Facing infertility is extremely painful. Infertility is filled with monthly ups and down in hope and disappointment. As time passes with no baby on the way, infertile couples eventually reach a place where they must accept that they are not going to succeed in conceiving a baby. Some couples might choose to adopt a child while others choose to live a childfree life. No matter which direction you choose next, you need to grieve your infertility losses in order to make peace with whatever you decide is the next step. Here is how to grieve infertility losses.
- Identify your losses. Take some time to think about the infertility losses that you have experienced. Some of those losses include the loss of experiencing pregnancy, the loss of connection with friends who have experienced pregnancy and the loss of a child with your eyes and your husband's nose.
- Acknowledge the depth of each loss. People have a tendency to minimize their losses so they do not have to face them, which only extends the grieving process. Instead, take time to acknowledge the depth of the pain you feel in experiencing each loss.
- Express your emotions about each loss. Give yourself permission to experience the emotions that each loss elicits, including pain and anger. Cry about the unfairness of not being able to participate in life events that most other people experience. Punch pillows to express your anger at the unfairness.
- Allow yourself to wallow. Do not expect yourself to process these heavy emotions in ten minutes or even in one sitting. Give yourself permission to wallow in your pain for a little while. While wallowing does not feel good, this time is an investment in the rest of your life. Allow yourself to feel badly now so that you can spend the rest of your life free from this heavy pain.
- Let go of the pain. After you have given yourself some wallow time, choose to stop dwelling on the pain. A big part of grieving involves shifting your expectations about your life to match your reality. Direct your energy toward finding a way to be okay with your life as an infertile person.
- Accept that this loss will become a part of who you are. Grief is not something that you "get over." Instead, grief is something that you "get through." You will always carry a certain amount of sadness inside of yourself, but the intensity will ease in time and with effort.
- Deal with pain from infertility loss as it bubbles up. Even after you grieve your infertility losses, residue from those losses will bubble up from time to time. This is a normal part of the grieving process. Allow yourself to feel the pain when it hits, but also remember that you have a new life that has adapted to this loss.