Facing childlessness is a life crisis and akin to bereavement. Here are some avenues and resources to help you deal with your emotions.
In the very early days, you are bound to feel a huge sense of grief and loss for the children that you never had. It is perfectly normal to experience a range of emotions from anger to bitterness to disbelief and hopelessness. You may feel jealous and envious of couples with children. You may feel that you are in some way being punished. You may ask yourself ‘why me’ or you may feel that you have failed yourself or those close to you.
It is only human to feel these emotions; they are the first stage in the grieving process and, therefore, the beginning of the healing process.
Addressing these emotions, thoughts and feelings is essential before beginning to think about moving forward. If you are in a relationship, then consider your partner and work through them either as a couple or separately.
Remember that your partner might be feeling different emotions, particularly if the difficulty in conceiving is due to a specific problem. One of you might feel you have let the other one down. Try to put it into perspective – it is no-one’s fault and you are in this together. Accept that you need each other to grieve and work through this. Everybody is different and each set of circumstances is different, so it follows that there is no set pattern for coming to terms with your loss.
Some people quite easily talk to family and friends about the fertility treatment they have undergone and will naturally follow this through by telling people when it ends. Others find it too painful to discuss, so friends will be unaware of what they are going through. If you haven’t talked to anybody, consider sharing your thoughts with a counsellor or close friend; bottling it up can make it worse, and sharing your grief may lessen the isolation you are feeling.
You may not be ready yet to hear that ‘time is a great healer’ but try to look to the future. There may be new opportunities to explore that you perhaps hadn’t considered before. There is truth in the saying ‘sometimes a small door has to close to allow a larger one to open’. The grief may never totally go away, but it will lessen and be easier to cope with as time goes on. Remember, there are no rules where grief is concerned. Everyone’s journey is unique.