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The Grief of Infertility

Posted by on Aug 30, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

image courtesy of jordi paya / creative commons

Definitions of grief vary depending on the dictionary used, but all define grief as a type of deep sorrow or distress caused by the loss of something or someone.  Most of us associate grief with the process one goes through after the death of someone close to us.  It is likely you have never considered that grieving is part of the rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs that go along with infertility, and building your family in non-traditional ways.

Whether you have ever considered the impact of grief and the grieving process on your emotional state or not, it is important to give the thought consideration, and check in with yourself and your spouse/partner about it.  There are many types of losses associated with infertility, and repeated failed efforts at trying to conceive.

The ability to move forward despite past failures and disappointment is crucial and critical to your overall health (physical and mental), and is also necessary to realizing your dream of becoming a parent.  Acknowledging that grief and loss are part of it, and being able to kindly and gently guide yourself, and perhaps help your partner or spouse do the same, will make your journey to become a parent less painful and emotional.

It is difficult to see that grief is part of infertility.  Even though there are many losses associated with getting the diagnosis of infertility, decision-making about family building options, and unfortunately failed or thwarted efforts to build your family, the losses are not always understood by fertile family and friends.

Because of the lack of understanding by family and friends, and society at large, the consequent grief is not acknowledged.  Those of us who have been down that path before, and those of you who are currently there, understand how these factors contribute greatly to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

How you and your spouse/partner cope with the grief process of infertility will vary depending on personality and life experiences.  There is not a right or wrong way to grieve.  Acceptance and understanding of your own and your partner’s grieving, and the likely differences that exist, will aid greatly in healing and feeling better about moving forward down your path to become parents.  Reading about grief and loss can help you in your efforts, and counseling can also be beneficial.