The Invisibly Infertile

Dawn Davenport


Who is Infertile?

Things are not always as they seem in infertility. You see a woman with two children and you assume she has been untouched by infertility. Or a co-worker announces her pregnancy and you assume she just started trying. It’s true what they say about assumptions: they often make an “ass” out of “u m e.”

“We have been blessed with two biological children and are in the process of adopting a third. What’s hurtful to me is when someone assumes that just because you have children you haven’t hardships and trials along the ‘conception road’. The “it must be nice to get knocked up at the drop of a hat” is very hard and painful to hear. Just because we have miracles sitting at our dinner table doesn’t mean we don’t have Angels in heaven too. Or that it didn’t take a long time/planning/medical intervention/tears to get where we are today.”


“My husband and I tried for 2 years to get pregnant, but didn’t say anything outside of close friends and family. When we finally conceived on our 2nd IVF, my cousin, who has been married for a little over a year, said “I don’t know why you deserve to have all the luck in the family.” She tried to pass it off as a joke and that I was over reacting, but her words stung.”

Words Hurt

Infertility can sometimes bring the worst out in us. From our position of pain, it’s easy to feel alone and assume that the rest of the world is walking on easy street with not a clue about the pain we are in. Unfortunately, this is often all too true as is evidence by the thoughtless comments thrown at those who struggle to conceive. (12 Stupid Things People Actually Say to the Infertile). It’s also true that sometimes we are the ones throwing down the hurtful comments because we just assume.

  • Must be nice to get pregnant so easily.
  • You have a child, so why are you complaining about not getting pregnant.
  • You have no idea what I’m going through.

Miscarriage and Secondary Infertility Aren’t Obvious

Unless someone shares (and many don’t—How Open Should You Be About Your Infertility) you have no way of knowing how hard they have worked to get their children or how many miscarriages they’ve had along the way or how much they want another child. Our own pain can sometimes loosen our tongues. There are many invisible infertility sufferers, who deserve our compassion.

If you have kids after infertility, have you heard snide comments about your “luck”? OK, confession time: have you made assumptions about someone else’s lack of struggles?


Image credit: Sylvain Bourdos

11/03/2015 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 9 Comments

9 Responses to The Invisibly Infertile

  1. Avatar veteran infertile says:

    After 28 years, we have what appears to be an incredibly fertile family of 7 children. I joke that my husband was absent at ALL their conceptions. One private adoption, 2 frozen embryo twins, 13 years of foster care, sibling group (3) foster/adopt, 1 foreign re-adopt round out our group. Never planned, but receiving God’s blessings as they came has given us a unique solution to a lifetime of infertility.

  2. Avatar Jen says:

    I really appreciate this blog because I experinced miscarriages AND secondary infertility despite now having two biological children. I also had medical intervention to conceive the first. Although the miscarriages were challenging, it was the secondary infertility part that put me over the edge. I was grateful to have a first, but felt isolated because I did.

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      jen, I’ve heard that a lot from parents with secondary infertility.

    • Avatar marilynn says:

      What does secondary infertility mean? Is it that your partner can’t conceive with you or you had one kid already but cannot conceive any additional kids? I’m confused on the term.

  3. Avatar Mia says:

    I just find it hard to got in with parents. They complain about tge most mundane things. And I feel like everyone wants me to complain about having a newborn too. After nearly losing my life and suffering from medical issues, I have had my fair share of sleepless nights. Now, I dont sleep for a happy reason. Give me the latter any day. I guess I get frustrated from that angle.

  4. Avatar Michelle Kenoyer says:

    Poignant points, and so bang-on. We parents need to be sensitive to what others have gone through, are going through, or will go through. It’s like the old saying goes, think before making assumptions. We may think others haven’t walked a hard mile in our shoes, but truth is, often, they very well may have walked *many miles*…

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