Don’t Ignore People With Infertility – Do You See Me?

When I was talking with my four pregnant friends and you came up to us and said, “Aw!  Look at all the pregnant women!”  Did you see me?

When you, my good friend who was once in my shoes, listened to me time and again talk about the pain of my infertility, yet one day said, “I think you need a support group.”  Did you see I stopped calling you for support?

When you laughed about getting pregnant with your sixth child and said, “All he had to do was look at me!”  Did you see me force a smile and wish it were really that easy?

When I was standing around my five expectant friends, you took note of their pregnant state and then looked at me saying, “What are you doing here?  Wishful thinking?”  Did you see me quietly excuse myself so I could run to the bathroom and cry?

When we got together for ladies fellowships, did you see I didn’t say anything because the only topics of conversation that came up were your pregnancy stories?  “Just call me Fertile Myrtle!”  “I’m so ready for this morning sickness to be over.”  “Hubby ran to the store and got me ice cream at midnight!”  “I felt her kick for the first time!”  “I feel like a beached whale!”

When our group of friends went out to lunch, did you see how I felt excluded when all anyone could discuss were the latest and greatest books and blogs on parenting?

When you talk about how everyone is pregnant – “Don’t drink the water!”  Did you see me?  I’m not pregnant, but I want to be.

When you opened gifts at your baby shower, did you see me in the crowd, trying to share in your joy, all the while hoping I could be next?

When the mothers were asked to stand in church on Mother’s Day, did you see me – sitting – hoping not to burst into tears and not wanting anyone to feel sorry for me?

When all you posted on facebook were pictures of your ultrasounds, updates of your cravings, photos of your pregnant belly month by month, posts of registering at Babies R Us, doctor visits, and Baby Center, did you see I am one of your “facebook” friends?  Did you see I had to limit your updates?

When God finally blessed you with a baby after your struggle with infertility, did you, of all people, see me?

If you do see me…

Don’t ignore me.  To ignore is not to know.  Don’t refuse to take notice of me and my infertility.

Think before you speak, if you must speak at all.

Don’t isolate me.  Try to imagine what it could be like if you were in my place and what you would want someone to say.

Remember I confided in you because I thought you were my friend.

Don’t dismiss my infertility – I may be in the minority, but I still have feelings.

Take a moment in private to tell me you hope I am next.

Don’t make mindless comments about your ability or my inability to get pregnant.

Write a heartfelt note to encourage me not to give up hope.

Think about excluding me from your baby posts so I won’t have to limit your updates.  Or try to understand if I don’t “like” or comment on them.

Don’t disengage me from conversation – take notice there are many interesting things to talk about in addition to pregnancy and babies.

Let me know you are praying for me – and then pray for me.

Don’t pretend that I have never talked to you about my struggle.  I made myself vulnerable sharing that with you.  Can you show balance while rejoicing in your pregnant/mommy state but also by being mindful of my infertility?

Consider that even if you don’t know I am struggling with infertility, there’s a good chance I am.


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. joyinmyjourney
    Apr 22, 2012 @ 14:15:41

    My husband and I struggled with infertility for nine years. While I am grateful God allowed us to go through the trial of infertility, I am so thankful His plan for our life included our precious son. It is in my heart to encourage women experiencing infertility, but sometimes I feel I’ve fallen short. I wonder if my actions in word or deed make them think I am ignoring their infertility. This year, RESOLVE’s theme for National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is “Don’t Ignore.” I wrote this to encourage you to be thoughtful about how you can take notice of people with infertility.


  2. curlyrunner
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 11:07:35

    Thank you for such a beautiful and honest post. As someone who has lost a pregnancy and hasn’t tried for a baby again, I often feel this exclusion you described. The conflict between my excitement for my friends and family who are pregnant or mothers and my childless life makes me weary at times. I think it is difficult for people to understand the depths of infertility if they haven’t been there. Some don’t try to (in my opinion) or assume it’s not a big deal. Even though I haven’t struggled with infertility, I try to be sensitive and aware. After my miscarriage I had a handful of friends who supported me. No one should be that alone when they are that sad.


    • joyinmyjourney
      Apr 23, 2012 @ 22:21:39

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. The support I received from friends and family far outweigh the isolation I experienced at the hands of some. I am sorry for your loss but thankful you were not alone to bear it. God bless you.


  3. Sindy
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 11:17:36

    Joy, this is a great reminder to all! So many of us think “it’s ALL about me!” and need reminded IT’S NOT!! We are surrounded by hurting people. May the Lord help me to be sensitive to the needs and hurts of others! Thank you for your transparency!


    • joyinmyjourney
      Apr 23, 2012 @ 22:30:38

      Thank you, Sindy. While it is in my heart to encourage people who are hurting, I sometimes fall short in being sensitive to the needs of others, whether it is someone with cancer, a disability, or some other sorrow that I can’t relate to as easily as infertility. But even if I feel inadequate or don’t quite know what to say, I realize it is better to acknowledge rather than ignore them and their condition. God bless you, my friend.


  4. Jen
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 17:06:56

    Thank you for writing this. I am struggling wih my infertility but because I have a 16yo daughter (I am 39yo), I am frequently told to be grateful what I have or at least you have a child. Whether you have zero, one, or more … If you are actively trying to have a baby and can’t, then you probably still feel the same way. It’s not that I don’t love and appreciate my daughter, I do with all of my heart. But I never planned for her to be an only. Another child/ren was/were always wanted. Just hasn’t happened and it is breaking my heart. {hugs} thank you again for writing this post. I am posting this comment with tears streaming down my cheeks. Thank you.


    • joyinmyjourney
      Apr 24, 2012 @ 21:34:17

      Jen, Thank you. You are right. I shouldn’t have said we struggled with infertility for nine years. Infertility never leaves you even if you have a child. We wanted four. Instead of being told “be grateful you have one child,” I frequently hear, “be glad you have only one child.”

      I will pray for you. Never give up hope.


  5. Jen A.
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 19:15:28

    Thank you. It’s like you peeked into my brain and put my thoughts and feelings into words. My husband and I have been married for 3 years now, and we’ve been TTC since we first got married. We both come from Christian, homeschooling families, and I come from a LARGE one (family of ten), so we wanted a large family for ourselves too. It was really difficult for me for the first two years, since everyone (family, friends, and medical professionals) thought it was my fault and had me try EVERYTHING under the sun (from juicing carrots to other things I won’t mention). Turns out it’s a problem with him, and its something that I know God is big enough to overcome, but it’s something that medically speaking can’t be fixed. Financially, we’re not in a place to adopt, and all we’ve both ever wanted is to have a family. Its terribly painful for me to see all of my friends, and even the kids I used to work with in youth groups, getting pregnant, most times “on accident”. Honestly and truthfully, our faith is the only thing that keeps us strong together. We have gone through so many “stages” of acceptance with this… and I know some day I will look back and thank God for the trials that made me stronger, but for right now, I’m quite ready for this trial period to be over with.

    Anyways, thank you for what you posted. I needed it.


  6. ateacher
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 21:17:00

    What a great post! A friend linked your blog to her facebook page, and I’m going to have to check it out. After my daughter was born 5 years ago, I never thought it would be a problem to have another child. However, that has not been the case. I am extremely grateful for what God has given us, but that doesn’t change the intense longing of my heart. I’m sure some women would tell me to just be happy with what I have, but secondary infertility is heart-breaking as well. I know so well how it feels to be disappointed month after month, year after year. A friend has struggled for some time, and is now having her first baby. At her baby shower, she came over to me, and told me that she is still praying for me. What an encouragement it was to know that in the midst of her excitement she had not forgotten! Some times just a few words can make a difference.


    • joyinmyjourney
      Apr 25, 2012 @ 07:42:10

      I’m thankful you found my blog through your friend. Thank you for sharing your story. I know from other friends that secondary infertility is very difficult and have felt an intense longing for another child, too. How wonderful that your friend took the time to encourage you at her baby shower, like you said, in the midst of her excitement. We can learn from her example.

      I pray God will give you the desires of your heart. Don’t give up hope and keep praying.


  7. Anna
    Aug 22, 2012 @ 20:45:46

    I just found your blog at random, while searching things to help me cope with infertility. Can I say that knowing that I am not alone and that others know what I’m going through, is so helpful. I thank you so much for your words, because they are my words too. The ones I don’t say. I’m 34 and infertile. I’m surrounded by people having children and they think this is no big deal because they’ve never had to deal with it. My older sister has 6 children. My younger sister has two and all my friends have children or are expecting. It is so heartbreaking that sometimes I just have to be alone to cry. Reading your blog really uplifting to see that someone does know how it feels, what I think. Thank You so much.


    • joyinmyjourney
      Aug 27, 2012 @ 10:45:47

      Thank you for taking the time to reply, Anna. Those are the words I couldn’t say either, but it is reassuring to know Someone knows our deepest heartaches and He cares – Jesus. I pray someone in your family or circle of friends will “see” you and seek ways to show compassion towards you and encourage you.

      God bless you and don’t give up hope for a baby.



  8. Maria
    May 09, 2013 @ 06:30:50

    I am so glad to have found your site. We are still struggling with infertility after 11 years, 8 losses, and been placed in churches full of ladies having babies. People do not understand the pain, and say whatever. Even members who have struggled with infertility then conceived, it is like they never had an issues, and they don’t understand why you’re not overjoyed and what your problem is. I am trusting God in all things.


    • joyinmyjourney
      May 17, 2013 @ 21:01:09

      Maria, I am so sorry for your precious 8 losses. My heart aches for you. Although I have experienced infertility, it was being unable to get pregnant at all, so I can only imagine the pain you have endured. May God continue to give you grace through this, and I pray, open your womb and sustain your pregnancy. May He also bring a friend who will truly encourage you.


  9. Fay!
    Apr 21, 2015 @ 09:15:18

    thank you.


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