Guest Post: Jessica on Infertility

04 November 2011

I should probably dedicate an entire blog post to my best friendship with Jessica. She did. She is a better person than I am. We met Junior year of high school in English class. She was established and had friends and I was the unestablished newbie with no friends that was tempted to eat lunch in a bathroom stall on most days but she took me under her kind wing and let me be her friend. We didn't become good friends until we were in college..a zillion miles apart. On our breaks we would go on 12 minute runs, discuss and experiment the merits and disadvantages of low carb vs. low fat dieting and tear up many an annoyed dance floor with our one synchronized move that isn't dissimilar to jazzercise meeting tae bo with a splash of hippity hop.

We are almost polar opposites in several important life arenas. She has beautiful chestnut voluminous locks while I have limp and yellow bits of straw atop my nog, she watches fascinating and educational documentaries in her spare time while I watch vapid trash and trashier, she is a style maven while I just copycat her looks a year or more later and she listens to good music with meaningful lyrics and messages while I only have one requirement: Ryan Seacrest approved.  
(She is coming to visit in a few weeks and we are so very excited. Julia has cleared a space in her cribcage so they can bunk up and I'm looking into getting some sort of nursing prosthetic apparatus so she can babysit all day and I can go paint Saint Louis red in silence before we head out on the town for a wild night of sugary drink drinking and bad robot dancing.)

Our political and religious views are vastly different but we never shy away from discussing either. She respects and is genuinely curious about Catholicism and always asks thought provoking questions. 

I was really happy when she agreed to do a guest post. I can't tell you how much I admire her healthy and almost enviable attitude about infertility. She and Reed set a great example for me and Simon in the mature department with how they have handled her diagnosis these past few years. I guess I should stop here and let her take over. 

I am always waiting for the question to drop. The one that everyone asks, because it doesn’t occur to them how loaded it is.

"When do you and Reed plan to have kids?"

People ask because they are curious, I get that their intentions are harmless. It’s the next step in the progression of life, right? First comes love, then comes fat baby in a baby carriage.

I usually say, "Uhhh, hopefully sooner than later," or "I don't know. I guess when we are ready?"

Or, if it’s someone I feel comfortable around, and it’s an appropriate time, I will say, "We will have kids when we can save up $20,000 to adopt one."

And then I go into the whole "I have fertility issues" conversation, and it’s awkward - my face gets red, I stutter. Not all the time, sometimes those conversations are therapeutic. I have received completely honest and sincere responses from almost everyone I have told.

I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure when I was 25. Reed and I were living in Chicago at the time. We weren’t married, weren’t really thinking of our future or kids yet. We were just trying to make ends meet and live our lives.
The diagnosis changed things. Reed had to think long and hard about the idea that if he were to stay with me forever, the likelihood of him having kids from his own seed were slim.

And me? Well it’s not easy hearing that the route to motherhood is going to be so much harder for me than the average woman.

And while I am being honest, it can be frustrating to see how easily others get pregnant. There are so many unwanted pregnancies in this world, so many unfit parents who make getting pregnant look like a walk in the park.

Or there are those who get pregnant, and are unhappy about it. I try to keep an open mind, but it is hard when friends get pregnant and are upset. It’s happened several times and I never know how to be supportive in that situation.

Cause for me? It will probably never happen. I know I am not supposed to say never. People tell me alllllll the time, “miracles can happen...” and yeah, I know, I KNOW. But I also need to be slightly realistic with myself and prepare for the idea of never.

And for whatever reason, it seems like all my closest friends can get pregnant just by looking at their husbands. I mean, Grace, for example; Homegirl is fertile myrtle - She’s my bff so I can say things like that. In the midst of cancer, having her thyroid removed, and a hefty dose of radiation -- she defies all odds and gets pregnant with Sebastian. And I say this with 100 percent sincerity – I am so very excited and happy for her… and for all the rest of the babies that she and Simon will be blessed with. I am just amazed at that girl’s incredible reproduction skills.
 So while people are shooting out babies left and right I am… well, not. I will probably never know what it will feel like to have a baby in my womb. That can be a bit depressing some days.

But really, I will be happy with any child, even one that I didn’t give birth to. The hardest part about infertility is knowing that adoption is so difficult. Nothing is guaranteed, and nothing is free. Reed and I, we are working class, through and through. We will never be rich, and $20,000 is a lot to save. So then it’s like, well when do we begin the process of adoption? Do we wait till we have some money? Do we start the process and hope the money falls from the sky? Do we wait until we are both finished with school? I am 29, and my clock is ticking.

So yeah, some days I get really overwhelmed with the idea that we might not be able to afford to adopt. This would mean we might never have children.

And that is a terrifying thought.

But I don't think about that too much. I get that the gods have a plan, that fate has something amazing in store for us. I can and will learn patience. In the meantime, I am incredibly blessed. I really am. I have a great life, I am surrounded by the best people in the world.

When I was first diagnosed with POF, Reed’s mother suggested we go out and pick the smallest, softest, cuddliest puppy to bring home. She thought it would help me through the loss of fertility.

That’s how we ended up with this jerk:

Okay, at one point he was kind of cuddly:

But now he is a monster

 My massive, furry, filthy version of a human baby. His name is Gustavo.


Now go visit and follow her blog. She talks about interesting things rather than baby urine and baby blabble.


  1. Many thanks to Jessica for sharing her story. My husband and I have been struggling with infertility for a much shorter time (we learned my husband had an abysmally low sperm count around this time last year). I eventually gave up on many social outlets (groups of ladies where I knew more than one person who was pregnant, facebook, etc). We have been incredibly fortunate that I have worked very hard at a 2nd career in photography in addition to my modest day job, and had SOME money available to us to proceed with in vitro (which was successful). I can only begin to understand the heartbreak of learning you may never carry a child of your own, or the dismal task of beginning the equally heartbreaking adoption process. My heart goes out to all couples experiencing infertility, and I'm on a mission to help break the silence about this very not-talked issue that 20% of couples face. Thank you for your openness and honesty and best wishes to you and your husband when you do start the adoption process.

  2. Love the post. This Jessica broad sounds like a pretty nice woman. She must've had a pretty cool friend to talk pitbull discipline methods with to have raised such an upstanding member of society.

  3. Thank you thank you thank you for the honesty. And keep standing up--more women are struggling about how to answer that horrible question than you can know.

    And, just so you know, I totally cracked up when I saw Gustavo...

  4. I feel like this post was for me. :) Man I feel special (and egotistical all at the same time).

    Infertility blows. Thanks for sharing, Jessica!!

  5. I thought it was for me to. So glad that Jessica agreed to guest post. She helps a girl keep her chin up!

  6. Lovely story, thanks for sharing. My cousin had the same thing diagnosed, adopted 2 children with her husband and now is pregnant with her 2nd child. Its a miracle to them and all our family. I don't know how it works, but God has a plan...

  7. Thanks for sharing so heartfully Jessica. BIG HUGS.
    My very very best friend has not been able to have children, and seeing her heartache and pain over the past nearly 15 years has been heartbreaking. She and her husband have now adopted 2 beautiful, sweet little boys, and hope for a 3rd, but who knows what is in store? Only God I supposed. Only He knows why He does things the way He does. Maybe he saves the very best parents for the little children who will need the most love and angels to change their lives?



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