Infertility Awareness Week 2021: An Open Letter To Every Woman Struggling

by | Apr 18, 2021

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

Infertility sucks. 

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.

infertility awareness

*This article contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission from any items that you purchase.

I Understand

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. 

So hard.

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. 

That’s very hard. 

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. 

Infertility is so challenging and filled with many different emotions. 

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 going to try to step into your pain for a moment and just be silent, taking a minute to acknowledge the pain, heartache, and grief you’ve been experiencing.

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? 

Great Question! 

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. 

Getting away from social media was very freeing for my heart and mind. 

It helped me avoid the comparison game and the jealous feelings that tended to plague me. 

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: 

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. 

Reading God’s Word has been a healing balm for my weary soul. 

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.

62 Comments Women HATE Hearing About Their Infertility

7 Things Women Going Through Infertility Want You To Know

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!

Final Thoughts

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 lisa@thankgoodnessitsrecess.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!

~Lisa 

“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

52 Comments

  1. Cynthia

    I am so happy you wrote this article, it will raise awareness about fertility.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks Cynthia! I’m hoping so too.

  2. Hazlo Emma

    “I don’t understand women that talk down to themselves. It doesn’t empower a woman. Rather, it reveals to everyone that you were deeply hurt at one time. Because of the pain you’re still carrying, you will continue to hurt anyone that reminds you of those moments when you let your guard down and were fooled. Sadly, it sends a clear message to the observant that you are still hurt. If only women would realize that “we all” have moments of stupidity then they would stop comparing themselves to the masses.”
    ― Shannon L. Alder

    I started with a quote because going through infertility complications can make a woman to start entertaining low self-esteem thoughts. No two experiences are ever the same. A burden shared is a burden lightened.
    Than you for sharing this Lisa.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Appreciate your comment! I agree that sometimes women can have a negative self-image when going through infertility, thinking that they are somehow “not good enough” according to society. Not true at all!

  3. Selena

    I love your tips! Very moving and uplifting. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thank you for your kind words Selena!

  4. Lauren

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know that pain of infertility, but mine was secondary…which was so frustrating. Please continue to share and raise awareness. It is so needed.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Secondary infertility…that is totally me. It’s definitely hard! Thanks for your willingness to read and comment. I agree that we need to share our stories more and raise awareness about an issue that affects so many women!

  5. Melissa

    Thank you for being so open and honest about your journey. I agree 100% that people’s comments and invasiveness can be the most detrimental. In between my son’s, we lost a pregnancy, and I remember people saying “when are you going to have another one? Isn’t it time? why are you waiting?” I think we need to talk about these things more, not keep them “secrets”. Thank you again for sharing.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks for your kind comments Melissa! I’m so sorry for your pregnancy loss and the comments you had to endure. It’s so interesting to me that people are hesitant to actually discuss infertility, yet are more than willing to ask invasive questions to struggling moms. Crazy!

  6. Kelly Krebs

    This is such a great post! Thank you for being brave and sharing your story. I hope it encourages other women to tell their stories and helps them see they are not alone.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      I hope for those same things too, Kelly. I have been so encouraged by how many times this article has been shared and I continue to pray that God will use this letter to encourage many women who are hurting.

  7. Greg

    Thank you for sharing. Just wanted to share a testimony from our church. Our pastor’s wife had struggled with infertility for 16 years. They had a son but always wanted more children. They did everything to try and have a baby and eventually just gave it to God. But they just announced they found out she is pregnant (at this point she was on birth control). And not just a little pregnant but very pregnant. So praying for this baby and safe delivery. And hope for all those that struggle with infertility that God can make a way.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Wow, what a testimony that God can do ANYTHING! Thanks for sharing that with me. It reminds me that we should pray for BIG things and not be surprised at all when God SHOWS UP and does stuff that only He can do. Blessings!

  8. Courtney

    Such an open and honest post. Thank you for sharing. I didn’t struggle in infertility myself, but I know several who have and have talked about many of the things you shared with me.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! I’m glad to hear that you’ve been a safe landing place for your struggling friends to share their journey with you.

  9. Stephanie

    While this is not something that I’ve personally experienced, I know many people in my life who have (including my mom – since I was actually a rainbow baby in between 2 miscarriages before me and 1 after). Reading something like this pricks at my heart since I know it’s something that affects so many. I know that this open letter will minister to countless who are hurting in this season.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks Stephanie! I honestly desire for this letter to encourage as many women as possible who are struggling, especially since infertility can be such an isolating journey.

  10. Pam Peterson

    Thank you for sharing, Lisa. Not an easy thing. Each of our journeys are unique, our Heavenly Father is steadfast and our strength, when we are fragile and feeling weak. Through Him, we survive and eventually thrive in His will.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks for your kind words Pam! I agree, it would be nearly impossible to get through this journey apart from leaning into the strength of Christ.

  11. Irene

    Lot of people struggling and I have been avoiding during all my life.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks for being willing to read and comment! =)

  12. Laura

    This is a beautiful post and I feel like it’s something that should be talked about more often, so thank you for sharing! 🙂

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thank you for your kind words Laura. I feel like the more it’s shared and talked about, the more awareness and compassion will be fostered in others.

  13. Kelly Bolen

    Thank you for helping me better understand the struggles for women with infertility!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks for your willingness to learn more about this journey so many women are facing. It’s evident that you have a compassionate and caring heart!

  14. Genesis

    This is such a lovely message and one that women all over the world need to hear. Thank you for sharing something so personal.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks Genesis for your kindness and compassion in reading this message.

  15. Linda

    Just beautiful, Lisa! Thank you for sharing your story, your encouragement, your strength.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks Linda for your kind words of encouragement.

  16. simplyjolayne

    While this has not been my struggle, I do know that it is monumental for many women. I am sorry for the pain it causes.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thank you for your compassion Jolayne! I’m thankful that this hasn’t been your experience.

  17. Adriane

    2011 was the worst year of my life for this exact reason. People should know there is light on the other side. Stay strong!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks for the encouragement Adriane. I’m sorry that you had to go through infertility, but am so grateful that there was light for you on the other side and you’ve been blessed with children! Never lose hope. =)

  18. Kim

    My friend Rachel just sent me this. I have also been walking through infertility for over 7 years (sounds like we have been walking through it at the same time). You said literally every thing I have thought and felt through this journey. It’s very helpful. ❤️

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Kim, I’m so sorry that you’re all too familiar with infertility. It’s so hard. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. I’m so glad this letter helped you during this difficult journey. Praying for some breakthroughs for you and good news!

  19. Mo

    Thank you for sharing this. I saved this. Though I have two blessings, we have had trouble trying for one more so this definitely helps. I have known others too going through infertility journeys, so this is a blessing to read over.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks for being willing to read the article and comment. Please share it with other people in your life that are struggling. Every share helps! Praying for you and your husband as you try for one more. =)

  20. Caitlin

    Lisa,
    What a wonderful post and I really could feel your pain. I could tell you poured your entire heart, soul and being into this. I will be praying for you and every woman around this world struggling with infertility. I’m so glad you are so grounded in your faith, so much that you are rooting and praying for so many others.

    God Bless you on this journey

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words, Caitlin! They lift my spirits! I appreciate your prayers. =)

  21. Anne

    Thank you so much for this! I agree that infertility is a topic that needs discussion and support. It is deeply personal and a struggle that needs so much understanding and awareness. Thank you for sharing some of your experience and what has helped you!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      I appreciate your willingness to read and comment. I feel like the more women are willing to talk about their experiences with infertility, the more awareness people will have! Knowledge is power. =)

  22. Melisa

    God is good! Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      God is indeed good! Thanks so much for your continued love and support for me and my family.

  23. Marcy

    Thanks Lisa for these empathetic and practical thoughts. I especially love being directed to the Bible for hope and comfort!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Marcy! I feel like I would be so lost apart from God’s Word.

  24. Jericka A

    Such a great supportive post for those going through infertility. I love all the ideas surrounding staying positive and focused.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks Jericka! I feel like when it comes to infertility, which is so often a marathon, having ideas to stay motivated and positive are so important.

    • Lindsay Madsen

      Thank you for being brave enough to share about your journey. I think many people feel alone in this world and the struggles they are going through and it helps to read such good encoureagment. Take it to God in prayer and find a good support system. And I completely agree with the Facebook break. It is so easy to compare yourself with other people on social media, thinking they have everything, and forget that they have their own struggles too.

    • Lisa

      Thanks Lindsay! I appreciate your kind words of encouragement and for taking the time to read this post. Taking a FB break was so helpful!

  25. Rachel

    Great article! This is such a sensitive topic, but I am glad you are comfortable talking about it so that others going through the same thing don’t have to suffer alone and in silence.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thanks Rachel! I hope that more women will vulnerable and share their stories too. It’s very freeing and healing!

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