08 February, 2021

A Pandemic and Infertility

I’ve been watching many of my international friends struggle the last few weeks. They are struggling with winter, with the pandemic, with the lack of hope, even though they know theoretically that there is hope that this will end. It is piling in on them, winter doesn't help, and it is really tough.

It strikes me once again – as it did last March when we all started going into lockdown – that there is much about the pandemic that is familiar to those of us who have been through infertility.

The lack of control is very familiar. The uncertainty and fear. Living in a state of limbo. Even the unhelpful and unscientific stereotypes that abound.

The exhaustion also seems prevalent, after 10 or more long months of this. I remember a former blogger, Beef Princess, commenting that she was Childless by Exhaustion. I suspect some people have caught or spread COVID-19 by Exhaustion too.

I shared the fears and uncertainty of you all in March and April when I was in lockdown. I used lessons I’d learned from infertility to help me through it, in the same way IP is using her hard-won wisdom here. But that has not been so necessary since then. I know I am lucky, through no effort of my own (other than following the rules). And so by now, I am well and truly on the other side of this pandemic. Not immune. Not cured. Simply not really affected day-to-day. I’m not truly experiencing this pandemic, in the way that some people never experience infertility, or think about it only as a future but unlikely possibility.

So I am having to learn something new – how to sit with you, to listen to your frustrations and fears without dismissing them. I say things like, “I can only imagine …” rather than “I can’t imagine,” and then I actively try to imagine what it is like, to understand what you are all going through, and to try to help in whatever small way I can. But I don’t really know how to do that.

I have one friend who tells me she wants to see photos and stories of life “as usual” in New Zealand, because it gives her hope and reminds her that life can be good. But that reminds me of hearing all those "success stories" and really not wanting to hear any more! So I fear others think that I am being unkind, or smug. So I try to stay alert to that. It’s a good reminder to me that those people who said insensitive things to me during infertility might have been trying to help, but – like me now – didn’t know how. I know they needed me to help them help me, even though at the time I was too exhausted and couldn't face or even resented the need to educate them. 

I'm trying to understand. I want to be able to help. I know nothing I can do though will change things. So I'm here, with you. Listening. Ready to talk if you want to talk. You're not alone. You'll get through this. You are resilient, even if you don't feel resilient, and don't want to have to be resilient because it sucks and it is hard work! You are strong, even if you don't feel strong right now, or because you are tired of being strong. Letting yourself feel vulnerable and rolling with your emotions is in itself resilience, and a how of strength. I hope you know that. And remember, too. You are loved.



  1. I am getting through this isolation and pandemic. It is not fun. It is not always easy. There are things I want to do but do not do for safety. But I know I am trying AND am being really lucky because lots of people who tried really carefully got sick, and sometimes worse. Lots of it has been pure luck. Luck may or may not hold. That is like fertility issues ... some times things change and sometimes they don't and lots is outside our control. That it is outside our control ability is very similar for both infertility and pandemic.
    I LOVE your writing about life as normal despite the pandemic. You never come accross as being, or living in a country, of superior behavior. It simply is your life in your location. You remind me that normal can exist and will happen again, even here. You create an escape haven mentally for me. You give hope that rational behaviors, thoughtfulness, kindness, natural beauty still exist and can be enjoyed. You are a place of peace even if not a place where all hearts wishes come true instantly.
    You are a gift. THANK YOU.

  2. I feel supported by you. :) Thank you.

    I like hearing about your life. I know that New Zealand handled the pandemic well, and I am so glad you all are able to live life normally. <3

    Also, thank you for referencing my post. It's a bit wordy but I tried to get my thoughts down on the page. Or maybe I just really wanted to share pictures of my fabric organization... ;)

  3. Dear Mali,
    Thank you so much for this thoughtful post! "Childless by exhaustion", what a perfect expression. Yes, I agree that it may apply to Covid as well. I was fine last spring during the first lockdown. Now I have been losing weight in the last two months and unfortunately not in a good way. So I know that many will relate to this (the exhaustion)!
    I am among those who crave normalcy and beauty. It doesn't offend me or seem superior to me if your life and/or blog go on as usual. I actually rather look at it as a breath of fresh air.
    Much love!

  4. I totally understand where you are. I found myself so-called on the other side of the pandemic much earlier than most. Surrendering to what is vs. what my ego wants it to be is quite the practice. I still chafe against restrictions every now and then, but I’m not craving a return to “normalcy”. I’m pretty sure what we thought was “normal” has gone the way of the dodo and there is only creating the next thing to worry about. I also had the privilege of being in a household where no one lost a job plus we haven’t lost family members or friends to COVID. It helps in moving forward.

  5. Yes, the exhaustion is real. I feel fortunate though because although it is exhausting and teaching during this pandemic is exhausting, my family is thus far relatively unscathed. I have half my vaccination in. They're are positives, for sure, but that overwhelming sense of HOW MUCH LONGER CAN WE DO THIS is stifling. I appreciate your support and do enjoy a look at a world behind COVID. Thank you!

  6. This month has been tough, I won't deny it. The pandemic, the lockdown, the weather, the snail's pace of the vaccination rollout here... BUT, then I look at what's happening in Texas right now, ON TOP of the pandemic!! and I count my blessings...! (Yikes!)