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I was recently asked, “how do I get over infertility grief?” Then, the words just poured out.
We know that healing is not linear. Healing isn’t neat, nor is it predictable. And within the five stages of grief, we often flip between or teeter back and forth, and this process has no time limit or mercy.
The infertility stigma may fit into the box of “complex grief.” It is both multi-faceted and multi-layered. We grieve a child that isn’t even born yet, we grieve a role, we grieve an experience.
We grieve an expectation of what we thought womanhood may look like—we grieve a future that we need to erase and replace with another.
We grieve for our parents when we don’t deliver them grandchildren, we grieve a life that becomes spacious. We grieve an identity as infertility constantly challenges our sexual identity and value. We may even re-grieve if we visit motherhood later in life.
We grieve so much that sometimes we don’t even know what we are grieving for anymore. I don’t know if we can or are meant to get over grief—I think we are designed to get through it.
We are meant to face its ugliness in the eye, the pain it has caused, and the alternate life we are needing to lead. But only then, will it seem less painful, less confusing, and less isolating. Many are grieving close to us, invisibly. Grieving silently can also become grieving closely with another, if and when we are able to reach out.
With time, space, hope, and a shift in perspective—we can discover our womanhood is as fierce, our desire to another is steeped in bravery and resilience, our motherly love redirects itself to those who need it, and our grief does not become our worst day—but our greatest asset in living a huge and kick-ass life.
Be kind to your grief, be curious with it, and know that ultimately, you tell grief what to do and it’s not the other way around.
You’ve got this ladies (and men!).