Letter to my patient

Dear Wonder Woman,

You are beautiful and you are not just a sum of your (sometimes seemingly faulty) parts. Because that doesn’t take into account your spirit and grit as you proceed on this path.

This journey, although tortuous at times, will make you stronger, even if you don’t see it right now. We will go through it together. I can’t possibly imagine how you feel, but I do know that you feel and that you feel deeply.

I care so much about you and your outcome, that I sometimes seem insincere. You might think I am flippant or not listening but I am actually protecting myself. It’s often that the thought of feeling helpless, incompetent, even futile, haunts me long after I hang up the phone or leave the room. Sometimes I lie in bed at night thinking if there is anything else I could have done, anything else I could have said….

If I could give you some advice, it would be that it’s so important to take care of yourself and allow others to take care of you. This is not being selfish, it’s practicing self-care. This is nourishing yourself at a time when you might feel that the outcome is out of your control.

And here is a secret: we experienced infertility nurses aren’t impervious to your discomfort during this process, even though you might not see us angry or sad or frustrated. Every time that we draw blood, we bleed for you. Every time we (inadvertently) hurt your feelings, we hurt too. Every time you feel pain, we ache too.

But every time you are ready to start again, we are right there with you, hopeful, excited and optimistic because we know that, for almost everyone who hopes to conceive, there will be a positive outcome.

So, my final thoughts are an echo of my first.

Please try not to let this process define you. Here is how I would define you: worthwhile, strong and amazing. Even when you don’t feel that way, you are. I should know, I’m the expert.

Finally, I want to thank you for teaching me to be a better nurse and person, just by knowing you and allowing me to care for you during this private and emotional time.

For this, I am grateful.

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