To My Fertile Friends – Why I Didn't Feel Grateful This Thanksgiving
Some post-Thanksgiving thoughts. Perfect for going deeper into the holiday season...
A Message To My Fertile Friends About Infertility
To all my fertile friends out there– to all of you with babies in your arms and crawling or walking around your legs. To all of you out there who have gotten to make the announcements and feel the joy of having your family expand, this is my message to you:
Please stop suggesting all the things in my life that I should feel grateful for, especially anything around baby exhaustion or no time alone.
Consider this, when you are offering me advice.
How to give thanks when you don’t feel thankful?
Yes. We are healthy enough. Yes, we have loved ones. Yes, we have homes that we live in that are warm with running water and electricity. Yes, we have food to eat every day. Yes, we sleep in soft, cozy beds and aren’t interrupted in the middle of the night.
Yes, yes, yes. We have all those things.
And we don’t feel especially grateful. Or we do about those things and a list ten times as long about other things.
Infertility | When You Don't Feel Thankful on Thanksgiving
Here’s what we don’t feel grateful for–
And I know there are a lot of us out there who do feel grateful for infertility. We feel we’ve learned significant and powerful things about ourselves and our partners and our desire to have children in our family. We know how strong we are in ways that we never knew before. Yes. A lot of us feel grateful for what we have learned with our infertility.
And at some point or another, we’re done with the lessons. Got it, thanks.
We want the positive pregnancy test. And we want the pregnancy to proceed in a healthy, viable way. We want to hear a heartbeat. We want to watch our bellies expand. We want to feel a baby wiggle around. We want to share our ultrasound pictures. We want to tell our loved ones that our family is going to include someone new. We want to attend a baby shower that is meant just for us. We want to plan a place for our baby to sleep in.
We want our baby in our arms.
We want to move on from the lessons learned and have our babies.
We want to get on with our lives. We want to feel grateful for the families that we’ve worked so hard to create. We want to enjoy those families.
It’s a time of Thanksgiving.
And if you are reading this and not feeling particularly grateful, please know that you are not alone. Know that adding guilt to how you are feeling is not only unhelpful, but ultimately, unnecessary.
We know that we’re grateful for things in our lives that many others don’t have. We are.
We are grateful enough for all those things.
Isn’t it ok that we are sad that we don’t have our babies? Isn’t that ok with all of you out there, giving us advice about being grateful? Mostly all of you out there, holding your babies? Aren’t you grateful for them? For your children?
Aren’t they at the top of your list of things that you’re grateful for? Wouldn’t you be missing them if they weren’t there?
Can you imagine it?
If they weren’t there?
Wouldn’t you be yearning for them from every cell in your body? Like I am? Like we are?
Would you be grateful for the house, the car, the job, your health?
Or would you notice that something, someone, was missing?
I’m grateful enough.
And I’m tired of waiting. And I’m tired of feeling guilty for having less patience than you seem to think I should have.
I’ll feel grateful when I feel grateful. Moments and flashes. Or not.
I’m feeling sad. Confused. Disappointed. Frustrated. Angry.
I’m feeling hopeless.
I’ll get to feeling thankful, I hope.
Right now, that’s not how I’m feeling.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.