The Five Stages of Grieving: Infertility Style

We are going to jump right in and talk about the elephant in the room. Infertile Myrtle. 1 in every 8 couples have a problem getting pregnant or staying pregnant. So that actually means there are multiple elephants in any given room. Once you are an elephant always an elephant. If you are an elephant, I feel you, I am too.

I would like to talk a little bit about the infertility grieving process. Although I now have my two perfect miracles, I will never forget the grieving process that I went through in order to get them. It is and will always be a part of me. The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. They are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to cope. While learning how to cope with these emotions, it is also important to work to prevent developing depression. Identifying the signs of depression helps us be more aware of what may be happening to us and intervention may be needed as part of the healing process.

“But I thought that the stages of grieving were only for people dealing with death?” First of all, Infertile Myrtle IS grieving death. The death of all of the potential babies that die and are flushed out of her body as she is hunched over in the fetal position (that’s ironic). She is mourning of the baby that could have been and should have been. She is grieving her lady parts that aren’t working like they should be. Or maybe she is grieving her husband’s sperm because there isn’t enough, they aren’t fast enough and/or they are shaped funny. She becomes obsessed with this “infertility” thing and worries about things that will never even cross the minds of other women.

Everyone grieves differently. Just because one person wears it on their sleeves and post it all over social media doesn’t mean the person who internalizes things and keeps quiet isn’t hurting just as bad. Neither way of grieving is wrong.

  1. Denial

I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t believe the negative pregnancy test. I just needed one more to prove it wrong. No need to buy the three pack… I won’t test again tomorrow. I know I feel different this time. Okay fine its negative. We must have gotten the timing wrong again. I must have put the wrong information into my app. It must have just calculated my ovulation wrong. Those ovulation sticks must be messed up. I must have held it under my pee for too long and tainted the results. What do you mean there is something wrong with him? No, you are wrong. He is from a large family with no known fertility issues. He doesn’t even wear briefs…he already wears boxers. No… we don’t own a hot tub. Um hello… ovulation test manufacturer…I need you to send me some untainted tests. Well I’m sorry but your test is clearly wrong and there is nothing wrong with me. I just need to order a box of fancy ovulation tests on Amazon (you know the ones with the blinking smiley face).

  1. Anger

What do you mean she is pregnant? She didn’t even want another baby. This isn’t fair! Why can someone have a baby that doesn’t treat her other children with love and I can’t even get pregnant? What is wrong with this pregnancy test, its wrong again! Why aren’t my ovulation sticks working? It is all a scam. They can’t help you get pregnant and just want your money! Why isn’t this app getting it right…I even paid for the expensive version one. Why won’t he admit that he has a problem and just seek help. All I want is for him to just SEEK help. Can’t anyone help us? Don’t I deserve a baby? What do you mean IVF is too expensive? Its okay to finance a house and a car but not a baby? What do you mean she is pregnant AGAIN? She has gone through a pregnancy, a birth and now another pregnancy before I even get a second line?

  1. Bargaining.

I would give ANYTHING to be pregnant. Why didn’t we start sooner? I would be pregnant by now if we had just started trying sooner. Why can’t we just do an IUI now? Why do I have to wait an entire month or longer just to try again? Can’t we just pay the extra money and go right into IVF? You know that is what we are going to end up doing anyway. I’ll do anything if you just agree with me that we need IVF and we can start tomorrow. Each cycle is actually two months… can we please just start last week and get this over with? I will never complain about pregnancy like all of these other people if I can just have a baby.

  1. Depression

No thank you I will pass on date night. Eh…I don’t feel like going to the movies. No, I don’t feel like eating. I think I will just lay here in bed and stare at the wall. I couldn’t even be happy for someone who was pregnant and now she lost her baby and I feel even worse. What is wrong with me? Am I the worst person on earth? Do I not deserve a baby at all? Do I not deserve happiness? All I ever wanted was to be a mom. I always wanted to be a mom “when I grew up”. Nothing is going right. I’ll never be happy. I don’t deserve happiness.

  1. Acceptance

I think I can stop peeing on these sticks for a while. I am going to be okay. At least my husband is going through this with me and I am not alone. So many other people are going through the same thing that we are. None of us are alone. I am more than just a diagnosis and there is so much to live for. I may be a statistic, but I am not JUST a statistic. I’m ready to open up and talk about this. Infertility is difficult and it is a challenge but it can no longer consume me. We are going to be okay.

If you are struggling with depression and have not been able to find acceptance please seek help. Don’t push people away. They want to be there for you and help you. This doesn’t mean that you can’t keep trying or go through medical procedures for help. It just means that you need to find yourself again and that you are “okay”. The hardest part of infertility was just being “okay”. I know what you are going through. You are NOT alone.

Be the most beautiful elephant you can be!



Leave a Reply