Coping with Infertility: Tips for Dealing with Grief

griefInfertility is a struggle faced by many, and though each case is unique, all of them are filled with pain and grief. Every loss causes a great deal of the latter, and not addressing this particular problem can affect the treatment as a whole. Therefore, it’s necessary to grieve for the losses in order to be able to take the next step.

There is no uniform way to ‘grieve right’ as grief is never linear, and the situation with infertility is even more complex. When faced with this struggle, you grieve every failed attempt as well as the loss of the ability to use your own sperm or eggs to produce an offspring. The impact of this loss is incredibly deep, but its form is unique for every person. However, there are some tips that might help people overcome this trial.

Five Stages of Grief

In order to find the most effective way to deal with this problem, you need to understand what happens during the grieving process. There are five commonly acknowledged stages of grief. In regards to infertility, people usually experience the following emotions during these stages:

  1. The first reaction is always denying the fact that the problem even exists. People often claim this to be a mistake or simply ignore the issue, stating that everything is fine. The consequences of this approach might hit you hard in the future, especially if you move on with the same treatment without mourning the loss experienced during the previous cycle.
  2. This stage is triggered when people who experienced a pregnancy loss or have to cope with the inability to use their sperm or eggs cannot continue denying the problem. At this point, it’s common to exclaim “Why me! It’s so unfair!” It is also common to experience bouts of anger, especially targeted towards pregnant women and women with children, as well as their partner or doctor.
  3. This phase is extremely complicated. When going through it, people will usually immerse themselves in studying everything available on the subject of fertility treatments so that they can ‘do everything right’.
  4. Experiencing depression during infertility treatment is inevitable, and it’s essential to deal with it as this state reduces your chances of success. During this phase, people often become isolated, lose hope, and refuse visitors. It’s imperative to break through this self-imposed barrier to continue healing.
  5. This is the final stage during which you can start to reclaim your life and continue fighting your infertility with renewed vigor. At this point, people are more likely to explore treatment options different from those they used at first.

Methods for Dealing with Grief

Here are some ideas of the methods you can use to go through the five aforementioned stages and begin healing from the grief caused by infertility:

  • Writing in a journal is extremely therapeutic and can help you in many ways, even aside from coping with grief and infertility in general. Diarizing will prevent you from bottling up your emotions and increasing your amount of stress.
  • Writing letters to your baby.
    Whether you have miscarried a baby or are only trying to get pregnant, many people find that writing to these babies rather helpful. This helps not only with grieving, but also accepting that this is not your fault. Writing this letter to your genetic child who will never be can be cathartic if you choose a third-party reproduction option.
  • Create an altar.
    When going through the darkest times, it might be helpful to create an altar where you collect all your test results, as well as various fertility symbols, pictures, and inspiring poems and quotes. Tending to this altar daily and including it in your meditation practice might help you find some much-needed stability.
  • Plant a garden.
    Seeing plants grow from seeds may facilitate your healing. You may also make it a memorial garden and plant a new flower for every attempt or important phase in your treatment.
  • Join a support group.
    It is important to remember that you are not alone in your struggle. There are people out there who face the same problems and sharing your stories will help all of you overcome them.
  • Find your personal creative outlet.
    Developing your creativity helps you let out your emotions and ‘cleanse’ yourself. You may try various methods until you find something that you personally consider most soothing.