Opening Up About Our Fertility Struggles

Before our most recent miscarriage, only a handful of people in our life knew about our fertility problems including a few close immediate family members, my best friend and a couple of co-workers I gave some limited information to when I needed people to cover for me at work so I could go to appointments that were never easy to predict.  Back in August, after reading this article published in Self magazine, we drafted an e-mail we considered sending to family and friends.  At that time, we were approaching our tenth anniversary and seemed to be fielding lots of questions about if and when we were planning to have kids.  Also, I had sent a letter to the editor of Self to tell them that I was happy to see that they addressed this important issue, but was disappointed that the article wasn't highlighted, or even mentioned, on the cover (especially since the whole point of it was to break the silence of infertility).  I was asked to provide my full name and place of residence because Self was considering my comments for publication.  I have an uncommon last name and, if my comments would have been published, I was concerned that people in our lives would learn about our fertility problems in a very impersonal way if they somehow happened to see my name in the magazine.  As it turns out, Self never published my comments.  If they would have, we were going to send the e-mail we drafted to a wider circle of relatives and close friends as soon as we saw my name and comments in black and white.  But we returned from a wonderful vacation to celebrate our anniversary and found out I was pregnant shortly thereafter.  With this new pregnancy, we decided to hold off on sending the e-mail and keeping our struggles private a little longer. 

After we lost this second pregnancy, we decided to switch clinics.  We continued to keep our struggles private while we attempted three more IUIs with the new clinic.  IUI#5 (the second one with the new clinic) resulted in another pregnancy and our most recent loss.  After this loss, my husband and I decided it was time to share our problems and losses with others.  It is just getting too hard to keep it a secret anymore.  I'm tired of dodging the questions about kids and starting a family.  So I pulled out the e-mail we wrote in August, revised it a bit to include more updated information and hit the send button about 48 hours after our last miscarriage.

I'm so glad that we sent it. Sending the e-mail felt liberating.  It felt like the right time to finally "out" ourselves.  I felt like I got rid of a huge weight I had been carrying around.  We sent the e-mail to about 30 people and have been overwhelmed by the responses we received.  No one has made any insensitive comments even though I actually expected to receive some.  We've received amazing responses from handwritten cards to two completely unexpected and generous offers from friends who said they would be willing to explore the option of surrogacy with us if that is the path we decide choose.  I don't know why, but I have been stunned by the love and support we have received.  I really shouldn't have expected anything less.  After all, these are all people who love and care about us.  We are truly blessed to have such an amazing support system and I am glad that we will be able to confide in, and rely on, these relatives and friends from this point forward if and when necessary.

I wasn't quite brave enough to post something on Facebook yet, but with National Infertility Awareness Week approaching, I think I will muster up enough courage to "go public" with some type of message.

While I don't want to post the e-mail we sent in its entirety here, I am more than happy to share it with anyone who is contemplating coming out to family and friends and would like to see how we finally did it.  Just e-mail me or leave me a comment with your e-mail address and I will forward the message to you.


  1. That's really awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for your comments on my blog. It makes me feel so supported and just happy even in the roughest of times knowing that people out there are thinking about me.

    I just changed the url to my blog for various reasons (which I'll post about later)it's now:



  3. Here from the Roundup.
    I'm glad that you got such great responses and support from your family and friends and hope it continues.

  4. Here for the first time from Melissa's blog roundup.

    That is great that you got positive responses and support. I'm sure it made you feel better about having sent the email.

    We are still "in the closet" to most people in our lives and will probably stay there until/unless I get pregnant. I turned 40 last month, and we've been married over two years, so I imagine a number of our friends and acquaintances probably just think we want to remain a DINK couple. Oh well.

  5. Loved your post (found your blog on Stirrup Queens) about "coming out" - it rings so true for me. I've been toying with the idea of letting people know for years now. Seems so silly, there's so much history I'm kind of embarrassed to bring it up now (I'm in the 2ww of our 6th and final IVF -ttc #2 for 8 years now). Mostly cuz of my age I think (45) - we never intended for things to drag on this long! But as you say, these are the people who love you, and I'm sure most of them would be supportive if they had any idea.

    I would really like to read your "coming out" email if you feel comfortable sharing - my email is musicmakermomma@gmail.com. Thanks for a wonderful and thought provoking post!

  6. I've been open with limited close friends and family to let them know, and I think it *has* made it easier. There have been some stupid comments, of course, but for the most part it's easier to have an explanation of what's going on. I would be interested in seeing the letter you emailed - my email is ckd 0729 (at) gmail (dot) com, no spaces, obviously.

  7. I'm here from the roundup. We've been struggling with this issue, too. Thanks for sharing your experience, and I'm glad it was positive!

  8. I'm nervous about NIAW and you're making me think about it more. I want people to know more and many people already do but it can be a matter of what I tell and how... how much is too much, you know?

    So glad you got good support as a result!

  9. The first "telling" is always the hardest. We told people after our 2nd miscarriage (many years ago). And it was very liberating. I just came to a point where I didn't want to hide such a big part of my life from the people important to me. I'm glad you got such a great response, although you'll probably get some bad advice along the way, I'm sure you'll be happier to have it off your chest.