Infertile words

Alison Agar
6 min readApr 19, 2022

Working through some anger or resentment or irritation or hurt or not sure what the actual feelings are. This is not personal to anyone, but to help me process our struggle with fertility.

It didn’t used to bother me so much, but now it does. People change. I’d heard girls say they struggled with hearing about babies or children or how people said stupid things. It’s true. The first couple years I suspected fertility issues, the occasional comment didn’t bother me. I suppose I wasn’t quite desperate yet. I also assumed we’d just adopt. Then my husband spent 3 years working in foster care and we realized that he couldn’t do it at work and at home. He also really wanted to try. I thought (rightly so) it be easier (and cheaper) just to forgo the fertility treatments and move on, but in seeing his deep desire to try for biological children we chose to pursue some treatments. We also hoped it reveal some other pain issues I’d experienced for a long time.

I didn’t know the dark hole we were jumping into. (Maybe I did and thus had avoided). I also didn’t know we’d enter a pandemic and all those treatments would get paused and then delayed and possibly canceled if we got sick at all. I didn’t know as we invested time, money and my body into treatments that I would become much more sensitive to comments or events or questions or or or or. As I’ll continue to stay… I stay stupid stuff too and I want to be gracious. To the imaginary people reading this, if your friend, acquaintance, great uncle’s sister’s mom’s aunt is struggling with fertility be cautious.

To the person who says, “Have you tried….”
— no, and I’m not going to
— yes, and I don’t want to be told to again
— no, because that doesn’t apply to me because infertility encompasses numerous diagnosis

To the person whose kid has a cold…
— Let me know.
— I might have a doctor’s appointment this week and I am going to feel very uncomfortable if I say I want to leave because I don’t want to get sick because then I can’t go to my appointment and if I can’t go to my appointment my treatment might get canceled, my treatment that I pay thousands for and hours of my life and can’t get refunded

To the person who comments when we where a mask or thinks it’s unnecessary
— Stop making it weird. I start thinking you think I’m silly for wearing a mask.
— I might have a doctor’s appointment this week. (see above)

To the person who wonders where we’ve been or why we didn’t show up
— This whole thing is exhausting and there’s a million reasons why,
— Check in (privately) if you’re curious, but don’t be pushy because maybe I don’t want to talk about it

To the person who says, “God’s really given me a desire and blessing of talking with woman about having children.”
— I hear your heart, but I feel like your forcing your desire to help me on me.

to the person who says, “you know a diet of ……”
— I’ve probably tried it and at this point eating relatively healthy is success. Yes, this helps some people, but we are way past that point.
— This is perpetuating the myth that I can control this situation and if I do everything just right than maybe I can have children.
— I’m getting serious stress about all the dos and don’ts.

To the person who says, “Have they considered if you medication is preventing you from getting pregnant”
— are you referring to the anti-depressant? NO. I’ve already wrestled with this myself and don’t need to feel judged for it. Also, better for me to be having fewer panic attacks and crying episodes than more. Depression in mothers isn’t exactly good for babies. Anxiety isn’t exactly good for getting pregnant. I already questioned enough about what if my problems were keeping me from pregnancy.
— Now I’ve been suffering off the medication because I’ve somehow determined that just maybe despite any evidence, it be better to be off because I was doing ok. But now I’m not and regularly questioning whether to go back on it.

To the person who says, “God is in control”
— Yes he is. Fully aware. Not the way to remind me.

To the person who says, “My friend struggled for 5 years to have kids and just gave birth,”
— good for them, that sounds agonizing and give me little hope. It actually makes me more depressed because I’m not sure how much longer I can handle this.

To the person who says, “My friend did IVF for years and finally got pregnant”
— My chances at IVF are terrible, IVF doesn’t fix everything, IVF is ridiculously expensive and we wrestled over it repeatedly.

To the person who ask about all those plans we had before we started fertility treatments
to the person who says, “We had no idea”
— I only have the capacity to update a small group of people, not the world, so gently ask for an update because we are struggling.

To the person who says, “Let us know if you need anything”
— say it if you mean it.
— offer specific help — dinner, to talk, to text, to schedule a time to listen not 2 months from now.

To the person who wrote that condensed booklet on Christians and fertility I never should’ve picked up
— you didn’t considered everyone's situation and condensed a very difficult and complex topic into a few judgements of right and wrong. Now I’m afraid Christians are going to judge my choices of fertility treatment based on on what you as a prominent theologian have briefly said.
— selfishly I just want to ask, “do you even understand? Do you realize what IVF takes mentally, physically, emotionally, financially?” It is not an option someone in our position could lightly choose.

To the person who could “never do that”
— well, now I feel like your implying I shouldn’t
— very different from, “that would be very difficult for me”

To the person who wants people “to know the truth or facts”
— please speak graciously and humbly, and be informed. Know not all fertility and pregnancy topics are black and white and they are often intertwined with other issues.

To the person who says, “I’ll pray God allows you to have children”
— it sounds like you think my infertility is a result of my sin

to the person who thinks we’ve only been doing this for a short time or that we didn’t want children
— you’ve only known about since we got desperate enough to share publicly or felt we had to because of life circumstances.
— it’s been years. We’re exhausted.
— We didn’t want to get pregnant our first year of marriage out of a desire to grow our marriage, but by now we’ve been trying 5+ years

To the person who thinks we’re being selfish
— I’ve wrestled with this more than you can imagine. Tears and tears and tears. We’ve prayed and believe this is the direction God’s given us

To the person who doesn’t understand the terminology
— listen, ask or even better go look it up because it’s hard to feel understood when you have to constantly explain

To the person who says, “let’s hang out”
— I’ve got limited capacity and would like to, but only say it if you mean to follow though and plan it. I probably don’t have the energy to make it happen myself.

And if you do, because you probably will, just try again or preface the next time with, “Hey, sorry if that was the wrong thing to say or hurt.

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