Our precious boys...

Our precious boys...

Monday, September 7, 2009

GRIEVING TO HAVE A CHILD

I read in an article by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation that said, “Many people do not recognize that infertility is a source of grieving. The loss of a child who was wanted and imagined but never conceived is a legitimate loss, much like suffering a miscarriage or a stillborn baby.”

I think one of the hardest things for an “outsider” to understand about someone going through infertility is the constant battle with grief. In infertility you are constantly going through that process of heartache and sorrow. You are grieving to have a child. And every month you are grieving over a child that didn’t happen yet again. It is extremely hard to explain, but, in some sort of way, you feel like you lose a child every month.

I read in the book, “When The Cradle Is Empty,” by John & Sylvia Van Regenmorter, that grief associated with infertility is called, “disenfranchised grief.” That means that your sense of loss will not be openly acknowledged, socially sanctioned, or publicly mourned. Chances are no one will offer you condolences. It is the slow death of a dream; the death of your hopes and aspirations. It is the death of a child you never had.

Please don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to explain. I am, in no way, saying that suffering the loss of a loved one isn’t as horrible as infertility. I do believe it would be far worse to lose someone you already know and love, than to lose the dream of someone you have never even met. But when you lose a loved one, there is a process of grief that you work through. And with infertility, you go over that process time and time again, sometimes month by month. It doesn’t really allow for that “healing” time in the stages of grief.

The journey of infertility is an interesting grief process to go through. It’s a grief experience, but you can’t truly go through all the stages and have it come to an “end.” (That’s because you have no idea when the end is sight. You don’t know if you ever will conceive a child.) It is unlike the grieving process of a death. In a death, you know that person is not coming back. But it’s different when you’re grieving so deeply over someone who was never there. I know that thought may sound extreme, but in the mind of someone with infertility, it’s a true feeling. And during your different stages of “infertility grief,” you will resurface many of your feelings over and over again…even after you think you’ve conquered them…and they may come with a vengeance.

You may have tried every treatment available and now you need to try to bury that specific hope or dream. You try to look for new possibilities of new plans and new dreams. Perhaps this means adopting a child or maybe even deciding to all together stop your plans for ever having children. This process is hard. And I don’t know if the pain will ever truly be gone. But I pray that if this is what it comes down to for us, that infertility will no longer be the dominating force it once was. I pray that we will find other wonderful goals and blessings to take its place.

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