.

Imagine finally seeing a little plus sign after so many negatives. Imagine the dreams and plans you make. Imagine beginning to put together a nursery and picking out names. Then…

Imagine leaving the maternity ward of the hospital with empty arms and an empty womb.

Imagine riding the roller coaster of “trying” again while also riding the tidal wave of grief.

Imagine each month taunting you and making you feel like a failure.

Imagine another purple plus followed by another loss.

Imagine enduring invasive, embarrassing, painful and intrusive procedures all in an effort to figure out what’s wrong.

Imagine months turning into years.

Imagine planning your trips to the store carefully so there’s no chance you have to walk by the baby section.

Imagine seeing rounded happy bellies everywhere you turn and feeling a physical ache inside.

Imagine receiving a phone call just before Christmas telling you and your husband you will never bear children.

Imagine having to celebrate the holidays that year.

Imagine finally packing up your maternity clothes to donate, knowing you’ll never need them, sobbing all the while.

Imagine having friends announce their first, second and third pregnancies all while you still wait… wondering if you’ll ever be a mother.

Imagine missing someone you’ve never even met.

Imagine your best friend surprising you with her pregnancy announcement. Imagine going to your car and weeping… and feeling guilty because you did.

Imagine listening to mothers complain about their duties while you sit with empty arms and a broken heart.

Imagine being asked constantly, “Why don’t you have kids yet?” or “When are you two going to have children?” and forwarding the question straight to heaven. Yes, why, God?

Imagine being told to just stop thinking about it and it will happen – as if that’s even possible or as if it’s all in your head.

Imagine crying on the way home from every single baby shower and trying to reconcile the pain you feel along with the joy you feel for your friends.

Imagine always feeling a little left out, a little on the outside looking in, a little not part of the club.

Imagine losing hope, giving up and almost losing faith.

Imagine God piecing your broken heart back together in a way that never quite beats the same way again.

Imagine the bravery, the courage, the strength and the trust it takes to throw out your plans – to give up your dreams – to turn a new way and write a new story.

Imagine being told at 30 years old you’ll need a hysterectomy. Imagine grieving the final blow to the tiny flame of hope you’d been holding on to for the last decade.

Imagine always feeling just a little bit broken… and that never really going away.

I wrote this post in honor of Infertility Awareness Week. This is an updated/edited post of one written a couple years ago. Feel free to share this post to pass it on, and then please come find me on Facebook

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This is (more) proof that nurses care deeply about their patients.

The video below, posted to YouTube last week, shows a patient named Bailey with her favorite nurse. Bailey experienced complete paralysis from the waist down for 11 days with no explanation as to its cause, according to the YouTube video.

When Bailey suddenly started walking again, she decided to surprise her nurse with the good news.

Watch her sweet reaction in the video below: 

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My grandmother used to call me “Bootsie” because I refused to wear anything other than my sparkly pink cowboy boots when I was a kid. My insistence had a little bit to do with the fact that my family happened to be living in Texas at the time and a lot to do with my stubborn 8-year-old fashion sense and commitment to making a statement.

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“Well hey there, Bootsie,” she’d say in her Philadelphia accent when I marched into a room. She’d be cooking something — she was always cooking something — and I’d twirl for her and stomp around the room while she worked. She’d ohh and ahh and say I was a model.

It’s been a long time since she called me by that nickname. In her last few years with us, her memory declined, and although she always seemed to know who I was, that was about all she could remember.

Gram passed away about eight months ago (I wrote about her passing here), and now I live in New York City. Although a lot has changed, I still rarely don any footwear that isn’t boots. However, now I’ve replaced the flashy, bejeweled cowboy boots with a pair of dirty and well-worn black Frye boots. They still give me the same shiver of confidence when I march out the door in them.

Every time I splash through a puddle or thud into a restaurant or bar, I think of Gram and I smile. I know she’s with me.

And I can hear her saying, “Well hey there, Boostie.”

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My sister and I with Gram.

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