Dear Infertile Friend…My Mother’s Day Gift for You

AUTHOR: | POSTED: May 10, 2012 | COMMENTS: 24 Comments
CATEGORIES: Infertility, IVF,

Carolyn Savage

Dear Infertile Friend,

I wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you this Mother’s Day. Of course, I think of you every day, but on this day, which I know is particularly difficult for you, I want you to know that you’re in my heart.  I imagine,  at times, it may seem that I’m oblivious to your struggles.   As if somehow I’ve forgotten what it was like to stand in your shoes.  I assure you, I haven’t.  In fact, I’ll never, ever forget what it was like to walk the very lonely and scary path of infertility.  I acutely remember when Mother’s Day was a reminder of everything I wasn’t, instead of a celebration of everything I ever wanted to be.

In honor of Mother’s Day I want to give you a gift.  A gift I hope you’ll treasure.   It’s not a magic bullet.  I don’t have one of those.  Instead, it’s a promise—actually a few promises.  Promises that I hope will sustain you through your journey. 

I promise not to give you unsolicited advice about conceiving.  I know you are relaxing.  That stress isn’t the problem and a vacation isn’t the answer.  I’m also very aware that how it finally worked for me (or my cousin or my neighbor or my grandma’s friend’s great-niece) probably isn’t the cure for you.  I’ll never assume I have the answer to your prayers…I promise.

I promise not to complain about my kids in front of you.  We all know that raising children is challenging.  I’m also aware you’d give your left arm to be knee deep in messy diapers and snotty noses.  There’ll be no child-related venting to you…I promise.

I promise to include you in our family related activities and understand when you decline.  I know you love my family.  I also understand being around little ones can be hard for you right now.  I’ll be sad that you’re not there, so I’ll continue to pray fervently for your miracle…I promise.

Most importantly, I promise to be here when you need me.  I’ll listen empathetically and squeeze your hand for encouragement.  Lean on me when you need to—my shoulders will hold you up and my love for you will catch your tears.  I’ll walk through this with you, admiring your bravery every step of the way…I promise. 

Please accept this Mother’s Day gift.  It’s a reminder that even though at times I may say or do the wrong thing, I know, in the depth of my soul, that you would make a terrific mother.  I can’t wait for the day when we can celebrate this occasion differently.  Until then, please remember you are not alone, my friend.  Whatever—whenever—just say the word.  I WILL be your biggest cheerleader…I promise.

24 Comments on “ Dear Infertile Friend…My Mother’s Day Gift for You ”

  • marguerite Smeda | May 12th, 2012 10:16 am

    That is really beautiful carolyn! I tried to conceive for 2 years before having three wonderful sons. It was not a tragic amount of time and I didnt go through IVF, but for 2 years I struggled with sadness and all I ever wanted to be was a Mom. God blessed me in His time. I, too, understand the struggle and sadness that goes along with trying to start a family.

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  • Tracy | May 12th, 2012 3:59 pm

    Carolyn, well written and wow yup you never forget that feeling.
    T

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  • Erica | May 13th, 2012 3:48 pm

    THANK YOU! I posted this on my facebook because I dont think people realize how many times I hear to “just relax” and other advice. We are currently waiting on a waiting list while trying to fundraise for IVF

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  • Carolyn Savage | May 13th, 2012 9:00 pm

    Oh Erica, So glad to help, hopefully! I wish you the best of luck with your pursuit! In the meantime, you may want to look for support at IVFC.com. It was a wonderful source for me during our IF battle. Keep me posted and I’ll keep you in my prayers! XOXO

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  • Jana | May 11th, 2013 9:05 pm

    Dear Lisa,
    I am so sorry to read about your complications. I felt compelled to reply because I feel like your story is similar to mine. I had an egg retrieval on 10/7/11 and something went horribly wrong. Not only did we not get our anticipated egg count (we got 7, 2 of which were no good, out of anticipated 28), but I also suffered tremendous amount of blood loss due to an internal bleeding undetected by the clinic’s staff for more than five hours. Long story short, a ride to the hospital, laparoscopy, blood transfusion followed, we got two blasts we had to freeze as I was unable to undergo the transfer and when we did, I got the negative results on Thanksgiving. It goes without saying I wasn’t feeling very thankful that year.
    I hope and truly wish for you and all the women here who did not have their happy ending yet that you do soon. I know how difficult this journey is and admire the bravery and persistence of every woman walking on it. I wish for you to have your happy end soon and to never have another scary retrieval if that’s what you’ll do again. I did and was scared out of my mind – just not scared enough to not try again.
    In the end, I did win this nasty battle. Victory means different things for different people, so whatever it is for you, I hope you will have your family soon. No matter how it is created.
    With loving kindness,
    Jana

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  • Julia | May 16th, 2012 11:03 am

    THANK YOU!

    This letter is so wonderful, this past Mothers Day was extremely hard for me.
    Undergoing fertility treatments, its been 5 long years with no end in site.

    In the back of my mind you wish maybe next Mothers Day it will be different. But then another year rolls around and nothing has changed.

    It’s so isolating and lonely to go through this battle, but I made a promise to myself I will not give up. Maybe next Mothers Day I will hold my baby in my arms or feel my baby in my stomach…. just maybe…..

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  • Carolyn Savage | May 16th, 2012 1:59 pm

    Julia,

    I’m so sorry that you’re going through this experience with infertility. It is hell. Truly hell.

    I’ll say a prayer for you.

    Also, I can tell you that IVFC.com and their forums saved me. I wouldn’t have my daughters without the amazing and incredibly knowledgeable women on that site. Go over there. You are boing to get the support you need and perhaps, even get pointed in the right direction.

    In addition, Dr. Sher (the doctor who brought us our twins) is doing a live webinar tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter and you’ll see the information that you need to sign up. He’s a miracle worker and he consults with patients from all over the world for free. (Meaning…fill out his consult request and he’ll call you…for free.)

    Let me know if I can be of further assistance to you!

    You are in my prayers and keep me posted.

    XOXO

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  • Canyonlands | May 22nd, 2012 12:11 am

    I was just going through IVFC posts and saw a link to this. I went through IF for years and was never successful. For the most part, I have made peace with it thanks to everyone at IVFC, but MD will forever be difficult for me. Thank you for this beautiful gift Carolyn. xo

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  • Carolyn Savage | May 26th, 2012 10:54 am

    XOXO…right back at you!

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  • Elisabeth Bennett | May 26th, 2012 1:58 am

    Carolyn that is one of the sweetest posts I’ve read in a long time. My husband and I have been ttc since our wedding (June 3, 2006) I have IF issues and it causes issues with not only conceiving but also my pregnancies. We had been in the adoption process but it fell through. We were heartbroken.

    Since then we’ve had two late term miscarriages, our son Luke on Oct. 22, 2009 and our daughter Adyn on May 24, 2011. We miss them so much.

    We have faith that one day our house will be a noisy one with running screaming boys and girls in it.

    I was so excited when I learned that your family was blessed with twin girls. What a blessing I can’t think of anyone more deserving.

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  • Carolyn Savage | May 26th, 2012 10:45 am

    Dear Elisabeth, Thank you so much for your comment. You’ve been through so much already, but is sounds like you are a fighter. That’s a good thing. You are in the thick of the IF battle right now, and as hard as it is, you WILL win. Please remember that many, many women are fighting right along side of you. As tough as your journey to motherhood is, know that when you win…and you will win…the victory will be that much sweeter. You are going to be a great mom. Your children, regardless of how they come to you, will be very lucky to have you.

    I am here, whenever you need some support…just ask.

    In the meantime, lean on the other women fighting this fight with you…they’ll lean right back. If you haven’t already perused IVFC.com, or Faith and Fertility (on FB)…go. There are plenty of strong women in both spots who might be able to help. (I wouldn’t have my daughters if it weren’t for IVFC!)

    Best of luck, and keep me posted on your progress. You are in my prayers.

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  • Jaime Appenzeller | September 13th, 2012 9:29 am

    I struggled with infertility issues. So did my dear friend…miscarriages, tubal pregnancies, etc. She saw one of a few specialist in the country and after 5 years, delivered her baby girl on 11/11/11. Not sure if this will help but thought I would forward it on.

    o Please call or email Dr. George H Davis in Sewell, NJ. His email is askdrdavis@aol.com

    My suggestion, and what I did, was email him with a brief history and ask for a phone consult. He doesn’t charge for any phone consult. He’s pretty “dry” but his humor is found. He responds faster to email. He is a high risk fetal med doctor so even if it’s not issues such as mine, he’ll be able to help.

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  • Christina Muntz Gore | July 4th, 2012 10:20 pm

    Wow! I am truly moved by this Gift. I have no other words but Thank you!

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  • Rollercoaster | January 6th, 2013 9:19 pm

    Carolyn,

    My husband and I have been TTC for nearly 5 years. We have had 4 losses in the last year. We have gone through ovulation induction, IVF failures and FET failures. We are struggling with what our next step looks like. We have asked one another “when do we say “uncle”, no more meds, no more rollercoaster rides, this just wasn’t meant to be?”
    BUT, we are not there yet. We aren’t ready to give up. We still feel there’s something out there for us.

    I stumbled upon your Mother’s Day letter after watching your story on Dateline. Your letter speaks VOLUMES as to why my husband and I no longer talk with most people about our infertility issues. YOU GET IT! Thank you for verbalizing what goes on in my head. We have a circle of friends that loves us unconditionally. However, as much as everyone tries, they will NEVER understand. Each of our stories is different. We all have our own special hurts, highs and lows, and unless you are walking in someone’s shoes you just don’t know what they are dealing with.
    Some people choose to share their story with everyone and that works for them. For us, it has just become to difficult to talk about. You remember that feeling when a few close friends knew you were going through treatment? For me it is so much harder to have to tell 3 people our treatment didn’t work AGAIN, after already dealing privately with my husband then just sharing with my husband. Now that we have stopped sharing our monthly progress or updates, I feel myself pulling away from some of my dearest friends….because I am trying to AVOID them asking??? Does that make sense to anyone else?

    I wish that everyone could see things from your perspective, and give the gift of the letter above….

    I thoroughly appreciated your letter. I am looking forward to reading more on your blog. THANK YOU

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  • Carolyn Savage | January 7th, 2013 9:18 am

    Oh my goodness, what a wonderful comment.

    First of all, I wish you only the best in your pursuit of the family of your dreams. Infertility is hell. No ifs and or buts about it.

    If I can do anything for you, or point you in the right direction, give you more information about what finally worked for us, please ask. You can email me through this site, or we can go back and forth right here.

    I will warn you, that a lot of this blog is about kids. If that’s hard for your to read, protect yourself. I understand…completely.

    Again, please let me know if I can help you with information!

    And, thanks again for the comment. It means the world to me!

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  • Shannon | January 8th, 2013 5:56 pm

    Hi Carolyn,

    My husband and I have been ttc since 2006. We have gone through 2 rounds of IVF in 2011 both ending up in miscarriages. I was testing after the first one and found out I have factor II genetic mutation which is a clotting disorder and will need to be on blood thinners throughout my pregnancy. We ended up switching doctors as our original doctor left town shorly after out second round of IVF. We are now with a new doctor who is amazing and underwent another round of IVF early Dec 2012 and ended up having to freeze all the embryo’s as I developed OHSS and my uterine lining was thinning out so I am now going through a FET cycle and am hoping to be pregnant by the end of the month. I loved reading this letter as it is so frustrating to hear my friends complain about pregnancy and now complaining about not getting any sleep with a new baby. Most of them know what my husband and I have been through over the years but they don’t seem to understand that we would give anything to not be getting any sleep or for me to have morning sickness and be tired all the time so thank you for posting this and making me not feel like such an evil bitch for cursing my friends under my breath every time I have to hear them complain about something that we would give up anything to have.

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  • Carolyn Savage | January 8th, 2013 8:47 pm

    Hi Shannon,

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers over the next month. I really hope this FET has a positive outcome for you. FYI…I also have clotting issues and used Lovenox during my pregnancy with MK and Logan. It helped a lot! Hopefully it will do the trick for you! Keep me posted. C

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  • Shannon | May 2nd, 2013 11:05 am

    Hi Carolyn,

    I know it’s been a while since I originally posted, but I just wanted to give you an update. I am finally pregnant and none the less with twins. I am actually 12 weeks today so over the first of many hurdles. We are beyond excited and a little scared. Again thank you for posting this letter it really said everything I was feeling and I am trying my hardest not to do those same things to friends that I know are having a hard time conceiving. It’s been a long journey for my husband and I and I hope that at the end we will have two healthy babies.

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  • Carolyn Savage | May 2nd, 2013 2:22 pm

    Congratulations, Shannon! I am so excited for you. Twelve weeks is a great accomplishment. Now…here’s my next piece of advice. Let me give you a little background first. I recently wrote a forward for a book called, “The Open Hearted Way to Open Adoption”. In order to write the forward, I had to read the book (duh!). There was a tidbit of wisdom in the book that I wish someone would have shared with me while we were expecting the twins and Mary Kate. It’s to this effect.

    Don’t let your fear of something going wrong with the pregnancy stop you from celebrating your pregnancy.

    During our pregnancy we were “cautiously optimistic”. I wanted to be excited but was afraid I’d jinx it. In a way…I thought that being cautious, I was protecting myself from being hurt by a potential loss. Here’s the thing that the author of the book pointed out.

    A loss or mishap during a pregnancy or potential match for an adoption is going to hurt like hell, whether you were cautiously optimistic or fearlessly optimistic.

    Again…duh!

    So, if I could have a do over I would have spent less time being “cautious” and more time celebrating the impending arrival of our twins (or MK).

    I know I am assuming that you are doing the same thing, and if you aren’t…ignore this. But something tells me that with the hurdles you’ve already had to jump through to get to this point, you may be holding back a little.

    Don’t.

    Enjoy your pregnancy. Relish it. (Even if you are uncomfortable.)

    Okay…again, congrats! I am thrilled for you. Please keep me posted on your progress. Your little ones are in my prayers!

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  • Crystal | January 8th, 2013 9:20 pm

    Carolyn,

    I saw your story on Dateline the other night and decided to read your book. I was very interested in your story myself being an active IVF patient. At the end of your book I saw this website so I decided to check it out. First off I have so much respect for you, I don’t know if I could be as strong as you and walk away with my sanity. When I saw this poem I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. It’s so very true and I wish I could post it to the world so other people would get a glimpse of the emotions an infertile feels. I’m a active poster on the bump in a infertility board. I have posted this poem in a couple of appropriate threads and the responses have been so touching. I just wanted to say thank you for putting this out there for the rest of us to enjoy.

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  • Lisa | January 9th, 2013 12:11 pm

    Dear Carolyn,

    I want to say thank you for writing a most thoughtful and compassionate post. My husband and I learned of your story watching Dateline the other night.

    Infertility can cause a great deal of isolation, and those who have never gone through it will never know the heartaches and grief we go thru after each failed cycle, embies that fail to attach, ectopics, miscarriages and other events that leave us speechless such as what happened to you. Thank you for writing with such an empathetic heart and saying all the things that make us feel less alone (and wanna scream).

    Recently, after a severe complication after our 2nd IVF retrieval, I ended up in the hospital needing a bld transfusion. After all that happened, our 1 embryo transferred wasnt successful and left us heartbroken on xmas night. Needless to say, the last thing I wanted to hear from someone was that I should relax! Heres to less salt in our wounds! Thank you again. Your story is quite moving. You are a most generous and selfless family.

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  • Carolyn Savage | January 9th, 2013 1:26 pm

    Ugh…I am so very sorry for the complications you have experienced. It hurts my heart to think of your Christmas night. I’ve been there. I remember one year, after completing our Christmas Eve activities, sitting next to the fire and twinkling lights of the tree and sobbing. I felt like such a loser. And worse, I felt guilty for feeling bad because I know there are people in the world who have suffered so much more than I.

    I think that’s the problem. We often don’t allow ourselves to feel the right to grieve for our infertility.

    Anyways, just know you are in my thoughts and prayers. God speed.

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  • drdeepalijagtapgaikwad | May 11th, 2013 10:08 pm

    Caloryn-Thank u for this wonderful gift.

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  • Dear Infertile Friend, | emptyhands2openarms | May 7th, 2014 3:34 am

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