I have read that couples who are experiencing infertility cycle through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) over and over throughout their struggle. My experience with infertility and treatment leads me to believe that this is probably true. That said, more than any other stage, I have spent so much time and energy being angry.
After our third failed IUI and as we began our first round of IVF, I was in such a state of anger. I was angry that our treatments, on which we had placed so much hope, had failed. I was angry that starting a family seemed to come so easily to all of those around me. I was angry at those who were pregnant for not being considerate of my feelings. I was angry at everyone who ever told me to “relax”. I was angry because our journey seemed to be so hard. And I was angry because we had to resort to IVF.
I once confided in a friend that I thought I would never be the same again.
I was so aware of my deep-rooted pain and anger that I was convinced it was now a permanent part of me. I thought that even if the IVF cycle were to be successful, I would continue to be angry. I would be angry at the other moms who didn’t have to go through the struggle that we went through. I would be angry at the ease with which I felt they took motherhood for granted or harped on the little things that I would feel blessed to have finally achieved.
I felt like an outsider and I believed that I would always feel like an outsider.
It made me feel awful to acknowledge that I was feeling such intense negative emotions but at the same time, I felt like I could not escape them. Needless to say, our first round of IVF did not go well at all. I don’t know whether there is any scientific evidence one way or the other, but I can’t help but feel that perhaps my anger played a role in the failure. Perhaps the bitterness was eating at me from the inside, poisoning my organs and ultimately my eggs — or maybe that’s what I have chosen to believe as a way to explain the unexplainable.
That epic failure brought about a change in me. It forced me to confront my anger and it forced me to acknowledge the depth of my grief. The experience humbled me. It reminded me that life is precious and that something beautiful cannot be born of ugliness.
I finally began to let go of my anger and give myself the space to move through grief’s other stages.
I met with a psychologist who reminded me that my emotions were perfectly normal (something you can read a million times but is only validating when you hear it from a stranger). I began journaling my experience with infertility — the good, the bad, and the ugly, and I became a more vocal advocate in my community.
Sure, there are moments and days where I still feel pangs of anger, resentment, and jealousy. The ugly feelings are a part of the journey. But I am no longer worried that my anger will swallow me whole and define me as person or as a mother.
By the time we moved on to round two, I was feeling pretty zen.
I felt purposeful, I felt authentic, and I felt strong. With the veil of anger lifted, things went a little bit better than they did first time around. Though we still do not have a baby on board, I would like to believe that overcoming my anger made space for positive things to come.
By Kelly, thencomesmaybe.wordpress.com