Rise Up

She sat Indian style, across from me in my office, hands clinching her hair as she held her head up. As rain cascaded down my window, so too, did tears down her rosy cheeks. Between sniffles and reaches towards the tissue box she lamented about how hard life had become. 

Wanting to be a mother since she played house as a little girl, adorned in her mama’s apron, she couldn’t figure out how forty was approaching and the only place she ever got to be a mother was in her childhood imagination. 

Married in her early thirties. Established in career and real estate. She drifted back and forth between self-blame and self-hatred. 

Her husband had sperm that could swim a marathon and that were as clean as a whistle. “They are ready to meet a healthy egg,” their specialist declared.

“So, it’s me,” she said through voice cracks. “It’s me. It’s my fault. I’m the reason that I can’t become a mother.” 

Unexplained infertility, the doctor told her. “With all the research spanning as many decades as I’ve been alive, all I have is ‘unexplained.”

The road forward seemed arduous. More possibilities for disappointment than reasons to hope. Adoption was a good option, she proposed, just not for them.

“The doctors said we could keep trying,” she explained. Pain and more heartaches seemed like the only thing she could conceive.

Crushed and depressed, they stood at a crossroads. Fearing tomorrow’s dawn as it just brought more disappointment and little hope. 

She perked up at the idea of her next ovulation. However, knowing that day 29 she would cry the same tears she had been crying for a decade.

There were no words. No quick fixes. No alleviation of grief. Just held hands and “I’m sorry’s.” I gave space for her to grieve, cry in her safe space and a mirror to fix her make-up before she re-entered the world that just doesn’t understand.

The words I have for her and every one of you plagued by the disease of infertility is this:

You are my hero. Every single day you crawl out of the covers you are a survivor. Outside the doors of your home is a world that triggers and traumatizes every sense of your barrenness. Your strength to persevere through the world and through each calendar month astounds me. There should be streets named after you. Hear me when I say, YOU ARE NOT YOUR DIAGNOSIS. You are NOT unexplained infertility. You are not (enter your diagnosis here). You are a woman of strength and bravery and worth of our utmost respect. I am sure that you would be a fantastic mother if given the opportunity. You find a place to cry. To lament. To breakdown. Then, like every day before, you stand up. Knowing who you are and what you are made of, walking into this world full of moxie as you show this world that you will not be taken down. That you will rise up. That you deserve to be in the same club as all the other women. Keep going sister.

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Cathie Quillet, LMFT

Cathie Quillet, LMFT

Founder of The Quillet Institute
Infertility and Pregnancy Loss Therapist
Mom to Four Miscarried Babies

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