Unexplained Infertility: an Object Lesson

Selfie from my first, and failed, IUI.

Selfie from my first, and failed, IUI.

We observe our minds grasping and pushing and attempting to hold onto judgments.
‘This is good. This is bad.’ We attempt to make the world fit the pattern we think it should be. Letting go of these judgments frees us, allows open space for our lives to happen.
— Jon Kabat-Zinn

I wrote the letter below seven months ago. So much has changed, yet so little has. We're no longer calling you by this name. In fact, we don't know what to call you anymore. 

We were officially diagnosed with unexplained infertility, which I found out people really don't believe is a thing. But it is a thing, a very real thing, a very frustrating thing. The questioning and the self-guilt consume you every. single. day. 

Just stop trying.
Just stop being stressed.
Just forget about it.
It's only been ____ months!

I no longer feel like the people saying those things have good intentions.

It's not that they have bad intentions. It's just that they aren't thinking.

Frankly, they aren't listening. They aren't feeling. 

Telling me to do anything is telling me that there's something I'm already doing wrong, that this is somehow my fault.


It feels like we’re giving up on you, Adelaide.

First, it was the name. Everyone else suddenly named their baby Adelynn. And we are punished, it feels, for being late bloomers.

“Sorry you couldn’t get pregnant yet, but we took your name.”

Then it was really giving up. Putting trying on hold for almost a year because there is just so much happening in life, and we want the best for you.  

You seemed so close for awhile there. I could sense you. I could see you. I saw you in a vision. You had brown hair and blue eyes. Then I saw you in a dream. I saw you as a baby. I saw you as a toddler. I saw you as a pre-teen (and I was so proud of you!)

When I couldn’t sleep, racked with the anxieties of the day, I imagined rocking you close to my chest, smelling your baby head.

I thought about how my own mother would make me tea when I was sad. How she would bring a cup of tea to my room and talk to me. I thought about how we would have those moments, only more of them, and better.

I wanted to be a parent, but not a mother. But getting ready for you, making space for you, made me want to be a mother.

You are smart and creative. You’re funny, yet wise beyond your years. But you’re not here yet, and it breaks my heart. Why aren’t you here??

I can still see you, which is what makes this so hard. It feels like walking away from a real baby, a person, a future, that already exists.

But I know that you didn’t come to fruition in these past seven months because you know better.

I know that you are waiting for the right time.

You are my dream, but you are slipping through my fingers. What happens to a dream deferred? Langston Hughes wants to know. I want to know. I know you’re still there, but I feel like I’m losing you.


In the midst of all of this, I have been surrounded and held up by an entire tribe of people. The listeners. The empathizers. The prayer warriors.

I've been sent cards and trinkets that mean more to me than anyone will ever know (only some of which are pictured here.) You have texted me to see how I'm doing the night before your wedding. You have sought me and found me hiding in dark closets. You have stuck me with needles and put up with my late cards, my canceled plans, my obsession with my puppy. Thank you.

You know who you are. May I be as good a friend as you guys have been to me.