A Message for those TTC and Childless Not by Choice on Mother's Day
Mother's Day can be the most difficult day of the year for those who are trying to conceive or who are childless not by choice. Most women who have struggled with infertility and have come this far in their journey have experienced multiple losses: failed fertility procedures, failed pregnancies, failed adoption(s),etc. The loss of the dream of having a baby to call her own can rear its ugly head over and over again throughout life, but on no other day can it be as painful as Mother's Day. It is a reminder that most of society celebrates what we who are infertile cannot have... a child of our very own.
As the leader of a group of infertility warriors and the friend of many people who are childless not by choice, I want to take a moment to honor these brave and loving people who are courageous and selfless. They have more love to give than any group of people I know. They put their entire heart and soul into trying to fight for their unborn children. They are willing to go to the ends of the earth and endure all kinds of painful hormone shots, surgeries, relentless blood draws at all times of day and night. They have vulernably withstood multiple ultrasounds each and every day (and not the abdominal kind... if you know what I mean). They have paid unbelievable amounts of money out of their own pockets for tests and procedures at the chance of becoming a mother. They have suffered from bruises upon bruises in their backsides from 5" long needles that carry thick oily substances and take forever to administer. Those shots REALLY HURT! They have chosen to pay thousands of dollars more for the pre-genetic testing to see if their embryos are normal. If they have come this far, they might as well go the whole distance because they desperately want to love a child of their own. They have been on pins and needles during the two week wait (enduring pregnancy-like symptoms from those awful hormone shots) to find out if their IVF worked... only to suffer a negative IVF. They go through the five stages of grief: denial, disbelief, anger, mourning and acceptance. Then they pick themselves up and go through it all again... another day, another month, another time.
They endure this because they are loving people. Life has dealt them an unfair hand.
But despite all of these devastating life events, these women love to an unimaginable depth. They care for their spouses, their partners, their friends and their family members. They are compassionate. They are strong. They have learned to put one foot in front of the other and carry on against all odds. Some of them have learned to accept that life isn't fair and they will never have a child of their own to love,
I look up to them and admire them. If they say a mother is unconditional love, then all of the women I know who in my support group or whom I've met throughout my life are already mothers. They may be mothers to babies in heaven. They may be mothers to their friends children, or their nieces and nephews or the the students they teach in their classrooms. But believe me... they love, they touch the lives of others and they are already mothers.
If you know of one of these warriors, please be sensitive and learn what to say and not to say to them. Let them know that you care and can only imagine their pain. Please don't tell them to relax and they'll get pregnant. And never tell them anything about their circumstances being "God's will." This will only make them feel worse. Ask them if you can take them to a doctor's appointment, or come with them to one of their support group meetings. You will be blown away and will find a lot of hope and inspiration there! You will leave one of my fertility support meetings with a restored faith in humankind and you will admire the resilience of these fellow warriors. You will feel more love and support from these people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps each and every day and live in a "child and pregnant-centric" world. They love like no other... because they are already mothers.
If you would further like to support the infertility community, please purchase a copy of my fertility support book, Detours: Unexpected Journeys of Hope Conceived from Infertility. You will learn about eleven real people who are warriors and who resolved their infertility in atypical ways... against all odds. You will have a deeper appreciation and respect for those who truly long to love a child. Your purchase will help you understand and will offer more support to the infertility community than you can imagine because all the net proceeds from my book will be donated to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.
Together we can make a difference!
In-Fertility & Friendship,