… experience a prolonged period of intense grief, entailing feelings of profound pain, sadness and loss. With time, such feelings tend to decrease and to become more bearable. Women may feel emptiness, loss of control and self-blame. Most benefit from talking about their grief with family and friends. Men tend to be more private and may suppress or deny their grief. They are often surprised by the intensity of their (female) partner’s grief reactions and may feel helpless in supporting them.

It’s like someone died but nobody else knows it.

… find it hard to share their grief with others and may withdraw from the ‘fertile world’. It may be difficult to talk about this loss with family members because they might have also been hoping for them to have children. In general, people find it is difficult to cope with comments, questions and other social interactions around children. These can be perceived as intrusive or insensitive, or can accentuate one’s feelings of loss, because they carry strong societal expectations that most people want to and will become parents. Many people also become disconnected from friends who have children because they are unable to share parenthood experiences and find it painful to be around children.

I found myself making excuses for not visiting, or taking a trip to the bathroom when the latest photos of the grandchildren were passed around. I really had to get a grip on myself…

To be involuntarily childless means some form of exclusion… it is something you can’t share with many others… it can be ordinary things such as if you have friends that talk about their children and so on…

… find a way to progressively let go of their desire for children and rebuild a happy and fulfilling life. Indeed, despite the initial grief and pain, with time around nine in every ten people are able to develop a sense of survival and personal and spiritual growth. This progressive recovery usually takes around 2 years, but it varies and some people need more time than others. Those who come to terms with their unmet desire for children experience a renewed sense of hope towards the future, of restored strength and agency, and of equilibrium with themselves, their partnership and the world.

I used to think the pain of infertility would last forever and now… sometimes I forget how hard it was…it’s almost like we never had the problem… it just doesn’t matter anymore, it’s over

I think one of the biggest things I’ve come to understand or to appreciate is myself. I am a hell of a lot more comfortable with who I am and know that I do not have to live up to somebody else’s expectations.

Go back to Finding More To Life: A Self-Help Guide 

Click here for the Meaning making page

Click here for the Acceptance page

Click here for the Pursuing other meaningful life goals page