Grieving Infertility {Infertility Awareness}

Infertility Awareness Series

I was sitting in my cubical at work when my phone rang. The ID told me it was my fertility doctor. It was our first insemination cycle, and I knew it was the results of my blood pregnancy test. I sneaked into the supply room and answered. The immediate tone in her voice gave it away.

The test was negative.

I cried, then gathered my composure and headed back to work.

Then we tried a second insemination cycle. Then a third. And with each cycle came a tearful, heartbreaking phone call hidden in the supply room.

We had some more tests run to dive even further into finding out what my issues may be. Then one innocent day I headed into the supply room with the fertility doctor’s id ringing on my phone once again. “It looks like your egg count is extremely low, Mrs. Bunker. On top of your endometriosis, it looks like IVF might be your best and only option to conceive.”

I was exhausted and heartbroken from the supply room phone calls. I felt alone and isolated, grieving the death of my fertility.

We don’t often equate infertility with a legitimate reason to grieve because grieving requires a loss of some sort. But infertility is a loss – the loss of a desire to grow one’s family. When we look at it in the stages of grief, we see something familiar…

1. Denial

“There’s no way this is happening to me. We’re perfectly fine.” This stage is surreal. You have these dreams of how to decorate the nursery, and you think, “By next cycle we’ll be pregnant and I can decorate.” But when it doesn’t happen, you just can’t believe it.

2. Anger

It’s been month after month and now you’re steeping mad at your circumstances. You see a pregnancy announcement, and you’re mad. Johnson’s commercials on TV make you mad. “Why do there have to be babies EVERYWHERE?!”

3. Bargaining

In my experience, I equated this stage with the stand-on-your-head-eat-pineapple-during-ovulation time of my process. I would do anything to have a baby, including all the crazy remedies everybody else swore helped them get pregnant. “If I do it this certain, specific way then I’m sure to get pregnant because so-and-so did when she did it.” And yes, there were a lot of headstands because, you know, gravity…and desperation.

4. Depression

You lay on the floor of your empty nursery unable to cry anymore. You’ve done everything you know how and you realize it’s out of your control. Your body hurts from the emotional pain and you find it hard to face each day with a dark infertile cloud looming over your head.

5. Acceptance

You begin to see small streaks of sunshine throughout each day. Small moments that remind you that there’s more to your life – more to you. Rather than drowning in consumption, it ebbs and flows and you begin to find ways to live life despite your circumstances and deep desire to become a parent. The days are still hard, but you’re living.

My heart aches for every person who longs to be a parent but is fighting their hardest with biology to make those desires come to fruition. According to Resolve, one in eight couples is diagnosed with infertility. One in eight! That’s not a big range. Which means we’re not alone.

We don’t have to face this battle on our own. It doesn’t matter where you are in your life – If you’re waiting to be a first-time parent; If you’re a mom already who wants another baby but can’t; If you’re an adoptive mom who still believes she’ll have biological children some day {raising my hand}. It doesn’t matter where you are…if you want to be a parent and it’s not happening, there’s a legitimate grief that you may be facing.

If you read nothing else, read this…you are not alone. There’s support out there for you. From the national infertility association, to online support, to in person support – if you’re facing the grief of infertility, just know that there are people who want to love on you and cheer you on in helping you create your family in whatever way you choose.

You. Are. Not. Alone.

{Post Script :: If you’re looking for support, Resolve is a great place to start. On their website you can search for support groups in your area or even for online support. You might also check if your fertility clinic has or knows of a support group in your local area. And I’ve been involved in a few Christian-based infertility support ministries – HOPE Infertility Support Group in the Houston area (the first Thursday of every month at Lakewood Church), Dancing Upon Barren Land, and Sarah’s Laughter. I’ve also written quite a bit about our personal infertility journey here in hopes of encouraging other people going through the same thing.}

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, we are dedicated to raising awareness and educating our community about the varying types of infertility and the many options available.  Our hope is that this series will open your eyes and inspire you in a really dynamic way, so please join us as real local moms open up and share their stories all throughout the week.  To read more, please click here.

We are also incredibly grateful to have The Axelrad Clinic title sponsoring this entire Infertility Awareness series.  If you’re interested in finding out more about their natural approach to infertility, get started here or contact them at one of their Houston area locations below…

The Axelrad Clinic

713.527.9555

Houston Office :: 
19 Briar Hollow Lane, Suite 240, Houston, TX 77027

Woodlands Office ::
4840 W. Panther Creek, Suite 208, The Woodlands, TX 77381

Katy Office ::
Coming soon!

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