Category Archives: Pregnancy announcements

Telling the others (written 20th February 2015)

Having this blog, and everyone knowing we’ve been to San Diego and why, means we don’t have the luxury of the 12 week grace period most fertile couples have, so we have to devise fairly quickly a plan on who we’re going to tell and how. We want to tell people in person which also adds to the difficulty of the situation but we manage to pull together a bit of a plan and set about getting the various bits and pieces we need for it.

We’ve told Mum on Friday night, as mentioned in an earlier post. Saturday morning we have brunch with two of our good friends who have recently gone through IVF themselves. I’m nervous as anything as we wander towards the café, unsure how to hold it in and fit it naturally into the conversation. I don’t last long. After a brief chat about how we’re doing, I’m asked how I’m sleeping. “Not so well this week,” I reply “But quite good last night because we got a positive result yesterday.” Cue tears and hugs and congratulations. It was hard not to get too emotional as we’ve wanted this moment for so long!

On to Sunday. As soon as we got our positive result on the Friday afternoon I started trying to tee up a catch-up with some of my close friends. These four girls have been amazingly supportive over the last few years, making sure we’re ok, checking up on us, one was even our donor in our last cycle, I need to tell them soon as I can. I send out a group text “Argh! This wait is absolutely killing me. I need some distraction. Anyone free for a cuppa over the weekend or dinner early next week or anything? Save me!” Trying to play it cool. And a date is locked in for Sunday afternoon.

I’d bought a little gemstone inscribed with an inspirational word for each of them and my plan had been to give the stones to them as a thank-you for supporting us, then say “and I thought that every time you look at them from now on you can remember the moment I told you I was pregnant” (remember they’ve been waiting just as long as we have for this). Unfortunately it all turns a bit to shit and only half of them can make it but I go ahead with the plan regardless. I pick CI up from home and we head to a nearby café next to the beach. I manage to brush off any talk of our treatment by saying we have a blood test on Monday – it’s the truth, we do have one then, it’s just not our first one!

We arrive at the café but my other friend, D, is running late. We buy drinks and sit outside to wait for her, chit-chatting away about this and that. D arrives about 15 minutes later and we wander along the beach (talking about cars of all things!) before settling on a grassy bank overlooking the water. My heart is racing as I somewhat nonchalantly exclaim “Oh! Before I forget, I’ve got something for you two.” And the plan is kicked into action. I bust out my line and wait….”Oh good” they say, and a few seconds tick by, then “Wait! What?!? Are you???” Teeheehee. More tears and congratulations. I’m absolutely shaking. It’s so surreal finally being about to say this. Needless to say the rest of our conversation centres around babies.

An hour or so later I drop them both home and call my other friend, CB, saying I’m in her area and is she free for a cuppa. Luckily she is as CB is one of those exceptional friends who always goes above and beyond for you, and I can’t have the other girls knowing but not her. I pop in and chat while making tea, all the while wondering how I’m going to reveal my news amongst our conversation. She asks how I’m doing, and is my mind telling me anything, to which I reply that it doesn’t need to tell me anything because I’m officially pregnant. She has the same reaction as the other two, bewildered as the news sinks in, then it hits and again the conversation turns to babies and pregnancy. I’m enjoying this, for once I don’t feel like an outsider playing house in the baby arena.

The Sunday announcements continue as I nip home to collect my hubby then head back to my Mum’s to tell my little sister and Step-Dad. For my three siblings (and their partners/family) we’ve bought picture books and written a note from Bumble in each – something along the lines of “Dear Aunty/Uncle, Looking forward to you reading this to me. See you in nine months! Love Bumble”. Although they’re all slightly different.

For my younger sister we’ve purchased a ‘touch-and-feel’ Hairy Maclary hardback. She smiles as she reads the inscription, much happier than I thought she’d be at the news and gives us both big hugs. My Step-Dad also finds out at this time as he’d been away at a conference when we’d told Mum. Mum grabs the box we gave her on Friday and shows him (I can’t believe she’d managed to keep it quiet so long!). He’s going to be a Grandad and I think he’s stoked.

Onward to a family dinner at my Dad’s house. This really is the Sunday of announcements! My Dad’s not overly keen on young kids so for these two we buy a nice bottle of wine that should last a while and add the note “To Nana and Grandad, We know young kids can be a little annoying sometimes but hopefully you can enjoy drinking this with me in 18 years or so. See you in nine months. Lots of love, Bumble.” This we give to them before my brother and his partner arrive at the dinner.

For my brother and his partner we’ve bought ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and give it to them just as we sit down at the dining table. They’re expecting news on the Monday as they know that’s when our test is, so this takes them by surprise as I reveal we did some home pregnancy tests then a sneaky Friday blood test. They both leap out of their seats in excitement and give us hugs, and we sit down to a lovely dinner.

Monday morning. It’s time to tell the two girls I work with. Like many of my friends, they’ve been with me through my many ups and downs. In fact, CH is one of the few people who has been there from the beginning. I remember her whisking an upset me off to a local café for a hot drink upon finding out that our second month trying (I know, four years later that’s laughable now!) wasn’t successful. I take a snapchat of the lab sign as I leave my morning blood test (2nd beta) and send it to them with the caption “Let the seven hour wait begin” to throw them off the scent, then head excitedly into work.

CH gets in about half an hour later and she’s not having a good day. We chat for a bit then I say “Oh! I’ve got something for you!” and grab her pressie out of my bag. “This is just to say thank you for always being there for me” I say, and hand it over to her. She slowly opens it. Inside I’ve wrapped a Pandora charm (a baby carriage) for her charm bracelet, and have written on a piece of origami paper in big black letters ‘I’m pregnant!’

She doesn’t even look at the charm, it’s in a wee Pandora bag, as upon reading the note throws everything onto her desk, yells “You’re fuckin shitting me!” at the top of her lungs, then bursts into tears as she leaps up to hug me. I’m half laughing, welling with tears, hugging her back as two of our HR team (who also know what we’ve been going through and read the blog) come running round to see what’s going on. They look at me raised eyebrows, “are you?”, I nod, and there are more hugs. I‘m nervous about telling so many people, feeling like I’m going to jinx it but it feels nice to be able to say this after four long years.

The other girl I work closely with is offsite at a meeting so I send her a sneaky snapchat of our digital pregnancy test that reads “pregnant”. Totally inappropriate timing as I know she’s still in the meeting, but I get a reply back almost immediately. “Yaaaaaaay!”

Next come my in-laws who have unfortunately been away on holiday so we’re unable to see them in person until the Monday night after our second blood test. They walk in the door knowing we have a result so there’re no surprises there (they figure we would’ve cancelled dinner had the result been negative). Nevertheless, we’ve bought them a book (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), included a note from Bumble in it, and popped it in a box with a photo of our positive digital pregnancy test. Despite already having a clue of the news we’re telling they’re super excited about the result.

Tuesday night I tell my mum’s best friend, primarily to give her someone to talk to about it (she cried, so cute) and while I’m there my other friend K (one of the girls I’d wanted to tell on Sunday) texts asking how things are going and when test day is.   So I give her a call and let her know the news too. She screams excitedly for a good minute or so, hehehe, we chat and hangup, and then I get a text through “Oh my goooooooooddddddddddddd!” I think she might be in shock. Hahaha. I love my friends.

I have to wait til Wednesday for my older sister to find out (the last out of my siblings) as unfortunately she lives five hours drive away. I obviously can’t tell her face-to-face so decide to make it total surprise and wrap up her picture book (In the Night Kitchen) and courier it down to her as soon as we get our blood results Monday (just in case it had all gone wrong by that stage). It takes a couple of days to arrive – useless NZ Couriers, so much for next day delivery! – and I get a call from her excited to be an Aunty to our Bumble/s.

At the same time I courier the book, I post a photo to my Aunty, Uncle, cousin and his girlfriend. I write nothing at all on or with the photo, merely address the envelope to them and put my sender address on the back. It’s a pic of our digital pregnancy test. It takes two days to arrive (same as the courier!) and we get a text Wednesday afternoon “OMG I can’t stop crying. So happy for you guys!!!!”

Over the next couple of days I fill in a few more of my friends at work and the leadership team (who I also work closely with) and everyone is absolutely stoked for us. It’s a bit scary telling so many people so early on but they all know what we’ve been through and half of them are asking, so it’s not like we can keep it from anyone. The good thing is I don’t feel weird about telling any of these people of a miscarriage or anything, should we be unlucky enough for that to happen for us, so that makes me feel a little more comfortable with people knowing. Fingers crossed we won’t have to tell them anything of the sort!


When saying so little says so much (written 17th February 2015)

The disappointing news comes Thursday. I hear back from San Diego and they’re not keen on moving my blood test forward, preferring instead to leave it as the 16th to try and avoid a false negative, “to err on the side of caution” as they put it. Luckily it doesn’t last long as when I message my clinic here to tell them we need to leave the test date as Monday, they come back with “oh don’t be silly, just come and do a sneaky one for us on Friday and we won’t tell San Diego” WOOHOO!

I’m anxious as I wake on Friday, rushing to do another pregnancy test (I’ve already done 5 others) just to make sure Bumble and/or Bee are still there before I head for my bloods. It’s crazy I know but I’m just so scared everything is going to disappear. It’s still positive, phew. Breakfast, bloods and off to work. And the fretful wait begins.

I expect the call to come around 1pm as results calls in the past have always come around then, it doesn’t. I wait and wait, convinced that something’s gone wrong. I can almost hear our favourite nurse saying to us “I’m sorry darling, it’s not the result we were hoping for”, we’ve certainly heard that often enough, we know the drill. Still no phone call. By 3pm I’m really panicking and email the clinic asking if they’ve heard anything. I feel bad because I know how busy they are but I’m absolutely beside myself.

Five minutes later the call comes. I’m in the toilet, typical! I rush out (don’t worry, I was done) and try to think where I can go to take the call. “Can you talk?” our favourite nurse asks. “Hold on, I’ll just pop into a Quiet Room” as I duck into one of the tiny quiet rooms in the office….”You’ll hop into a quiet room and scream” says our nurse. “Will I?”, “Yes, you will. Are you ready? Are you sitting down?” “Yeeeeeees”, “Congratulations darling, you’re well and truly knocked up!” I can’t talk. “I’m going to cry” I manage to whisper. This is so surreal.

She runs through my numbers, which go in one ear and out the other. I’m trying not to cry too much as one of the girls who works with my husband is sitting just outside the room I’m in and there are windows – don’t want to give the game away at this stage! I’m absolutely amazed, stunned, thankful. The rest of the conversation is a bit of a blur, and I end up emailing her afterwards to make sure I’ve got everything I need to know.

Now to find my husband. He’s gone AWOL. I eventually get a message to him, ‘meet me in the basement carpark.’ He finally turns up and I tell him the news. We’re crying, shaking, both of us a little in disbelief. We sit stunned for a few minutes, trying to chat through what’s just happened, then I have to boot him out, if we’re going to tell Mum in the way we want to tonight I need to get to the shops!

I dash up the road to a shop where I saw a Buzzy Bee frame earlier in the week while hunting something else. I grab that. Then off to another part of town to buy the bumble bee booties I’d found online, and finally a Kodak shop to print a photo of our digital pregnancy test. I also grab some picture books for my siblings, but more on those later. That all took a little longer than expected but I manage to get back to work and get some work done before it’s time to head to Mum’s. A quick detour home to throw everything together (something I couldn’t have done in our open plan office) and we’re off to Mum’s place.

It’s my brother’s birthday and he’s at Mum’s for drinks before he goes elsewhere for dinner. We really don’t want to hijack his birthday so decide not to tell him and his partner until later in the weekend. It’s impossibly hard sitting there chatting for an hour or so, trying to pretend everything’s normal when we’re actually bursting with excitement, but we achieve our goal. My brother leaves for his dinner and we settle down into the comfy seats in the lounge.

I pass Mum a bag of stuff we’d bought her while we were in America and on top is a little black box containing my purchases from earlier in the day. Lucky for us she grabs this first as I’m not sure I could’ve waited too much longer. She takes off the lid and looks perplexed as she lifts the booties out of the box. She stared at them confused and jokes “am I supposed to give these back to you at some stage?” I smile and she delves back into the box pulling out the photo frame. “Is this…? Are you…?” she exclaims as she looks up at me. I raise my eyebrows, nod, and smile in affirmation. And all hell breaks loose…

It’s a better reaction that I could ever have imagined and I’ll forever kick myself that we didn’t film it. My Mum leaps off her chair, screams, hands over mouth, tears streaming down her face. Her feet start running on the spot before dashing to me for a big hug then continuing to traverse frantically around the room, all while her hand cover her squealing mouth in shock. This goes on for a good minute. It’s amazing. “Let’s celebrate!” both my Mum and hubby cry. “Champagne!” “Yeah great, champagne,” I say laughingly “I’ll have a water please”


Oh to have the innocence of the fertile mind! (written 11th February 2015)

It’s amazing how infertility affects you, or at least how it affects me. Even now when we should be the happiest we’ve ever been, there’s a massive shadow of doubt hanging over our heads. A feeling that this can’t be real or that it will all go horribly wrong.

While most newly pregnant mothers are celebrating, revelling in the happiness of a new conception, I’m flitting between small bursts of joy and a much larger storm of endless worry.

While other new parents-to-be have no trouble browsing the baby aisles and starting a shopping list, I feel like an imposter, some strange sicko perving on baby wear for some baby they will never have.

I feel that to shop, to shortlist, to even talk about our forthcoming baby will jinx the entire thing, that this is really just some cruel joke someone is playing on us and the brief moments of joy that we do have will be ripped away from us in the blink of an eye.

I want to give my mum a baby bumble bee outfit as a way to tell her we’re pregnant but I just can’t bring myself to buy one (at least not until after my blood test) as it feels as though that will spark the end of this magical thing we never thought would be. It must be an amazing feeling to take a pregnancy test as fact instead of a small moment of hope that flits away in an instant.

I feel guilty that at night when I come home from work I want to chat to my hubby about the nursery, the furniture, how we’ll tell people. I can’t bring myself to say “when our baby’s born” or even “our baby”, instead my sentences start “If this is real” or “If this is really happening.”

I feel the perfectly normal cramps of progesterone and pregnancy and am agonising over ectopic pregnancies and their symptoms instead of welcoming in what they truly mean.

I’m constantly nervous that this will go wrong.

I’m not going mad (written 11th February 2015)

Am I? Could yesterday have all been a dream? I still can’t believe that this could actually be real. Lucky for me we bought an extra pregnancy test yesterday so bright and early this morning (ok, not so bright and early at 7:20am – my boss said I could have a sleep in) I test a third time just to be sure. 3 minutes later those two lines appear again. This might actually be happening but I don’t think I’ll believe it until the clinic tells me it’s so….and even then I might not believe.

I thought the anxiety would recede a little with a positive result but it hasn’t, it’s just changed. Now, instead of being worried that we might get a negative result, I’m panicking that the positive result we have might disappear. Cue the pregnancy test madness. With three positive tests in 24 hours I email both the clinic in San Diego and our New Zealand clinic to beg to bring my OTD forward. It’s scheduled for Monday but I’m hoping for a pre-weekend test so I can not only put my mind at ease a little, but also start telling those close to me.

It’s a strange position we’re in. So many people that I know in real life read my blog, they know we’ve been away, and they know exactly why. This makes it hard when it comes to the pregnancy announcement, they’re all going to know that we are aware of the outcome long before the time any normal/fertile pregnancy would be announced. I’m not sure how I feel about this. There are of course some people I would tell straight away regardless, but there are others I would probably have waited to tell, especially as the gossip in this town spreads like wildfire. It’s almost like we won’t have the luxury of this being ours for those 8-12 weeks that others get. But I guess that’s the decision I made when I shared this blog.

So back the pregnancy tests. I hear back from our New Zealand clinic reasonably promptly. They’re excited, assuring me that it’s not likely to be a false positive (yes, I asked), and after a bit of backwards and forwardsing on what my dates are, my blood test is bought forward to Friday. WOOHOO! Now I just need to keep this little Bumble or Bee (or both) happy inside me. And I need to reassure myself that everything is ok.

I stock up on home pregnancy tests at the supermarket, one for tonight, and two for tomorrow (morning and night), which will bring us to the Friday morning time for my blood test. In the last 36 hours we’ve spent $80 on pregnancy tests, but don’t judge me too harshly, they’re expensive in New Zealand. The cheapest I could find was $7.99! So all up I’ve purchased only six tests. This may seem excessive to some but I’m comfortable with that, knowing that it’s easing some of the extra tension.

Now to just keep up this charade of pretending I know nothing. I think I did ok today. The stress of my “this pregnancy is going to disappear” paranoia is reasonably easy to morph into “I’m worried this isn’t going to work” fear for the sake of others. I did have a look around the baby section of a shop today though so that might have tipped off my colleague who was with me. Not long to go now…only two more sleeps.

New year, new you? (written 4th January 2015)

It’s the New Year and now I can actually say our cycle occurs this month. THIS MONTH! Oh my gosh. Far from feeling excited, I think the closer we get to D-day the more nervous and sick I feel. We are spending a house deposit on getting to the States for this treatment. What if our donor doesn’t produce any good eggs, what if my husband’s holiday lifestyle over the last month affects the quality of our embryos, what if I haven’t done enough to get my body in good condition for this, what if our embryos don’t last the distance, what if it just doesn’t work. Yes, the torture of the “what if’s” is kicking in and despite my best attempts to ignore them and ‘live in the moment’, they can’t help but creep on into my thoughts, making me either cry or want to puke.

Not long before Christmas we received our official treatment plan. At that stage I could still get excited about everything and it truly felt as if these three pieces of paper made everything real. On the fifth of January (which is now tomorrow!) I inject myself with a long-lasting Lucrin (Lupron) injection to help sync my cycle, followed by blood-work and ultrasounds on the 12th and 20th here in New Zealand. On the 13th of January I start Progynova to build my uterine lining and on the 23rd we hop on a plane to the USA. I have a final blood test and ultrasound scheduled in San Diego on the 27th and we can expect egg collection from our donor to occur somewhere between the 27th and 30th of January, with embryo transfer happening somewhere between the 2nd and 5th of February. The 5th of February is our wedding anniversary which for some strange reason is the only thing making me feel good about this cycle.

It’s difficult after so much disappointment over the last four years to believe that something could work. I remember thinking the same before our last donor cycle, which despite showing so much promise was unsuccessful, only fuelling my mental fire that nothing will ever work for us. I know I need to change my thinking, and I’m trying hard, but it really is challenging to believe I’ll ever be pregnant. The thought that one day I could be actually freaks me out a bit now. After being so ready for it four years ago, I’ve spent so long in the infertility trenches that the thought of being pregnant is an alien concept to me. I can’t even begin to imagine my reaction were we to get a positive test result. It almost seems like it would be a bittersweet moment and that makes me sad. Then there’s the pregnancy itself, am I still ready for it? I can’t even imagine watching my body change, slowly coming to realise the being within. It seems totally unreal.

Ok, so the above was written a few days ago and now I can officially say I’m really not coping. I’m hoping like hell it’s just a bad week because if I have to feel like this for another month or so I may actually go insane. Facebook today is packed full of pregnant people complaining about their pregnancies and I actually want to break something. Yes it’s hot, I understand, but honestly be a little grateful for what you have. I know I’m overly sensitive at the moment but it just strikes me that some people get things a little too easily sometimes and they don’t truly appreciate all that they do have. I won’t lie, I myself have fallen into this category. I often have to make myself take a step back and look at everything we’ve accomplished and everything we have. But do other people do the same? I can think of a few who should!

Making matters worse is the fact that we’ve opted to try and keep this cycle more of a secret so there’s not even anyone I can really talk to. I can’t chat with my friends as we’re hoping like hell for a surprise for them in the not to distant future. I can’t post on Twitter as some of my IRL (in real life) friends follow me on there. I can’t even talk to my hubby as, being the everlasting optimist, I’m not sure he entirely gets where my head is at. Only a week into January and already I’m crying nearly every day. I’m seriously questioning whether I can keep this up for another year. Let’s hope this cycle works and I won’t have to, but I can’t help but feel I’ve written that before.


Universal wishes (written 5th December 2014)

We’re in LA. It’s not the Bahamas (where we’ve been for the last week for work) but we’ve had a good time. Yesterday was my brother-in-laws birthday and we decided to take him to Universal Studios to celebrate. A fun-filled day of riding the rides and taking the tours followed by dinner at a delicious vegan place (not somewhere we normally have chosen but it was great!) and a few drinks at various bars. It was a really nice day, and good to catch up with him after nearly a year. To top it all off we arrive back at the hotel to an email from San Diego Fertility Center. We have our cycle dates!

I feel excited and nervous and sick all at the same time. Excited that it’s actually happening, but absolutely terrified that it won’t work and we will run out of next steps. I email the girls at work to make sure I can take the time off and we lock it in. I’m not sure what or when to tell everyone else. We were hoping to keep this cycle a bit more of a secret this time round but it seems near impossible to hide the fact that we’ll not only be away for two weeks, but won’t even be in the country.

I also feel bad keeping people in the dark as our friends and family are invested in this nearly as much as we are. I would love it to be a big surprise for them, for this cycle to work and to be able to announce to them all that we’re pregnant in that same “SURPRISE!” way that normal fertile people do. On the other hand, I worry that they’ll be offended that we’ve kept things from them. My family especially as they’ve always had our back, been amazingly supportive and I know how desperately they want this. What do I do? Do I tell them or not?

We have some friends wedding the week before we leave for San Diego and, as much as I’d love to be there to see them tie the knot, I was kind of hoping our cycle would be at the same time as their wedding as then we’d have an obvious excuse to be away from home for a while. The only other thing I can think of is a summer holiday but the fact that we may have to get American SIM cards for our phones and won’t be able to answer calls/texts on our normal numbers may raise suspicion.

It’s a hard call but I think the answer is to tell our family but keep it a surprise for our friends. We have to tell at least my Dad and step-mum as we need to ask them if they’ll housesit and look after our cats for us while we’re away. And I can’t tell one part of my family and not the others. So family it is and friends will have a surprise. Hopefully.   Hopefully in a couple of month’s time we’ll be able to surprise them with some good news.


From the archives of my mind

I saw a great link on Facebook the other day, “The 8 biggest misconceptions about infertility” (oh my gosh, number 7 in droves – I can’t emphasise that point enough and definitely can’t write it better myself!). There are quite a few of these kinds of posts floating around, a never-ending attempt to get fertiles to understand the many intricacies of being infertile, but this was one of the best I’ve seen so far so I thought I’d share it and add a few of my own observations to boot.

For a while now I’ve had friends and family requesting I write a blog post about what they can do to help – what to say, what not to say, how things look from my perspective – and until now (despite a few attempts at starting posts) I’ve held off doing it. There really are so many out there it always seemed a bit unnecessary for me to add to the pile. However, I’ve decided to go ahead and contribute. One, because if this reaches even just one more person and aids in their understanding then it’s worth it; two, because of the post mentioned above; and three because of a line in an email I received that, while intended in the best possible way, has really stuck with me and made me realise that some people still just don’t get it. So here we go:

From my own experiences these are some things you should never say to an infertile:


“You guys just need to relax” / “You just need a holiday”

Uh, no. Believe me, we’ve tried relaxing, we’ve tried having a holiday and we’re still not pregnant. Funnily enough because our infertility is not related to any level of stress or busyness in our lives. I have a/various medical issues that are stopping us from having children. I have endometriosis and my eggs, while I have plenty of them, are (to put it very bluntly) fucked. This has nothing to do with my age, my sexual history, or any of the many activities I’ve done throughout my life. It’s simply a truckload of bad luck that has befallen my reproductive system, and no amount of relaxing is going to change that.


“If you just give up it will happen”

One of my personal favourites. No, if we give up, we remain childless*. As per the above paragraph, our infertility is a MEDICAL CONDITION. Much like relaxing or going on holiday, giving up is not going to make my endometriosis damage disappear or magically make eggs start working. Giving up means no more chances for children. Zilch. Nada. None. Giving up means us throwing in the towel and accepting that we will never have a child to call our own.


“Well you can always adopt”

Yes, we can certainly TRY to adopt. While this can be quite an inflammatory statement for many infertiles, a minimisation of their desire to have a child that is biologically and genetically theirs, this is not the case for my husband and I. We yearn for a child and whether they are genetically related to us or not isn’t a concern. Yes, we’re grieving the fact that we will never have a child that is genetically related to both of us but in reality that is a very minor part of our process. We will and are openly pursuing adoption, unfortunately it’s not as easy as you would think. The statistics rolled out at the adoption evening we went to stated only 5 adoptions in our area in the previous year and 54 couples on the waiting list. Those are not good odds. Even if we make it through the endless tests, evaluations, home visits and referrals, and manage to get our names into the adoption database, the chances of us actually being chosen by a set of birth parents is slim to none. So no, we can’t “always adopt”.


“Such & Such’s uncle’s friend’s cousin-in-law tried for years then just did blahblah and surprise they were pregnant!”

While it may seem an inspiring story, and in the initial stages of infertility they often can be, we’re not Such & Such’s uncle’s friend’s cousin-in-law and we never will be. Please don’t compare us to these amazing hard-to-believe success stories, they’re hard-to-believe for a reason, they’re rare. [Insert random person here]’s journey will more than likely be completely different to our own and is therefore likely to have entirely different reasons for success/failure. Not only can it make us feel bad that we’re not doing enough or doing too much, but it can also add extra pressure both financially and emotionally when we feel the need to try and emulate that other person’s journey in the hope it brings success for us too.


“Oh, you can have mine!”

I know it’s intended as a joke and I don’t lose my sense of humour entirely just because I’m infertile, but trust me, this far down the infertility track offering up your children is far from helpful. I’m nearly at the point now where I will take people up on this offer and respond with a “Oh sure, totally! Now if you’ll just sign these adoption papers”, only I’m not sure the joke would go down so well when thrown back at the joker. Lord knows I don’t need another stare and awkward silence of ‘this woman is crazy’.


“You wouldn’t want children so desperately if you had them, they’re such hard work/so naughty/a handful”

Yes, I would. I know what children can be like, I was a nanny in my younger days, have babysat many a child, and was also pretty much an adult when my younger sister was born, I know exactly what I’m getting myself into. But that’s beside the point. Surely infertiles deserve to experience the joy, trials and tribulations of having children the same as everyone else, regardless of whether they know what they’re getting themselves into or not. I’m pretty sure a large percentage of parents, fertile or otherwise, have no clue as to what having a child involves, so please, allow us the same civilities as the rest of the population. There aren’t many parents who would voluntarily give their kids up once they have them.


“I struggled with infertility too, we were trying for [insert number of months less than 12 in here] before we got pregnant”

Now believe me, I’m not trying to minimise your struggle to get pregnant, I know that every month that you’re not pregnant when you’re trying to conceive is a massive disappointment. I know it hurts when you don’t get that positive result month after month, but it is considered perfectly normal to try for a child for up to a year before you conceive. A baby conceived in under a year is not a child conceived following infertility (recurrent pregnancy loss excluded). It may feel like it, once again I know those months can be devastating, but medically speaking infertility is “the failure to conceive following twelve months of (frequent/perfectly timed) unprotected intercourse”. You may be trying to connect and empathise with us in our ‘common struggle’ but, from my perspective at least, you’re more likely to invoke jealously and anger or a conversational disengagement from me. Yes, I feel like a bitter old lady having this reaction but it certainly feels that, when it comes to infertility, I’ve been around the block more than once and would almost kill to have been able to conceive a child in less than a year.


So what CAN you do? Well, it’s hard to say because who knows how we’re going to feel on any given day. Best you can do is enquire.


Ask us how we’re doing, what’s going on, how we’re feeling.

We’ll soon enough let you know if we don’t want to talk about it. More often than not I’m happy to discuss anything and am just glad that someone’s cared enough to ask. But if we don’t feel like talking, please don’t be offended if we brush you off and change the subject, on those days it’s pure survival mode, we either distract ourselves & change the subject, or cry, and believe me there’s enough crying behind closed doors we don’t want to be having a breakdown in front of you too!


Invite us along to your gatherings.

We may decline to attend your child’s birthday party or a social event with loads of kids. We may decline these events often, but please don’t mistake this for us not wanting to attend. The majority of the time we desperately want to join in but the reality of being surrounded by kids, and parents talking about them, is sometimes more than we can bear. Once again it’s survival mode. We’ll try and come along to as much as we can so please continue to ask us. It may seem like it’s not worthwhile, that we’ll say “no” anyway, or that you’re putting everyone in an awkward situation by extending the invitation to ‘the infertiles’, but the alternative is so much worse. By not being invited to events that everyone else gets to go to, and finding out after the occasion, we feel even more alienated from the crowd; that we’re not only losing our child but that we’re losing our friends as well.


Remember that we love your kids.

We may not see them often or we may seem a little sad when visiting but please remember that we absolutely adore your children. They’re not only awesome kids, fun to play with, an extension of you (our friends and family), but they also help us to remember why we’re going through this hell of fertility treatments and why we cling so desperately to this rollercoaster of hope. They are all beautiful souls and we love them as if they were our own.


Be considerate when announcing your pregnancies.

Take us aside or let us know privately that you’ve expecting a/another bundle of joy rather than including us when you broadcast it to the wider group or pop it up on Facebook. We will be thrilled for you but remember we’re also grieving for ourselves and we need time to process this information and work through our sadness for our own situation before we face the wider world. This may seem selfish but bear in mind we so desperately want what you have (in this sense) and a pregnancy announcement is yet another reminder that we’re lagging behind, unable to participate in the joys (and trials) of parenthood. Please believe me when I say our reaction has nothing at all to do with your happy news, we are absolutely stoked for you and will be there for both you and your child/children always, we may just take a moment to display the appropriate social graces, pop a smile on our face and congratulate you.


Don’t get angry or upset when we gaze longingly at your baby bump.

We’re not trying to stare or be offensive, we just so desperately want to have a bump of our own.


Understand that we may not publicly congratulate you over social media.

I’m sure some people think it weird that I’ve personally messaged them over Facebook or the like rather than add to the ever-growing congratulatory comments that follow their pregnancy or birth announcement. I may ‘like’ your pregnancy/birth post but I will very rarely comment publically on it. I’m not trying to be strange, I’m merely trying to avoid the onslaught of notifications telling me that someone else has wished you congratulations. Those constant reminders that we may never be in your shoes can be totally soul-destroying. Once again we are truly happy for you but need the space to continue our battle without being reminded of what we’re missing out on.


So that’s a start, I hope it helps. If you can add to this list from your own experiences please feel free to do so, I’d love to hear of other people’s thoughts/reactions/experiences too.


*I say childless here, for all those up with the ‘childless’ versus ‘childfree’ debate, because for us it will always be childless – while we can handle living without a child and will enjoy life to the fullest were that to happen – it will never be the choice we wanted and hence we are ‘child-less’.


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