I am convinced one of Dante’s levels of hell is the waiting room of an IVF office. The anxiety and fear coming from everyone in the room is intoxicating. Yet we all just sit, mindlessly scrolling on our phones. Avoiding eye contact. Making every attempt to distract ourselves from our obvious pain and frustration. We pretend this is just another appointment. Reality is that it is never just another appointment. As a therapist, this drives me crazy. The desire to bring feelings to the surface is literally embedded in my soul, but in that waiting room, I have no comfort to give. I am just another woman scrolling on my phone, trying to keep my anxiety at bay.
Whether you are dealing with pregnancy loss or struggling to get pregnant, there isn’t really a right way or a wrong way to cope with infertility. In light of National Infertility Awareness Week, I want to write today not as a therapist, but as a woman. A woman who is right in the trenches with you, sharing what has helped me on my road to recovery from infertility and pregnancy loss.
Feel all the feelings, even the ugly ones.
You know the cute pregnant woman in the line at Target? It is okay to shoot angry lasers out of your eyeballs at her. I used to feel really bad about doing this. I am not an angry or jealous person, but now I embrace it. These feelings are normal and a part of recovery and healing. Anger, pain, and jealousy do not disappear if you ignore them. Sometimes we forget that feelings are just feelings. It doesn’t mean you actually wish anyone harm, or that you are a bitter, angry human. Seeing another pregnant woman triggers pain inside you. That pain leads to anger and jealousy, and if that anger and jealousy happen to fall on the innocent mom at Target, so be it. Let yourself be angry.
You get to heal your own way.
As a woman, infertility and pregnancy loss will impact you physically as well as mentally. Your partner will be impacted mentally. This means that while you both can work on your emotional pain together, you are on your own to find that physical healing. You most likely feel physically broken, like your body does not work correctly. The only person who can do the work to heal that pain is yourself. Do something that makes you feel strong. Try something new and physical that makes your body not feel broken. Maybe this is running a race, trying a new fitness class, prioritizing yoga. Set a goal and go after it. Your body deserves a win and you have permission to do what you need to give it that win.
Talk about it. Don’t talk about it.
You officially have permission to talk about your experiences, and officially have permission to not talk about your experiences. Infertility is by nature is intimate. One in four women have experienced pregnancy loss and one in ten women have problems getting pregnant. That means there are other women out there to connect with. If this connection will help you heal, go for it. Share your story.
If you don’t want to tell a soul, don’t. We are in an age of oversharing on social media, and perhaps there is now a pressure to share. You have permission to hold on to this one.
Everyone’s journey with infertility is different. Everyone’s journey of healing from infertility is even more different. There isn’t really a right way or a wrong way to cope or grieve, so today we will just leave it as permission. You have permission to do what you need to, without guilt.
Editor’s Note: The loss of a baby is a difficult and emotional journey, and those of us here at Miami Moms Blog never want you to walk that journey alone. Our Forever Loved Wall exists to honor the little lives that will be in a mother’s heart forever, and the names on the wall will be on our blog in perpetuity as an opportunity to honor and cherish these precious lives. If you would like to add your child to our Forever Loved Wall, please contact us using the form below with the name and date you would like us to add. Every effort is made to get submissions listed to the wall within 24 hours, and these names will stay on our site indefinitely.