Infertility grief is very real. It is something that most don’t understand unless they actually experience it. It wasn’t until I went to therapy that I even knew I was grieving “a process.” I couldn’t understand the numbness or the sadness. My therapist told me I had to give myself time to grieve the process. Infertility grief is grieving a failed process when you’re trying to conceive. It may not happen after every cycle; sometimes it will.
For me personally, it occurs after a few failed attempts. I’m currently in the grief cycle. Well, I am coming out of one.
Here we are for the second time, and a fertility process was not successful. Granted we have moved on to something else; I am mourning what I hoped for. Pregnancy and a baby. I’m struggling with the fact that we’re done with this phase and that it didn’t work.
Natural Fertility info lays out the stages of grief as follows:
“The 5 Stages of Grieving are:
1. Denial – refusal to accept the truth, rejection of the truth and shock
* One’s thoughts may be “Why Me?” or “This isn’t fair!”
2. Anger – deep frustration manifested in a physical or emotional way; crying, shutting down, isolation from others, yelling, anger, experiencing fits of rage, being suspicious, disbelieving in care/guidance being offered, seeking of pity
* One’s thoughts may be “This really can’t be happening.” or “I’ve been taking good care of myself.”
3. Bargaining – an agreement is made between the conscious mind and the soul involving an exchange of offerings
* One’s thoughts may be “If you let me conceive my child, I will never [fill in the blank].”
4. Depression – loss of hope
Reactive Depression – grieving the loss of a physical something
Preparatory Loss Depression – “quiet or passive mood of uneasiness while feeling overwhelmed with thoughts and responsibilities” – causes regression, isolation, solitude
* One’s thoughts may be “It’s my fault…” ;“No one can help me or has the answers.” ;“No one understands how I feel.”
5. Acceptance – the power to keep moving forward acknowledging the existing condition with hope rather than giving in or up, or surrendering to the circumstance. This stage is only reached if someone traverses through the previous four stages.
* One’s thoughts may be “I can overcome this.”; “Others have made it through this experience.”;“I can keep moving forward.”;“Maybe I should get some help.”
Just like with any other grief or loss, I’ve moved between the different stages at different times. It just depends on the day, honestly. One day I may be angry and frustrated. One day I may be bargaining with myself or asking God “if I do this, will it happen?” Sometimes I’m sad and in a blah mood, then I’m okay with my journey.
Sometimes it’s not possible to think positive about infertility, sometimes it’s impossible to be happy, you can’t always pray your feelings away, they’re there, and they’re very real! I just wanted to share this to bring awareness and to explain the range of emotions people face when dealing with infertility.
If someone close to you is struggling with infertility:
-be a listening ear
-let them bring it up
-they don’t need your opinion on what’s going to happen to them, it may cause them confusion or frustration
-don’t tell them “it’s going to happen,” it’s not helpful
-let them grieve
-understand that you won’t quite get it unless it happens to you
To all those struggling with fertility, it is okay that we’re not okay. It’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay to feel everything you feel. It’s all a part of the process!
If you feel stuck, there’s nothing wrong with talking to a professional. We all need help processing sometimes.
Have you experienced infertility grief?
M.A., E. W. (2018, November 30). How to Process Infertility Grief. Retrieved from https://natural-fertility-info.com/infertility-grief.html