Monday, June 10, 2013

The 5 Stages of Infertility Grief

Found this article on the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, written by Genea Golas

When you're having trouble having a baby, there may be a lot to grieve. You grieve your ovaries, which work only some of the time. You grieve your partner's sperm for being too few or poor swimmers. You grieve the entire process; all of the tests, the diagnoses, the waiting. Things many may never need to think about, you've obsessed over. Good grief.
Just as with any other grieving process, like the five stages identified by Kubler-Ross, the progression of infertility emotions has stages as well.

"We must have just gotten the timing wrong. Again."
"Male factor infertility, you say? Hon, we're switching you out of boxer briefs into boxers. That must be the easy fix. Bonus points if you want to go commando."
"Something must be wrong with these pee sticks, I can't ever seem to get the second line to show up."
"Whaddya mean she's pregnant, again?!"

Anger (see also: jealousy, irrational behavior, selfishness)
"Everyone around me is pregnant. It must have been so easy for them. Must be nice."
"They sent me the defective pee sticks again, these are OBVIOUSLY BROKEN!"
"I'd give anything to be pregnant."
"If only we had started sooner, I'd probably have a baby by now."
"Why can't we just skip all this testing and get right to the IVF? We know that's what we'll need anyways."
"Hello, Yes, if you could send me another batch of pee sticks, the ones that work this time, I'll take back that nasty review I wrote last year when I tried to order on Christmas Eve in time for Christmas. I know you have deadlines for a reason. Besides, you have the cheapest pee stick prices..."

"Nothing is going right. I'll never be pregnant at this rate."
"My 18-year-old employee was happy when her pregnancy test was negative. It's all I can do to keep from sobbing each time I get a negative result."
"Those pee stick manufacturers obviously don't want me to have kids."

"It is what it is. We need to just keep going with the tests to give us the best outcome when the time comes."
"We're not the only ones going through this. So many other couples have struggled with infertility, whether we know it or not. There's a lot of support out there from places we never imagined we'd find it."
"Maybe I'll stop peeing on a stick for a while."

One thing I learned from my infertility experience is, it is ok to feel all the emotions that will come with infertility  because there will be LOTS.  Before I opened up about my infertility experience (other than to my husband) I kept a lot of my feelings I was dealing with to myself. It wasn't until I opened up to my friend Jill that I could really start dealing with my infertility. The best advice she gave me was if you are having a hard day and feel like crying, it is OK to cry. You will feel LOTS of emotions going through infertility, and as hard as it is it will make you stronger in the end. 


  1. Wow! I've definitely felt all of these. I haven't peed on a stick in over a year and a half! In fact I feel a lot of bitterness towards those stupid sticks. (read acceptance and anger ;)).

  2. I just found your blog/website and I have read almost all your blog posts and cried through most of it! It is hard being part of the infertile world,and many times I have felt exactly like your post "left Out". It is hard to be the friend without children and to put on a happy face so thank you for being real on this blog and writing about what I(and many many others)are feeling!
    We just started the adopiton process after 10.5 years and I have to say... I am feeling very overwhelmed. It will be an incredible blessing, but man, it is hard to go through the emotions, paperwork, $$$$, and much more.
    But THANK YOU for sharing this! I will be following you and I hope all the best for you and many others that read your blog!
    I will be at the Orem run supporting your WONDERFUL cause!!!