What Infertility Grief Feels Like.

I know what grieving feels like.  

That feeling of deep, deep sadness.  Constant crying until you run out of tears.  Anger. Emptiness. Guilt. Worry. Helplessness. Hopelessness.  That pain in your gut you just can’t explain.

At some point we start to progress through these emotions.  We grieve that ONE thing we lost. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a relationship, or even the loss of a job, the grief eventually progresses. Little things might remind us of that ONE thing we lost. Sometimes that little thing makes us cry, and later on, that same thing might make us smile.  We never truly heal, but we learn to live with it.  

At some point, we accept that it’s gone.

Friends and family grieve this loss with us.  People will come from all around to show their love and be our shoulder to cry on.  They even cry with us.  They check on us from time to time to make sure we are okay.  They send cards. They send flowers. They send casseroles.

Grief sucks.  It's the f*cking worst. The absolute worst.

So, before I continue on my rant, I want to make it very clear that I am in no way down playing the grief of losing a loved one, a job, a relationship, etc. I'm just asking you to put infertility grief in that same category.  Got it? Okay thanks. So, here we go...

I have been grieving for TWO F*CKING YEARS and had no idea!!!  


(I told you the rant was coming)

All of my feelings pointed to grief.  The crying, the anger, the guilt, you name it.  

It's so obvious to me now.  I mean, how did I have absolutely NO idea when Captain F*cking Obvious was knocking at my damn door?  

Well, because I didn't actually lose something.  I never had it.  

I've been grieving something I NEVER HAD.  

I'm sorry, what?  Is that even possible?  I didn't lose a baby. I didn't lose a pregnancy.  I never had it.  So how do I possibly grieve it?

I honestly just thought I was really f*cking sad.  The kind of sadness you feel in your bones.  The kind of sadness that brings unpredictable tears that you never see coming.  The kind of sadness that makes it hard for you to be happy for people you love.  The kind of sadness that is so deep it feels like it's a part of you. A physiological sadness, if you will.

I felt hopeless. I felt guilty.  I felt empty. I felt PISSED.  

I had saved every damn inspirational Pinterest quote to my phone for those unexpected moments. I thought something was wrong with me.  Was I losing my shit?  Was I depressed? 

NO FELICIA.  I was grieving.  

I AM grieving.  

I was so relieved to figure this out. It was easier to understand. It was easier to explain.  One of the most frustrating parts of all this is that most people don't really understand unless they've gone through it.  We desperately need validation of our feelings, but some people just don't get it.  They feel they can't relate to it.  How could they? 

Well I call Bullshit.

What about the women that try for 6 months and then finally get pregnant naturally.  I'm sure they can relate.  Even the ones that try for a couple of months.  They can relate a little too.  It's still a loss, right?

When you are ready to grow your family, you are ready. Period.  You want it NOW!  You stare at that pregnancy test just like me. Waiting. Hoping. Waiting.  Hoping.  Thinking maybe, JUST MAYBE, you see that faint little f*cking line. Oh, have I cursed that damn line!

And what about the women that get pregnant on the first try and end up miscarrying. They experience TREMENDOUS grief.  And don't forget about the women who have one child and struggle to have a second.  They aren't any different than me.  I'd argue that they are even more pissed than me.  It's unfathomable to think you got pregnant once and can't do it again. They too experience grief.

Once I started explaining my feelings as grief to some of my close friends I saw the light bulbs start going off.  Here's how I explain it...

1. Your loss is invisible

You and your partner are the only ones that bare this pain. In private. In public, you put on your happy faces.  You do your best to help each other cope, while you are trying to cope yourself.  You don't get people stopping by to make sure you are okay.  You don't get flowers.  You don't get cards.  You don't get f*cking casseroles. 

(However, I must say.  I did get a surprise cupcake from a girlfriend the other day. You would have thought I won the goddamn lottery.  I haven't even eaten it yet, I just keep staring at it and grinning my cheesiest grin.  And I LOVE cupcakes!)

2. The grief never ends

It never f*cking ends.  Each month brings new hope and then ends with another loss.  Thus, the process of grieving starts all over again. Have you ever done anything in life where you try for something month after month after month after month?  You put all your energy and heart into something (and all your damn money) and face loss after loss after loss.  Month after month after month.

3. You are constantly reminded of your loss.

EVERY. DAMN. DAY.  All day.  Err day.  You CAN NOT escape it.  Triggers are everywhere.  Pregnant women be everywhere.  Babies be everywhere.  Facebook is the damn devil. I even went to the spa one day to try to escape, and the client form asks "are you pregnant?".  NO BITCH! I'M NOT F*CKING PREGNANT!!!! GAWD!!!!

4.  Your grief feels like a burden.

You feel like it's the same ole story.  Who wants to hear about the same depressing story over and over again?  People expect you to hurry up and get over it. They want you to stop feeling sorry for yourself.  "Why don't you just adopt" they will say. They don't take your grief seriously. They want you to suck it up and put your happy face on.  Well, my happy face is f*cking tired.  OKAY?   Even if I do adopt one day, I still need to grieve this loss. So let me f*cking grieve. OKAY?

5. Something actually dies.  

My gene pool.  It ends with me.  If I never have biological children, there is a death of any future generations.  My baby wouldn't get his/her grandpa's long chicken legs, or the eyes of her beautiful grandma, or her mother's natural ability to drop F-Bombs and make people smile. ;) She will at some point question me as her real mother. She will have questions about her family history that I can't answer.

I've even gone so far to compare my feelings to the Five Stages of Grief.  Am I in denial. NO.  Hell NO!!  I am owning this shit. I think that is clear.  Have I felt anger? Hell to the yes! From "Why me?" to "This isn't fair" I've had all shades of anger flow through my blood.  Have I done some bargaining?  Well, of course. All the time.  I'm in sales bitch!  But for some reason God isn't buying what I'm selling.  Have I experienced depression?  Well, I think we covered that earlier.  And lastly,acceptance. Am I healed? NO.  Have I found comfort in any of this? Eh, maybe.  I'm working on it.

what infertility grief feels like

So, do you get how this is grieving now?  I sure f*cking hope so.

And, I'll end my rant with this...

If you weren't aware, this week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  So take the time to hug your infertile friend.  Squeeze her until it hurts.  Tell her you love her.  Tell her you understand her grief.  Say the words "That f*cking sucks".  When she cries, you cry.  Not because I told you to, because you feel her pain.   

Oh, and for Gods sake.  Bring her a f*cking cupcake.