Ryan & Lora's Story
posted December 11,
I Wish Someone Would’ve Told Me
Five years into our marriage and still no children.
We had tried it all—test after test, doctor after
doctor, procedure after procedure. Every “specialist”
to whom we were referred claimed to have the solution,
yet nothing worked. No one knew what was wrong with
us physically. Worse still, no one knew what was wrong
with us emotionally—not even we did.
A DEATH IN THE FAMILY
Grief is the most selfish of all emotions, and infertility
is grief—a grief that no one else quite understands.
In fact, most people don’t have a clue.
When you are suffering through infertility, every day
that you awaken NOT PREGNANT opens a new wound. It’s
another death in the family. Yes, the pain can be that
significant. Every minute of every day is spent mourning
the loss of a child—your child.
They say that time heals all wounds, but not this one.
Time is your enemy. Every day is another funeral, another
At least, that’s how my wife and I felt.
I AM ALONE
If you’ve ever experienced the loss of a loved
one, you might have a frame of reference for what I
am describing. That’s not to belittle the grief
associated with death, nor is it to say that the feelings
are one and the same. They aren’t. But they do
share the emotional exhaustion, the intensity of pain,
and the complete isolation. You are alone and helpless.
Even your spouse, your partner, your love, your rock—they
are absent; they cannot be there because their daily
heartbreak isolates them too.
Infertility is death, but with this tragedy there is
no funeral. There is no gathering of friends and family.
There is no closure. And as so often is the case, when
you need your support system most, you haven’t
the strength to ask for help. No one will take care
of you because they do not know they are needed.
You break all ties, further isolating yourself. You
can’t go out because—heaven forbid—you
may see someone pregnant or with a young child. You
start skipping birthday parties. Family reunions are
out of the question because Cousin Martha has a baby
on the way. Getting together “just to hang out”
is no fun because they don’t understand. (And
who wants to be with a bunch of happy people anyway?)
Worst of all, you start asking yourself, “Can
I love a God who will not give me a child?”
You’re left without the energy or the will to
so much as dial a telephone. Your loved ones begin to
wonder, “What’s their problem?” Soon
you become a punch line. “What do you think their
excuse will be this time?” And then you realize
that your support system is gone. Now, even if you mustered
the courage to reach out, to ask for help, there would
be no one left to answer.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
I decided to write about infertility because you need
to know. If you are struggling with infertility issues,
recognize your grief. Acknowledge it. Then send this
page to everyone you know. That’s all you have
to do for now. Your loved ones will take care of the
HOW CAN I HELP SOMEONE I LOVE?
If you know someone who is having difficulty starting
a family, understand that they need you. I can’t
tell you what they need, except to know that you are
there for them unconditionally. Your relationship will
likely be a little bumpy for a while. Heck, it might
be a lot bumpy. You must take it upon yourself to single-handedly
keep the relationship alive. Touch base often, and make
time to hang out (even if you have to drag them, kicking
and screaming the whole way). If you have kids, leave
them at home—your joy is their heartbreak. And
realize that quality, one-on-one time is far better
than big, blowout parties.
Resist that natural human tendency to “keep score.”
It doesn’t matter if you’ve called them
10 times in row and they haven’t reciprocated.
They probably don’t have the strength. Like I
mentioned before, you’re entering a stretch of
time in which you may have to do all of the work. Hopefully,
the day will never come when it’s their turn to
do the same. But if it does, you can bet they’ll
be there for you.
At least once a week, you also need to ask specifically
about their infertility and how things are going. I
know: “Infertility” is a scary word to vocalize,
but do it anyway. Maybe they won’t want to talk
about it. Respect that. But maybe they need to vent.
Listen and be supportive; that alone will go a long
Finally, I want to encourage you to be persistent.
This isn’t a grief that gets easier with time.
It gets harder. The longer they go through this, the
more painful it will become and the more they will need
When you’re in the grasp of infertility it may
be hard to believe, but there is a light at the end
of the tunnel. There will be a happy ending. For a vast
majority of people, infertility is a “curable”
condition. That means it is likely you and your partner
will give birth to a child. Granted, it may take you
a little longer to get there (and, no, it isn’t
fair). You may find yourself taking a different path
than you expected, but you WILL have a family of your
THE ADOPTION OPTION
My wife and I count ourselves among the minority. After
our final medical procedure put Lora’s life at
risk, we had to admit it: We will probably never be
able to conceive. Thus, infertility led us to adoption.
It was a path we initially resisted. After all, choosing
adoption means laying your dream of a biological child
to rest. Speculative questions such as “Will he
have Lora’s eyes” or “Do you think
she’ll love to write like I do” become painfully
But the good news is this: We couldn’t possibly
love our son more. Better yet, it was all worth it.
The heartache, the tears, the lost friends and burned
bridges brought us to our son. And we’d do it
all over again—every last bit of it—if Jonah
were our reward.
I won’t tell you that adoption is your answer.
No one can make that decision, except you. (Like I said,
Lora and I resisted that solution for a very long time.)
But I can tell you that, one way or another, you can
and will experience the joy of having your own child.
My wife and I were present for our son Jonah's birth
on June 4, 2006. To learn more about our journey, to
ask questions or to offer feedback, visit OperationAdoption.com.