Did you know that you can grieve and mourn over your fertility?
Just like grieving a loved ones’ death, there are stages of grieving Infertility.
A couple weeks ago was my wedding anniversary and another year that has passed with no sign of fertility in my body. To be honest, it is a battle to deal with infertility. Once I learned that you can grieve your infertility, I let myself do that. Just like you truly never finish grieving over a loved one, you never truly finish grieving over the loss of the baby you never had. The stages of grieving have no particular order, length of time, or any rules at all.
Stages of Grieving Infertility
The most important thing to remember is that you have the right to grieve. Some people may not understand. Despite what others may think, you are allowed to grieve your loss of fertility and you are allowed to do it in any way you need. While your experience of grief is unique and different from the more traditional experience of loss, the five stages of grief still apply.
I find myself going through these stages frequently in different orders and with varying degrees of intensity. All of these emotions are normal. The best thing is that God knows can handle our intense emotions.
Denial of Infertility
This is part where you don’t quite believe that you are infertile. I mean the doctor doesn’t know everything. Let me get a second opinion. Maybe we haven’t tried this method. Let me read another book.
I have PCOS and while some people do eventually get pregnant with this, I know many never did. Hope sometimes feels cruel with infertility. Hope keeps you in this stage and brings you back to this stage often. Honestly it is exhausting. As Christians, we are supposed to have hope in what God can do. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t sometimes say no.
Anger Felt with Infertility
Anger associated with infertility can be directed to so many people and/or things. You can be angry with yourself, angry with your spouse, angry at other women who get pregnant easily, and even angry with God. It is ok be angry. It is ok to feel. God can handle you being angry. I can’t tell you how times I yelled at God.
The Bargaining Stage
You bargain with God. You try to tempt fate and say, “If we start to explore adoption, it should trigger our bodies to make a baby.”. You promise to eat perfectly, you promise to “not try” or “try harder”.
Infertility and Depression
Depression over infertility is real. Your deepest longing to be a pregnant is being taken from you. The thought of never carrying a baby affects our soul. I feel broken at times, not just physically, but emotionally.
Acceptance of Infertility
Acceptance is moving forward. Making plans with your life that don’t include kids. Using that extra room because it probably won’t be a nursery. Living for the moment, rather than living with what could be.
How to Cope with Infertility Grief
Find Friends/ A Support Group – For me, I have a friend that has become very important to me. She is a few years older than me and is living a childless life. I feel a real camaraderie with her because she understands the bad days, she understand what it feels like to be the odd couple at a party. She is also a Christian, so she encourages me in the faith. You can also find support groups online. I would love to find these type of support groups at churches, but that is very rare.
Sharing with Your Spouse – For many years, I didn’t share my grieving with my husband. Little did I know he thought I was ok. I mean he knew I avoided church Mother’s Day and that I get weepy if someone I know really well gets pregnant. He didn’t know or understand my grief. I still remember the day I broke down to him. His arms and love never felt so real that day. I felt like a burden was lifted. The thing is, your spouse is going through the same grieving process.
Journaling – Get a journal and start writing out your grief, anger, acceptance and more. Need some ideas to get started? Check out my TTC Writing Challenge. Writing your experiences, thoughts, and feelings can be incredibly healing.
Creative Therapy – If you are a creative, draw, paint, or garden. All of these activities help you release your feelings.
Counseling – Reach out for counseling, try to find counseling within your church but any counselor is able to help you with the grieving process. Focus on the Family has a great guide for selecting a Christian Counselor.
Grieving your infertility is a process. Just like you will always have tender thoughts regarding a lost loved one, you will always have a missing piece of your heart because of infertility.