Message to my fertile friends

Not too much has been happening here. We finally finished up the 10-week summer research session, and I am officially “off” for the rest of the summer. (By “off,” I mean I get to sit on my couch in my PJs working on my promotion portfolio and prepping for fall classes…) It’s nice.

As many of you know, our current plan, in the wake of failed IVF#1, is to spend three months trying to improve egg quality through supplements, while also doing natural cycle IUIs. I’ve been using my CBFM, and was supposed to call the office to schedule insemination as soon as the monitor indicated impending ovulation (by displaying a little egg). We also made a just-in-case appointment for cycle day 16, in the event that the egg never appeared in the monitor window.

Today was cycle day 16, so I went in for that just-in-case appointment. The dildo cam showed no lead follicle: either this is an anovulatory cycle, or we missed ovulation. (Once again, I find myself regretting getting lazy on the BBT charting; if I had kept up, I’d know for sure which it is.) But I’m actually not that disappointed. There’s a very slim chance that we could get pregnant this month, but if not, I’m fine trying again next month.

I’ve also been dutifully taking my long list of supplements. While I have definitely NOT been “living like a monk,” I have been trying to eat well whenever possible. I’ve cut back on coffee, Diet Coke and alcohol – to 2-3 servings of each per week…instead of 1-2 servings per day. (Shoot! Does that make me sound like a lush? I just like my nightly glass of wine!) Thanks to my sister’s persistence, I’ve also started running again. We’ve gone three times in the last week; it’s only been 2.5 to 3 miles each time, but a huge improvement over the absolutely nothing that I’ve been doing for the last year and a half…


But the real reason for this post is that I got an email this week that was equal parts delightful and heartbreaking, and made me want to think carefully about how my words are received.

I hope A will forgive me for sharing parts of her email here:

Hi K,

I’ve been following your blog and seeing that things are not going as you might have wanted.  I’m sorry.  I also realize you sometimes feel ‘ill-will’ according to one of your previous posts about people who have some success.  Knowing that — I still need to tell you …

that we are 18 weeks pregnant and close to going ‘facebook public.’  I didn’t want you to find out on facebook. What you’re going through is emotionally and physically draining, but as you well know — I don’t really know… I don’t understand — regardless of how much I think I might or try.  It’s very personal and I’m really happy for you that you’ve found a support network of women through your blog who do understand.  It’s also wonderful to read about how your relationship with ‘C’ has strengthened and deepened through this difficult time.

…Anyway, I’m emailing you because I didn’t want you to be surprised on facebook and wanted to tell you that you do not need to respond.

I look forward to seeing you again (someday) and I am always thinking happy, reproductive, follicular, warm fuzzy thoughts in your direction.  🙂

Your friend,


This message was delightful, because I’m so happy for my friend, who had been trying for awhile for a second child, and suffered a sad loss shortly before ours. I was also deeply touched that she had given so much thought and time to writing such a compassionate message.

It was heartbreaking that such an amazing friend could possibly think I might feel the slightest bit of ill-will towards her or her baby.

So this message is intended for my fertile friends. (The sentiment is equally true for my ‘lucky’ infertile bloggy friends who are now expecting.)

When I shared my blog with you, I made a choice to let you in on my most personal, raw, and unfiltered thoughts. I didn’t do this by accident. It was a sign of just how much I love and trust you.

So, please believe me when I say that I do not, will not bear you or your children any ill-will.

  • If you decide to outdo the Duggars and have 30 kids,
  • If, in your genuine attempts to comfort me you say all the wrong things,
  • If you go on to have an absolutely perfect life full of glitter and unicorn farts with your gorgeous brood of children,*

I will NOT bear you any ill will.

Believe me. It’s the truth. (And if you know me well enough for me to have shared this blog with you, then you know that I’m a terrible liar!)

Now, you may wonder, to whom do I direct all my anti-fertility ill will? Most fall into one of the following groups:

  1. Anonymous pregnant women that I see everywhere. Yes, I know. It’s totally unfair. I have no idea what they’ve been through, or the kind of parents they’ll be. I’m sure if I meet them in the future, I’ll be happy for them then. But for now, I hate them.
  2. People I never liked in the first place. If they never bothered to make time for me or show the slightest interest in developing a friendship before they were pregnant, then I feel no obligation to wish them well in their baby-making efforts now.
  3. Bad parents. These include stupid and/or oversharing parents (STFU, Parents has all the examples you never wanted to know), neglectful-to-abusive parents (Tan Mom gets to be fertile? Seriously?), and truly evil ones (The rumor that World’s Worst Mom Casey Anthony is pregnant again may have been a hoax, but that doesn’t change the fact that she never deserved to be a mom in the first place!)

As you can see, there is no shortage of targets for my infertility bitterness and ill-will.

You, dear reader, are not one of them!


* References to glitter and unicorn farts are shamelessly stolen from the amazing Jenny at Stupid Stork.

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  1. I think your friend is wrong about something. I think she understands more than she thinks. It’s really nice that she thought about you this way and didn’t avoid you or infertility.

  2. What a great, thoughtful letter from your friend. I also like your clarifying list of points that follows it. 🙂 The resentment isn’t personal (well not usually) it’s against an unfair universe. That’s a good think to remind ourselves of as well as the people we care about…

    • “The resentment isn’t personal (well not usually) it’s against an unfair universe.”
      Well said!

  3. I’m soooo changing my blog’s title to ~*~*gLittEr & UniCorN fArtS*~*~

  4. What a wonderful friend you have. I have a friend who is pregnant with her 3rd and sent me something similar because she totally understands about infertility as her sister failed four IVFs and eventually adopted a child. That’s just the best way to break the news to a friend who is going through tough times with infertility, allowing them time to process the news before coming out to congratulate/be happy for the pregnant friend. Now my mind is filled with glitter and wonders what unicorn fart might be like. 😀

    • 🙂 Regarding glitter and unicorn farts, see my reply to Anne, above.

      And yes, I’m very lucky to have such a friend as A!

  5. That was very thoughtful of your friend. I recently experienced the ‘blindside’- a group pregnancy announcement from a close friend who knows exactly how much I’ve been struggling lately, and has had infertility issues herself. I would have thought she would have realized that giving me the ‘heads up’ in advance would have been the kind and considerate thing to do. I guess she didn’t, and it has really set me back. I certainly wish her absolutely no ill-will, and am happy for her, but I was just surprised that she didn’t realize how hurtful that little action might be. Maybe I expect too much- I don’t know.

    I’m with you- I have ill-will towards the drug addict popping out her sixth kid, soon to be taken away by children’s aid, the child abusers (a recent case in my area has disturbed me beyond belief), and so on. Lucky me- I attend high risk deliveries at work, so I get to witness this stuff first hand. It’s tough to be a professional sometimes.

    • Yikes! To the group pregnancy announcement, and to the job that rubs unplanned pregnancy in your face. 😦
      I feel grateful to work with college-age students. I guess I technically _could_ have a child that age…but I don’t feel the same “that could be mine” feelings as with babies and toddlers…

  6. Another lovely post from the lyrical and cerebral Infertile Chemist 🙂

    The timing of this post is amazing. Something exactly like this just came up for me today at work. I might write a longer post about it myself but basically I manage a team of producers on a TV news show and one of them is pregnant (unplanned! of course. sigh) and she’s only told me but hasn’t told my boss or the rest of our team yet. Today I took her aside and asked her to give me a heads-up when it comes time for the big “group announcement”. I don’t like showing this level of vulnerability to the people I manage but I thought it best to tackle this head on. It was a huge weight off my shoulders and she was great about it. I told her I was very grateful she had told me one-on-one and not told me in a group. I told her that she had done me a huge kindness in letting me know in person.

    Does anyone have any idea why us infertile gals react way worse a group than one on one when we receive a pregnancy bulletin? For me it means the world of difference. I’m trying to get my head around why. My reaction is totally different in those scenarios. Both are hard. But one is AWFUL. And the other is doable. Why is this?

    • I don’t know. Nowadays I can’t even do in person one-on-one announcements. It’s doable but I prefer to know ahead of time in an email so that I can process my emotions and feelings (feel bad for myself for a little, feel jealous for a little, then feel okay after that). In a group situation, you don’t know how you would react on that day and it will be so hard if you want to cry but you have to force yourself to smile and say congratulations.

    • You are too kind!
      It’s such a comfort to have people with whom you can be candid about these feelings. A few weeks ago, another friend told me how he and his wife were praying for us and “had this sense that something great is around the corner” for us. Then he qualified it saying, “I don’t mean to be the guy with 5 kids telling you everything’s going to be alright.”
      It was so sweet, as though he were apologizing for having five amazing kids. I figure the more kids these awesome fertile people can have, the better the world will be for fertiles and infertiles alike!

      • Oh that is so sweet. How touching. Some people just get it. My husband recently told his lovely sister in law about us going through IVF. She’s the only family member who knows. Then the three of us caught up on Saturday night and it’s the first time I’ve seen her or spoken to her since we “came out” as infertiles. She didn’t mention anything about it all night.
        Then, after we departed, she sent this text:
        “Hey sorry I wanted to say something but didn’t know what – would rather say nothing than the wrong thing x anyways just want to say i love you guys x x ”
        I thought it was really sweet.
        I had another friend email me with a miracle fertility cure (maca), but she prefaced her email with “I’m not sure how you feel about people offering suggestions and advice, but…”. That little caveat meant the world to me. A compassionate, smart acknowledgment of how tricky this is to negotiate for all parties x

  7. I am so glad your friend was so thoughtful towards you. It is amazing how selfish some women can get in the moment and forget all of the pain that their friends are going through. I am glad your friends are better than that.

    • Yes. Having been pregnant once, I can appreciate the strong temptation to make things all about me and my belly. Sometimes I’m even grateful to infertility for increasing my capacity for empathy.

      A had experienced a significant loss at a young age (which she referenced in her email, although I cut that part out for her privacy). I think that loss helped her to be compassionate, even to someone experiencing something unfamiliar to her. Not that that should lessen my appreciation for how awesome she is. She is awesome.

  8. I have the same sort of rage against all those damn fertile people, rubbing their bumps in my face (not literally thankfully!). You’re lucky to have some one considers your feelings so important. Good luck on your continued journey 🙂

  9. What a lovely email from your friend. I know sometimes it is hard for our friends to be pregnant around us. They are afraid of what we might be thinking and feeling about them and their bump. It is so nice that you have such a close relationship with this woman that you can be honest with each other and clear up and misunderstandings.

    • Yes. The last thing I want is to make my friends uncomfortable! But I’m very grateful that A ‘gets it’.

  10. K

     /  July 23, 2013

    I got two such emails from friends giving me the “heads up” prior to going “public”. As hard as they were (both “oops” pregnancies) I felt a measure of guilt that they felt that they should talk to me separately. I don’t want to be the girl nobody can talk about pregnancy with. But the announcements are so. effing. hard. I wish I knew when this pain would subside. The constant wondering if someone at work is going to announce, or if I’m going to be thrown into a discussion about our choices and have to argue that having twins doesn’t mean feeling ‘done’. I even feel out of place in infertility circles because we managed to get pregnant on IVF. Nevermind the BFNs and miscarriages since. It’s very difficult to find balance.

    I’m rooting for you like crazy. Your turn is long overdue. ❤

    • Thank you! It’s terrible to feel like you don’t belong – either with pregnant friends, or less fortunate (or not-yet-fortunate) IFers. Here’s to finding balance!

  11. very nice email from your friend! i got a similar one recently it was was so much better to hear from an email than the fb post they sent the next day! and i have to totally agree with you on your “fertility ill will” groups lol i am especially bad with the first one – it is easy to be mad at the random ones lol!

    • 🙂
      Yes, the unexpected FertileBook pregnancy announcement is always a bit of a smack-in-the-face…

  12. somekindofwonderful

     /  July 23, 2013

    I just wanted to say that having just gone through an unsuccessful round of IVF (0/5 embryos survived to Day 3), OHSS, hospitalization, and an ovary that just won’t quit growing, plus the previous 2 years of TTC, it has been so nice to finally find written words and experiences that resonate. I so appreciate your candor. Thank you.

    • You’re so welcome! I’m right there with you on the recent failed IVF cycle (my lone embryo arrested on day 4, after growing WAY slow up to that point…)

  13. This is a great post and I hope lots of people read it. We are not monsters of jealousy and hatred. We are just suffering and do what we can to limit the pain. I don’t even really hate pregnant women: I just often feel stabbed inside when I see tons of babies and baby bumps. So I avoid them if I don’t know them. But if they are friends, then I’m happy for them. I can go through hard times when I’d rather not see them but all in all I love spending time with them and their babies. I hope your friends better understand the situation after this post.

    • “We are not monsters of jealousy and hatred. We are just suffering and do what we can to limit the pain.”
      As usual, well said elaaisa! Thank you for your comment.

  14. Your friend seems wonderful, and I agree that she actually does seem to understand quite well. My sister went on the internet to figure out how to tell me when she got pregnant again (unfortunately she miscarried later), and I appreciated it more than anything.

  15. St. Elsewhere

     /  July 24, 2013

    Your friend is very thoughtful. And I am so happy that she prepared you before going public.

    I do not tend to harbour ill-will in general to pregnant women – neither here nor any other place, but I am definitely aghast at how some people who do not deserve the children get to bear them, in the first place.

    And then there is the other kind. I know women who have been on contraception, over 45, getting pregnant. When last year, an acquaintance decided to not continue her pregnancy. Her children are teenagers now, and she does not want anymore, and she was on contraception,and yet the decision to not continue was very painful for her. I was like “how unfair for a life to bloom in a uterus that does not want it”, when there were so many others waiting for that miracle to happen to them.

    Happy ICLW.


    • How heartbreaking! I’m so sorry that you have had to witness that. Unfair, indeed. 😦

  16. What an amazing friend you have who looked from the outside and tried her best to step away from her amazing experience and see how it would feel through your eyes. What a great friend to have.

    Best of luck with your drive to improve egg quality. If the inspiration helps, I got healthy (in my case read lost weight), cut back dramatically on caffeine and alcohol and started taking DHEA and on IVF#4 I got my success. I hope your next cycle brings you a beautiful healthy babe in arms.

  17. Lovely lovely Email! (((Glitter and Unicorn Farts)))

    And I don’t think you are a lush at all! I love my nightly glass of wine too!

  18. What a beautiful, considerate email! You are lucky to be blessed with such a friend.

  19. What a thoughtful friend and lovely email. Only every once in a while do I get upset by a pregnancy announcement, but when it happens I feel blindsided. And it’s really me and not them. But you’re lucky to have such a considerate friend.

    • I’m right there with you. Generally, I’m a pretty logical, nonemotional person. So it drives me a little bit crazy to feel so not-in-control of my emotions around pregnant women!

  20. What an awesome friend! That letter should be the first thing to come up on a google search for how to tell an infertile friend you are pregnant. Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing it!

    #2 on your list is my favorite. I wish I weren’t so easy in convincing myself I never really liked someone that much anyway. 😉

    Happy ICLW.

  21. Hi from ICLW…I wish my friend had did that when she came out with her pregnancy. I no longer talk to her but I am a bitter infertile

  22. Much of my ill will goes to Rachel Zoe. There, I said it.
    Your friend is wonderful. I call these amazingly sensitive fertiles “gold star” friends. My gold star just became pregnant with her second. When she told me she was pregnant (very gently, mind you) she said, “this just proves how incredibly unfair this all is.” so much easier to love and be loved with friends like that.

  23. It took us a long time – years – to conceive and a lot of effort. I appreciated our few friends who tried to be diplomatic and caring, like yours. The ones who shoved it in my face or made inconsiderate remarks about IVF, etc., fell to the wayside.

  24. Beautiful post, and beautiful message from your friend…

  25. I love this post. LOVE IT!!!

  26. Ha, groups 2 and 3 send me through the roof! Like my stupid cousins who could give 2 sh*ts about me until it’s time for the shower. Or (I’m a teacher) the crazy people who can reproduce and send their kids to my classroom dirty and sad. Thanks for making me laugh out loud!

  1. Kismet | The Empress and the Fool

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