For women struggling to conceive, Mother’s Day serves as a palpable reminder of a dream not achieved—Motherhood. Many aspiring mothers have never been pregnant, and many others successfully conceived, only to lose their child in a miscarriage.
If you are among these women, you feel this sense of longing deeply and personally, and your journey so far has undoubtedly been long and draining. Every decision point is a high-stakes, emotionally-charged crossroads, and each decision typically comes with no shortage of unsolicited advice and pep talks from family and friends. Fertility treatment? Another (and another) round of fertility treatment? Adoption? Or maybe it’s time to take a break from it all?
Regardless of where you are on your journey, this experience likely causes you to experience grief and a sense of trauma. It puts a strain on your relationship with your partner, and you may feel isolated. You might be telling yourself that your body has failed you. You are tired of taking the pregnancy tests to only see a single line show, or the words “not pregnant.”
According to the National Institute of Fertility, 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. Approximately one-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third attributed to the male partner and one-third caused by an unexplained combination of both partners. On top of this, a couple aged 29 to 33 with normal functioning reproductive systems has only a 20-25% chance of conceiving any given month. The odds are NOT in anyone’s favor, even in the fairest of conditions.
So how do we cope? How do we embrace this trauma and grief? How do we survive? Together, we can work to unpack your experiences of grief and loss, as well as create a plan to move forward, no matter the outcome.
You are not alone.
Below is a section of a poem I received from a dear friend as I was in the midst of my own journey through infertility.
“Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love.
I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.
I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body. I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.
I have prevailed.
I have succeeded.
I have won.
So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.
And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely. I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.
I have learned to appreciate life.
Yes, I will be a wonderful mother.”
– Author Unknown
Written By: Julie Peterson, LCSW