Infertility can be described in many ways: a roller coaster, a mountain, a marathon. I see it more as stages. Most of the stages aren’t pretty, but they are all necessary to make it to the end. Through my experience, infertility goes through 6 main stages.
1. Fear: This step can come in two forms:
- FIRST, you have family members who have struggled to conceive or you have previously diagnosed issues like PCOS and endometriosis. You know the statistics and have been warned by your doctors about the potential difficulties in conceiving. You FEAR the pain of infertility and go into trying to conceive with an anxious heart.
- SECOND, about 6 months into trying you start to worry. It is not supposed to take this long. The movies make it look so easy. You FEAR something is wrong.
2. Denial: You can’t possibly be infertile. You don’t even like to hear the word. You DO NOT fit in that category. You must be doing something wrong.
Cue the endless hours of Google searches and doctor appointments.
3. Anger: Are you serious? You can’t fix me? Why am I broken? Why am I so alone? Why does everyone else get to have kids except for me?
You take your anger out on others or you bottle your emotions up until you BURST.
Why God?! Why me?!
4. Sadness: You cry at the sight of a pregnancy announcement. You take a break from Facebook and Instagram. You skip out on baby showers. The pain is just too great.
The SADNESS comes and goes. It catches you when you least expect it. Crying yourself to sleep is a regular occurrence.
5. Despair: You will never conceive. You will never be happy. You will never be a mom.
These are the thoughts that fill your mind. You stop using ovulation kits and charting your temperature. You are EXHAUSTED from trying so hard with no reward in return.
You are at rock bottom.
6. Acceptance: Somehow, you climb out of the deep pit of despair. You ACCEPT that there is a plan greater than yours. You start trying new things to make YOU happy- a new job, trips with your spouse, etc. You are not giving up, but you ACCEPT that you are on this path and you might as well make the best of it.
You will have a child, just not this second. You will be okay.
Keep in mind that this is a reflection of my personal experience. Everyone’s journey is different, and previously “defeated” stages can creep their heads back up again. Once you do conceive, I expect there are further stages, as the pain of infertility never really leaves, just shapes you into someone new.
Whatever stage you are in, know there is light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long the tunnel may seem.