It’s a strange feeling, grief. It’s even stranger when you’re grieving something you’ve never had. I didn’t think it was possible until this past year. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I was sitting in the doctor’s office last week. Ironically, it was dark and snowy outside. I stared out the window waiting to be called in for my ultrasound feeling more and more depressed the longer my wait time became. Again, I looked around me at the pregnant women and wanted to sob. A family is all I have ever wanted. I planned my entire life around being a mom one day and the more and more appointments I went to, the more and more angry I became. Why does it have to be so hard for some people? Especially those who want it more than anything. I sat there in pain, mentally and physically. I was cramping from the cyst that burst the weekend prior, and tired from the new medications I was taking. I finally excused myself to the bathroom and allowed myself to cry for 5 minutes. No more than that or I might miss my ultrasound.
After the appointment, I was driving home and I realized that the emotions I had been feeling that day were the exact same emotions I had felt two years earlier when I lost my dear friend. Before you jump down my throat about how grieving the loss of a loved one is not the same as grieving the loss of something you haven’t had, let me explain.
Those that suffer from infertility are experiencing loss. Some of them are experiencing literal loss. Even if you haven’t experienced a pregnancy loss, or the loss of a child, a woman suffering from infertility is grieving the loss of her femininity. Or at least that’s how it feels. When you are told that your body can’t do what it is supposed to, it is like being told you are dead inside. I remember thinking vividly a week after my diagnosis, “what is the point of even having a uterus?” Infertility can put your mind in a dark place.
The fact that it’s the holiday season did not help my grief. It’s easy to scroll through facebook and see baby posts or pregnancy announcements and feel worthless. My advice is this, let yourself grieve but don’t let it take over your life. Delete the facebook app for a few days, binge watch netflix one night, go to a yoga class, cry. Do what you need to take care of yourself, but don’t let your grief define you. I found that as hard as I try to make myself stop grieving it doesn’t stop. I have learned that as the grief comes and goes, it is important to acknowledge and give yourself the space to feel it. Feeling it makes it easier to accept and move on. Allowing myself the 5 minutes to cry at in my doctor’s bathroom gave me the emotional release my body had been craving. Afterwards, I felt better and was able to have a decent conversation with the ultrasound tech and my infertility nurse.
Infertility sucks and the grief that comes with it double sucks. But through it all, we continue to hold on to hope.