To my overly patient and incredibly kind husband,
When I think of you, I think of my immense gratitude. I think of what my life looked like before, and how beautiful it is now. Not because it’s perfect, or because we have everything we could want, but because I get to share it with you. Honestly, this season has felt really difficult for so many reasons, but difficult together I can handle. It’s difficult apart that would be too hard to face.
When I think of our family, of our IVF miracle daughter and the other babies we’re still hoping to have, I think of you first and foremost. I think of the ways that we’ve come together. The things we’ve gone through to get to this point, and the things still ahead on our path. I think about the ways in which my heart can’t make up for the things my body has fallen short on, and the silent frustrations you’ve been forced to carry. I think about the passionate, fierce advocate you are for all things silenced and stigmatized - first, mental health, suicide awareness & prevention, and now infertility and fatherhood too - and I feel a lump in the back of my throat. How did I get so lucky to find a partner so encouraging, so compassionate, so faithful, so strong?
I know that when we first met, we talked about wanting babies from the very beginning of our relationship. We’d stay up late at night, dreaming about becoming parents. We talked about all of the things we wanted for our littles, like siblings and support and community. We talked about how living with an autoimmune disease might mean something about if or how or how many times I could carry a baby, and we agreed that we’d find a way to make it work. That we were open to any of the avenues that built a family, as long as I could be Mama and you could be Dada.
When we started trying to get pregnant before, we were optimistic and hopeful. We naively thought that it would be fun and games, an increase in intimacy and a joyful route to our littles. I’m continually and forever sorry that wasn’t our story.
I am sorry that our route to parenthood meant you were asked to literally jizz into a cup, several times, for analysis and then for procedures. I am sorry that at those appointments, you were only offered ‘sexy’ magazines or whatever you could find on your phone for inspiration, and that I was not able to be in the room with you, to support you or make the experience even slightly less awkward. I am sorry that you then had to watch me go through test after test, injection after injection, and procedure after procedure - for a long time with no success. I am sorry that making a baby was so much harder than we ever imagined it would be, that it was expensive and exhausting and scientific and not in any way romantic or enjoyable. I’m sorry that time isn’t our on side, and that luck isn’t either.
But I also want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you, for riding every aspect of the highs and lows with me. Thank you, for cheering when my scans noted additional follicles, and my hormone levels rose accordingly. Thank you, for sharing your grief, and mine throughout the whole process. Thank you, for fervently celebrating when we finally found success, and for being the best parent to our little girl. Thank you, for not seeming to be disappointed, frustrated or angry that a BOGO baby wasn’t in the cards for us, even though we desperately had hoped for one. Thank you, for knowing that my patience and persistence is sometimes equally matched by doubt and discouragement, and for holding my hand through each season and “adventure” of this journey we’re on. Thank you, for sitting with me and my sadness, that not one single thing could feel easy for us as we started again to try to grow our family. Thank you, for letting me share with the world the hard and intimate details of our marriage, our relationship, and the things that we’ve experienced. Thank you, for believing and supporting that our story could help others, and that I too could help others in the process. Thank you, for your unequivocal and unending love, encouragement, strength and persistence.
When we took our wedding vows, we talked very seriously about how marriage was choosing each other every single day, not just at the altar in front of our friends and family, and not just in that beautiful white dress I wore while we were standing in the sand. That choose each other attitude is what has gotten us through every rollercoaster we’ve faced in the last several years, including infertility (both before, and again) and I’m honestly really proud of it, and of us.
You choose each other before infertility
Don’t lose sight of that after infertility
-Sasha Mikhael Hakman, MD/MSc
I believe that forever is for real, and that we will make it there because we have and will continue to choose each other over everything.
I am eternally lucky for you, my partner, my best friend, my person.
Thank you for fervently believing in our family - both the pieces that do and do not exist yet.