IVF does not always end with a rainbow. This time 3 years ago, I was going through an intense round of IVF. It has certainly helped many families, but every infertility journey is different. For me, I get pregnant very easily, but always lose the baby, and the doctors cannot find a reason why.
After 3 miscarriages we tried an intense round of IVF...
21 doctor appointments
102 pregnancy tests
4 lost baby embryos
...& too many tears to count.
We don’t always get the rainbow we wanted at the end of the storm. Sometimes God chooses a different path, and though I don’t know why we’ve experienced so much heartache and loss, I’m thankful for what we do have. I’m thankful for the blessings of this life, and will do my best to share God's love, light & kindness with others on my journey.
I can feel the heaviness of Mother’s Day coming in my bones. I can feel the knot in my throat & the tears welling up in my eyes. Every thought brings my mind right back to the three babies we’ve lost, & my overwhelming grief. It never gets easier. Ever. But I do get stronger. Most of the time I’m fine, but sometimes, like this week, my heart just breaks over & over.
Our journey to baby is over, & I accept that, but now I grieve not only the babies we lost, but also the hope of ever being a mother.
I’m also a stepmom. I’m a proud, full time, hard working, bend over backwards for my child, love him with every breath in my soul... stepmom. BUT even when it’s good as a stepmom, it’s complicated.
To all the grieving mothers...
To all the stepmoms...
I see you. I am you.
Sending love to you all.
When you see someone you care about hurting, you want to take away that pain, and help any way you can. Sometimes, though, even the most heartfelt attempt to share comforting words can become very hurtful. I’ve been guilty of this myself, and I never knew how hurtful it could feel on the receiving end. So if you have a loved one that's going through miscarriages, infertility, and grief, I want to help you lift them up.
Sometimes, though, you don’t have to say anything at all. Just be present. Sit with them in the pain. Just be there. Give a hug. Bring a meal. Sometimes words aren’t necessary. You just need to know you’re not alone.
Here are some helpful things I've learned along my journey. These words were all spoken to me with love after my miscarriages, but the words still stung my already broken heart.
At least it was early. At least you have other children. At least you can try again. At least… anything. Don’t say it. If someone you loved lost their husband or wife you wouldn’t say, “at least you can get married again.” Of course you wouldn’t say that. This isn’t just a miscarriage for your loved one. This is a death, and it’s devastating.
Instead, say “I love you.”
“You share too much personal information.”
This one is two-part. Everyone celebrates differently. Everyone grieves differently.
1. If you want to publicly announce your pregnancy the minute you get a positive test. DO IT! Live your life! Because you know what? You’re pregnant. Right now, in this moment, your baby is with you. Enjoy every moment of it, and don’t let anyone tell you how or when to celebrate.
2. Everyone grieves differently. So, do whatever you need to do to heal your heart. If you need to hide from the world, hide. If you need to start a vlog talking about your pain, share your story. If you need to stay in bed for weeks and eat pizza and ice cream, eat all the comfort food you want. If you need to jump on one leg and dress up like a chicken, YOU DO YOU. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should grieve. There is no timeframe, and no guidelines to grief. This is your journey and yours alone.
Instead, say “I’m here for you.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t do so much yoga”
If your loved one just lost her child, please know that she is spending every waking minute of every day, wondering what she did wrong. She’s replaying every single detail of what she could have done to cause this. She’s hating herself, and every mistake she made. She’s falling apart. The last thing she needs to hear is that you might think she caused the death of her baby.
Instead, say “You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”
Stop. Saying. This. Everything does not happen for a reason. Sometimes utter crap happens for no reason at all. I remember when people would say this to me, in my mind I would shout “Really? Then, please tell me. Why did my baby die? What was the reason?” So, my response to this comment was always painful tears.
Instead, say “I’m praying for you.”
“You’re just an angel maker.”
I swear to you, these words were said to me by a friend who loves me very much. I know they love me, and I know they were trying to cheer me up. I also know that I don’t have to explain why you shouldn’t say this to someone who is grieving.
Instead, say “I’m sorry you’re hurting.”
“Just stop trying and it will happen.”
Just stop trying? Thank you, Karen! That’s a perfectly logical solution to my problem. I mean, here I am consulting doctors, specialists and professionals about infertility and causes for miscarriages, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on treatments, and desperately praying to God… but you just solved my problem. I’ll stop trying, I won’t care about it all, and I’ll magically get pregnant like your 2nd cousin Becky did. (Picking up on the sarcasm?) My rant may sound silly, but I promise, if you say this to a woman trying to have a baby, this is exactly what will be going through her mind.
Instead, just give a hug. No words are needed.
1 failed round of IVF
4 lost baby embryos
21 doctor appointments
102 pregnancy tests
...& too many tears to count
This is what our journey to baby looks like. I didn’t get my rainbow baby. I will never have a child of my own.
Every woman’s journey to baby is different. Some have challenges, & some don’t. In my case, we get pregnant very easily, and everything tests “normal.” The pregnancy just… ends. It ends with my heart shattered into a thousand pieces, and I dissolve into an emotional puddle on the floor, knowing that I’ll never get to hold my babies in my arms.
The doctors and specialists weren’t able to find a cause for my pregnancies ending in miscarriage. That leaves me with nothing to blame, nothing to point at and say “that’s why.” It leaves me sitting here wondering if it’s just not in God’s plan.
Now, before you lovingly tell me: "it will happen," “just pray about it,” “try acupuncture,” “take progesterone,” or “just stop trying & it’ll happen.” Please know that we tried everything we could.
This is NOT an easy journey. There is so much grief and pain. Not a day goes by that I don’t grieve and feel the aching in my heart. I do my absolute best, though, to be strong, put my faith in God, and focus on gratitude for the blessings that I do have.
Some days, the grief wins... and that’s ok. I give myself grace, and know that tomorrow is a new day.
So how do I cope?
Support from friends & family
(and if I’m being completely honest) Wine
To the woman on a similar journey… I see you. You’re not alone. If you want to talk, I’m here.
I’ll share more going forward about our journey to baby, infertility, how I cope with grief, helpful advice for friends and family, and updates on our new adoption journey. Thank you for letting me share my story.