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Navigating the Daily, Gut-Wrenching Reminders of Infertility

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Four times.

Four times may not seem like much, but for me, it’s four times my heart sinks as far as it can fall.

Four times per day, on average, someone asks about, or makes a comment about, the fact that I do not have a child of my own.

Four times per day, I fight back tears and force a smile.

Four times per day, I’m reminded I will never have a child of my own.

“When will you be having a little one?”
“You’ll be a great mom one day.”
“When you have kids, this is what you’ll have to look forward to.”
“Enjoy sleeping now, once you have kids that luxury will be gone!”
“Have you started planning for a baby yet?”

While I know the intent of these comments and questions are never meant to be harmful, for those of us dealing with infertility, they can be a gut-wrenching reminder.

I expect the comments and questions when I’m at a baby shower.

I expect the comments and questions when I’m holding a friend’s baby.

What I didn’t expect, was to experience these comments and questions on a daily basis.

What I didn’t expect, was for it to not get any easier the more times they’re said.

What I didn’t expect, was to be searching for a private place at work to pull myself together when I’ve been asked for the fourth, the fifth, the sixth time, why I don’t have a child of my own.

On occasion, someone will see the tears welling in my eyes as I try to keep them dry. They hear the catch in my voice as I try to make a witty comeback.

“You’re so young, the time will come.”
“You have plenty of time, there’s no rush.”
“If it’s meant to be, it will be!”

For me, there is no waiting until I’m older.

For me, there is no giving it time.

For me, there is a body that constantly attacks itself. A body with violent seizures. A body that will never be a suitable home for growing life.

Infertility can feel like such a misunderstood, isolating, dark place. It is so often assumed that all women can grow families, that all men can grow families. It is assumed that since I’m young, since I’m newly married, since I’m a teacher who adores every minute with my young students, that I would soon have a child of my own.

Instead of picking out baby names, instead of shopping for onesies, instead of reading about what to expect…

I’m reminding you that infertility is a real issue that many of us, both men and women, must face every day. I’m reminding you to consider the battles we all secretly fight, and how harmful — or healing — words can be.

You are not alone.


Photo credit: tommaso79/Getty Images

Originally published: April 14, 2019
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