Motherhood

Maybe, Baby?

Infertility comic by Jessica Olien

Last year, cartoonist and author Jessica Olien decided to try for a baby. But then she learned that it might not be possible…

Infertility comic by Jessica Olien

Infertility comic by Jessica Olien

Infertility comic by Jessica Olien

Thank you so much, Jessica, for sharing your story. Sending a hug to anyone who needs it today.

Jessica’s comics have been featured in publications including The New Yorker, The Washington Post and Spiralbound, where she has an illustrated advice column called Ask Olive. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their cats. Find her on Instagram @jessicaolien.

P.S. More posts about infertility, including what to say to a friend who is struggling, and what if you can’t have a baby?

  1. This is beautiful and so close to home. We’ve more or less given up and I’ve written and spoken about this very little discussed avenue, so others who’ve also made this devastating decision . So anyone facing what I call, infertility grief, feels less alone. I’m on insta for anyone interested. ngozi_chione x

  2. Rachel B says...

    Thank you for this post. Yesterday I got the news that my 3rd round was not successful. I am feeling so hopeless and alone. This makes me feel a little less lonely.

    • Ngozi says...

      ❤️ I’m so sorry. You are never alone in this.

    • Heather says...

      I’m so sorry, Rachel. I remember that feeling all too well: the hand-wringing hopelessness and despair after multiple unsuccessful attempts. You may feel alone, but you’re not. We’re all here and we’ve got you.

  3. Shawn says...

    This was me! 7 years ago. I distinctly remember my gyno telling me about my low AMH, 0.032 to be exact. She said, the train is leaving the station, it hasn’t left yet, but it is leaving soon.

    6 unsuccessful rounds of IUI, and then my second round of IVF gave me my son. A year after my son was born, we did another round of IVF which resulted in a twin pregnancy, which I miscarried. 1 year later at the age of 40, 5 years after my low AMH diagnosis, pregnant naturally.

    I never believed any of those types of stories would actually be me. Keep at it! Good luck. <3

  4. I have low AMH, too, and am almost crying just reading this! 9 years of marriage, almost 4 dealing with infertility, we had a failed IVF cycle this March where we only got 4 eggs, all fertilized and none made it to day 3. We’ve just read It Starts with the Egg and are pursuing improving egg quality and my low AMH and embryo adoption at the same time. Praying that we can finally grow our family!

  5. Carmen says...

    Let me start by saying, my heart goes out to this person. Conversations about infertility/miscarriages have been swept under the rug for too long, causing generations of women to feel shameful about it. I am happy to see these topics manifest in all my favorite blogs, news feeds, social media, etc. The community it’s created has connected so many women who are suffering in isolation.

    On the other hand, this post made me depressed. I was just telling my husband last night I’m starting to have “fertility anxiety.” I feel like I can’t go one day without reading about how someone is struggling to get pregnant and I’m starting to get really stressed out about this happening to me. Anyone else?

    I’m 31 and we want to have kids in a few years. It wouldn’t be bad if it happened now but we’re not ready and would like to wait. I’m healthly with no history of infertility in my family. Plenty of my friends and coworkers have had kids through their late 30s-40 with no problems so I try to tell myself to relax. I don’t mind being an older parent.

    I don’t know if I should just chill out and wait like I want to. Or maybe, more people than I think struggle with infertility and I should start now just in case?! Is it media distortion or a legit concern? My friends who all got pregnant 10 years ago love to tell me my eggs are dying every second! I’ve got an angel and devil on my shoulder, shouting in both ears. Can’t come to a conclusion on what to do.

    • Jennifer says...

      If you are worried, I would make a doctors appt and discuss getting a fertility assessment. Knowledge is power. For some reason we are not really taught this explicitly, but women’s fertility decreases exponentially from age 35 onward. Im not saying this as a scare tactic…this is just science. https://m.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Gynecologic-Practice/Female-Age-Related-Fertility-Decline?IsMobileSet=true

      This doesn’t mean women can’t get pregnant in their mid 30s (plenty of women do) but egg quality decreases and there is increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities. Unfortunately due to biology, women are born with a set # of eggs at birth and quality of those eggs decreases between 32-37 and especially afterwards. I put off having children til now (I’m 36 years old and am pregnant with my first child currently.)

      Every woman is different. I got pregnant by accident and decided to keep the pregnancy bc I’ve always wanted to be a mother but never had a stable relationship til now. I was prepared to possibly never have biological children (bc I don’t have the resources to pursue IVF and also did not think I’d want to be a single mother even if I did).

      I wanted to freeze my eggs in my early 30s but then found out with some research that it costs upward of $10,000 to do so (not to mention ~$800/year to maintain them frozen)…and this not an option for me.

      You can either leave it up to chance and wait and see what happens when you are ready/or in a position to try getting pregnant or find out what your ovarian reserves are now or decide to freeze your eggs (if you can afford it)…and give yourself some time/options so you are in a less time/pressure-sensitive situation down the road.

      I don’t mean to be insensitive to women struggling with infertility…or sounds absolutely heartbreaking and I am educating myself more by reading and listening to the experiences of others. But sometimes I also wonder why ppl are shocked when they are faced with possible infertility in their 40s. Women are not able to be fertile indefinitely.

      I really wish I had learned earlier more about the scientific facts about fertility (and this is coming from a medical health professional! I’m a PA!) and had a better understanding of how expensive reproductive technology was when I was younger in my 20s…not everyone has the financial resources to even make the choice of utilizing egg freezing technology, IUI, or IVF.

      It’s unfair but like I said I truly believe knowledge is power. It’s totally legit to delay childbearing until your 30s or 40s but I think many women don’t realize doing so potentially makes it harder to get pregnant down the line until the problem is already upon them. You may not have a problem being an older parent but that’s contingent on the fact that you can get pregnant and carry a child to term.

      I think if it’s something you are truly anxious about, it’s worth opening a conversation with your primary care doctor to see what your options are. The stories that ppl are coming forth with reveal that more ppl struggle with infertility than you may realize.

      Best of luck to you!

    • Leah says...

      Honestly, if you’re concerned, go to a doctor and take an AMH blood test. It’s not foolproof- lots of infertile couples don’t have an issue with AMH- but it will give you an indication of your ovarian reserve.

  6. Erin says...

    Much love to you and your husband Jessica! Low AMH here as well, at age 34. Six unsuccessful IUIs, one unsuccessful IVF and one successful round with our only embryo:) Feel free to ask any questions if you like: it can be so lonely. I am thinking of you!

    • Jessica Olien says...

      Thanks so much! I’m so glad to hear you had luck! Just read this comment to my husband x

  7. Lauren says...

    We’ve been trying for 10 months. Low AMH, two rounds of letrozole, two IUIs, no success. I have what is called “pre-unexplained infertility.” But once we reach a year, it will just be infertility, and when we get there, we will start a first round of IVF. I’m only 31. No one thinks they will be the unsuccessful statistic, and I think I’m still in shock that I am one of those people. I’m lucky that we still have the option — both financially and medically — to do IVF, and my fertility doctor is absolutely confident it will work, but I feel so alone. Thank you for sharing this and helping me not feel so alone in this journey.

    • kate says...

      Hi Lauren! I am just randomly reading these comments and want you to know that you are definitely not alone! I was diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” at 31 and it is so, so hard. IVF can really beat you down – both physically and emotionally – and I feel for you, and the road you have ahead. There are so many other women out there going through the same thing and I really hope you find one of them and hold them tight. My “IVF friends” are some of the best I have ever made and got me through the hardest of days. XO.

    • Lia says...

      This is a late comment I know, but after having a child at 28 (after getting pregnant instantly), we tried for a second and tried…and tried… eventually was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve and a very low AMH. The fertility doc we saw first was pretty grim about our prospects despite my relative youth (31). We considered fertility treatments, but ultimately decided against them because of the cost and the low probability of success, and because we had already had a child. Lo and behold, months later, after we had mentally moved on and were happy as a family of three I got pregnant naturally…with twins. Shock of my life… I am so grateful for them, and while the journey was not fun, I learned a lot and have a much stronger sense of compassion for families dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss. Another weird thing – I am 100% convinced that gardening is what helped me conceive, as the spring before I got pregnant I was obsessed with my little garden and derived so much joy and happiness from tending my plants (all my grief was channeled into furious digging, and I nurtured those plants with all my raging maternal instincts). I think the garden gave me the peace and relaxation I needed to conceive. Can’t prove it, but even my husband is convinced. Best wishes to all those out there trying.

  8. Allison says...

    My wife and I started the process of having children about a year and a half ago. She was 36 at the time and I was 30 and we had planned to do IUI and have her carry the pregnancy with the idea that perhaps I would do so for a second child later on. We found out very quickly, that she had premature ovarian failure (which is a term in desperate need of a rebrand). So we wrapped our minds around doing IVF. This would mean using my eggs and putting the embryos in her uterus to carry the pregnancy, which was still a strong desire that she held. We later found out that I would have needed to use IVF of my own accord as my body does not ovulate well on its own. Because of this, my uterine lining doesn’t easily develop and so carrying a pregnancy might be more challenging. It was like a very sad modern Gift of the Magi situation.
    We did one round of IVF this past winter which yielded 3 healthy embryos. One did not take, one did not make it out of freezing in good condition and the third took and then miscarried a few weeks later. I did another egg retrieval in May and we are holding out hope that this round ends in a healthy pregnancy and child.
    I wanted to put this story out there because I wish I had heard more stories like it when we were starting down this unconventional path (and I was totally scanning COJ comments for any scrap I could relate to, which there were many). Infertility makes anyone feel so “othered,” but I think even more so in the queer community. People say strange things like, “so you’re the egg donor and she is the surrogate…” which is an odd way of minimizing each of our roles and not something that I think is as likely to happen with a straight couple using donor eggs and sperm. The list of foolish comments is long and maybe better suited to a comic!
    While this is not the path we set out to take, it has gifted us with a deep gratitude to one another. On a deep level, we each would not get very far with this process on our own and the fact that we each are capable of providing what the other needs is rather miraculous. On a day to day level, we can complain about shots and ultrasounds and bloodwork to one another and actually have the other one understand what it’s like. Regardless of the outcome, this has brought a deep togetherness into our marriage unlike anything else could have.
    I think parenting is full of curve balls for everyone, some of us get them before we are even parents, or we get them without ever becoming parents. I think a key part of what defines a parent is choosing to show up for whatever comes, even when it is so different from what you imagined.

    • Jessica says...

      This is a beautiful comment, thank you.

  9. Carmen says...

    Thank you so much for sharing! I was also diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve when I was 30, and my husband and I spent the following 3 years in and out of fertility clinics. The whole process was maddening and crushing and OMG so expensive! It is difficult for people who don’t have first-hand experience with infertility to understand how hard it really is. There were a lot of unhelpful/hurtful comments, but what helped was having friends who would listen and validate my feelings. Sometimes the best thing you can say to someone is “I’m so sorry. That really sucks.” I’m almost 35 now, and with the help of an egg donor we now have a spunky, adorable one year old little girl. The struggle to build a family was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced, but I would do it all over again. Big hugs to everyone, and good luck on your own journeys!

  10. d says...

    Virtual hugs to everyone!
    My husband and I cannot conceive, he is not fertile and sadly he was always the one dreaming of having kids, even more than I did. We gave it a go for two years and then we got the bad news.
    So we sat down at a nice cocktail bar one evening and had a brief, warm and honest conversation about our predicament.

    We were both in (or approaching) our 40s, he travelled abroad every other week and I was struggling with a (undiagnozed) depression and a lack of support system that weighed heavily on my shoulders, as we lived abroad and far away from our friends and family.
    The above also made adoption procedures near impossible. I mean, I would have to turn up to those meetings on my own and it was not the way I wanted this to be.
    Early on and even before we got married I had also expressed my dislike for IVF, medical procedures, hormone therapies and all the picking and poking and the medications and the endless doctor’s appointments.
    I know it works for other people and I am glad to see so many others find success in this way and welcome kids in their life, but I had decided early on that it was not something I wanted or that I could cope with.
    Besides, to this day, he can hardly keep a dentist’s appointment without having to reschedule it 3 times due to his very hectic, unpredictable and stressful job.
    We did not want our infertility to put an unbearable stress on our shoulders and ruin us emotionally and financially.
    So we decided this was not for us. Do I feel guilt? Sometimes. Do I feel bad when people imply we should have kept trying by any means necessary? Sometimes, I do.
    But then I realize that at least we were honest with ourselves and did not allow social pressure to dictate how or why we would make such significant decisions.
    We have since learned to heal and nurture each other, to comfort and talk to each other and I would not trade this for anything in the world.

    • C says...

      Thank you for this, I needed to hear this today. <3

    • Soooo beautiful. These are the narratives that I need to hear. Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. Raphaelle says...

    Oh, how I relate to the “unhelpful advice”. I heard it all during my 6 I.V.F.s (Try to relax, stop thinking about it, eat more of this, eat less of that, etc). I loved advice grounded in data though (I’m a scientist) (ie, trying acupuncture, baby aspirin, etc), but the “just relax” people… I wanted to scream.
    My message to you: Don’t lose hope! My miracle baby was my 6th I.V.F., after 5 yrs of trying and I would do it all over again. He’s 6 now, and then just last week, the adoption agency I opened a file with, 8 yrs ago, called me with the news of a baby girl. I couldn’t go through with it, I am now divorced and my family situation has changed, but the point is, there are multiple ways of becoming a mother to a child. During all those years of trying, I felt like a mother without a baby. It’s cruel, it’s painful, and it’s unfair. What we go through during those years is devastating. But there is hope. Whether it’s fertility treatment or adoption, the roads can lead to motherhood, if your heart is open to both possibilities. I wish for your dream to come true and I will keep you in my thoughts. Xoxo

    • S says...

      I agree… They should try trying to relax while spending thousands and thousands (more like $15-30,000) for a medical intervention that isn’t guaranteed!! For something many can do for free. Not easy, not realistic, and not grounded in data. Like I need another thing (being stressed about having normal feelings) to feel guilty about… Thanks for sharing. Thanks for the encouragement!

  12. Amy says...

    Oh man. Thank you so much for this. I’m 30, have been trying to get pregnant for 2 years and just TODAY was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve. This journey has been so tough in every way but I am so grateful for my husband and for the amazing, supportive community out there. I’m not sure what our life will look like either but I know we will be ok. We have each other. Thank you to each and every one of you for sharing your journey. I’m having one of the worst days of my life but your stories have lifted me up and made me feel less isolated. Take care everyone, we got this. Xo

    • Ngozi says...

      Hope so much that you’re feeling better Amy. I feel like I know “those days” of crushing grief and sorrow. Sending love and light … Amazingly, we do really laugh again (eventually).

  13. Kathryn says...

    I hope you reclassify this as motherhood, not design. Fighting to build a family is a deeply maternal act, and if for some reason it does not happen for this couple, this is still part of her motherhood journey.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh of COURSE! that was an editing error. it was a motherhood post on motherhood mondays, and i had meant to categorize it as motherhood for sure. thank you so much, kathryn!

  14. Heather D says...

    My 10+ relationship with infertility was not pretty. How much money did I spend on pregnancy tests in bulk from Amazon? How often did we rob the joy from sex knowing it was only because I was ovulating? It is a heartbreaking affair that I wouldn’t wish on any other woman.
    But, my bright spot – adoption. We decided to adopt via foster care and leave the constant painful reminders of my uncooperative body behind us. Just two weeks ago we welcomed our forever boy into our home, a precious, spunky 4 year old who needed us as much as we did him.

    • Jessica says...

      Now THIS is a bringing-up-adoption reply I can get behind! CONGRATULATIONS!
      – for letting yourself off the hook about your body.
      – for finding your child!
      – for becoming a parent!
      Yay for you! All the applause hands in the world for your new family!

  15. April says...

    Wow. I really felt like I was reading my story in this. My husband and I married when I was 34 and he was 36. We started trying to conceive just a couple of months before the wedding and month after month my period would show up. I was also diagnosed with low ovarian reserve. And I recognize those supplements! DHEA, Ubiquinol, etc. I took the lot! We were very lucky that IVF (ICSI) worked for us. Expecting a baby girl at the end of August. I’m wishing her the very best. She’s not alone in all of those feelings. I’m so glad she has a supportive and wonderful husband.

  16. Anna says...

    I am going through the same thing myself and this is so accurate. Thank you for this. Hugs to everyone needing one right now!

  17. Heather says...

    The timing of this is perfect and just what I needed today. Thank you.

  18. liz says...

    Friendly reminder here that deciding to have kids is not the same thing as “starting a family.” You likely already have a family. Two adults can be a family. A bunch of weirdly close roommates can be a family. People without kids have a family. Not all families have children. Phrasing it that way implies everyone without kids (by choice or otherwise) can’t/don’t/won’t have families.

    • Becky says...

      Yes! Thank you!

    • Jessica says...

      Oh I agree! I don’t think I said trying for a family, just that we were trying for kids!

    • Leah says...

      I see where you’re coming from- families can take all different forms- but in this context I don’t think it’s a fair criticism. For infertile couples, “starting a family” is a pretty common euphemism for “when we decided to have unprotected vaginal sex with the intention of procreation”. I think you should let people who are sharing their experiences with this sensitive, stigmatized issue use the words they want without nitpicking.

  19. Melissa says...

    My wife and I have been married for almost 5 years and went through several rounds of IUI with a miscarriage sprinkled in there. I second the comments I’ve seen about the need for a deeper discussion about this among queer couples or couples that need egg or sperm donors. The cost of IUI and IVF is astronomical as-is, then factor in the cost of potential “specimen” each time. Not to mention how stressful timing becomes in these circumstances. For example, through the California Cryobank (one of the most well-regarded banks in the US) You have to pick the specimen up between 9:30-4 during the week, although the cryobank is open for calls at 6:30. Then you have to ensure you are picking it up within 5 days of ovulating etc.

    I’ll leave it at that, but it really becomes such a stressful experience and at the end of the day feels like you are burning money. Add this to your existing infertility woes and it’s ROUGH.

  20. Lauren says...

    What is going on in our society if we are “surprised” by infertility at 37?

    I understand that this is in no way an emotionally-supportive comment, but this post reminded me that there is such a stark misalignment between the fact that we have a large body of data charting fertility rates and yet our generation constantly thinks that the statistics will not apply to us.

    Careers, relationships, travel and social opportunities are all moving at such a different pace. The misalignment between social factors and biological factors huge and often insurmountable. No one is to blame.

    I do think at a systems level, we are really struggling to figure out how to talk about this divide in a non-offensive way. I’d love to hear what other women think.

    • Jessica says...

      Please inform me of what statistics point to drastically increased infertility between 35 and 40? Do you know the time period of the dataset?
      In a quality study of MODERN women who are trying to conceive, among women aged 27-34, as many as 86% conceived within a year of trying. For women between 35 and 40? 82% conceived. A SHOCKING decline. (insert eye-roll emoji here)
      Quite a few of the basic statistics on fertility are based on 17th century French data that is not only – obviously! – outdated, but also may be biased by the fact that older women at that time were actively trying not to conceive.
      So please, share your data!
      Of course, in the end, I get the feeling that you are maybe edging towards the idea that our society should make it easier to have a child when one is earlier in a career? I’m all for that! But please don’t repeat misinformation about fertility after 35. The decline has been grossly overstated. (After 40, however, well….)

    • Laura says...

      Agree.

    • K says...

      I dont know the statistics but I know that even amongst women I know age 35-40, a large percentage of them are able to conceive and have a child without any interventions (it’s not that rare!), and the studies often quoted in the news are outdated. I am still in the minority to have difficulty at age 36-37, and there are many who have difficulty under 35 too. It’s just not fair. Although I do agree that I wish our society made it easier to have a child and a career earlier, if that is your point. :)

    • Lauren says...

      Sure! The most recent study I was thinking of is actually a review article, Fertility and infertility: Definition and epidemiology published in Clinical Biochemistry in December 2018.

      The authors found that fertility rates were relatively constant across the world-wide populations included in the review, but the specific chart I had in mind (Fig. 2) did come from from a 2014 article in Human Reproduction that recreated a fertility curve using Age-of-Last birth data across multiple large databases spanning multiple countries and centuries. And I hear you about overblown data (2014 was a big year for that debate) but I also did not quote a drastic decline after 35, I quoted a misalignment between data and expectations.

      And I think we completely agree that these statistics depend on specific definitions, and data quality, and on so many other factors that the merits can be debated for days. When it comes down to it, no one’s body cares at all what the charts say.

      But I do think your response also partially illustrates my point. We have a tendency to grasp so hard to a number (somewhere between 35 and 40) and we really want to believe that everything will be okay until then, and we find it offensive if anyone suggests that it might not be. But then it is a complete surprise when it is not? It’s just such a delicate conversation to have.

      There just seems to be some element of education missing to me. Exactly as you said, it would be so wonderful if we had a society that better supported childbearing at a younger age, and I feel like grasping at that last high-fertility year (or three) isn’t going to get us there.

      Link to article:
      https://www-sciencedirect. com.resources.library.brandeis.edu/science/article/pii/S0009912018302200#bb0075

    • Lauren says...

      And to use the data you gave, my point would be not the change at 35, but that when we are 37 we hear 82% and we naturally think, awesome, I’ll still most likely conceive.

      But another way to frame the same statistic is to think about you and 4-5 of your closest friends. One of you will have infertility. Then, for some reason, it seems more likely that it could be you. It’s just not the way we like to think about things.

    • Tracy says...

      Yes! In some ways I was “lucky” enough to have an underlying condition diagnosed young. When a (male) physician first told me that he “encouraged early family planning” in my mid-20’s, I was outraged. My first thought was, “How dare you tell me how to live my life around baby-making based on some statistic.” Single and career-focused, it just felt like a burden I was forced to carry.

      It’s hard to say how this information influenced my behavior over the next decade, but now I can truly say that I appreciate the doctors honesty. In some ways it was a blessing to be able to find a partner and have a conversation about the possibility of infertility before marriage. There were less years of picturing our “perfect” future, and instead a mutual openness to the unknown and a bond built over our ability to handle it together.

      Isn’t that all life really is, anyway?

    • Leah says...

      Just piping in with a note of support for Lauren’s comment.

      Also – there is a difference between “conception” and “live birth” data. It is far more likely for women over 35 to suffer miscarriages than younger women.

      Lots of women get pregnant easily at 37, but lots of women do not.

      When we started trying to conceive, I was 31 – in my urban, expensive area, that’s on the young side. We had such trouble, but then I’d meet these women who were 39-40 and they’d talk to me like we were the same. Premature ovarian failure is different than simply age-related infertility.

      I count myself as really lucky. Not only did I meet the person I wanted to have children with at 29, I also knew enough about age-related infertility to have frank conversations with my partner, who was more reluctant to start trying to conceive than me. When we started having trouble, I realized that, had we waited a few more years, our chances of success might have been much lower. TBH, I don’t know that our relationship would have survived.

      No part of me thinks young women should be pressured to start families, and I really encourage everyone to follow their own paths. But I do think some awareness of how fertility rates decline with age is really important, especially for women who want children.

      We want people to be able to make educated decisions about their futures – if we’re educated, as painful as an education can be – we are empowered.

    • Leah says...

      Adding some clarification: I’ve thought long and hard about the circumstances in which a woman might find herself trying to start a family at 40 – or even later! – and I can totally see how it happens.

      Sometimes, conversations about age-related infertility are so loaded, they can come across as accusatory, like if you’re older and struggling, you’ve somehow brought it on yourself. I think because there are so many BS conceptions of what women “should be” or what their lives “should” look like. It’s almost like, for some, if you don’t meet someone by 22 and start trying to have a baby by 25, you are flawed as a woman.

      I’ve encountered people who think like that, and I think their priorities are whacked.

      Setting up a life and getting to a point where you are ready to start trying to have a child (if that’s what you want!) can take a few years. Sometimes, you’re in bad relationships, or you change careers, or you encounter misfortune, or whatever. All sorts of things happen to people. And, of course, when you’re in the thick of it, the last thing you want to hear is: “Don’t wait too long to start trying for a baby.”

      But, as someone who has been through the grind and uncertainty of infertility treatments, women should know. They should be aware. This is a real thing that happens to people, and the older you get, the more likely it is. Don’t think about your own ideas of what a woman “should be”, or what your life “should look like”, just think about what, exactly, you want, and do your best to get it.

    • Katie says...

      sure lots of women get pregnant at different ages, but age is 100% the strongest predictor of success.

      if anyone wants easy-to-interpret data, some hospitals make public their IVF success rates by age

      https://cle.clinic/2KL1Cxv

  21. Sarah B says...

    I too experienced unexplained infertility years ago. I did successfully have one child (would’ve liked two, but wasn’t in the cards.) I’m not wanting to give unsolicited advice, but posting here for those reading the comments & going through it now. My new doctor has done a ton of research on thong underwear & she is convinced that there is a strong link between unexplained infertility & wearing thong underwear. I haven’t looked into this further because I am no longer in that life stage, but she also recommends women entering peri-menopause/menopause not wear thongs. I guess infections etc. can happen, that don’t really show symptoms, but can effect ph etc. I’ve stopped wearing thongs. Obviously I understand that there are much bigger issues that a lot of women are facing, but for me, it was just unexplained. All test results came back “normal.” I definitely would’ve tried switching undies to help. My doc has anecdotes of women who’ve had to undergo rounds of antibiotics to clear up issues they weren’t aware of (causing a hostile environment) and were then able to get pregnant. I don’t want to downplay the larger issues, but I know I was desperate for info/options/answers when we were trying to get pregnant. Maybe this will help someone!?

  22. Maggie says...

    Thank you for sharing this. I’m currently dealing with severe endometriosis and a low egg count. I’m in a limbo phase of waiting to see if my husbands new insurance will maybe, partially cover any of IVF. If not, we are taking the IVF journey by the horns. I was told I needed to probably do 2 rounds to be able to pull enough viable eggs.

    I had a client once tell me, “I’m surprised that you’re having trouble getting pregnant.” As a Pilates instructor, I guess I’m supposed to be perfect.

    I’ve recently started going to therapy for the first time. I have found it so helpful to talk to someone. Especially someone who isn’t directly invested in my outcome. I read somewhere that the grief you feel when you are dealing with infertility is similar to grieving a death. But instead its a death of the person you thought you were. That really helped validate my feelings.

    • K says...

      That is helpful to hear about the grief of infertility compared to death. Thanks for sharing. In case your insurance doesn’t cover, have you heard of some of the lower cost IVF clinics in the US? (Still cheaper than most places when you include the cost of travel) CNY, New Directions, etc. There seem to be more and more cropping up that have great reviews. Just sharing in case people didn’t know… I thought IVF was out of the question (or was super stressed about the cost) until I found out about those more reasonable (although still $ but more manageable!) options. Best wishes and that is frustrating people say that! I’ve found therapy helpful too.

  23. AJ says...

    My partner and I have been married for six years and are a point in our lives when children may enhance them. But, I’ve also been diagnosed with a medical condition which may make carrying a pregnancy difficult.

    I really resonate with this post as a result. It’s the difference between thinking, imagining, acting, and doing. All of which we undertake in our journey to become parents.

    I know that my partner and I will figure out the type of parents and partners we are — biological, adoptive, borrowed, aunt and uncle, etc. I don’t know yet which path we’ll take, but we’re in it together.

    • Barb says...

      This is a really beautiful way to think about it. I’m so happy you have each other.

  24. EvitaM says...

    Thank you!

  25. agnes says...

    This blog feels so much like a Home for all women; it truly is beautiful. I’m sending a hug to all of you and I am just feeling the sisterhood.

  26. Naomi says...

    I love this comic! Thank you so much for bringing it to Cup of Jo.

    About the “unhelpful advice”: I felt it too, when I was going through infertility. It rankled me so bad if anyone told me to “just not stress” about it. It felt like they were telling me to just do nothing, when I was ready to do anything and everything I could to become pregnant. It made me feel so painfully left out of the group of women in the world who become pregnant easily and naturally.

    However what I’m finally learning now, ten (!) years later, is about all the physiological effects of stress on the body. I finally understand how those effects would most likely have been severely interfering with my body’s chances of becoming pregnant. Bah!

    I wish wish wish that some kind soul had gently directed me to read up on it at the time.

    Would I have been ready to learn about it, in the midst of everything else going on then? Who knows!

    • Heather D says...

      If I heard “just don’t stress” one more time….. I swear I would have snapped! We ended up adopting from foster care and now all I hear is “Well so and so got pregnant after they adopted… just wait!” SHUT UP EVERYONE =D

  27. Anna says...

    I was 24 when my cycle stopped for a few months and started to gain weight. Happy, I went to my physician thinking I was pregnant but after examining me he said: “your ovaries look kinda small”. He ran tests and I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. Apparently, my ovaries shrank, my AMH was low, my estrogen low, my TSH through the roof. Nobody knows the cause, they said, and it cannot be reversed, but we do know you need estrogen. For 2 years I took pills and injections hoping for a follicle with an egg inside, but it never happened. Due to all the hormones my body changed drastically, and I gained 30 kg.
    On the outside, my partner and I had a long relationship, and everyone was asking us when the baby is coming, what are we waiting for… I also had to deal with everyone judging me for getting fat, thinking I eat too much and telling me how once upon a time I was so hot and beautiful. After 3 years of therapy, my doctor (sitting behind a desk pregnant at 50 years old) told me I probably have no eggs and cannot get pregnant, but I can try egg donation. Shortly after, my partner and I broke up so for a long time I had nobody to make a baby with…
    Mentally, it took a toll on me: it’s like you are this happy beautiful girl in love and fast forward 3 years you have 30kg+ and your doctor diagnoses you infertile and your partner breaks up with you. I still have so much self-hatred for being born in this world with a fault. So now I am 35 years old and I don’t know what future brings…

    • Hannah says...

      Anna,

      I don’t know you, but we share a journey. I know how hard it is to love yourself when your body is incapable of performing one of its most basic tasks. Day by day, you will start to love the rest of you – just listen to it and nurture it. (Honestly, I started with my fingertips, just went outside and held a blade of wet grass in my hand and savored the feeling for what felt like an eternity.) And some day, you will come to love your faults, too, and know that it was a part of you and a part of your journey.

      Sending you lots of love and healing thoughts today.

    • Jennifer says...

      Hello Anna (and Hannah) thank you for sharing. I have not been through what you are both going through..but, I do know that being able to conceive while seemingly effortless and simple for some people is an extremely intricate process requiring many steps (each of which have to be timed perfectly along the way)…it’s a miracle that anyone can get pregnant! I know it’s not easy to view it this way, but I hope that you can be gentle with yourselves and not view it as a failure of womanhood or failure of your body or yourselves (although in no way am I trying to invalidate how you feel!). I just feel like it’s a false narrative that conception is simple and easy. If you learn the science behind it, it requires a complex balance of hormones and even if everything was “perfect” with your own body, there could be issues with sperm quality (“the male factor” as they call it -.-). I hope you have people in your lives who are loving and supporting you as you find your way through this and hope that you still can nurture self-care and love for yourselves. All the best.

    • Sadie says...

      Hannah, I’m not dealing with infertility right now (21 and not looking to get pregnant) but I am dealing with another health problem that’s had me pretty down for the count. Your advice to Anna is so beautiful to me I had to screenshot it. I think anyone struggling with anything in their body could learn something from that little bit of wisdom.

  28. Nigerian Girl says...

    Sending tons of strength and lots of love to all who need them. I’m saying a prayer for everyone who is dealing with infertility and everyone whose life looks significantly different from what they would have preferred. May your heart’s desires be yours. May the future be kind to you.

    @Cup of Jo, Thanks for creating this safe space and having this important conversation. Infertility is a big issue in my country as well. We don’t talk about it openly, mostly because there are so many superstitious, cultural and religious beliefs tied to it – with women getting the short end of the stick. We have so much to unlearn. I hope someday we’ll get to a point where people are free to share their stories so they can feel less alone. These kinds of secrets only lead to ignorance and pain.

  29. This made me tear up. All so relatable, especially that unhelpful advice not to stress. I cannot count the number of people who told me if I weren’t so stressed, I’d magically get pregnant. (In contrast, I had a lovely friend once rage that women got pregnant in war zones, so stress probably wasn’t the culprit.) I finally did manage to get pregnant during one of the most stressful periods of my life–adjusting to living in a new country while grieving the death of my father. For all those women out there being proscribed deep breathing, yoga, and essential oils, you can tell them I said to suck it.

    • Kelly says...

      infertility survivor here – i also found the advice to ‘not stress’ hilarious because when I started trying to get pregnant, I wasn’t stressed at all! And even at the beginning of medical interventions, I wasn’t that stressed. I only became stressed after all that stress-free time trying to conceive normally when I had to start ramping up the medical interventions. So, yes, telling people to ‘just relax’ is beyond rage-invoking.

  30. Liz says...

    Thank you for your story Jessica. It is beautiful and heartbreaking and I can only say I wish you and your husband on your journey. You are absolutely right whatever happens you have each other :)

    • Liz says...

      Sorry that should read wishing you all the best!

  31. Kristin says...

    Going through this now, all of it. No one understands, but by sharing—stuff like this post and in our daily lives—we push the needle toward compassion and understanding and away from shame and isolation. Infertility is not just about having to wait longer for a baby. It’s an enormous loss experienced many times over. It’s about universal human experiences like grief and helplessness and uncertainty and feeling left out. I think once people realize that people dealing with infertility are grieving, the closer we get to understanding how to support them.

  32. Julia says...

    This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Thinking of you.

  33. Emma says...

    Thank you for opening up conversation about such a difficult and seldom talked about topic in public. My husband and I also struggled with infertility. We were married for 2 years when we started trying. A year passed and I was diagnosed with PCOS. I tried Clomid for 5 months without success. Then my husband was unexpectedly diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and our attention shifted to his treatment and health. Blessedly, he achieved remission after 6 months of chemo and is nearing 3 years cancer free now! We resumed trying 2 years ago, this time with Femara and five IUIs, again with no luck. We ended up having a positive pregnancy test completely randomly, without any intervention, on Christmas Day 2018. We were absolutely over the moon — our little Christmas miracle. Unfortunately, I miscarried 2 weeks later and the devastation that follows ensued. I was most surprised by how after weeks had passed, I would feel back to myself one day, and then the next I would be filled with sadness again. Then in March, we met with a reproductive endocrinologist, ready to start IVF. The next week, I found out I was pregnant again, once again without any intervention. Words cannot describe the mixed emotion of excitement and trepidation that consumes you all at once. Even now at 16 weeks, after having several normal ultrasounds and genetic testing, there is not a day that goes by where part of me doesn’t worry. After so much struggle, it is so hard to trust that it might just work out. But one thing that has helped me is keeping perspective. My husband’s cancer diagnosed us drew us even closer together than I could have imagined and has made me realize what is most important to me in life. And when I start to worry about our future kiddos, I try and focus on the many blessings that I do have. Right now. In this moment. Because as Jessica says, “All I know is that we are in this together”.

    • Dee says...

      Hugs to you, thank you for writing this 💕

    • Erika says...

      Congratts Emma!! Couples that struggle with infertility focus on the many blessings we have, and yes!”all we know is that we are in this together”! Enjoy your pregnancy! Xoxoxo

    • Cheryl says...

      This stranger is crossing her fingers for you, saying a quick prayer and blessing your sweet little bundle from afar today. Miracles happen every day, why not for you?

  34. Gillian says...

    This couldn’t ring more true – same diagnosis, same helpful and unhelpful advice, same middle of the night anxieties, Internet wormholes and visioning of a future without kids. After year did trying and several early term losses, we lucked out with a second round of IVF and have two babes now but the isolation and grief I had for the many years we tried is something I will never forget. It’s so important for everyone to be able to feel like they can share these stories even if they choose to hold them close so thank for posting.

  35. Robin says...

    Sending love to everyone who has ever found the journey rockier than it seemed it could ever be back when we took pills every day and counted the days until our next periods for other reasons. Hugs.

  36. Lauren T. says...

    Thank you so much for sharing this and for your vulnerability and honesty <3
    It has come at a perfect moment for me, currently lying in the dark after a depression nap, trying to not worry too much about our fertility appointment tomorrow morning, where we will receive our test results. It’s taken several years and several miscarriages to get me to this point, and while there is always a glimmer of hope for now, there is also always this fear and deep unspoken grief by its side. Thank you for helping me feel seen, understood, and less alone on this very lonely path. I’m so grateful. Love to you all <3

  37. Ceciel says...

    Appreciate you sharing your story, Jessica. Sending love.

  38. H says...

    Thank you Cup of Jo team for opening up these conversations about infertility! I am a success story- my sweet girl conceived through IVF is asleep upstairs- but I still vividly remember the anxiety, stress, and isolation of the treatments. Something that I read that I found helpful: a study found that a diagnosis of infertility is emotionally as difficult to deal with as a cancer diagnosis. While fertility treatments typically don’t carry the same life/death risks of cancer, I found it very validating that the emotional toll was REAL.

    • Hannah says...

      I heard that too and felt exactly the same way. It was so good to haven the pain of infertility validated that way. I struggled with infertility for 3 years before finally conceiving my son. Amazingly I now have 3 children but I’ll always remember how painful it was not knowing if it would ever be

  39. Amanda says...

    Jessica, this is beautiful. Thank you.

    I’m in my first round of IVF now (after eight years of other fertility treatments — yes, I know we should have done this years ago). I had my egg retrieval last Wednesday, and find out tomorrow how many embryos made it to day five to be sent on for PGS testing and transfer next month. I’m of course reading fertility forums at all times that I’m not working.

  40. Maria says...

    You are not alone. We went through 5 years of infertility and 4 miscarriages before successfully having a child via IVF. I have friends who faced similar circumstances who chose adoption or to not have children. Remember all paths are valid, no matter the outcome. Sending you courage, patience, and confidence in whatever path you & your partner decide on.

  41. Sandhya says...

    A postscript to my earlier comment, for those trying to conceive outside IVF: I really recommend An Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant. The ovulation monitor she describes is incredibly helpful and takes away the guesswork.

  42. johanna says...

    I’m looking at my 2-year-old IVF baby right now, tearing up at the memory of what we had to endure to welcome him into the world. (Five failed IUI’s, a miscarriage, IVF and a failed FET over the course of 4 years before the second FET stuck.) Infertility (secondary infertility in our case – although getting pregnant with the first was also a 1.5 year odyssey) was all-consuming and isolating. Sending everyone facing their own unique journey lots of love and strength.

  43. EJ says...

    T, that is beautiful and powerful. Thank you. And thank you for sharing, Amanda. The vulnerability and love on Cup of Jo is inspiring.

  44. Alicia says...

    I’ve been through this hard topic myself – it is soo so hard. We did five years of treatment, and have an almost 3 year old boy now. The hardest thing for me, was that I wanted to know for sure – it will be ok. Our son has special needs- and both situations have taught me that we can’t know what will happen – we just have to be here and make the most of today. Thank you for sharing your story!

  45. Cynthia says...

    My heart goes out to all of you with infertility issues.

  46. Tiffany says...

    Thank you for this. I truly do appreciate and love my life, my interests, and my family/friends, but sometimes I feel overwhelmingly crippled by the fact that at 39, I still have not found my person/partner. I feel sad about not having children yet. However, I also strongly believe in not compromising who I am or forcing things to happen if they’re not meant to be. If I end up meeting my partner later in life and adopting instead, that is fine too. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t still terribly sad at times.

    • Jenn says...

      In the same boat here and feel the same feelings on all the above. Sending lots of love, Tiffany.

  47. H.C. says...

    STRONG agreement with what everyone else is saying regarding adoption comments. Just to add some things to consider – adoption costs a lot of money and can involve different but just as difficult hoops to jump through as infertility treatments. Many adoption options involve health requirements, age limitations, and a very high risk of heart break…..even for domestic adoption. Oh, and good luck with adoption if you’re queer in plenty of places across the country.

    Telling someone to consider adoption is so dismissive . While it may be well intentioned, so are all the people who say “just relax.” Relaxing has not helped me solve recurrent pregnancy loss caused by a clotting disorder.

    If someone opens up to you about their infertility take it as a compliment that they trust you and just listen and ask them what they need.

    Also I’d like to second Bridgette’s request on queer family building. I’m pretty lucky to be in a big city grappling with infertility as a queer lady, but there has definitely been extra work.

    • anon says...

      I would like to say that while a view of telling someone who’s been struggling with getting pregnant to adopt is so dismissive, it is also dismissive to tell a person who is going through adoption to try IVF. I’ve been there, people who don’t understand why I elected not to go through IVF, and instead adopted.

      Can we all agree that there is more than one or two ways to become a parent, and that offering up alternative/options doesn’t mean we are being dismissive about another choice?

  48. Mym says...

    I had five miscarriages. I do feel your pain.

  49. Laura says...

    After 4 consecutive miscarriages in one year, I’m 19 weeks pregnant with #2 (of course our first was conceived on the first try). I wish more people talked about secondary infertility. We waited awhile to try for #2, so even though I knew that it was possible that it would be harder to get pregnant, I had no idea that there was even a term for it.
    Now at 19 weeks, the lingering issue for me is not getting too attached to this pregnancy because I’m so aware of all the things that can go wrong. And I’m incredibly mad at infertility for taking away the joy that I should be feeling. I’m hoping I start to get more excited if the anatomy scan next week is good. But right now anyone who makes comments that imply that it’s a given that this pregnancy will result in a healthy child makes me very anxious.

    • Blandine says...

      Sending a lot of good vibes your way!

    • E says...

      Wow, your comment brings me back to when I was in a very similar position. I conceived easily with my first child and enjoyed my pregnancy with blissful ignorance. I went through a very difficult time to have a second (ended up using a donor eggs) and really never believed it would all work out throughout my entire pregnancy. I remember feeling sad that I wasn’t able to enjoy my pregnancy like my first. I remember cringing when people would announce their pregnancy early on, because I knew all to well that pregnancy did not always result in a baby. I want to tell you though, the amount of joy you will feel when you hold your baby for the first time is better than enjoying your pregnancy. It is MAGICAL. It was 100 x more magical than when I had my first child. Hang in there, it’s okay to be cautious.

  50. Ceridwen says...

    This is extremely beautiful. Love to everyone going through this or who have been through fertility uncertainty.

  51. Tricia Lahde says...

    Thank you, Jessica, for sharing your story with such grace and honesty. This was nearly identical to my own story. Sending you much love and a heartfelt hug.

  52. sometimes you just have to tell them to shut up says...

    I went through infertility too. I once watched someone struggling with infertility bite off someone’s head (she deserved it) after receiving one-too-many unhelpful comments. I watched in utter delight and then burst into tears (of relief) because I saw someone scream what I had been thinking all along. You are not alone.

  53. shelby says...

    Infertility is an emotional roller coaster that always has you teetering on the edge of hope or utter devastation. It taunts you with pregnant co-workers and friends. It makes you hormonal, angry, jealous, and robs you of your joy. It takes away the comfort you once felt from thinking “all will be well and work out.” It hardens you because on one hand, you feel so much, but on the other, it seems dangerous to feel anything at all. Any bodily symptoms or feelings become grounds for a never ending Google search. You spend endless amounts of money on doctor’s visits, supplements, and vitamins. Your poor partner has to provide a sample in a sad, gross room in a doctor’s office. You stop drinking coffee, but by year 3, you think “screw it,” I need this to keep me sane. Not to mention the loneliness. As Cheryl Strayed wisely said “acceptance is a small, quiet room.” Meanwhile, people innocently ask “have you ever thought of adoption?” or regale tales of their friends and acquaintances who became pregnant immediately after adopting, or standing on their heads after sex, or eating pineapple during ovulation, or JUST RELAXING. Because yes, that’s what I’ll do, just relax. Why didn’t I think of that? Oh God, but if I could…. Sometimes I think infertility is just insanity – watching the calendar, scheduling sex, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result (Einstein once said that was the definition of insanity itself), telling yourself that your breasts or sore and it must be implantation bleeding, but feeling complete and utter loss when your period comes and you have to keep pretending like you’re fine and a normal person even though you want to scream and cry and lose your shit, but you can’t because there’s work and your partner and life keeps going on. Plus, there’s always next month, right?

    • P.S. says...

      This 100% yes. So spot on. Thank you, Shelby.

    • Kate says...

      SO well-put! I’m having a particularly tough day and feeling so discouraged. Thank you for this, it sucks so much but is so helpful to feel less alone.

    • K says...

      Yes! So much of this is me! Glad to know im not alone…

    • Emily says...

      Wow. Thank you, Shelby. Perfect response to “so, how are things?”

    • Allie says...

      Shelby, I wish I could give you a hug for this! It’s all my feelings and then some. Just yes, yes, yes.

    • Meridith says...

      This is devastatingly accurate.

    • Anna says...

      This! It’s all so true! Thank you.

    • Marilyn says...

      I cannot say it any better! so so true :(

  54. Katie says...

    It really moved me today to see this. I’m only 31, and last year (when I was 30), I got a diagnosis of extremely low AMH and way-too-high FSH — to the point that all of doctors very quickly started throwing around terms like “donor eggs” and “it’s *possible* you might have a biological child” (the implication being that it’s very improbable). I honestly hadn’t even seen it coming — I was only 30 and had gone in for some blood tests because I have a shorter cycle and wanted to make sure nothing was wrong. We did a round of IVF and it didn’t work (none of the eggs got to the stage where they could be implanted), and are now starting to try ‘naturally’ because the fertility doctors have basically told us that donor eggs are the only other option they can offer is. It’s a really weird situation because I honestly was hoping to wait a couple of more years before starting, and knew that I did want at least one child but also really wasn’t ready to start yet…and now it feels like it’s only going downhill from here so we have to be ON IT NOW. Anyway, I just felt really glad to read the comic and the comics and to feel like I’m not the only one out there feeling this way.

  55. katie says...

    After 15 months of trying, charting, and a sperm test, this procedure also worked for me, immediately. Granted it has little to do with hormones/AMH, but if there is someone reading this article who may benefit from the information, I’m all for sharing. Those 14 months of trying were awful, and even when I did get pregnant it had zapped out all the joy of early pregnancy since by then I had read EVERYTHING and knew way too much about how common miscarriages actually are. I was blown away by how kind the nurse team was doing the procedure – my first glimpse into the amazingness of nurses.

  56. Cait says...

    Wishing you well, Jessica. That picture of getting re-dressed in the dark is especially moving.

  57. Leslie Morris says...

    I am sorry so many of you are going through this and wish positive outcomes for you. I have twins and have befriended some incredible women who also have twins. These women would not take no for an answer in trying to build their families and more than one has told me things along the lines of, “We’re paying off our college loans in addition to the cost of assisted reproduction. We live in a tiny rental. But we have our kids and that is worth everything.”

  58. A says...

    Always love stories that are ‘unconventional’ of what we deem is normal. So many people have some many different experiences. E.I. I never expected in a million years that I’d be pregnant at my wedding, but I was and it was great!

    Actually that would be a cute style / Motherhood Monday story – to feature weddings of prego brides :)

    A

  59. Cate says...

    The side of this that not a lot of people talk about are the women that want all these things (relationships, babies, marriage) and do not even get to try. I think sometimes that can be just as hard as trying can be. After many years of difficult, and failed relationships-no partner, no marriage, and probably no baby. It is almost like everything is all mapped out and basically decided for you without you controlling any of it. Spending years with someone, hoping they were the one, and thinking you would have time to make these choices, only to break it off after years. It is hard to meet someone, and it is even harder to watch things slip away from you that should be choices, but aren’t.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, i hear that and i see you, cate. thank you so much for commenting. xoxoxo

    • Bianca says...

      Exactly right, Cate!! I had a daughter at 40 via a sperm donor because I didn’t want to miss motherhood, but I am still single, and I continue to mourn the loss of a family in the way I always wanted and expected. My daughter is heavenly AND I miss the dream I had as a younger woman. I’ve heard of the situation described as “situational or social or circumstantial infertility”, all terms I relate to, despite being a parent now. My daughter’s birth healed the pain of not being a mom, but I still feel deep sadness about not experiencing parenthood with a partner, and not giving her a biological father.

    • Shari says...

      Cate, I love your comment. I am lucky enough to be a wife and mother but I know too many women who would be incredible partners to someone and who would be wonderful mothers but just cannot find someone of quality. I believe this is a big issue in our society that we should really be discussing. I would love to see a Cup of Jo post about this. Much love to you. It cannot be easy.

    • Taylor says...

      This reply really hit me, thanks for sharing. I feel you.

    • Ashley says...

      Yes Cate! Relate to your feelings exactly. Thanks for commenting x

  60. Emily says...

    These illustrations hit the nail on the head! My husband and I, too faced infertility rather unexpectedly. Our diagnosis was primarily male-factor, but I was shocked when my Dr. told me that I had an “alarmingly-low” egg reserve at age 32. Low-and-behold, we beat the odds and had a baby after four years of pregnancy test heartbreak, invasive exams, and one $30,000 round of IVF (with all the damn fixin’s), but I am not so naive as to dismiss the fact that we were INCREDIBLY lucky with that outcome. (And, BTW, our Plan B of living in wine country and raising mischievous wire-haired terriers still sounds lovely to me! I totally love my kid, but in hindsight realize that my life WAS fulfilling before. I lost site of my contentment while fixated on getting pregnant.)

    Anyway, my heart goes out to anyone going through this – seriously – ugh. I’ve been through some tough losses and setbacks in my life, and honestly think infertility was the hardest. These days, I volunteer-mentor women going through similar experiences to mine. I’d encourage anyone to check out Fruitful and ShineFertility (I think I might have even learned about them here on COJ).

  61. SN says...

    There are so many tired assumptions, odd expectations and unsaid truths when it comes to women, couples, fertility, pregnancy and parenthood. My own journey doesn’t matter much here — but as someone who is currently 7+ months pregnant, I find myself furious and upset about the things people say to me on behalf of all women whose journeys might look for feel differently than the ‘easy’ or ‘typical’ journey that is the perceived norm. The only way to combat this is to share stories and speak out. So thank you for doing that — and being vulnerable about such a private matter in a public way. You are brave.

  62. K says...

    So much talent and therapy in this cartoon.

  63. R. says...

    From someone currently going through IVF, THANK YOU so much for posting this. Infertility has been the most painful and isolating experience of my life. I’m a 29-year-old marathon runner in perfect health and I never saw this coming! Turns out I have severe endometriosis despite never having had any symptoms. I just had my egg retrieval on Friday and woke up crying from the pain and just the overwhelm of it all. Now we have 12 embryos growing in the lab and next month, hopefully, we’ll put one of them back in! It’s a rollercoaster.

    • Rachel says...

      R. I feel all these hills and bumps with you. Severe endo with no symptoms. I’m a runner/cyclist/equestrian with good health. It was such a slap in the face. I felt so insulted. How, why and when had my body betrayed me so utterly? I’m still processing and trying to figure what to do. A bit more urgency at 38…I wish you luck and inner peace. Channel your inner kick ass marathon runner mentality..you’ve got this!

  64. Grace says...

    This is my life now. The story couldn’t have come at a better moment, to make me feel less alone. Thank you COJ.

    I’m wondering, does anyone here have online (or in NYC) support groups that they’ve found helpful? I have supportive friends but it’s hard sometimes when it’s not someone who’s gone through something similar.

    • R. says...

      I like reddit.com/r/infertility, and also a Facebook group called IVF Support Group. Resolve’s in-person groups are also supposed to be good but I haven’t gone yet!

    • Lisa says...

      Dcurbanmom.com (a Washington DC based forum) has a whole sub forum on fertility issues. Other parts of the forum can be really catty, but generally the fertility forum is helpful and supportive (although all anonymous, so good for asking embarrassing questions).

    • Jennifer Wasser says...

      Yes! I joined a closed Facebook group and it’s kept me sane and supported for nearly two years. Most of the women are based in the NYC/Long Island/New Jersey areas. I also have become good friends with someone who started out as a mentor through the Fruitful organization.

      If you’d like further information please feel free to message me directly. Hang in there!

    • Saba says...

      I found the Matt & Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure podcast (found via this blog) and Facebook groups a supportive community. And sometimes there will be in person meetups in a city.

    • Meghann says...

      I’m in DC, but found some groups through my fertility clinic and others through local yoga studios that had “fertility yoga.” There is a national organization that has local support chapters, resolve.org. I’ve also heard of fruitful fertility, which is an online mentoring/support network. My love and strength to you (and anyone who needs it) as you go through this journey. You are not alone. xo

    • J says...

      Warriors on FB has been tremendously helpful. Definitely look to join the group.

    • LS says...

      I go to a Resolve support group, and it’s been a really positive experience. Funnily enough, we started going for my benefit but I think it’s wound up being even more important for my husband’s mental health. I also talk to friends and family and go to therapy – he keeps everything close to the chest. He doesn’t even talk much at the group, but in private he tells me how much it helps to hear other partners describe having similar emotions.

      One thing that sticks out: when I had an ectopic pregnancy, he was my rock. He held me and supported me and showed so much strength when I was scared and falling apart. But as soon as my physical and mental health were stable, he fell apart and finally processed his own feelings. At Resolve we learned that is incredibly common.

      Also, we bitch about how infertility ruins sex a lot. ;-)

  65. KMD says...

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful comic (feels strange to call it that!). I truly appreciate the infertility content on this blog–infertility isolation is a real thing, but it feels a bit easier to bear when it is “seen” by other women. My heart goes out to Jessica and her husband.

    My husband and I got married at 28, and thought we had all the time in the world to build a family. Indeed, my doctor told me, “There’s no rush, just stop taking your pill and start taking a prenatal when you’re ready!” My husband and I enjoyed our first five years of marriage, built financial and career foundations, bought a house, and started trying for a baby at age 33. I charted my cycles and knew pretty quickly that something was off. Thankfully, a different doctor offered to check my AMH to put my mind at ease–but then it came back “very low.” I immediately was referred to a reproductive endocrinologist, who told me IVF was my only option if we wanted more than one child. In the meantime, I miraculously became naturally pregant twice, but had early miscarriages each time due to chromosomal issues. When we finally did move on to IVF it was a spectacular failure–my ovaries had no response to the drugs whatsoever. We did new tests, and my AMH was now “undetectable” and my FSH at the level of a menopausal woman. They told us we could try IVF again, but it would have a very low chance of success and likely cost us all of our savings, not to mention the physical and emotional toll it would exact.

    It did not take us long to decide that we would move to donor eggs instead. We were ready to be done with the sadness and longing of infertility, and ready to just have our family already! Our donor did her egg retrieval in March, and I am now 11 weeks pregnant with our baby boy. Of course, I am still wracked with anxiety that something will happen to this pregnancy, too, but I’m trying to get past that. We also have 4 frozen “normal” embryos for future pregnancies.

    I will be 36 when this baby is born. These past three years have been the hardest of my life, as I’ve watched nearly all of my friends have first, then second children, and have felt so stuck in place. I had to remove myself from social media entirely. But, now I am in such a place of hope. As soon as I became pregnant I had no doubt that this baby was “mine,” as I am growing it inside of me every day. So many in the infertility community resist donor gametes. I hope in my childrens’ lifetimes the conversation concerning donors will be brought out of the shadows and normalized. To me, using a donor feels like moving toward the light and happiness.

    Sending so much love to all dealing with the evil beast that is infertility.

    • R. says...

      Congrats to you, from a fellow IVF warrior!

    • Margaret says...

      We dealt with infertility for years before finally conceiving our son through IVF. He is so, so worth all of the waiting and trouble. Now he’s a toddler and we are trying to have another, but have had an ectopic and a miscarriage. The grief is real, but for me it doesn’t compare to the really dark ears before my son was born, when we wondered if we’d ever have a child at all. I hope you get to experience motherhood too, in whatever way becomes possible for you! Best of luck, and thank you for sharing your story.

    • Rachael says...

      Thinking of you and sending you the very best wishes for your pregnancy x

    • Katie says...

      This one made me tear up!!!

    • Emily Seidler says...

      What a heartfelt, beautiful post. Thank you for sharing- thrilled for you and your pregnancy <3

    • Meg says...

      We have two children conceived with donor eggs (the oldest is 10). For me, it was the best decision and nothing has made me happier. I’m still marked by the trauma of infertility and miscarriage—but actually having my kids in my life? Amazing.

  66. Emily says...

    Never commented before but realize now how much comfort I get from reading about other women facing the same thing. I just turned 39 last week and my due date was a week before that. Sadly, we had to terminate the pregnancy at 20 weeks because our baby was not going to survive after birth. I now feel stuck helplessly between the grief of that loss and total fear I will not get pregnant again and if I do, something else will go wrong. Its a gut-wrenching place to be. I don’t really know how to be…hope that things work out? Do the hard work of coming to terms with not having a child? The monthly churn of emotions feels utterly draining. Meanwhile, yes…everyone seems pregnant.

    • Laura says...

      I wish I could give you a hug. Sending love and hope from a complete stranger in Nova Scotia. XOXO

    • alice says...

      That sounds hard, Emily.
      Sending you love xxx

    • NN says...

      I can’t imagine how painful that must have been, and still be, for you. Sending you so much love.

    • Jessica says...

      So sorry to hear about your difficult journey Emily. I can fully empathize. We had to make the decision to end our pregnancy after finding out late in the game (27 weeks) he had a chromosomal syndrome not compatible with life. I worried all the same things you did (we had 2 miscarriages previously). I felt emotionally ready and determined to try right away, and three months after losing our son, we conceived again. This time, all went well and I recently delivered a healthy baby girl. I’m not going to give you the unhelpful platitude “don’t worry it’ll happen for you”. What I will warm you about is prepare yourself for a stressful pregnancy if it does happen. You think once you get pregnant again all will be well, but it’s so hard to relax. Do try your best to relax and not obsess. After losing a child, it’s hard not to relive all those fears in the next pregnancy. We did NIPT genetic screening in our next pregnancy, which gave us a good result. In hindsight though, i wish we had done CVS to know for sure, because I was worried the whole pregnancy something might be wrong again. Do your research on what kind of screening and diagnostics will make you feel most comfortable. All the best to you, wishing you strength along your journey.

    • Michaela says...

      I am so sorry for your loss Emily. Sending you a big hug.

    • Emily Seidler says...

      Heartbroken for you. As a fertility specialist, this is the hardest part of the job by far. So very sorry for such a loss. Sending hope and warm thoughts your way xx

  67. S says...

    Going through this now too. Had my two daughters with relative ease at 28 and 32, but at 35, I have had 4 losses this year and my Amh numbers are low. I’m meeting with a fertility doctor next month to discuss IVF. It’s nice to hear from other voices going through this because I feel like all around me are women 35 and up who get pregnant with ease.

  68. Bridgette says...

    Thank you for continuing to cover infertility in the way that you do. Makes it feel less isolating. I loved this, it made me cry, the comments made me feel heartsick and understood. Gay, two years and one miscarriage in. We are headed to the new specialist in a few weeks. I’d love to hear about more queer folks journeys towards being parents. Thank you so much for all that you do and the stories you share.

  69. R says...

    Such a beautiful and real post. Jessica, you are not alone and you will find a way to become a mom. After years of trying to become pregnant, my husband and I were told that it is not possible for us to have a biological child. We grieved the loss of a dream – of the child we had always imagined. We took our time deciding what to do next (3 years) and used a donor. I am grateful for and deeply love our beautiful baby (not but) AND sometimes my heart still aches for the baby I had imagined. Hearts and dreams and grief are all so complicated.

  70. bridget l. says...

    This made my heart ache because it was E.X.A.C.T.L.Y my story 4 years ago… diagnosed with low AMH/DOR at 28 years old. Devastating and one of the lowest time periods of my life. Sending giant, virtual hugs to you. Know that there is a giant community of amazing, compassionate women here who are rooting you on and hoping deeply for you. <3 Never alone.

    • Bridget L. says...

      Quick followup comment re: another’s comment I just read re: continuing to try naturally — even with very, very low AMH, I WAS getting pregnant (just struggling to stay pregnant — three very sad miscarriages before I got pregnant a fourth time and it stuck). My doctor kept reminding me, “we just gotta catch that good egg.” It’s a hard and at times heartbreaking process, but it is possible even with the DOR diagnosis. Sending love.

  71. Charlotte says...

    That’s so beautiful – thank you!

  72. Elizabeth says...

    We’re in this, too. It sucks. I hope it’s over soon.

  73. Jessica, thank you for making the world a little less lonely by sharing your journey with courage and vulnerability. Sending well wishes to you and your partner.

  74. Kelly P says...

    Wow, this is exactly my story except I started trying at 34. I’m 40 now and no baby. I’ve come to accept I may never get pregnant. Sometimes I’m completely at peace with that and other times it feels crushingly sad. It’s a very hard thing to go through and I’m sending so much love to Jessica. I wish you and your husband all the best however it works out for you.

    • Lori says...

      Yes to all this.

      Every cycle is a mystery.

      Will there be blood?
      Is it just irregular?
      Could this be implantation bleeding?
      Should I really be googling this?
      So what’s the difference between a period and implantation bleeding?
      Am I tired because life can be tiring or could I be pregnant?
      Why are all the symptoms for pregnancy the SAME as the symptoms for periods?
      Why are there so many pregnant people at this party?
      Will I really be OK if this doesn’t happen?

      Thanks for all of these honest and helpful comments. After a series of tests, we’re getting results from our doctor in one week. I want to know and I don’t want to know, you know?

      Sending lots of love to this group.

  75. Joanne says...

    This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I’ve learned a lot during my own journey with multiple miscarriages and the level of grief it can pour into your heart. I have felt so isolated during my darkest moments, and reading stories like yours has given me the ability to feel less alone.

    I have a friend, Whitney, who helped me through so many of my toughest days. She simply let me talk about my grief and shame and anger. She sat with me during the worst days (the ones where I could barely get dressed and was dealing with the physicality of it all) and she never once tried to tell me not to stress or to focus on what I have or said anything that started with “at least…”

    My hope for everyone commenting here with their own version of this story is that they all have a Whitney in their life. If not, then I hope you all know you’re not alone. I’m down here in the world of infertility too and I will gladly hold your hand and listen.

  76. Kristen says...

    Beautiful to see this story in pictures – thank you for posting on infertility!!!

  77. Sarah says...

    Good luck and please consider adoption.

    • R. says...

      I’m going through infertility, and I can attest that “Please consider adoption” is not a helpful thing to say. I know you mean well, but it really hurts. Adoption, much like infertility treatment, is very complicated, difficult and expensive. When someone shares their infertility with you, all they want is to feel heard. It’s better to say something like “That must be really tough — I’m so sorry” or “I hope you can have the family you want.”

    • Elizabeth says...

      Adoption is good and well, but it’s important to remember that adoption cures childlessness, not infertility, and those are two very, very different emotional issues.

    • Christine says...

      Hey Sarah, maybe the curtness of your response was unintentional, but for someone dealing with infertility, it’s easily interpreted as dismissive and does not recognize the complexity of infertility. Sure, adoption might seem to kill a couple birds with one stone, but your advice is callous in this context. In my own struggles with infertility, when faced with several doctors’ recommendations that I consider egg donation, I’ve struggled with grief over losing control of building the family I always envisioned for myself. Maybe your comment was well-intention — I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt — but I would ask you to please reconsider giving this advice to anyone facing infertility that you encounter in the future.

    • Julie says...

      Please stop saying things like this. Every person suffering from infertility is aware of adoption. It’s condescending, unhelpful, and not financially viable for all couples.

    • Meg says...

      After the (financial and emotional) rabbit hole of infertility treatment, I could not bring myself to start another long expensive confusing process. This is devastating and overwhelming. Have you experienced it yourself?

  78. Rebecca Atwood says...

    I’m not sure if this is helpful to hear or not, but I too was in your shoes a little over a year ago. Once we did get started with working with the fertility clinic, the first step was to do some testing to see how things in my body were functioning. One of those tests, they hysterosalpingogram (ugh what a name!) checks to see if your fallopian tubes are open. When I went for this test, one of the nurses said, “okay… lets get you pregnant! Well, so to speak. A lot of women happen to get pregnant after this test. Maybe it kind of ‘clears the runway.’ There aren’t any studies on it, but anecdotally, it happens a lot.” It was very intense thing to hear and I tried not to get my hopes up, but I did in fact conceive that month and it all worked out. I don’t normally bust out an “I got pregnant” story for people who are trying, but I thought I’d share in case this provides some hope in the midst of stuff that feels intimidating/scary/complicated/hard/whatever it feels like for you. Sometimes I think geez, after all that trying for so so long, all it took was clearing the runway?? They should give that test to everyone who wants it before making you do anything else! This all can be so intense. LS is right – take these steps in your own time and follow your heart about what you’re ready for when. This stranger on the internet is sending you big hugs. I’m rooting for you.

    • Mel says...

      Rebecca, may I ask how this test was? Was it painful? Thank you!

    • Julie says...

      Mel, I had mine last summer. For me personally the anticipation of it was the worst part. It hurt, but nothing I couldn’t handle-it was like bad mentrual cramps. Try not to read too much about it online, the horror stories will only scare you and everyone’s experience is different. Good luck!

    • Adriana says...

      Mel, I had mine a few months ago, and while uncomfortable it wasn’t too painful. It felt like sudden onset menstrual cramps, but the pain subsided just as quickly.

    • Sheel says...

      Not only does this test make sure the fallopian tubes are open, but it also identifies hydrosalpinx, which is when the tube is so blocked, the fluid back up has distorted the shape. In this case, all this fluid washes back into the uterus, and can not only cause healthy embryos to fail/not implant, but also miscarriages. In this case, the fallopian tube has to be surgically removed, but IVF can continue. It is such a simple test, but overlooked by many fertility specialists. I wish my first doctor had done this…we may not have lost two embryos.

    • Rebecca says...

      Hi Mel, for me this test was fine, equivalent to a pap smear. Anytime something goes through your cervix, its fair to expect some cramps at minimum, but I’ve been lucky to have them be minimal and manageable. I also took 600mg Ibuprofen beforehand, and that helped a lot (same goes for my two IUD insertions). You can certainly find some people who experience a lot more pain with cervical/uterus stuff, but as they always say, everyone really is very very different. For me it was no sweat, and I hope its the same for you if you have this test :)

  79. Jan says...

    Good luck! I’ve been there, and it’s soo difficult to get through. I will say a prayer for you, cuz all in all HOPE gets you through

  80. Jessica says...

    This came along just at the right time for me.
    I’ve been on the fertility hamster wheel for a bit now, trying to conceive a younger sibling for my surprise-you-are-pregnant! son. I can’t do IVF, because I don’t have enough of my own eggs left (low AMH), and it costs too much anyhow. After the third failed round of IUI, I’m thinking it might be time to throw in the towel.
    So now I’m in a different space. How do you know when to let go? How do you know when to mourn? I could keep throwing myself at this wall – my eggs keep showing up in response to the medications, my husband’s swimmers seem fine – but throwing myself at the wall is just starting to seem like it’s never going to get me over it.
    Anyhow, yeah, I feel this.

    • Elizabeth says...

      My husband and I realized that we couldn’t do this forever. We chose a stop date – I turn 35 or we transfer our last frozen embryo (why stop transferring if you have embryos on ice), whichever comes last.

      I’m less than a year away from the end now, and it almost feels like a relief to see the finish line coming after so many years of grief, even though we have no children.

    • Megan says...

      I feel for you Jessica. I too am dealing with secondary infertility after having not previously had fertility issues with #1. Infertility is so mentally and emotionally exhausting. And then there’s the guilt of realizing that at least you have one kid and so many are struggling to even have their first and so it feels like you are somehow being ungrateful for being sad about not being able to have a second. Some days I’m fine and I see the silver lining of only having one kid and how much easier the whole work life juggle is. And other days it feels like the hole in my heart is going to swallow me up.
      I don’t know exactly when the right time to give up and move on is, but I agree it has to stop at some point or you’ll just make yourself crazy. However I recently realized that even though I thought I had made peace and moved on from fertility treatment that all I’d really done is stuffed my sadness deep down for the last year or so. So we’re going to give it one more go at fertility treatment, but if it doesn’t work I’m going to have to figure out how to truly let go and move on.
      Good luck to you and to everyone in this journey. I hope we all find the things we’re longing for.

    • NN says...

      It’s so hard. I think people who haven’t experienced it can’t really understand it–the quest to have a baby really takes over everything! Your whole heart and mind is taken over, keeping track of solutions and shots and possible supplements and pills and more shots and then waiting, waiting, waiting. If it’s positive, you become scared of hoping because…what if it’s another loss? If it’s negative, well..it’s all just too much sometimes.

      And yet.

    • Nath says...

      Thanks Jessica. Despite wonky and less than perfect cycles, I got pregnant with my daughter 4 years ago. However I retained a part of the placenta after her birth and had a D&C. My periods never returned and last year I started getting very bad pains in my lower abdomen. I’ve now finally been diagnosed with Asherman syndrom (scar tissue in the uterus due to the D&C) and although they can be removed, chances to get pregnant again are low and pregnancies have higher risks. I hear many stories of women trying anyway, and having a baby, often after several miscarriages, but I don’t know if I even want to take the risk? But then what if we regret not trying? Am I weaker than the ones who try nevertheless? We are happy as a family of three, but it is still kind of odd to have one child, people say she needs a sibling, etc. Anyway, I have so many thoughts like that. I hope I will be able to let go at some point.

    • Nikki says...

      Nath, I also got Ashermans from a d&c after a 16 week loss. I highly recommend joining the Ashermans Facebook group. It is a wealth of knowledge and I wouldn’t ever have known how to fix it without the group. I ended up flying to see one of the two experts in the US on Ashermans and he Removed my scar tissue. I got pregnant the next cycle. I have other issues so I regularly see a high risk dr but I wouldn’t even have been able to get to this step without seeing the Ashermans expert. I am currently 23 weeks and praying every day. Good luck to you, and please don’t try to get pregnant with Ashermans, it’s very risky!

  81. Bec B. says...

    This is our life right now. It’s so hard and so strange. So much testing and anxiety and unknowns. Sending you good thoughts if you’re in the same boat.

    P.S. If you haven’t experienced infertility, I don’t want to sound unkind but your suggestions are likely not helpful. Yes, we’ve considered adoption and it’s a wonderful and valid option. But it’s also not without its own costs both financially and emotionally for everyone involved. Please also consider removing “just” or “at least” from your vocabulary.

    • JenniferInAustin says...

      All of this Bec B. We went through infertility for many years. It’s an indescribably difficult and often lonely experience. The endless “at leasting” from everyone from nosey neighbors to those nearest and dearest was so deeply painful and minimizing. Every. Time. It’s really ok not to have an anecdotal story or hyperbolic solution. Oftentimes, less is more.

    • jules says...

      Hearing some well-meaning dope ask “have you considered adoption?” while you’re in the throes of infertility is so disheartening, maddening. Same goes for “my friend’s friend’s sister did X, Y, Z – and then got pregnant on her own!”

      But the real kicker for me (someone who doesn’t believe in mystical mumbo jumbo) was when a friend handed me a sachet of “fertility crystals” to help me get pregnant. I accepted them with a tight, polite smile and sobbed the entire way home.

    • Laura says...

      Absolutely. I would have loved to consider adoption, but there was no way we could afford the cost. Because we live in a state that covers IVF, it was something we could afford to try (though associated costs still were about $5000).

    • Emma says...

      Thank you for this comment, Bec. Trying to conceive, let alone infertility, is an experience I’m not familiar with yet. I was genuinely curious as to why adoption wouldn’t be the next reasonable option, but held back because the last thing I’d want to do is be insensitive. I’m glad you addressed it.

  82. Amanda says...

    Thank you for sharing this and for creating a space where people can be vulnerable and raw and seen.

    In the spirit of being vulnerable, I have to confess that conversations around fertility are incredibly difficult for me. After years of struggling to get pregnant, my parents adopted me, a week-old baby born a hundred miles away to a teenage mother they never met. I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know I was adopted. My parents always did an incredible job making it feel like something really special. When my mom got pregnant with my sister, they made sure that I knew for certain that they considered both of us their miracles.

    My fiance and I are still a little ways away from having our own children, so I don’t know how that journey feels. But I selfishly always feel this sense of heartbreak when I hear people talk about infertility. I know it’s absurd and selfish and completely unfounded, but when people talk about adoption as an option they resign themselves to, this little hole breaks open in my chest. My heart aches for my parents and this deep voice bellows in my head to say that no matter what they said, having me in their lives could never really fill the void.

    I hate that I do this. It feels like I’m co-opting someone else’s pain or minimizing its validity. And I’m not. I feel great sadness and love for anyone struggling with having a child. But I also know feelings are messy and complicated, and very rarely respond the way that our minds say they should. I was terrified to write any of this down but I needed to throw this out there, in this special little corner of the universe, on the off-chance anyone has ever felt the same.

    • Lauren says...

      I think I can relate in that I was conceived by rape and even though I’m completely pro-choice, I don’t like when people assume that no woman in my mom’s position could possibly want to keep her baby, let alone love it.

      I usually find pro-lifer rhetoric much more affirming of my existence, which is too bad. At least it makes extreme thoughtless polarization repugnant to me, and I hope I can at least try to be sensitive when I’m expressing my passionately held views.

    • Leah says...

      The adoption conversation is such a fraught one when it comes to infertility. A lot of people will suggest, to an infertile couple, “why don’t you just adopt?” and sometimes it seems a little ignorant or over simplified.

      My husband and I struggled with infertility for years, so we had a lot of conversations about what we were willing to do to start a family. The reality is, the options now are different than they were 40 or even 30 years ago. Infertility treatments are more accessible and have better success rates. Moreover, because conception and abortion is more accessible (or at least, has been for the last 30-40 years), there aren’t as many children available for adoption. And adoption is very, very difficult besides. Lots of couples go to adopt only to have the birth mother change her mind at the last minute. Lots of couples are not candidates for adoption, or face wait lists that are so long, they age out of being candidates.

      So sometimes, when a couple is struggling and someone suggests that they just “adopt”, it’s a little like the person making the suggestion is living in the past.

      We were told, when we considered adoption, that the first question we’d be asked, as an infertile couple, was: “Have you made peace with not having your own biological child?” at the time, we had not, and sure enough, we did eventually conceive our own biological child.

      I’d like to believe that, all infertile couples who do go on to adopt, have made peace with their condition, and do not feel “resigned” to adoption, but instead see it as a very precious gift. And, to be fair, most of the couples I know who have adopted do see it that way- they are so grateful and so loving, and feel that it is a miracle.

      And, as a woman who has experienced pregnancy, I’d very much like to believe that the birth mothers have not been coerced into carrying their children to term. I’d like to believe that they had fair access to contraception, that they had choices, that if they were in a stronger position financially they would have made the same decision. For us, it was impossible to consider adoption without thinking about the situations of the birth mothers.

    • Alice says...

      Amanda, feelings are so very messy and complicated. I was not adopted, however I have heard what you expressed from friends who were adopted. You are not alone in this and your feelings are valid. In American culture, people often go to adoption as a last resort so I can understand where you are coming from. I have always felt called to adoption (I’m still single and young so probably not in the near future) and I hope to be the kind of parents yours seem to be. Sending you hugs.

    • M says...

      THIS. I am also adopted and I have many friends who experienced infertility. Some don’t know I am adopted because it never came up. Most do know my story and background. I am open and just listen to their struggles but without fail almost all of them, even the ones that know I am adopted, said to me what they don’t want others to say to them. They put down adoption or talk about it as a last resort or “not for them” because they want their “own” baby. A couple friends used donors eggs/ sperm and I am so happy they had children but it’s surprises me since these friends were so adamant about having “biological” children and so against adoption and then used donor eggs and/ or sperm. I have had to pull back from some friends and have told some about how I feel (but usually just let it be because they are going through infertility). But one friend actually told me that of course my parents had to settle for adoption! It was awful.

      I think the moral is you have no idea what someone is going through or their story so just listen and don’t give advice unless someone specifically asks you. Just be there for your friends and family the best we can.

    • T says...

      Thank you for your vulnerability. You seem like a such a lovely and kind hearted spirit.

      Let me tell you as a mother that out of grief the most wonderful things can happen. A void or heartbreak can exist next to a magnificent wonder. I’m sure your parents see you not ‘in’ that void or heartbreak, but next to it. And love you all the more for it.

    • Alex says...

      Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective. Very brave. I’m so glad you grew up knowing how special and loved you are.

    • Lauren says...

      You talking about the pain you feel made my heart hurt, too. Adoption is a beautiful way to grow a family and my husband and I hope to adopt (not applicable to the infertility story, though, as we already have kids but we want to grow our family that way). It’s wonderful to hear what a tremendous job your parents did communicating how precious you are, and the mere fact that you are here means that your first mom was brave and strong and loving enough to give you life at all, and strong and selfless enough to give you the stable family life she presumably couldn’t. What a legacy of strength and love you carry with you all the way around. You are enough and your presence in your family and on this planet is a gift. Sometimes the best gifts aren’t the ones we originally asked for. Peace and light to you.

    • Agnes says...

      Amanda, I am so glad you shared your heart here. Your pain is SO valid. Adoption should never be considered a ‘plan B’ or be presented that way. Adoption is a calling and a privilege. Big hug to you!!

    • M says...

      I, too was adopted as a baby by parents who struggled for years to have a biological child and never succeeded. I, too try to be supportive when friends try to conceive or when I read articles like this about others’ struggles that are so personal and painful. But I will never understand why people do not consider adoption as a second option rather than a last resort, whether a baby or fostering a child to potentially adopt. It turned out so beautifully for my family. I also feel like the need for biological relatives is just something I can’t relate to. My husband’s family feels like my own and we are not related by blood, not to mention my wonderful parents. But ultimately I know that this choice is personal and I wish everyone the best of luck and happiness no matter how they choose to build a family.

    • Laura says...

      Amanda…I also received the same diagnosis as the author/artist. After the shock…Adoption was something I felt instantly deep within. The adoption process took us five years and was gut wrenching and beyond painful at times but now as a mom…of a vibrant almost four year old…my heart explodes with love daily. I have never once felt any void in our decision, our life. I’m writing this specifically to you as I am obviously incredibly sensitive to my infertility community. Take care and I appreciate your vulnerability. I will hold this awareness closely.

    • Laura says...

      Adoption is my FIRST choice and always has been. Having and raising any baby is expensive and difficult, and I could really give a damn if my baby looks like me. As a child, I always wished I were adopted- it would mean I was chosen on purpose!

  83. Jenny says...

    Oh my gosh, thank you for sharing this! I hate the usual saccharine posts and articles on this topic and will now go devour everything by Jessica, as well as share with everyone else I know who struggles with infertility! I was told at a very young age – 16 – that I couldn’t have kids. But now that I’m 32, it feels like I’m truly grasping what that means as all my friends start going through difficult times and my relationships get more serious.

  84. Sandhya says...

    Jessica, I want to echo so many commenters here who have shared your experience. As your cartoon points out, you have been deluged with advice, so please know that I’m not trying to thrust yet another prescription upon you but to flag a point about AMH. You may well know this already, but AMH is really an indicator of how well you’ll respond to IVF, so it may not be a definitive assessment of your ability to get pregnant. I had an extremely low AMH and, unsurprisingly, very low results in multiple egg retrieval cycles. At the same time, when I wasn’t attempting IVF, I became pregnant relatively easily, only to miscarry three times. I finally had a full-term pregnancy after the third miscarriage, as I was about to embark upon the fourth round of egg retrievals. All this is to say: this is all so tough and bewildering and my heart goes out to you. Know that you have a community of supporters here, whichever path leads you forward.

  85. Julie says...

    This is so lovely and so heartbreaking. I’m 39, have been trying for three years, and dealing with infertility as well though ours is unexplained. A number of my cousins and my friends are pregnant with their second, third, or fourth babies and though I am thrilled for them I am sad for me. My husband and I call each other our “favorite person” and despite my desire to expand our family I try to focus on how lucky I am to have found him and how blessed we are that we have the time and the resources to travel, go on adventures, and relax. It’s not always easy but focusing on small joys is what gets me through the longing.

  86. Karla says...

    Thank you for this.

  87. bethany says...

    I’m 31 and my husband & I are finally ready to start trying, but I found out a couple months ago that I have Factor V Leiden, a blood clotting disorder that can trigger miscarriages. It’s fairly common for white women and for some, treatment is as easy as taking a baby Aspirin every day. But my mom died 7 years ago and starting this journey without her already felt grief-laden. I don’t know how I’ll cope if I have a miscarriage. I know my husband will be supportive, but having someone who GETS IT, biologically, is a different kind of support I won’t have. I’m trying to stay positive but the anxiety is real.

    If anyone has recommendations for online communities (facebook groups, instagram accounts, etc) for expectant/new moms that’s generally positive and progressive where I can ask basic questions and find support, I’m all ears.

    • H.C. says...

      Hey Bethany, I have a different clotting disorder than you but same risks. And I totally get it, my Mom passed 13 years ago. I’ve found reddit to have some really amazing communities and information (r/tryingforababy or r/infertility, and lots of others).

    • Jane says...

      You’re not alone!

      I’m 30, I have Factor V and I’m 17 weeks pregnant with my first. It can be scary at times and miscarriages can be heartbreaking, but it is also manageable! Knowledge is power, and so many women unfortunately don’t know they have Factor V. Now that you know, you can avoid hormonal BC (in the future), look out for symptoms, move your body often and regularly, and follow our OB’s advice. You’ve got this!

    • Marika says...

      Hi Bethany, I have Factor V Leiden and only found out after two miscarriages. Knowledge is power and I’m so glad that you know ahead of trying. In my case, after my diagnosis and once I became pregnant again, I had to give myself daily injections until the last trimester and then twice daily injections until the well planned delivery (it is dangerous to deliver with the clotting medication in your system). They will need to monitor you closely, I had bi-weekly non stress-tests and you can expect to be treated as a high risk pregnancy. All that said my pregnancy was not relaxing, I was nervous and anxious throughout and couldn’t relate to the advertised carefree “easy” pregancy we hear about, so there were mental stressors to contend with as well. BUT the result is a beautiful now 9 year old girl that I cherish…maybe even appreciate more because of the battle I fought bringing her into this world. Listen to your OB, listen to your body and be strong that’s all we can do. Sending you love.

    • bethany says...

      Thank you to H.C., Jane, and Marika for the kind and supportive replies. That’s why I love Cup of Jo – I know I can come here and find women who get it and know what to say. Xoxo.

  88. Liz says...

    After 4 egg retrievals and a miscarriage from 35 to 41, I know this feeling so well. It is lonely and scary not knowing what your body is doing or how the story will end. So much “if not this, then what with my life…”

    In the end, it was an egg I froze at 36 that finally got me pregnant and past the first trimester miscarriage window. Now counting down the weeks to meeting baby.

    I wish more people talked about fertility in your late 30s. I also hate that egg freezing and IVF are a financial privilege. In the end, freezing my eggs was the best thing I ever did for myself. I’d encourage any woman in her mid-30s with the means to consider it. But I also know that I only got to today because I had the financial resources to pay for essentially 4 IVFs completely out of pocket – and that breaks my heart for other women who can’t.

    • Elizabeth says...

      This so much. I just paid off the balance from an out of pocket failed cycle after my WTF appointment this morning and I felt like I just took a pile of cash and lit in on fire in the middle of the road. The fact that we even have that cash…that’s privileged in and of itself. And I’m still livid at the fact that we’ve done all this, spent all this and everyone around me is getting their free sex baby. The struggle is real.

  89. IJ says...

    It is somewhat comforting and reassuring to know there is a community out there of people like us, Jessica, who are going through the same struggle, experiencing the same grief for the family life that was taken from us before its inception.

    My husband and I have found joy in volunteering as a host family for this non for profit organization that assists parents in crisis by offering temporary child care while they get back on their feet. I understand this is not everyone’s call, but wanted to put it out there, just in case.

    I hope your journey will take you to a place even happier than you ever envisioned. And thank you for your wonderful illustrations!

  90. Leyna says...

    This is so powerful. I’d love installments to understand how Jessica’s story continues. Very warm thoughts to you.

  91. Mouse says...

    “What will I do if I can’t have children?”

    You will have a wonderful relationship with your husband (and cats) and you will find connections to other people’s children in various ways. You will be an amazing Auntie Jessica. You will engage in your work and with your friends and in the world. It’s ok. I don’t at all mean to minimize your fears, but life will be ok if you don’t have kids. Different, but eventually ok.

  92. Got married at 38ish and had the same experience. Nothing’s easy and damn time keeps ticking along.

  93. Carly says...

    I’m definitely not tearing up while sitting in my doctor’s office. Nope, certainly not that woman. I’m 31, in a new relationship, and have known since I was 25 that biological kids might not happen due to pre existing health conditions. I was ok with that, I’ve always wanted to adopt, until I turned 30 and suddenly the idea of at least trying popped into my head. After a year of driving myself crazy, I’ve decide to see a genetic counselor/fertility specialist to (hopefully) get a more realistic answer. The crazy part is that I’m not even “ready” but the not knowing is driving me bonkers.

  94. Kerry says...

    Love this. Went through IVF and it can be so lonely and exhausting. Thanks for sharing. I found a mindfulness group with other women going through infertility that helped me get through it. It’s hard to live in the moment when your all about 2WW etc. Hang in there.

  95. Kate says...

    Definitely feeling this today, sending all the love <3

  96. S says...

    What a beautiful way of sharing infertility struggles. I am so very sorry for all the pain and worry. May peace be yours…

  97. Elizabeth says...

    thank you for sharing more infertility content! Jess, thanks for sharing your story. I can empathize so hard with this as a fellow infertile, and as crappy as the circumstances are, I’m glad more people are comfortable opening up about their struggles. wishing you success, whatever that looks like for you and your husband.

  98. Jennie says...

    I don’t know if this feels helpful or annoying but I understand. I was diagnosed with ‘very low’ AMH and was devastated. I especially know the feeling of shame that takes over. After a while I only let myself look up positive fertility stories connected to AMH and now I am one of those stories. We conceived naturally and have a sweet, healthy almost four year old. The diagnosis and resultant stress have made us decide not to try for a second – I’m over the moon about my sweet kid but also mourn that I won’t have more. Glad you shared your story – it’s a very lonely experience.

  99. Katie says...

    This has been our life too, until in January I finally got pregnant with twins (a boy and a girl). However on week 18 we have lost baby girl. Now am walking on eggshells, doing practically bed rest. I have heard gazillion of “don’t stress” and “it will happen when you least expect it” and most recently the “at least the boy is doing fine”. Sending you a big hug and remember that you are not alone in this situation. What helped hubby and myself during our TTC years was that we eventually decided how many treatments we will endure (side effects were taking their toll on me big time) and when to stop trying and focus on our life together.

    • lauren says...

      Oh Katie, I am so, so sorry. My sister lost one of her twins just after she finally announced her pregnancy on social media, and was convinced that she’d somehow precipitated it by sharing; she just took the announcement down, said nothing else, and endured the double sets of baby gifts that arrived for the next several months. She heard many of the same things you have, and felt horribly alone in her place of anticipation, fear and mourning, and my heart ached for her and aches for you. Sending a big hug your way, too.

    • Lucy says...

      Sending love to you today, Katie. You are not alone, even though I bet it feels like it sometimes.

    • Julie says...

      I am so sorry about your daughter and I wish you all the best with your son!

    • t says...

      Katie, sending you lots of hugs and good vibes.

      Also, setting limits ahead of time was very helpful for us too (for us it was 6 rounds of IUI and 2 rounds of IVF).

    • Alex says...

      I am so sorry about your baby girl, Katie. Thinking of you and your baby boy and wishing your family the best.

    • Meredith says...

      So sorry for the loss of your baby girl. Sending you love.

    • TTC in the Midwest says...

      Thank you so much for this. It really made my day. It has been hard.

    • Meggles says...

      I am so very sorry for your loss. Lots of hugs to you. (())

    • Rachel says...

      Oh Katie. This happened to me. After years of fertility treatments, I got pregnant with twins. I lost my baby girl at 23 weeks, delivered her at 27 and was miraculously (thanks to hospital bedrest and 4 magnesium stalled trips to labor and delivery) able to stay pregnant with my son until 32 weeks. He is now 4 and I am 27 weeks pregnant with our second son. You have my full sympathy and all I can say is that, in retrospect, I would go through it all over again to experience the love and joy my son brings to our family. So much love to you!

    • Laura C. says...

      I send you a big hug, Katie

    • Kim says...

      Katie, I’m sorry about your baby girl. Hoping that the remainder of your pregnancy is ok and that everything turns out well with the birth of your son.

    • Daisy says...

      Katie, sending YOU a huge hug. Someone I’m very close with struggled with infertility for quite a long time, got pregnant with twins, and gave birth and lost them both at 23 weeks. I cannot imagine the pain and the stress that you are going through, and it troubles me that infertility is something that is becoming more commonplace to talk about (that part is good), but then people tend to assume that once someone is pregnant, it’s smooth sailing.

    • jules says...

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your daughter. I do hope the remainder of your pregnancy is without further complication.

    • Cynthia says...

      I’m so sorry about baby girl. I just can’t believe the awful things people say. If you don’t know what else to say, say I’m sorry and leave it at that.

  100. JS says...

    This hits close to home so much that it gave me chills and I teared up a little (ok maybe a lot). Thank you Cup of Jo for continuing to cover infertility; this community makes me feel a little less isolated. Big hugs and positive vibes to anyone going through any aspect of Jessica’s story.

  101. NN says...

    This is absolutely beautiful and thank you to Jessica for opening up to us and CupofJo for sharing it with us all.

    I went through 5 years of infertility (got married at 38 and also started right away), with lots of miscarriages along the way. We did 5 rounds of IVF. I can relate to every part of this. But even if someone has a similar story, everyone’s path is so unique.

    The doctors finally told us we should use donor eggs. I resisted a long time because I was adopted and thought I needed a genetic connection to…something. But finally one day after journaling, I realized that I had met my biological mother and it solved nothing. The missing puzzle piece in my heart was not, after all, a lack of a blood connection. At that point we decided to move forward with a donor. We were fortunate enough to have some money that my mom (my real mom, the one who adopted me at birth) left me in her will the year before. We worked with an agency that seemed ethical, and with a donor who was herself a little older and donating because she wanted to help other women.

    Last year I gave birth to little baby. He is mine, thoroughly. I love him so much.

    But every path is so different. Every heart is so unique. If I have learned anything, it’s there is no “right way.”

    Sending out love to those who need it (dont’ we all?). <3

    • jan says...

      This seems like an ideal alternative.

  102. Wallis says...

    Thank you!

    As you post, I lay in a hospital bed post myomectomy wondering about life will be like without kids. Whether we will be blessed with children or not remains in the stars, but having each other matters the most.

    I appreciate those who speak up and speak about their fertility problems to the world – letting us all know that we‘re not alone.
    My heart goes out to
    all who have to struggle with this. xx

  103. This is so powerful. I never thought I wanted children but, at 30, I was just tentatively diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, negating the choice I once believed was my own. It’s a challenging tangle to tease apart: am I grieving the loss of something I didn’t even want to begin with, angry at big pharma for not disclosing the risks of the birth control I was on (do your own research, ladies), or disappointed in myself for not listening to my body sooner? My heart goes out to anyone who has dreamed of children for as long as they can remember. Sending a big hug to the author and anyone else who needs it today. You’re not alone. You’re doing a great job. <3

    • Becky says...

      I am just learning the real risks of birth control now. I’m almost in my mid 30s. I’m embarrassed I didnt know more sooner.

    • Jas says...

      Hi there – firstly I want to send you so much love and all best wishes for healing and happiness. As a women’s health NP, I do want to chime in that according to current medical evidence, birth control does not cause POI. Various forms of birth control can certainly do some wacky things that are hard to predict on an individual basis, but I also don’t want to malign it unnecessarily. Source: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/early-menopause-primary-ovarian-insufficiency-beyond-the-basics (“Some women first notice that their periods are infrequent or absent when they stop taking birth control pills, but that does not mean that the pills caused POI. While taking the pill may mask the condition, it cannot cause it.”)

  104. Rose says...

    Thank you for this. Apologies in advance if I sound like I’m hijacking things… I’ve been thinking (but not really talking) about this a lot lately because I think often of having a family and it feels as though that may be slipping away. I’m 34 and my husband and I live in different countries for much of the time due to a difficult job situation (we’re both academics). One of us might get a job in the other country within a year or it could be five years. We decided to continue the long distance commuting thing after marriage as our jobs are really important to us and the other option was for one of us to quit work and hope for the best. The thing is, a decision made at 31 is beginning to look a bit different when I realise that time isn’t slowing down. Meanwhile, everybody and everybody’s sister seems to be having babies. It’s hard. So thankful for this community here. Sending hugs to anyone who needs them right now.

    • Louisa says...

      Just wanted to say, from a fellow academic whose husband lived 2000 miles away, that I hear you and this is so hard. My husband eventually quit his academic track (as mine was taking off) – we had a daughter at age 40-ish after a scary year of not getting pregnant. Knowing what I know now (that one academic career wasn’t going to “make it,” that our plan B – he does consulting – wound up better than plan A ever would have), we should have done this so much earlier. But you just can’t know. Sending hugs.

    • Peggy says...

      Fellow two-location academic household here, and just want to say I feel you. The geographical uncertainty, and the uncertain time span, makes the “just do it, and then you’ll figure it out” advice (which is bad advice anyway, IMO) impossible to follow. Sometimes seeing people having babies or trying to makes me feel so completely alien, like they must be living in a different reality, where their vision of what the next 2 years look like must be unimaginably clearer than mine. So there’s a feeling of isolation from friends becoming mothers, but also from feeling like our experiences of the world are irreconcilable. I also feel time slipping away, and I don’t know if I’ll get to the planet where it feels possible in time. Anyway, just saying you’re not alone–hugs!

    • Julie says...

      It is so nice to read these comments, as my husband and I are embarking on a long-distance situation for the same career reasons. (How lucky and how challenging for a job to not be “just” a job.) I appreciate all the women on Cup of Jo willing to share their stories!

    • Rose says...

      Louisa, Peggy and Julie – thank you all three. Sometimes it really helps to hear these things articulated by other people who understand. Wishing the best for all of you. x

  105. jan says...

    My mother was a nurse and used to foster newborns until they were placed. Adoption is not the same but it is still a great way to create your own family and to love and raise a child. Worth consideration.

    • Kelsey says...

      The sentiment is beautiful but just a PSA that this can be a hurtful thing to hear when you’re struggling.

    • Erica says...

      I know you mean well, but this is one of those pieces in the drawing of “unhelpful advice.”

    • Jessica says...

      I know you mean well, but just throwing out adoption as a solution is really not helpful to women facing infertility.
      Speaking as a woman who is having huge struggles having a second kid, after an easy first, people throw out something along these lines, “Just adopt!” a lot. I say this gently, but you need to know: We’ve heard it before. We know.
      And as many reasons as there are to adopt – and very worthy ones! – it’s an entirely different decision that can also take years and years to complete, with just as much stress and not knowing as trying to conceive. The wait can be as long as seven years for a healthy baby, if it happens at all (a lot of adoptive moms are skeptical about too-old couples).
      Adoption is a wonderful thing – but it is not an easy “Have you thought about?” solution. I promise you, we have thought about it.

    • Adriana says...

      Responses like these are generally not helpful to people going through infertility and fertility treatment. Trust me, most couples consider it to some degree, but this is not a case of “if not A then B”. Adoption isn’t an option for everyone (nor should it be an option only for infertile couples), and the process can be long, grueling and expensive.

    • jones says...

      I am sure you are trying to be helpful, but many people suggest adoption to people struggling to have a baby as if it is an easy/cure all process. Adoption is time consuming and expensive and carries risks (I know a couple who had the birth mother change her mind and it was heartbreaking). I also have friends who are Muslim who encountered lots of barriers because of their faith. Many adoption agencies would only accept them if they promised to raise any child they received as Christian. Adoption can be a wonderful thing, but it is not a simple solution to a difficult and emotional problem.

  106. celeste says...

    I didn’t go through this but this was beautiful.

  107. Rachel says...

    I’m supposed to call the fertility clinic to schedule a consultation, but I just can’t bring myself to make the call. And yet I know that I want babies so much…Hugs to everyone out there who needs one right now. You are inherently, irrevocably important, no matter where you are and where you end up with your fertility.

    • LS says...

      Hi Rachel – I was in your shoes this time last year. I couldn’t bring myself to make the call and tried so many things (including losing almost 50 pounds) to make it happen naturally. In didn’t happen for me, but during that time I also went to therapy and did a lot of self-care and ultimately mourned what was going on and came to terms with it. Our consultation is in a few weeks. I guess my point is, don’t rush yourself if you’re not ready, and it’s possible that what seems awful right now could seem surmountable in time.

    • Julie says...

      It took me a year and a half to call-at the end of the day you do what’s best for you. All of this is hard enough, good luck :)

    • Lauren says...

      I see you and I hear you. I cried when telling my doctor I needed help and it made me feel so embarrassed and scared. Then I took a deep breath and moved forward. If you do chose to go to a clinic just know we are all right there with you rooting for you. XO

    • Rebecca says...

      Weird – I commented as a reply to this, but it got posted up above in the main thread. Here is what I wanted to say:

      I’m not sure if this is helpful to hear or not, but I too was in your shoes a little over a year ago. Once we did get started with working with the fertility clinic, the first step was to do some testing to see how things in my body were functioning. One of those tests, they hysterosalpingogram (ugh what a name!) checks to see if your fallopian tubes are open. When I went for this test, one of the nurses said, “okay… lets get you pregnant! Well, so to speak. A lot of women happen to get pregnant after this test. Maybe it kind of ‘clears the runway.’ There aren’t any studies on it, but anecdotally, it happens a lot.” It was very intense thing to hear and I tried not to get my hopes up, but I did in fact conceive that month and it all worked out. I don’t normally bust out an “I got pregnant” story for people who are trying, but I thought I’d share in case this provides some hope in the midst of stuff that feels intimidating/scary/complicated/hard/whatever it feels like for you. Sometimes I think geez, after all that trying for so so long, all it took was clearing the runway?? They should give that test to everyone who wants it before making you do anything else! This all can be so intense. LS is right – take these steps in your own time and follow your heart about what you’re ready for when. This stranger on the internet is sending you big hugs. I’m rooting for you.

    • a says...

      Rachel, sending you a big hug. I’ve been where you are and while I’d like to tell you that first call is the hardest, well, it’s all pretty hard! But it is a huge hurdle, and once you get going you can sort of go on autopilot as different steps of testing and treatments are dictated by your cycle, etc. Wishing you the strength to make the call and start down the path, when it’s right for you.
      Unsolicited advice is, for whatever reason, an inevitable and annoying part of dealing with fertility issues, and I hate it, but I can’t help but give you this nugget….. solo dance parties in the dark to guilty pleasure pop songs and girl power anthems are VERY THERAPEUTIC. XOXO

    • Leah says...

      For me, a bunch of the early-stage testing we did was tied to calling the fertility clinic. We’d tried for a while but had no success, and I wanted to know if there was something “easy” or “obvious” that could be fixed. Eg. if my husband’s sperm count were low, I’d want to know sooner than later, so we could act accordingly. Because a lot of this testing was tied to the clinic, I called early.

      That said, actually sitting across from the doctor and being told: “You are infertile”, even though I knew we met all the criteria for that diagnosis, was a little jarring. It felt a bit like realizing your nightmare was actually your life, you know? Like the dreams that you’d counted on for your future were suddenly being taken out of reach.

      Someone reminded me at the time: “This is just a word for something you are dealing with. It’s not who you are, you are still you. It’s just a condition you are facing.” I found that really helpful.

      Good luck, Rachel. Obviously, call when you are comfortable, but if you can, have some testing done soon. It might be something as simple as slightly low progesterone.

    • Rachel says...

      Thank you everyone! Thank you for sitting with me exactly where I am right now.

    • Lauren says...

      I know exactly how you feel. It took me 3.5 years, 3 miscarriages, being 35, and seeing a very good therapist to finally make the call. It was less scary than I thought it would be, but I felt so very anxious going into that first appointment, but seeing so many other women and couples in the waiting room was such a comfort. My husband and I left that first consultation feeling somewhat genuinely hopeful for the first time in years. At the very least, I felt some semblance of control over my life and body and future, whatever our outcome will be (it’s still very early in the process and we have no idea what the future holds), for taking the steps to do everything possible. You will make the call when you’re ready. And I believe you will feel a relief once you have. Sending you love and strength during this very difficult journey. You’re not alone <3

  108. Sandra says...

    I am sending a big and heartfelt virtual hug your way, Jessica. I got married at 39 and we had a rough time as well, but more in the could-get-pregnant-couldn’t-stay-pregnant way. It really is so hard when everything feels so urgent and out of your control and nothing feels like the right answer. Plus in the middle of all that you are trying to do a crash course in learning about fertility and researching specialists. I wish you both peace in the future, whatever that ends up looking like.

  109. jillian says...

    I went through this for three years so I totally get where it’s coming from. I’m sitting next to my three-month-old son so it ended up working out for me but I know it doesn’t for everybody. Just know that it’s nothing you’re doing– there’s no level of relaxation or ‘not thinking about it’ that will cause you to become pregnant. If one more person told me to ‘just relax!’ I think I would have exploded. As it was, I got pregnant during a time when my mother was in the hospital and we weren’t sure she was going to survive. So eff that advice!

    • Alice says...

      Echo this. For six years I did not get pregnant. I had endometriosis and there are other contributing factors so I wasn’t overly surprised.

      I did not even notice two missed periods because it came at a time of high stress: losing three grandparents, funerals and hospital visits, a new and very sick rescue puppy, and a new job all in one. In fact I took the test in a hospital loo whilst visiting my grandmother, who died weeks later, and stared at it in utter disbelief as I just did not think I could or ever would, in fact I had completely resigned myself to the fact. I was far from relaxed!

  110. Virginia says...

    This is our life right now too. Always feels good to see something like this to remind me that we’re not alone. Thank you. Sending the author love and a hug.

    • Jeannie says...

      My life too. Thanks for sharing!