Stop telling us not to give up by Amber Izzo

Ever since my husband and I vocalised our struggle to conceive, I have lost count how many people have told us to never give up. It is a phrase that makes my skin crawl, my blood boil, and if given the chance, I would lock in Frank Skinner’s Room 101 and throw away the key.


The TTC (trying to conceive) and IVF community have been my lifeline; we are all members of the same club, the same club that none of us elected to join, and yet we find ourselves stuck spending every day wishing we were elsewhere. We want to be part of a better club, part of a club where the only games we must play are things such as pin the tail on the donkey, pass the parcel and musical chairs, and only because our children want to. Instead, we find ourselves trapped in a room with other couples playing games of ‘pin the sperm inside the egg’, ‘pass the needles’ and ‘musical clinics’. Every day we spend in this club is a day, we hope, closer to graduating; joining the club where they don’t play the games anymore, but their children do, and yet with every passing day we know are also risking being one day closer to being made to leave the club and join the childless not by choice and no longer trying camp… the camp people tell us not to join when they say the words Never Give Up.


Never give up is terrible advice. It is a phrase I despise, not just in the world of fertility, but in the general world. Whether it’s a Maths exam, a driving test, a search for lost treasure or a quest to get pregnant, it will always be bad advice. Of course, those who discuss the concept of never giving up, those who offer the words as sound advice when the going gets tough, always mean it with good intentions. Nobody has ever used those words with malice or ill meaning, but simply put, what they mean is don’t give up without a fight. Don’t give up too easily. Don’t walk away before you have to. Persevere until you can’t anymore.


Simply put, giving up is sometimes the only option.


Giving up is sometimes the best option.


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