If you’ve ever stubbed your toe, lost in love, attended a friend’s funeral or been laid off at work, then you know the meaning of pain. It’s universal and can be experienced emotionally, physically and/or spiritually.
Since we all experience pain in one form or another, why do we often ignore the pain of loved ones who experience infertility?
When my first pregnancy failed and I was diagnosed with infertility, a good friend said, “Lesley, it’s not a big deal. You were only eight weeks along in your pregnancy. You can try to have another baby.”
Her words kicked me in the gut. I had lost my first child, my baby girl. It was a very big deal to me. I missed out on my dreams of holding her, celebrating her first birthday and teaching her how to read. My hopes and expectations were shattered. The pain I felt was real, overwhelming and paralyzing.
The truth is that most people don’t understand infertility. They don’t know that one-in-six couples suffers from infertility, a condition of the reproductive system in which pregnancy cannot be achieved. They don’t realize that it’s a medical condition. It’s like having diabetes or arthritis. It can’t always be cured and, more than likely, you’ll have to live with it.
Because of people’s ignorance, they can be insensitive. While one friend dismissed my pregnancy loss, others avoided me like the plague. They never said a word to me about it. When I eventually saw them, they acted as if nothing had ever happened.
Even though others were ignoring my pain of infertility, I was determined to face my feelings and deal with them. I knew I needed to walk through my pain in order to find peace and be healed.
When you experience a pregnancy loss or receive a diagnosis of infertility, pain and grief overtake you. Dealing with the deep emotional pain takes time and the grieving process cannot be forced or hurried. It can take months and even years.
From personal experience, I learned three things that helped move me through my pain and the grief process: tears, talking and time.
Tears helped me heal by releasing the pent up emotions of anger, fear, sorrow and disappointment. After a good cry I always feel an overall sense of well being because tears release toxins from the body that’s caused by stress. When it comes to grief and loss, tears are very beneficial.
I also found a good friend who was willing to listen without adding commentary. Being able to talk about my pain and loss helps my healing process. Infertility is such a private experience that it can make you feel completely alone and isolated from others. Talking about it makes the journey more bearable.
It took a long time for me to process my pain of infertility. The amount of time needed to grieve is different for each person. Grief is a highly personal experience and hard to communicate. I learned that there is no right or wrong way to grieve.
The biggest lesson I learned is that my feelings of grief and pain were normal. There was no timetable for getting over my sense of loss. It was a process and I realized the importance of taking one day, and often one hour, at a time.
Additional info on infertility:
http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)