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Houston Fertility Center

Infertility's Grief: Unwelcome, Yet Present

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on March 07, 2011

We typically think of grief as related to traumatic events in our lives, and mostly, in terms of death. It's not a word that anyone wants to apply to their present or future, and even thinking about grieving in the past is tough.

But grief is often a big part of infertility for most patients.

Even for patients who are quite pro-active and forward-thinking about treatment, where infertility is, so is loss. And with loss, necessarily comes grieving.

The first loss that comes hand-in-hand with infertility is the dream of how you thought getting pregnant and having a baby would be. That's a loss that virtually every infertility patient must grieve. From there, variations in grieving depend on many things, including how individuals cope with whatever life throws their way.

I've had patients come to me and say, "Dr. Kristiansen, I'm finding it hard to stay positive about our fertility treatment."

To make it through the losses and grief of infertility, the first important step to take is simply acknowledging they are there. Doing so -- looking loss and sadness matter-of-factly -- does not mean you're being pessimistic. Optimistic thinking based on unreality is not helpful for anyone. Optimism that starts from a solid foothold of understanding where you are is the kind of thinking that allows you to put one foot in front of the other toward resolution.

No need to wallow in it, but if you find yourself doing so, be forgiving. Seek help. It's here.

The staff of Houston Fertility Center can refer you to resources that can support you through your grief.

Here are a couple of related items online:

Writer Ryan Jacobson succinctly described the grief of infertility from a personal perspective in this article, "Infertility: I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me"
He also gives very direct advice to friends and loved ones of those struggling through infertility.

While "how-to's" can sometimes oversimplify complex emotional processes, they can also be helpful for breaking down tough stuff into do-able chunks. This is one filled with meaningful steps:
How to Grieve Infertility Losses
By FaithAllen on eHow


Wherever you are in your journey, I and my staff are prepared to meet you.

~Sonja Kristiansen

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