A Letter Of Encouragement For Women With Infertility
Infertility Awareness Week started yesterday. It goes through April 24th.
I hate that a week like this even has to exist.
Because infertility is so common, with 1 in 8 women struggling, this week is definitely important.
We need to help create more awareness by sharing what infertility is like, and not be ashamed of the journey.
I thought that in honor of infertility awareness week, I’d share some thoughts with my fellow sufferers.
From the bottom of my heart, I am praying for each person that finds themselves on this journey.
May you be encouraged, challenged, inspired, and hope-filled at the end of this letter.
And if you know someone else who is struggling too, please pay it forward and send this letter to them!
To Every Woman Struggling
There’s no sugar-coating this road.
It is filled with pain, heartache, grief, loss, misunderstandings, dashed hopes, stress, tears, longings, and sadness.
As a fellow sufferer myself, I would not wish this journey upon my worst enemy.
I am so sorry that you are suffering and find yourself on this journey right now.
*This article contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission from any items that you purchase.
One of the hardest aspects of infertility is the lack of understanding from others.
Whether it’s family, friends, co-workers, doctors, or strangers, there is a huge pool of people who have no idea what it’s like.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not their fault. If you haven’t walked through something, it’s hard to have eyes that truly understand.
When you’re walking through infertility, it seems like there is zero awareness from other people when it comes to comments, questions, thoughts, even behaviors.
Having gone through infertility myself, I do understand.
I understand that it’s difficult to scroll through social media, seeing post after post of pregnancy announcements and gender reveals.
I understand that it can be challenging to muster up joy in your heart for your sister who’s pregnant with her 3rd baby, when your arms are still empty.
I understand how hard it is to be at a girls night out where the topic is kids, pregnancies and all things baby, and all you want is to be able to join in with your own stories.
I understand that family gatherings can be very challenging to attend because of all the incessant questions that come flying at you from relatives.
The size of your family and when you’re planning to have kids is very personal and private. Not everyone needs to know those answers, especially when you’re trying to figure that out for yourself.
I understand that one minute you can be happy with your girlfriends and the next minute you can be crying in the bathroom, because your cycle started. You were hoping that maybe this month it would happen for you.
When everyone seems to not understand, please know that there are thousands of women who do.
You are not alone.
I Am So Sorry
There are so many sad things that happen during the infertility journey.
Many griefs, losses, unmet expectations, and hopes dashed.
Sometimes when you’re talking to people about your infertility, the responses can be unkind and harsh. It makes you think, “Does this person even care about me?”
I am so sorry for all of your pain.
Being validated and heard during your journey with infertility is extremely important to your mental and emotional health.
I hope that you’re able to find someone, even just one person, to process through your journey.
Sometimes it helps to name the specific losses, sources of pain, and difficult moments along the way. Write them down, say them out loud, and then put that paper away. It’s not necessary to read it over and over again.
I want you to know that I am so sorry for….
- Every miscarriage and the precious babies you have lost
- People not understanding what you’re going through and responding in unkind ways
- The stress that this journey has put on your marriage
- How difficult it is for you to get baby shower invitations and to decide whether or not you should attend
- Being told by your doctor that you have “unexplained infertility”
- Your husband leaving you because you couldn’t give him a baby
- Your insurance not covering your infertility treatments, making the financial burden so huge
- Every time you get put on the spot with friends or family about when you are going to start a family
- All of the tears shed throughout this journey that you feel can only be shed in private
- The hopes and dreams to be a mom that have yet to be realized
- The suffering that you’ve endured
- Your loneliness that has resulted from your other friends having babies
Even if you don’t feel validated on a daily basis for what you’ve gone through, remember that there are people who care.
You Are Not Alone
Being that it’s infertility awareness week, it’s so important to know that if you’re on this journey, you are not alone.
There are thousands of women in your shoes, trudging through the appointments, shots, losses, tears, and frustrations.
If you don’t have any friends or family members that understand where you’re coming from, I encourage you to join an infertility support group.
Where do I find something like this?
The most common places to find infertility support groups are through a local church or in an online community.
I personally am a member of 2 different infertility support groups on Facebook.
What I appreciate about these groups is the fact that every member understands the infertility journey to some degree.
If you post something, even if you’re venting, you’re oftentimes flooded with comments saying that people are sending you good thoughts, prayers, and hugs.
It’s very validating.
I’ve never personally met one woman from either of the groups I’m a part of, but I’ve engaged in some helpful conversations.
Those groups are very life-giving communities for women like us, who are struggling to conceive.
If you don’t belong to a community like this, you should definitely find one!
With Hope And Faith
I can’t possibly end this letter without encouraging you to keep going!
Originally this heading was called with hope, but my daughter Addie said that I should change it to with hope and faith.
I completely agree.
For me, the only way I’ve gotten through these 7+ years of infertility has been to lean on my faith and lean into God.
I totally understand that not everyone believes in God and has faith. It’s not my job to convince you.
I just want to share with you how faith has helped me face this journey and still remain hopeful.
Honestly, these past 7 years have been filled with all kinds of emotions.
Just because I have faith in God does not mean that I’ve always been hopeful or had the best attitude.
I’ve dealt with jealousy, anger, frustration, sadness, even hopelessness.
But I have also experienced comfort, peace, hope, and joy.
A trigger for me on my infertility journey has been social media.
There was a time when I took a break for almost a year because I needed to declutter my mind.
I found that after scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed for 30 minutes, I wasn’t walking away hopeful or encouraged.
Oftentimes I’d be filled with jealousy, thinking, “How are they pregnant again?” or “Seriously? I wish it was that easy for us.”
Basically, I walked away from those times frustrated and feeling down.
Something had to change.
Another thing that has helped me is reading the Bible.
I’ve discovered that there’s tons of garbage advice that you can read on the internet when it comes to dealing with your infertility.
I don’t want to comfort myself with garbage, I want real comfort for my heart and mind!
Spending time reading the Bible has helped anchor my heart through these storms.
God has used His word to remind me of His unchanging character and of His promises.
Rather than focusing on what I don’t have and the unknowns in my life, I can focus on truth.
Through the years and tears of infertility, reading the Bible has reminded me of some important truths:
- God will always be with me (Joshua 1:9)
- He is the Creator of life (Psalm 139:13-14)
- He listens to my prayers (Psalm 116:1, I John 5:14-15)
- God is unchanging (Hebrews 13:8)
- God keeps His promises (Joshua 23:14)
- He cares about my burdens (I Peter 5:7)
- All things are possible with God (Luke 1:37)
When I am tempted to doubt God’s goodness because I got another negative pregnancy test, reading the Bible for comfort has been much better for my mind and heart than venting to a friend or getting on social media.
Here are some other healthy ways to help you stay focused and positive:
- Keep a journal: writing can help you process your thoughts and feelings
- Exercise daily: channel your energy in a positive way and help your body physically at the same time
- Find a trusted friend that you can share ALL the details with
- Allow yourself to grieve: the shower is a great place to ugly cry
- Join an infertility support group
- Remember that this is a marathon not a sprint
- Go to counseling: do your research and ask around before you pick a therapist!
- Try to avoid comparing yourself to other women on this journey
- Be kind to yourself! It’s okay to feel sad, angry, or frustrated. This journey is hard.
- Have healthy boundaries: you don’t have to attend every baby shower
- Remember that grief and joy can coexist
Don’t let this list overwhelm you. Pick a few to do over the next few weeks to help you stay healthy both mentally, emotionally, and physically!
I wrote a couple of other articles on infertility, if you’d like to read more. Sometimes it’s nice to read things from the perspective of someone who understands where you’re coming from.
A Couple Of Great Resources!
When it comes to processing infertility, reading and journaling can be very helpful exercises.
I thought I’d recommend a great book and a beautiful journal if you’d like to use both!
This is my favorite book I’ve ever read on the subject of infertility.
I cannot recommend this enough!
If you’re finding yourself doubting God’s plan in the midst of
your struggle, you are in good company with the author of this book.
She is super honest about her infertility journey and really makes you
think! There are journal pages at the end of each chapter for you to
answer her reflective questions. This is a FANTASTIC RESOURCE!
Any journal will do, as long as you have a space for your thoughts.
I encourage you to snag a journal and get writing, especially if that helps you process!
Something that I’ve discovered during my own experience with infertility is that every woman’s story is so personal and unique.
No two stories are the same.
With that being said, I want to encourage each of you to share your story.
Yes it may be hard and include lots of tears, but it may be very helpful for you in your processing.
Also, it may not only help you, but it could very well help someone else.
Usually when one person is willing to share something deeply personal, it opens the door for others to share.
Never underestimate the power of vulnerability.
As I close out this letter, I want to thank each of you for taking the time to read it.
My prayer is that you can walk away with a little bit more hope and encouragement as you continue to put one foot in front of the other.
I’m praying for breakthroughs for each of your situations, and that one day your hopes for motherhood and to grow your family will be realized.
Remember, you are never alone in your struggle.
If you have specific prayer needs regarding your personal infertility journey, please email me at email@example.com. I’d love to pray for you!
Please share this article on social media! Every share reaches more women!
Lots of love to each of you!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” ~Romans 15:13
Cover Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels