We’ve all experienced grief in one form or another. Not many get to adulthood without losing a loved one, and the grief of loss is something we go through over and over again throughout our lives.
It’s a bit rubbish really.
I experienced quite a heavy grief after the death of my grandmother. Partly because I was there as she died, which my family described as “peaceful” but which I would describe as panicked on her behalf and traumatic on mine. While I had experienced loss before, I felt closer to her and at 19, it was more of an adult understanding of loss than a childs. I took it hard and then I moved 6 hours away and started over somewhere new which added to the sense of grief. I think I struggled for about a year before the pain started to fade.
I can’t help but to compare the grief of death to the grief of infertility. I don’t mean about better or worse, which is easier, which I would ‘prefer’. I mean how we process grief while on this terrible process.
Because infertility grief doesn’t have a start or sometimes an end.
Most of the time when we talk about grief, we talk about an event that happens that changes our lives. We talk about the moment when our world crashed and the process of rebuilding our new normal. We talk about how something happened and we learn to deal with it, slowly learning and healing, carrying it with us on our uphill trek to feeling like we’re not crumbling anymore.
With infertility there is no one event. There is no start date. You don’t start to grieve because you’ve been trying for the magic 12 months and haven’t been successful, or because a doctor said you might have trouble or need help. You start to grieve whenever it is you start to feel grief, and that grief intensifies over time.
It builds with each passing cycle, with each scan and procedure. It builds with each doctors visit, each milestone, each loss. It continues to grow and grow, until you are one big ball of grief. There is no ‘new normal’ because you are always in limbo, accumulating more grief, hoping something will happen so the building stops and the processing can begin.
I’ve felt lost in unhappiness for some time. My husband and I talk often about enjoying our *now*, making the most of each day, not wishing time to pass by. But I’m a bit stuck, because I don’t know how to be happy with the now whilst grieving for our future.
My mum went through infertility due to endometriosis but after 3 years she had my older brother (and then two other children without intervention). In the past she has used her story to try and give me hope. Maybe for some it helps. But for me this phrase runs through my head more often than I’d like to admit: “not everybody gets a happy ending”.
On a bad day, this is my message to myself about the lack of hope I feel, about how I feel my unhappiness will last forever.
But on a good day I try to challenge myself on that. I know my options are limited and my chance for my “happy ending” dwindles over time. But if my life is one without biological (or even any) children, I don’t want to doom myself by being smothered by grief and bitterness the rest of my life.
I want to have a happy and fulfilled life, whatever the outcome. I want to stop buying into this pressure that only in becoming a mother can I be fulfilled, feel love and find my worth.
How do I get to this place of acceptance while my direction is unknown? How do I process grief as it continues to build? Can I begin to heal while still in the storm? I don’t have any answers to yet but I hope I’m stumbling along in the right direction.