Trying to Conceive pregnancy IVF
6 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Trying to Conceive
05.11.18

T

he weirdest thing happened last week when my friend confided in me that she was pregnant: I tensed up and let my uterus generate tremendous envy. I guess old habits die hard. Once my mind acknowledged the current state of reality, that primordial envy dissipated entirely. Still, the feeling was visceral enough to take me back to how shitty I felt minute after every bleeding damn minute for the sum of nearly four years and now, with Mother’s Day so close by, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much it sucks to endure this day when you’re not, reproductively speaking, where you hoped you would be.

I have received an overwhelming number of emails from friends and brands acknowledging my new status as a mother in conjunction with the imminence of Mother’s Day. These notes are written in a tone that suggests great relief — as if a plague has been lifted from the surface of my skin. Like I’m now part of Motherhood, a club that I was not good enough to be in last year. But it hasn’t even been a full year since I was Trying to Conceive, and similarly to the way my uterus generated tremendous envy at the news of my friend’s pregnancy, it is also still inclined to tense up bitterly at the thought of Mother’s Day. So here are six things I wish someone had told me when I was trying to will the day away, in case it’s where you’re at today.

1. You can give yourself permission, even if it seems like you can’t, to make this day go away.

Last year I didn’t even call my mom, which was selfish and shitty, but she understood that I kind of couldn’t help it. I was so wrapped up in my own vanity and upset that it barely occurred to me I was hurting my mother. My in-laws hosted a celebratory brunch, my parents hosted a dinner. I refused to attend either. Instead, I stayed home, watched Friends, ate ice cream and waited for the clock to strike five so I could open a bottle of wine for and by myself and call it happy hour. The irony of that happy hour is still not lost on me. What I could have used then, which I only see now, was a good friend to share that bottle with me. I’m sure you have one — call her.

2. You’re alone, but you’re not.

The experience of trying to conceive is severely isolating. It is lonely enough to make even the desert feel like an island. You think no one gets it, even if they’ve been there, but what I’ve found is that trying to get pregnant feels a lot like trying to get over a broken heart, which plenty of people can relate to. The experience of suffering is so specific and unique to its carrier that you can barely fathom the idea that anyone else, even a former version of you, has ever felt the same way, but perspective has shown me that suffering is suffering and a broken heart is broken — no matter the cause. This doesn’t make it better, but it does make assembling enough courage to open up and pursue empathy or compassion from your heart’s most trusted advisors a bit more palpable.

3. To that, though, if you don’t want to talk about it, don’t.

Maybe this is just a problem for self-identifying over-sharers, but in this age where it seems romantic to air out the laundry of your hardships, it also seems important to acknowledge that if you don’t want to talk about it, you really, really don’t have to. Particularly because…

4. It is overwhelming and stressful to attempt to absorb everyone’s recommendations.

This doctor, that acupuncturist, the naturopath on 31st street. Their intentions are great, and everyone is going to want to share with you the thing that helped them — I see myself doing the same damn thing sometimes — but when I was in it, what I needed was to chill the fuck out, to go a little easier on myself and understand that just because I didn’t want to catch every single recommendation thrown at me did not mean I wasn’t trying hard enough. I had to stop making appointments and stop growing more suspicious of the process every time another name, specialty or facility was added to the roster of people/things/places I “needed” to try. Just do what feels right, but more importantly, manageable. This is probably blanket advice I should continue to take.

5. Trust the process.

This is easier said than done, and I’m not exactly sure what will ultimately help you get to a place where you trust the three bests (that you’re doing the best you can, are in the best hands and that, frankly speaking, you are the best) — maybe it’s when you finally surrender — but for me, relinquishing control, telling myself that I did everything I could have and that now it’s up to my doctor and the universe to make this happen really allowed me to unclench my butt cheeks. Finally.

6. If you want it, you will get it.

This is the last thing I am going to say. The process of trying to conceive is bubble-wrapped with grief and despair and envy and all of these terrible feelings you want so badly to push away. But the harder you try to make them go away, the more forceful they seem to become. It’s nearly impossible to believe that one day you’ll be walking down the street pushing the stroller you are currently cursing at as you barrel down the sidewalk, much less that Mother’s Day will become your celebration, too. But please trust me, believe me, hold it against me if you have to!, when I say that it is 2018 and science is incredible. So is the generosity of the pockets of humanity who recognize that sometimes science can be very expensive. The kindness of women who are willing to allow their bodies to function as conduits for your pursuits can take your breath away, too, but perhaps most valuably, your natural resilience points towards a universal truth that is not just worth acknowledging but absolutely required to absorb: either you will get what you want or want what you get.

But I see you. I know that doesn’t make this very moment any better. It might even make it worse. So if you want to sit and sulk, I’m around all day. Let’s bitch in the comments and when the clock strikes 5, we’ll open a bottle of wine. Together!

Photo by Louisiana Mei Gelpi. 

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  • so much of this advice could apply to not only becoming a mother, but being a mother.
    solid work, Medine.

  • JK

    So often, we desperately want what we dont have and once we get it, take it for granted or find ourselves complaining about it. I hope this doesn’t happen to you with re to children.

    Also, on a totally supplemental point: so much of what I hear you say about your mother seems negative. I once heard your podcast about you ignoring your mother (who was suffering from “empty nest syndrome”) and acted out by creating a group chat without you in it, because you didn’t care about her feelings, but gave preference to your own and your desire to be “mothered”, even as an adult. You then said “what kind of mother does that?” ::ouch:: You also said you had to “emancipate yourself” from her, and that you even took it personally when your mother used a set of silverware when she *cooked a whole dinner for you/your siblings*. IDK your mom, and I’m not saying she is perfect or even that a relationship with her is REMOTELY easy but…it seems sometimes that you forget, your mom is human too. She has feelings too, and those feelings matter. Imagine how you will feel when your daughters say those things about you, or if they endlessly complained about you in the public sector. I’m not trying to police your actions, and I apologize if it comes across as such but I just feel the urge to say…umm…maybe be a little bit nicer to your mom? It makes me feel badly for her, to hear the things you say publicly about her. My own mum…I spent my life being beaten with belts and hit/punched, for things as minor as “talking in bed at night”, “not waking up on time”, or “not cleaning up my sister’s mess in the bedroom” or “talking back” aka begging not to be beaten. My mum grabbed me by the neck and slammed my head through a wall when I was about…7 or 8?, sat me down and told me “no one would ever love me the way I am”, ignored abuses going on from others in our family, heaped religious guilt on me, trashed me to every single person she would meet incl friends and other family members (she still does), and then finally, kicked me out (via text message, no less), when I was about 22. Left me homeless. I moved away, she never kept in touch. She had not an ounce of care or concern when I had to sleep in my car or didn’t have money for food. Years later, when deaths in the family caused me to come back to NYC, she pretended to have changed, and did it all again. She didn’t even tell me when her father, my grandfather had a massive heart attack, or when he died. I had to find out around the way. She tried to sic the religious elders on me…for leaving a pot on the sink. Anyway, your pain is your pain, but sometimes, these posts seem to take for granted how much support you, Leandra, ACTUALLY have…and its A LOT (at least from what you show of your life). You have more than so many of us..perhaps a little gratitude would go a long way in shifting perspectives.

    • Kristin

      I’m so sorry or all the abuse you suffered. Totally unthinkable and inexcusable and really unfair.
      I don’t know the details of the Medine family other that what’s been shared here, but I think Leandra’s been pretty honest that sometimes she treats her mother badly and generally takes ownership of her poor behavior. Children are totally selfish and only kind of outgrow that. You can have a good relationship w your mother and still complain about her/treat her poorly at times.
      And you definitely have to complain about your kid(s) sometimes, no matter how badly you wanted (and still want) them. Her daughters (though they are clearly saints in booties), will almost definitely also mistreat her at times and it doesn’t mean it reaches the level of abuse or that there is not an underlying strong and loving relationship

      • JK

        Yeah, I was trying to (and probably should have) done better with stating that mothers are human too, and have to complain about their children too. It is hard. I just also hope she remembers to cherish them – I’m sure she will. I just hope the frustrations never outweigh the blessings <3

    • skim

      This response seems unduly negative to me. In this article, Leandra specifically admits that her choice to not call her mother on Mother’s day last year was “selfish and shitty” but also frames that decision in the then-need to protect herself. I think you may be forgetting that Leandra too is a living, breathing human being with her own feelings.

      I also don’t see how this article would lead one to question why Leandra would begin to take her children for granted?

      • JK

        Thanks for sharing your opinion. Since you twisted and misconstrued my words on a number of instances, and also clearly have never listened to the podcast I referenced (which is where nearly all of my references to her comments about her mom came from), I don’t feel there is any point in replying to your comments further. All the best <3

        • skim

          I’m not sure where I twisted and misconstrued your words? I apologize if that was the case, as that was not my intent.

          And you’re right, I have not listened to that podcast, which is why I didn’t feel right to try to mention it. But I agree a lot with Kristin’s comment; one can still love and appreciate and be truly truly grateful for one’s mother while still complaining/treating her poorly at times. We’re all human! I at least appreciate Leandra’s general awareness and honesty around it. In a world of “perfect” Instagram lives, I find her words refreshing.

        • Maria

          Oh my god, could we just stop being so damn rude and masking it as nice?! “All the best <3” at the end of this comment is so mean. The negativity of your first comment was completely uncalled for. Of course you’re free to say whatever you want, but sugar coating it as ‘a reminder to be nice to your mum’ and ‘you should remember your mum is human too’?! I mean, who are you to intrude in Leandra’s life like this?! She is kind enough to share deep and important parts of herself and you feel you have the right to shatter that trust like that?! If you want to be mean, be mean. But don’t be a hypocrite and try to think of what you’re doing as a nice gesture.

          • JK

            I think you’re the angriest and most rude person on this entire thread….but okay. All the best <3

          • JK

            And to be quite frank, I don’t feel any need to pretend to be nice. I don’t know you, nor do I care really, for or about your anger. This is America. I am allowed to say how I feel, just as you are, regardless of whether or not you like it. So that’s that. All the best. 🙂

    • K

      You know I lost my mother at a young age and for many years I felt as maybe you do – angry at those who had good mothers and took them for granted. But then I realised two things. One, that what I miss IS having someone to take for granted. That’s what’s amazing about good parents, that they will be there for you forever even if you behave selfishly and shittily. Two, that relationships with mothers are very complex and almost by nature involve conflict and tension. Lacking a mother myself, I was idealising the relationship.

    • Ciccollina

      Yeah, Leandra is so deep in her own privilege sometimes that it’s really difficult to read her stuff. I actually don’t know many women who have felt as entitled to motherhood or an obsessed with it as she does. Has no-one ever told her that conceiving is not guaranteed, that life isn’t just about getting what you want? That there are worse things than having to adopt, or than having the thousands of dollars necessary for IVF at your disposal? I’d love Leandra to spend some time in underprivileged communities around the world to get a bit of perspective about her heartbreak, and realise how truly grateful she should be.

      • I think perspective is an important thing, for sure, but I also thing it is incredibly difficult to play the ‘Who Has It Worse?’ game. just as some folks have ‘less’- or different experiences, so, too, those that have ‘more’ are allowed to have their own experiences – as seen through their own perspective. being heartbroken does not indicate a lack of gratitude; heartbreak is an incredibly subjective thing – one that cannot really be compared.

      • JK

        You know, I don’t know what it’s like to not be able to conceive. I can’t speak to that pain. I imagine, from what I see her write, that it must be immeasurably painful. That said, I do echo your sentiments in this regard. As much as I love this site and (from a distance), always love what Leandra writes, it is sometimes hard to stomach, a bit, because her experiences seem very sheltered and rife with privilege. I guess when privilege is all you know, you don’t realize how much of it you have. I’m happy she gets to enjoy such a life of privilege, but I do hope that well…she does ACTUALLY enjoy it. Sometimes, her posts seem to be take for granted how truly blessed/privileged she and her family are. Perhaps some exposure, true exposure to those who don’t have even a fraction of what she has might shift that. I mean, living in Manhattan, you only have to walk a few blocks to be around those who are TRULY underprivileged….

      • JK

        Anyway, all that was to say I second this sentiment. <3

    • Adrianna

      You know the phrase “one-up?” This is an example of “one-down.”

      “Oh you think you have it bad? Here’s how I had it worse.”

      It sounds like you’ve had some damaging experiences that you still need to work through, but this website is an odd place to do it.

  • meme

    I have a question regarding how to be a good friend to someone who is going through this. A friend who I love dearly told us she was trying to get pregnant almost three years ago, but then she never brought it up again and we haven’t asked in an effort to be respectful. I am currently pregnant and I struggled a bit on how to share the news (because even though it didn’t take that long for us, it was still hard and I wanted to be sensitive) but she has been nothing but wonderful, and at her request I have shared more about the pregnancy. Still, I don’t know exactly how to handle it (and we don’t live in the same country). If you have advice I would really appreciate it.

    • Lauren Taylor

      Just chiming in as someone who has been, and is, in the position your friend finds herself. I think you’re doing the right thing by letting her lead the conversation and by being so considerate of her feelings. It’s hard to be struggling with fertility and figure out how to navigate friends becoming pregnant. I’m sure she is happy for you and also appreciates how sensitive you are to her feelings. I can’t speak for her, but I personally really super appreciate when my friends/family check in with me about how things are going (privately is my preference). I don’t like to bring it up because I feel a bit selfish/annoying/depressing when I do, but it’s something I am always thinking about and could always use someone to lean on about. I say feel it out (and it seems like you are being really thoughtful about it), share a little but also ask her how she’s doing and if she wants to share, she will too. She might not want to, but I think just knowing she can if she so chooses would help you both feel a bit better. I know it’s awkward, but for me, just having the facts acknowledged makes me feel less alone. Sounds like you’re a lovely friend and that she is lucky to have you. Best wishes for you and baby!

      • Elli rvs

        I second everything you just said. much love to you x

  • Lauren Taylor

    Thank you for sharing this, Leandra. You get it and I feel understood when I read this, though no one around me (except my husband) seems to really understand. I’ve always had a difficult time with Mothers Day, as my own mom is my abuser and we are estranged, and struggling with fertility is making it exponentially harder to endure the coming holiday. I just want to be the great mom I never had and know I could be. I see ads for Mothers Day things (and pregnant women and new babies) everywhere and have to immediately look away. My relationship with my mother, paired with the fact that this would be my first Mothers Day as a mom myself (if I hadn’t lost not one but two pregnancies this year), are making me feel like just burying my head in the sand, ostrich style, until the weekend is over. I’m glad I kept it above ground long enough to read this and feel a lot of happiness for you and a little hope for myself. Happy Mothers Day to you <3

  • Adriana

    Thank you Leandra, for this post. Yesterday was Mother’s Day in my home country, but as my mom’s American we celebrate on Sunday. I’m two days in to everyone sharing posts of their Mom’s and babies and I’m just miserable. Like you did last year, this year I just want to whole up and binge by myself. TTC has been a long and grueling process and each cycle pregnancy feels just out of reach yet forever elusive. Thank you for recognizing how shitty this day is for many, and making me feel understood.

  • Thanks for sharing this!
    xx
    https://closettostreet.com

  • Hannah Betts

    Another brilliant article, thank you. Mothering Sunday is also fcking hard for those of us who have / had a difficult relationship with our mothers. Mine cut me off almost a decade, as I wrote about in a UK broadsheet: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/family/mother-cut-life-almost-decade-would-give-anything-still-alive/ Mother’s Day could be agonising.

  • Renata

    Wow. I enjoyed this article because I recognize her pain, it was so true, and I related to it, it resonated, I went through a similar experience, but not in regards to having children. It still amazes me how much some women want children, because I have never felt this way. It makes me feel abnormal because I am forty and still don’t crave children, and my parents constantly berate me for this choice. I see pictures of babies and feel indifference or discomfort (especially around my family). And these “parents’ days” (mother and father’s days ) were very hard for me when I was estranged from them for a while, and now I’m uncomfortable becuse I don’t seek to join this group and there is stigma in our society attached to people who don’t

    • Cynthia Schoonover

      There’s nothing wrong with not wanting children. I have two daughters, but I never had this feeling that if I don’t have a baby, the world will end. My husband and I both wanted children and it was a logical decision. If we couldn’t have children, we’d either adopt or move on with our lives. The first IVF baby was born the year we were married, 1978, and we did not have money for expensive infertility treatments had I not gotten pregnant. I can see where it would be hard if you are used to getting what you want and you can’t get the one thing you really want.

  • gabi

    This article, like so much of Leandra Medine in general, is a self-involved, whiny, inarticulate and out of touch.
    Haven’t we exhausted this fertility struggle narrative?? Dear God. We understand, you had difficulty getting pregnant. Guess what– Now you’re pregnant. Will she never move on from her ‘woe is me’ rhetoric? This line– I simply cannot– ” I’m now part of Motherhood, a club that I was not good enough to be in last year.” No one was telling you you weren’t good enough (?) to be in the motherhood club. What a pedantic, immature, narrow-minded point of view. ‘wasn’t good enough’. Pff. Because you weren’t granted exactly what you wanted, right in the moment you wanted it you assume the world is out to get you. A hallmark of someone lacking self-awareness of the ability to think beyond her own thoughts or experience as it doesn’t directly pertain to her. Leandra simply can’t see beyond her own nose. Everything she writes is self-reflective, navel gazing and unheeding. There are women who struggle for far more than 4 years trying to conceive in their early twenties. Also- is no one going to address the fact that your fertility struggles were most likely a result of your underweight figure…. Some women struggle with infertility issues far surpassing that and may never actually join the ~motherhood club as you so call it.

    • Selina

      (Ignoring the long string of insults.) I just want to point out that infertility treatment has a mental health cost that’s equivalent to the cost of cancer treatment according to psychology research. It may seem hard to believe, but research clearly shows that the fear of never having children causes the same intensity of grief as the fear of a person’s own death. Millions of women, regardless of wealth or privilege, experience this trauma. And trauma doesn’t disappear quickly. Women who undergo IVF have higher rates of postpartum depression. It’s not uncommon to hear anecdotally that the psychological damage of infertility doesn’t dissipate until years after you have a child. I imagine an underprivileged woman struggling with infertility would have nearly identical things to say as Leandra. I certainly do, and though I’m not underprivileged, I’m a POC who grew up in a middle income household in small town America. The way Leandra talks about her experience of infertility is not at all unique. It’s a blessing to us that she has used her platform to amplify our words. Please consider educating yourself before laying on the hate.

      • Emily

        I think the reason people bristle when they hear others complaining about the “fertility struggle” is that attempting to conceive a child is completely voluntary. You don’t choose to get cancer, but you make a very clear choice to have a child and/or undergo IVF, and in the case of treatment it’s a choice that is only available to those of extreme financial privilege.

        I assume you are referring to this study? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20688324 Some others are referenced here. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/The-psychological-impact-of-infertility-and-its-treatment

        These patients self-report anxiety and depression on a level similar to those with a cancer diagnosis. But again, they are stressed because they want it so badly. To someone else, this is different than being stressed because you are afraid you might die of cancer.

        I realize there are a lot of emotional attachments to the concept of motherhood and fertility that are bolstered by patriarchal societies that value a woman’s potential for childbearing above all else. Just pointing it out because this is the reason that a lot of people struggle to take it seriously. I’ll admit that it’s extremely hard for me to think of infertility the same way I think about serious illness or victims of violence. When the worst experience of your life is that you didn’t get something that you wanted even though it would have made your life better, you are doing relatively well. I remember @LeandraMedine:disqus addressing this level of privilege in previous pieces, and it makes the whole discussion a lot more palatable for those who can’t personally relate to the experience.

        It’s also helpful to remember that just because your body can’t do something it’s “supposed to” doesn’t mean the world is against you or that you deserve it in any way. I have psychiatric disorders and I have accepted that they are part of chemical imbalances in my body – they are not me, they are not my personality. They negatively affect my life every day but my life does not revolve around them, and ultimately I can’t achieve much just by feeling bad about myself – I take every action I can, go to therapy every week and try to move on with my life. I can see how easy it would be to fall into a trap of self-absorption when dealing with infertility, and that exclusive focus and self-pity can come off as selfishness. I don’t say this to be rude or blunt or to belittle anyone’s experience – I believe there is value in speaking plainly about suffering as well as entitlement and privilege, and acknowledging that they can coexist. Therapy can be really helpful in this process. I really think that this clarity would help others reach a level of empathy that you can’t achieve by playing the game of “who has it worse” or telling people that their experiences and emotions aren’t valid for whatever reason.

        • Selina

          I understand feeling judgmental of women who seek infertility treatment. This topic is hard on any young feminist sensibility including my own. Correct me if I’m wrong – it seems like the crux of the objection is that it’s selfish to “want” something you can’t have and then parade it around as a serious problem.

          Wanting children is not the same as wanting most of the things that modernity has convinced us make life better, like wealth and convenience. People who want children want them the way everyone wants a full belly, safety, and a mother’s love. We are evolved to desire strong social relationships for our physical well-being. (The evidence for this doesn’t get any more clear than the Harvard longitudinal study.) By most accounts, the parent-child relationship is the deepest of all human relationships. To be locked out of access to this relationship for life is a *serious* loss with the emotional magnitude of death.

          I don’t really know how else to say it.

          Also, it would be nice to stop hearing the “there’s something wrong with my body and I’ve figured out how to live with it, why can’t you” line of thinking. You probably didn’t mean it this way but it’s patronizing. I have endometriosis and have learned how to live with the chronic pain. I’m sure many, many women with infertility are managing other difficulties in their lives. Infertility causes harm on an entirely different dimension.

          I can only hope that this will all sound less strange to the average MR ear over time as the stigma fades and more couples become vocal about their experiences.

          (Sidebar – infertility treatment is available to people of all income levels in places with socialized medicine, like some European countries. It’s a privilege issue in the US for now. And the tech gets more accessible/affordable every year. In my opinion, it’s only a matter of time before it stops being a privilege issue here so we should acknowledge the reality but not let it drive the conversation.)

          • lateshift

            Fine…nobody will DIE without their own children. Or without access to sex. Or, frankly, without a college education. But not having these things – the first two of which are hypothetically available to everyone on the planet, unless there is a biological problem (which: not sure why we’d put disorders of this type in a different category than any other chronic physical ailment that affects quality of life but won’t kill you.

            Think of this way: Someone transgender technically won’t DIE without reassignment surgery. It’s not cancer or diabetes. It’s technically a voluntary process/procedure. And yet – to argue that because it’s expensive, and not available to everyone, and not getting it isn’t fatal, that it’s selfish/privileged to seek it out, is INCREDIBLY insensitive, and pig-headed, and wrong. And I’d put critiques of anyone facing fertility struggles in a very similar category.)

          • Selina

            The transgender analogy is excellent!

          • Lauren Taylor

            So well-said. Thank you.

    • Leandra Medine

      i was feeling really conflicted about whether to publish this piece or not, particularly because i don’t disagree that in my OWN case, the fertility narrative may well be exhausted! that does not mean, in any capacity whatsoever that culturally speaking, this conversation is over (it’s just getting started). ultimately i went with the decision to post because i’m having a fairly hard time leaning into what is genuinely the greatest happiness i have known from having these 2 kids vs forgetting what i went through and how i felt during the depths of the darkness; and gabi, that’s what it was — darkness. not sure if you have experienced depression, but you can’t see outside of yourself and it when you’re going through it — the cause doesn’t really matter. so maybe its self involved and comes across as navel gazing/unheeding, but it’s also exceptionally real, and i don’t believe that spitting at it/talking down to it takes this conversation and whatever inklings of it that reach the public narrative any further. MR celebrates expression whatever that means and minimizing the experience of any individual — positive or negative just doesn’t seem conducive to that ethos. now, i don’t want it to seem like i’m hanging on to my struggle so as to appear more relatable, but in some ways, i think i’m doing just that. of course, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t when you’re speaking to an audience that is larger and more thoughtful than the echo chamber that is your group of friends and therefore conflict will arise, which for the most part i genuinely appreciate because that’s how perspective is born, right? how one opinion gets married to another and becomes an entirely different and more mature idea so i am just trying to juggle to the most honest of my capability a) acknowledging that the plight of infertility (i’m not going to call it anything else bc that is what it is) stays with you but also that b) my plight, for now at least, has ended and i am in a much better place than i have been (bc, you know i’ve been accused of forgetting where i came from as well!). SO i’m still working through what it all means, where im supposed to sit, how im supposed to express and am definitely still pretty vulnerable so as i continue to feel super wrapped up in a very new, and very different segment of my life, the best i can do is talk it out honestly. maybe i should have included this in the story above, maybe not, but i appreciate your comment, if only for it having helped me flesh some of this out. i guess that reinforces your narrative about my being self-involved, but, yeah, i am pretty self-involved — working on when that’s healthy and when it’s not!

  • Louise

    I thought this article might contain a shred of thoughtful self-reflection and maturity. Unfortunately it did not.

  • Ann P

    Dearest Leandra – thank you for writing this. As a counterpoint to some of the vitriole festering in the comments today, I want to say that I appreciate you sharing your journey – all the ups and downs of it. Your story on how bittersweet it feels to see yet another pregnancy announcement mirrored my feelings exactly, but I cried happy tears for you when you made your announcement, and then again when you introduced your daughters.

    We’ve been trying to have a baby for over six years. We’ve lost many. Today I spent around 3 hours trying to be normal, pottered around, made brunch, sat down to eat… and totally lost my composure. I had to leave the table and my poor long suffering, wonderful mate, reach for the closest box of tissues and curl in a ball on the couch sobbing uncontrollably, yet again. Which is where my mother found me (my husband promptly called her) and she made everything as better as she could. I planned to cook a lovely dinner for us, but we just spent the afternoon hanging out, which was just what I needed. My mum’s insighful that way.

    Those commenting just to be hurtful don’t realise how hard this is. I truly, truly hope that they never experience it. I told my husband today that I felt invisible, lilke a non-person who has no place in the world and no value to society. Intellectually I know that’s bullshit, but it is how I feel. So thank you for seeing me, and all the rest of us. It means the world.

    • Bana B

      Dearest Ann, this is exactly how i felt today. I literally felt like a little kid and felt like i needed my mom. Feeling invisible is exactly how i feel especially that all of my friends are having babies around me and i have been feeling stuck for the past six years. You are not alone even though it most certainly feels that way ❤️

  • Erin

    This couldn’t be better timing…I’m on my final IUI, period late by 1 day, just tested negative. It’s very nerve-racking just not knowing. We do have a plan to discuss IVF this coming Wednesday, We do like/trust our doctor. The hardest part has been having no support from our families. My mom won’t even acknowledge our IUIs, or possible future IVF. My husband’s mother hasn’t spoken to us in weeks (she never really warmed to me, but I’m really sad for my husband) Needless to say I won’t be going to my in laws today. My career is on a decent trajectory, so I try to make myself feel better by saying things like “the timing isn’t right, right now. I need to keep kicking ass at work first” blah blah…I don’t believe myself, but sometimes it helps a little. We’ve been trying for a year and half, I’ll be 37 at the end of the summer. Another comfort: I recently found out about an inheritance from my grandmother. If we do need IVF and we go beyond our benefits (I know how blessed we are to have coverage, I’m grateful everyday) We’ll have the funds to keep trying/freeze embryos, etc. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. I hope your first Mother’s Day is wonderful, I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more

  • Maria

    I feel the need to counter all the negativity in the comments by saying that I love your writing, Leandra, and am truly grateful that you choose to share your insights. I see you as a complex human being who is quite aware of circumstances and privilege and I admire you, as a human being and not as a prototype of perfection. I wish people wouldn’t feel the need to crucify you. I think it was very thoughtful of you to write on this day to everyone who is going through what you went through.

    • Maria

      On another note: calling out privilege seems a bit too easy, a bit of an intelectual lie. It’s the critique that keeps on giving, since it is about unawareness instead of the factual circumstances. The problem is not that Leandra is lucky; it’s that Leandra is not aware of how lucky she is and doesn’t come across as grateful. So it’s always a matter of the public’s perspective and not of the message or the person penning that message. Even if Leandra is aware (which I believe she is), people can always say it’s not good enough and will always found a way of finding what she writes offensive. I just think it’s an endless battle and one against windmills and not monsters. I’m not saying that the conversation around privilege is bad, far from it. I’m just saying that it starts looking more like a mob and that it is an unsatisfiable demand. Why should we blame someone for their privilege? Emphasis on blame.

      • lateshift

        THANK YOU. So, so often, women who encounter difficulties conceiving – or who would like to have a biological child of their own, even though they haven’t met the right partner yet – get the “why don’t you adopt, there are so many children who need homes” and/or “it’s selfish/privileged to try to have your own child” input. As though only women who are lucky enough to find the right partner – or to settle on an awful or so-so partner, just for this reason – AND who can achieve pregnancy without trying too hard deserve to have biological children of their own, because reasons. (It should always be effortless, and if it isn’t, then the universe thinks you are unworthy of your own biological kid, or…something.) The EXACT SAME arguments apply to a fertile, married 30-year-old women – why not ask her why she’s stuck on having a kid of her own rather than giving a foster kid a home? – but rarely, if ever, does anyone make them.

    • Suzan

      I second this! I too found this quite the thoughtful and self-aware piece.

  • Ema Dell’Orto

    Many comments are really awful.
    Anyway I wanted to add that like with many health problems, you really have to struggle to find the good doctor. Every doctors are not good, competent so you ´d better speak a lot around you about your condition to hear other people experience and find the good one. So don’t “trust” you have the best doctor if you didn’t look for the best one. They exist and they are incredible and life-changing.

  • Kiks

    Yup my period showed up two days early just to make sure I felt extra shitty on Mother’s Day.

    All of these comments about privilege and entitlement…well, yes, actually…a vast majority of women have been told their entire lives that the best thing they’ll ever achieve is becoming a mother. No one says “if you are lucky enough to be able to get pregnant or afford IVF”. It is not viewed as something you ‘could’ do, like earning a PhD or opening a flower shop or buying a farm. It is presented as a biological certainty, a near-absolute fact. So why are we crucifying women for feeling “entitled” to become mothers? That is the biggest load of garbage I have ever heard when most of society wants nothing more than to constantly speculate about the states of our reproductive organs.

    The other side of this, what I think of as the ego side, is valid as well. Women who have waited longer in life to try and get pregnant (and thus more likely to have trouble conceiving) have generally waited because they’ve been busy achieving other things. In our lives we have learned and demonstrated that we can get the things we want by working hard for them. And so, yes, it hurts immensely that this thing we want so very badly cannot be fixed by sheer force of will, by working harder or learning more or just really, like, putting our minds to it. It pains me so deeply that I don’t seem to be capable of this thing which comes sooooo easily to so many others. And, yeah, it bruises my ego because it is basically the first thing in my life that I’ve wanted and not been able to get by working at it. If that makes me spoiled and entitled, there’s a severe lack of empathy happening here.

    And no, I cannot afford IVF. Maybe in ten more years when my student loans are paid off and my eggs are decrepit.

  • Thank you Leandra for your always great writing 🙂

    I don’t know what to feel or how to feel really. I want to be a mother but it is so hard to make it happen, I feel depressed most of the time. I never thought that I would be the person who is obsessing over this and now is happening without me understanding why.

    Anyway, thanks for making me feel a bit better.

    xoxo
    Xeni

  • pod spaniard

    Thanks Leandra……..Waiting to do the test this thursday…

    I´ll add 2 MORE THINGS

    – Follow your gut, I kept visiting best doctors after 3 years of treatment because what doctors were saying didn´t fit to me and 2 months ago i found out that i had an istmocele. Caused by a previous C section.

    – Dont crawl back into yourself. There is a lot of people experiencing the same.

    xxxx from spain!

  • Ma

    Thank you for being so open and honest about your journey. I am so sorry you have to endure some of the comments here and on instagram, loaded with abuse and what to me looks like envy. To that I say, keep doing you. I know I will soon embark in a journey that may include some of the struggles you’ve faced when trying to conceive and I really appreciate being able to have some insight in what it may look like, have some pre-emptive knowledge that will hopefully help me deal with it all. <3

  • Kiki

    Can you talk about your decision to become a mother at a young age? You say that you began this journey four years ago.. putting you at age 25. In my experience, and in NYC especially, getting pregnant and voluntarily having babies in mid-20s is almost unheard of. I’m 28 myself and my husband and I are thinking about trying to conceive, but we are by far the first people we know who are thinking this. All of my girlfriends want to have kids in their mid 30s. It’s atypical to choose this life in this city, so I’m super curious to hear your motivations.

    • Rosemary

      This is always so surprising to me! I’m from Texas and it’s much more common here to have babies in mid-to-late-20s, although it is changing some with the youngest generation. I think if you think you’re ready, you should go by what you and your husband know about yourselves rather than what the social norm is, because that changes so much! I know so many great parents of all ages, I think the best ones are the ones who know what age is right for them and make the decision in terms of what will be best for their own family. Best of luck if/when you do try to conceive!

    • lateshift

      That’s a pretty limited view of what’s normal and what’s “unheard of,” culturally speaking. Growing up in a religious Jewish environment in NYC, NOT getting pregnant and voluntarily having babies in mid-20s is almost unheard of. Leandra went to yeshiva school. Even if you don’t wind up religious, that can establish a different kind of baseline for normal.

  • elpug

    thank you for continuing to write about and share this experience of your so honestly. and happy mothers day.

  • gfy

    RE: #4…did you get any single piece of advice that made a difference?

  • gfy

    So grateful I never had a strong desire for children! I love them, but never felt the need to create one, lol. But my heart goes out to all of those who feel it so strongly then find it difficult. You’re certainly no less a person – I’ve never understood where that weird thought comes from!