Is It Possible to Successfully Cope With Infertility?

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Answered by: Jessica, An Expert in the Dealing with Infertility Category
Infertility - it's a scary word.

It's also a word that most women don't have to worry about. It is just a statistic - a figure for women who waited "too late" to have children. What about the rest of us, though? The ones who didn't wait "too late". What happens when you are now a part of that statistic?

You mourn the loss of a child that you didn't - that you couldn't - conceive. A child that you loved unconditionally though they didn't exist. Everything around you reminds you you don't have kids. Right now you are hurting more than you ever thought possible. So, how are you going to survive? Is it possible to cope with infertility and not just survive, but thrive?

My husband and I are in our 20s, we didn't wait "too late", nor are we suffering from any diagnosable health or fertility issues. Supposedly, we should be able to conceive - but we haven't in the last 3 years. Please, allow me to share with you what has helped my husband and I to reclaim our lives independently as well as reclaim our marriage through this ordeal.

1. Recognize that you are mourning.

You are mourning not just a diagnosis or a condition, but the ideas and dreams you had for your future. This is a difficult step to take. It was definitely the hardest step for me. The five stages of grief are real. I spent many months in denial. As you move on through the grieving process though, you realize that everyone who suffers infertility grieves differently. Even your husband. Once I could finally wrap my mind around the fact that there was a great possibility that I would never give birth to a child, I was devastated. I dove into research and force-fed myself information on therapies and techniques and new alternative medicines that could work while my husband withdrew. After discussing it, he admitted that he felt guilty. He felt as if he was a failure. Recognizing that you are both coping with infertility in your own way and discussing how you are feeling will help you to not only know you aren't alone but it will help strengthen your bond.

2. Make your marriage a priority.

Amidst the planning, charting, testing and peeing on a stick you (probably) stopped thinking of each other as people with feelings and instead started seeing what you wanted. Namely, a giant ovum and got that part already. No matter how long you tried to get pregnant unsuccessfully, there was damage done. You stopped spontaneously making love just because you felt like it, instead announcing via text message that he better have downed plenty of water today because his work day wasn't over yet.

Just breathe. In. Out. Make time for two. Remember that as much as you want a family of three or more, a family of two is still a family. Take a walk together, cuddle, have date night and don't schedule it around when you think you'll probably ovulate. Remember why you fell in love and tell each other regularly. Simply be ok with being together.

3. Give yourself permission to continue grieving.

Just because you have stopped spontaneously crying uncontrollably every time you start your period, doesn't mean the process of grieving is over. In the last year, since exiting denial, I have had three friends conceive. The first was the absolute hardest on me. The second was equally difficult. It was her 3rd child and she didn't even want to be pregnant, so you can imagine how gut wrenching it was to hear those words. I cried for two days straight and didn't leave the house when I found out. The day she gave birth, I pulled my car over to the side of the road and cried for 30 minutes until I could safely get home. The third was much easier. That doesn't mean you can't be sad. Being sad is perfectly normal. If you need to shed a few tears in private to be able to be ok with the situation, that is perfectly fine. It doesn't mean it will be this way forever, it's just another part of the grieving process.

Coping with infertility affects you in more ways than you would ever have been able to imagine. If you suspect that you might need help to get through this period in your life, please talk to someone who can help. Look for resources in your area - parents groups, infertility groups, private or family counseling. You are not in this process alone. Your spouse is right there with you. Lean on each other, talk to each other and be there for each other. Together, you can cope with infertility - and thrive.

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