What Does it Feel Like to be Someone’s Worst Infertility Nightmare?


It occurred to me that the interview format would be the best way to address the topic of what it’s like to be infertile (still) after medical intervention.  And this is convenient because there are a few questions I’ve been dying to answer. So, I give you an interview with myself:

Me: What does it feel like to know that there are hundreds, no thousands, of women out there blogging about their infertility treatments and they want desperately NOT to become you?

Self: Well, it’s pretty intense to be honest. Who wants to believe that they might be someone’s worst nightmare?

Me: True, but you devoted 11 years, countless hours of research and reading, and tens of thousands of dollars out of your savings at leading edge “fertility” clinics, d’ya think they might appreciate all you’ve been through?

Self: Hey, don’t forget about the unconventional approaches from lighting candles, herbal remedies, acupuncture, and chiropractor visits (okay, I’m a little embarrassed about the fact that I thought aligning my spine would help direct better blood flow to my uterus) …

Me: Okay, so you’ve run the gauntlet and tried everything.

Self: Yes. I’m confident that I’ve left no stone unturned in trying to conceive. Our gametes and my uterus just refuse to cooperate.

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Me: Ah, now I see why they don’t want to be you. Who wants to run the “gauntlet” and still end up with no pregnancies?

Self: My point exactly!

Me: So, are you getting any support from those in the infertility blogosphere?

Self: YES! Let me be clear. I’m new to this community and I know it takes time to get established. I’m heartened by early responses from women in all phases of infertility — some who are in the throes of treatment, two who are pregnant, a few who are now moms, and a few others who like me are coming2terms (get it?) with stepping off the infertility merry-go-round.

Me: So what are you concerned about?

Self: I’m concerned that some may write me off as inconsequential since I’m now longer hanging out at the “fertility” clinics. I hope that they realize that the infertility experience is something that we all share regardless of where we are on the continuum. The significance of learning that you can’t conceive on your own is not something you ever fully “get over.”

Me: Well, it sounds like you have something to contribute. It’s clear that the successful outcome for most people addressing infertility is becoming a parent — through successful IVF, donor gametes, or adoption — depending on their comfort level with the paths available.  You’ve come to the end of the road with the level of child-producing options that you were emotionally and financially equipped to pursue. Is that right?

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Self:  Yes, but let me add, that doesn’t mean I still don’t wish our “fertility” treatment outcomes had been different. The best way to help others is with realistic and honest feedback, not false hope. Through my experience I hope to steel them for what may lie ahead. And I’m now realizing that by providing this different voice to other women it won’t have all been in vain.


14 Responses

  1. Mel

    February 25, 2007 9:07 pm

    I, for one, am very glad that you’re around and in the blogosphere. There are women who don’t know how to get off the roller coaster who want to get off and others who just need to know that there is the possibility of resolving infertility even if they’re not at that point yet. I think you have a lot to contribute. Every unique story helps people understand their own.

  2. Bumble

    February 26, 2007 2:10 am

    Me too Pamela. I’m glad I “met” you too. Of course nobody ever wants to think that their story won’t result in success but the sad reality is that it does happen and you are a very sad testament to that. I’m really so sorry that your story didn’t end with the baby you wished for for so long. And thank you for the experience and advice you have for us, still in the trenches.

  3. Pamela Jeanne

    February 26, 2007 3:51 am

    Well, my story is sad but I don’t view myself as a “sad testament” per se…in fact I manage quite well all things considered. I hope that my story can help enlighten and educate those both fertile and infertile to the notion that not all infertility treatments result in a baby. Equally important life does go on, but not without a few unique challenges some of which I hope to shed light on.

  4. sharah

    February 26, 2007 2:34 pm

    Your experience is just as important to the IF community as someone who ended up pg after treatment, and I’m thankful that you’ve decided to put this out there. If all we ever see are happily-ever-after type pregnancies after IF, then it creates a false hope for a lot of women. I’m here because I know that this might or might not work for me, and I’m glad that you’re here to provide a voice of reason from another type of ending.

  5. Louise

    February 27, 2007 12:46 am

    Great post!
    I just got around to updating my blogroll tonight, and finally added yours 🙂 I really do appreciate your insights and writing.

  6. just another jenny

    February 27, 2007 12:54 am

    The sting of infertilty never goes away and you make a great point regarding the infertility experience. I am sure that as you document your journey you will touch many hearts and help more people then you will ever know.

  7. shlomit

    April 6, 2007 2:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing this…we are verging into this land and it’s nice to know we’re not crazy or alone.

  8. SaddenedwithReality

    July 21, 2008 8:18 pm

    I have stumbled across your blog as I have begun to be more and more intrigued with this concept of one writing their feelings down for others to read. How ironic that your particular blog is one that has troubled me in more ways than one. Please tell me, as a father of one, and told by the Dr. with tears in her eyes after the first trimester was complete, “I do not understand medically and scientifically how this is possible,” “…this is in every since of the word, a true miracle.”

    How do I cope with knowing that my wife will inevitably be unable to conceive another child with scarring of her fallopian tubes and having endometriosis? I have many feelings I would like to share with someone who shares this same knowledge. My, our, son is 5yrs. old now and the pain that I have for him as if my heart is a simple wash cloth being twisted to dry after being dunked in a sink of warm water. The constant crying and wishing and simple “…but dad you can just buy me a baby brother or sister…” is almost too much to bare sometimes. I am seeking someone I can communicate openly about my true deepest, darkest kept-to-myself secrets of my true feelings regarding this situation I am uncomfortably in. I will pray tonight that you respond to my yearning to share my feelings with someone. I have many questions I would like guidance on, and can only assume that you will be able to help. Thank you. ~Daniel

    • Pamela Jeanne

      July 21, 2008 9:52 pm

      Dear Daniel,

      My heart breaks for you. As someone who was unable to conceive at all, I am but one voice in the primary infertility community.There are many others who have lived with secondary infertility as well as other types of loss in this area. Small consolation I’m sure, but you are not alone in trying to make sense of this thorny experience. You can find more than 1,000 voices and other perspectives on this subject in what is a rich and supportive environment online. Please check out this site for more blogs: http://www.stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/2006/06/whole-lot-of-blogging-brought-to-you.html

      Wishing you strength and peace…

  9. kstar

    November 23, 2008 7:46 pm

    Well i for one am grateful for your honest writing. There are a lot of infertility bloggers now with children and although that gives me hope..it gave me hope and it is that hope that I must let go of if I am ever to move on and rejoin the living.

  10. Kathryn

    December 24, 2008 8:14 pm

    It’s important for women to share information about what works and what doesn’t work. Every story helps and I am grateful that you share yours. I wish I could tell everyone out there to go to Randine Lewis’ fertility retreat- it changed my life and my fertility. Of all the women I have met on these retreats- each one gets exactly what they need and whether they become pregnant or not, they are bonded and changed forever by the experience. Check it out: http://www.thefertilesoul.com

  11. Me

    March 2, 2009 7:43 pm

    It totally blows me away that you ever, even for an instant, thought that your experiences and insights would not be appreciated by huge numbers of women. Modest much? Lol!

  12. luna

    July 1, 2010 8:50 pm

    love this. you have so much to contribute to this sphere, giving voice not only to the isolating experience of infertility, but leading by example how to accept and embrace a life without children, even when it wasn’t your first choice. this is just an amazing thing.

    even though people point to our adoption as a “happy ending,” of course it doesn’t end my experience or identity as an infertile woman.

    there have been many times I’ve shared my story about loss and my inability to conceive again (despite our efforts and desire) that I’ve felt like a failure. most people still want to know that if you try long and hard enough, you will “succeed.” I just learned to define “success” another way. I think you can only find peace when you know you did what you could.

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