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The 5 Stages of Infertility Grief

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Gena Golas
Gena Golas

National Infertility Awareness Week is April 21- 27, 2013. This week highlights the issue of infertility, as a way of creating a supportive network for families who are finding it difficult (if not impossible) to conceive, and helps to shed light on an often silent topic. CTWorkingMoms.com blogger, Gena Golas wrote the following piece as part of her series about her experience with infertility.

When you're having trouble having a baby, there may be a lot to grieve. You grieve your ovaries, which work only some of the time. You grieve your partner's sperm for being too few or poor swimmers. You grieve the entire process; all of the tests, the diagnoses, the waiting. Things many may never need to think about, you've obsessed over. Good grief.

Just as with any other grieving process, like the five stages identified by Kubler-Ross, the progression of infertility emotions has stages as well.

Denial
"We must have just gotten the timing wrong. Again."

"Male factor infertility, you say? Hon, we're switching you out of boxer briefs into boxers. That must be the easy fix. Bonus points if you want to go commando."

"Something must be wrong with these pee sticks, I can't ever seem to get the second line to show up."

Anger (see also: jealousy, irrational behavior, selfishness)
"Whaddya mean she's pregnant, again?!"

"Everyone around me is pregnant. It must have been so easy for them. Must be nice."

"They sent me the defective pee sticks again, these are OBVIOUSLY BROKEN!"

Bargaining
"I'd give anything to be pregnant."

"If only we had started sooner, I'd probably have a baby by now."

"Why can't we just skip all this testing and get right to the IVF? We know that's what we'll need anyways."

"Hello, Amazon.com? Yes, if you could send me another batch of pee sticks, the ones that work this time, I'll take back that nasty review I wrote last year when I tried to order on Christmas Eve in time for Christmas. I know you have deadlines for a reason. Besides, you have the cheapest pee stick prices..."

Depression
"Nothing is going right. I'll never be pregnant at this rate."

"My 18-year-old employee was happy when her pregnancy test was negative. It's all I can do to keep from sobbing each time I get a negative result."

"Those pee stick manufacturers obviously don't want me to have kids."

Acceptance
"It is what it is. We need to just keep going with the tests to give us the best outcome when the time comes."

"We're not the only ones going through this. So many other couples have struggled with infertility, whether we know it or not. There's a lot of support out there from places we never imagined we'd find it."

"Maybe I'll stop peeing on a stick for a while.

Read more of Gena's posts, and follow her infertility journey here

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