Infertility Goddess by Heather Pilder Olson

I am an infertility goddess.
You can’t wear me around your neck like a totem.
You can’t rub my belly for good luck.
I spent 10 years of my life trying to have a baby.

It didn’t work. I didn’t get the happy ending you expect.
I never read What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
I was never expecting.
But I want to tell you my story: I want you to hear me.

We often stay silent.
It’s time to get loud.

Four IVFs,
Three top-notch fertility doctors,
Two failed relationships—two men who tried,
One woman’s journey,
Zero babies.

We are among you—all around you.
We are your wives and girlfriends and sisters.
We are 30 percent of women. And 30 percent of men.
We are 7.3 million people in the US.

If your wife or girlfriend or sister had breast cancer,
you would never, ever, invite her to a bikini party,
where women sit around and play games and show off their breasts
and try on bathing suits.
But when you struggle with infertility,
you still get invited to baby showers
all the time
and people wonder why you don’t show up.
Trust me: you didn’t want me at your baby shower.
I would have cried in your cake
and thrown your fancy glasses against the wall.
I would have spilled red wine all over your nice, white carpet.
and you would still have no idea how badly my heart was broken;
how empty I felt inside.

Do not tell me I am lucky.
Do not tell me to “just adopt.”
Do not tell me to calm down, eat more yams, try yoga,
Do not tell me to relax.

Do not ask me any further questions when you ask me if I have children
and I say, simply, “No.”

Do know that it gets better.

I am better now.
My life is full of babies and children that I love.
My brother is expecting a baby in March. Her name will be Elliot.

I will be a kick-ass aunt.
I bought that baby a dress and some silver shoes.
I will teach her how to dance.
I will teach her how to write.

For the first time ever, I will host a baby shower.

I am an infertility goddess.
I am not a barren deity.
I am pregnant with words, full of phrases.
I am in labor with screenplays.

I am not childless—I am child-free!
I give birth to poetry.


*Heather Pilder Olson is a writer and filmmaker who enjoys working on narrative and documentary projects. She recently wrote and directed the short film Date Stories, and is currently an associate producer for the documentary Gold Balls, which follows a group of 80-95 year-old tennis players in dogged pursuit of the 2014 National Championship medal. She has produced the short films Wyatt Steps Out, Convicted, and MOOO, all of which were selected for festival screenings in 2014.