Anyone who is experiencing infertility or has been through fertility treatment, would describe it as an “emotional rollercoaster journey”. Each stage of a fertility journey can bring extreme highs and low of emotions, and each person will cope with these emotions differently.
Whilst treatment might be going well up to a point, sometimes your treatment is halted, or you fail to conceive this month. So, you can go from experiencing joy that you are making good progress, to then be confronted with despair and grief. It is challenging and gruelling, however long your journey, with every month that passes while you are struggling to conceive and longing to hold your baby in your arms.
Grief is a natural response to losing someone you care about, or the baby you miscarried, or grieving for that baby you so long to conceive and love. Everyone’s experiences are personal, there’s no right or wrong way to go through the grieving process. The important thing is to let yourself grieve and mourn – take as much time as you and your partner need to recover.
Counsellors talk about grieving in terms of stages to work through. There are five stages of natural emotions people experience as they grieve. You may feel all of them or some of them, and the emotions may not necessarily be in this order:
- Denial: Shock that this can’t be happening to me
- Anger: Why is this happening to me? What caused this to happen? Feeling resentment
- Depression: Giving up and feeling helpless, loss of self-image, why can’t I be a parent?
- Bargaining: Try to regain control of your emotions and act: I will review my diet, lifestyle, etc. to change
- Acceptance: This is the situation, learn from it and start to make plans, however the future will unfold
Knowing that you are coping with your emotions and recognising the stages might give you confidence to be open and to have those more honest conversations. ‘Acceptance’ might mean of a life without children or re-evaluating your options to starting a family. Take time to make decisions and find perspective for you and your partner.
Infertility is one of the biggest challenges that life can throw at you. It’s important to learn how to take care of yourself and your emotional wellbeing, and also to recognise that you are not alone on your journey. There are many charities, communities and social media fertility support groups out there who understand what you are going through. Whether through family, friends, support networks or fertility professionals, try to make sure you get the support you need at every stage of your fertility journey.