Sunday, July 14, 2013

I need you, IF bloggers

Yesterday we went to a barbeque and house warming for good friends of ours who recently moved to the country. Their home is idyllic! They have 5 acres, with a pond, woods, and a gorgeous view of a mountain. Several other good friends were there, and we spent several hours just relaxing, talking, and eating.

It sounds so perfect on paper.

But of course, IF has to have its say...once again, per usual it seems, I was the only non-mom, non-pregnant lady among my peers. I knew that would probably be the case, so I tried to prepare in advance. I spent some time with the guys, playing Frisbee. I drank some beer. I politely excused myself from two pregnancy conversations. But I don't know whether I'm overly sensitive, or what, but even with all my "strategies," after a few hours, I was ready to leave. My heart was aching that we don't have a child to interact so cutely with our friends' kids. (The ache really feels physical sometimes.) And I just felt so left out. Not by anything anyone said or did - I can't tell you how blessed we are to have friends who are so sensitive to our situation, and thank God no one else said, "So when are you having kids?" But still - it's just so hard to be there, un-pregnant, non-mother, and see the exact thing I desire displayed in all its glory in front of me. Toddlers playing in the pool, women with adorable maternity dresses, babies in the sandbox, babies being fed, and so on. Everywhere I looked, it was like my daydreams being played out, except I wasn't in them. I was locked out, leaning against the wall as everyone else had a baby to feed or hold or grow in the womb.

(Sorry to sound so melodramatic.)

Anyway, events like that - which should be the most fun, relaxing events - are so hard right now. (Do they ever get easier?)

Hence my title: I was thinking on the drive home how helpful it is to know that there are other women out there who know exactly what I mean. Who have been there at the bbqs and the baby showers and have felt the heartache of being childless. Who know the crazy mixed emotions at hearing a pregnancy announcement. Who just know the pain of being childless when it seems to come so easy to so many people.

I just can't tell you how much that means. I started reading the "IF blogs" after my first Mother's day as a married woman, which was also about a year into TTC. The emotions I felt at the Mother's day mass blindsided me, and I literally googled something like "mother's day is really hard" and happened upon all of these blogs that got it! I felt like I had been thrown a life preserver.

I feel blessed to have met several of the bloggers in real life (and I'm going to meet a few more this afternoon at a blogger meet-up picnic!) but even the folks I never met, and maybe never even leave a comment, your words mean so much. You make me feel so much less alone. Like someone gets what this is like. (Of course I wish no one had to experience IF at all, ever. But since that doesn't seem the case, I'm so incredibly grateful for people who "get it" and who share about their experiences, because I've found it challenging to find such people in person.)

So thank you. Thank you for sharing your stories from the heart, for helping me put words to what is such an ongoing trial, for making me feel like I'm not the only crazy person on the planet who has all these racing emotions at such benign things like bbqs with friends. Please keep writing. I need you.



  1. I felt like you were describing our parish picnic last year as you described the bbq. It really is just so hard - and so hard to explain. How you can be having a great time and want to leave all in the same moment.

    Have so much fun this afternoon!

  2. I think it does get a little easier but then again you never know when those emotions and longings will suddenly pop up. Right now I am at a place where it is a little easier for me but I know that can change rapidly. I am praying for you! I agree this blogging community has helped me in so many ways and I am so glad I got to meet you in person because of it!

  3. Your description of the barbecue does sound idyllic... a Norman Rockwell painting! I feel for you as you are so young and seem to be the proverbial black sheep in your peer group. That's really hard. Even though my peer group is older, it's still hard to be around babies and toddlers (although the charm seems to vanish when the kids reach seven or so :)). Some people love to tell me how easy it was to get pregnant for them. I really just build a mental barrier against this stuff. I know they are in the majority and they'll describe their experience.

    Do what's right for you at the right time. If you don't want to go to a baby shower, skip it. Send a present and a card with someone else and go see a movie or do something fun with your hubby.

    This is a cyclical emotional experience. Cut yourself some slack and reach other to other infertiles when you need a sympathetic ear. You're strong and I love your honesty.

  4. Praying for you amiga! Hang on there. You can come to any of our bbq's. We are childlless too :-(

  5. I remember those days so well - we have so many friends who've had 3 or so since we've been married! It's so hard. Do what you need to do though - sometimes you can say no things and sometimes go. Baby showers were the worst for me - I only attended 1 in 5 years... the rest, I had to send gifts or give them later. And like Kat said, sometimes the feelings and emotions just pop up.

    And you're right - the blogging friends I've met have been such a lifeline for me too. It is such a blessing to know we are not alone. Hugs, friend!

  6. I NEED YOU, TOO!!!!!! Those "picnics" where we feel left out in our child-less state, where we love and enjoy other people's babies and children but being in their presence holds a light up to our deep suffering, they seem to happen almost every day, don't they?! I can't tell you how often I have found solace in the words of these fellow IF bloggers. Knowing we are not alone, we are not "selfish" for feeling painfully reminded of our "lack" in light of others' "plenty", there are people who really get it and we are in this together! I am praying for you. We are having our own virtual barbecue of support and understanding and shared suffering...not in a "pity party" way but in a "spur one another on" way. Sending you some HUGS!!

  7. Yes! I don't know what I would do without you all. I had one of those events this weekend--a get together with 5 other married couples. Together, there were 6 kids (3 of them a month younger than our miscarried baby would be) and 2 pregnancies. Honestly though, my anxiety about it was worse than the actual event itself :-/ If it weren't for IF bloggers I wouldn't know anyone without kids...

  8. Stopping by to say hello and to let you know that you and your husband have been in my prayers ever since I had the chance to meet you on Sunday. You are a new blogger to me and I spent some time "getting to know" you this evening Your emotions are 100% normal and I could relate to so much you have written about. I don't have any answers for why you are on this journey but I can offer my prayers and my friendship. Please reach out if you ever want to chat. Yes, I may be a mother now but I will never ever forget the pain of IF :(

  9. You do not sound melodramatic at all! No, you sound honest, and loving, and longing. You sound beautiful and deep in all of God's glory and grace and love.

    I know what you mean. Too many of us do. We know the feelings. It is not of bitter or of hate... just a longing that we know not what to do with. I KNOW that physical ache. It reminds me the concept "broken heart" is not an empty colloquialism. No, it is real of our mind-body connection.

    This too shall pass, I have to remind myself when I hurt so badly. And yes, excuse myself from conversations and outings sometimes. Because sometimes, it just does hurt too much, and while it isn't personal against those you have to walk away from, it is perfectly OK to just need to walk away. Maybe God wants us to pull away from everyone sometimes so we take that time closer to Him? I fail at that, but maybe that's where my head and heart need to be when I excuse myself over and over... Hmmm.

    Hugs, and I love you, friend... and my heart and prayers are with you. You are never alone. <3

  10. You sum it up absolutely perfectly.

    And it's how my blog really found purpose and intent; in sharing my story, telling Truths, breaking down barriers and taboos and (hopefully) offering a little solace to anyone who's gone through this awful journey.

    I'm sorry you had such a tough time at the BBQ (fun as it sounded) - you're right, the ache is definitely physical. The stab to the heart, the clench in the stomach, the prickle behind the eyes. All very real and not in the slightest melodramatic - purely the responses of a woman whose heart is in pain.

    I've been there.

    I'm gradually (slowly, fluctuatingly) coming out of there, with God's help. I had to make a conscious decision to give up my dream of having children.

    Not because I don't think it *could* happen, but because if I stay 'hooked' into it too much, my quality of life will decline. I'll end up not going to these BBQs and meetings. I'll end up bitter and angry at every woman I see who's pregnant or looking after their newborn. I even got to the stage where I was angry at women with older kids. And don't get me started on women who smoke near their kids or yell at them in the street!

    I gave it all to God and told Him I couldn't do it any more. Told Him that if I was ever to be an adoptive parent*, I needed to let go of the possibility of biological children. Needed to let go of the possibility of any children.

    He has worked slowly but surely and I've begun to heal and transform. But these things happen in His timing, with our input and free will, so only once (if ever) you're ready would I advise trying this.

    It's freeing though.

    On a more practical note, the best advice I received to deal with the inevitable "Have you got children?" question (which used to leave me feeling emotionally assaulted and apt to react badly - then guilty for feeling it, because it's really not their fault!) is to have a strategy - a phrase you work on which you pull out when someone asks you that.

    It needs to be true and to acknowledge what's going on for you, but not leave them feeling like they've been smacked upside the head.

    Mine is:

    "I'd love to have children, but unfortunately my husband has a health condition which is preventing conception, so it's not a possibility for us at the moment. I'd love to in future though."

    And if you want to, I wrote a guide for 'normals' regarding how to approach us infertiles over at

    If you ever fancy a chat, do get in touch :) Take care of you and God bless you.