Monday, December 10, 2007

TTC's stages of grief

I was talking to a friend earlier about the frustrations of TTC when I said "I really thought I was okay with all this and that I was at peace. Now I'm thinking I was just in denial. That's the first stage of dealing with loss right? I guess I'm moving into the anger phase." That's when I realized that dealing with TTC really is much like dealing with grief after the loss of a loved one.

We start out in denial where we are just sure it's going to happen next cycle. We refuse to believe that we really are infertile. Infertility seems like such a bad word. Even though we've been trying for over a year and a half, I've only recently begun to use it. We think the fault must lie with our partners or even with the doctor who isn't doing enough.

Next we move to anger. We get mad at our partners for not being as into TTC as we are. We get mad at God for not giving us what we really want. We get mad at those who get their BFP's and those who have kids without having to "try." Fertility meds don't help matters any. They make us emotional and irritable.

Then we start the bargaining stage. We ask what we're doing wrong. Why not us? What can we do to be better, to be more deserving? We begin to pray more, do more things for others, try to prove our worthiness.

Depression comes next. We cry for no reason. We withdrawl into ourselves. We take a step back from blogging, from message boards, from friends, and loved ones. We avoid those who are pregnant or who have children because it just hurts too damn much.

Finally, we reach a state of acceptance. We remember that another cycle means another chance. We make appointments with OB's and RE's. We do more testing. We start looking at next steps.

Unfortunately, with TTC, it doesn't end there. It's as though we begin the process over and over again EVERY cycle. We finally reach that state where we're okay with the 20 or more cycles we've gone through. But then something happens and we get hope that maybe just maybe it's going to end different this time. Then AF rears her ugly head. And we are sent spiraling into grief once again.

I didn't mean for this to get so long. But if you've read this far, I hope it has helped you as much as it has helped me to get it out. It's helped me process my grief a little more. I'm not feeling angry any more. I still wish there was something I could do that would "make" it happen. But I think I'll be okay for a while. At least for the next couple weeks or so.


nancy said...

Totally. And while I'm in acceptance, I'm definitely not all happy about it. Accepting your fate and being okay with it are still two different things.

jennifercarol said...

I think this is what makes TTC so through this cycle time and again. I mean you really never have time to get through all the stages before you're hit with another BFN.

KatieM said...

This is actually a basis for treatment that infertility counselor's use to help each client by realizing what stage of grief they are in. In 1986, Matthews and Matthews published a paper to this exact extent based on the Kubler-Ross's stages of grief to better educate helpers on the psychosocial affects of infertility. I actually had to write a review of that article....
Do I sound like a counseling grad student yet? haha.

On a different note, I'm sorry you are having to deal with this....

Jewels said...

I think I've said this before, but for me, its takes me a couple cycles to grieve the BFN of a cycle, I was so devastated on C9 (I think) that I really haven’t felt my heart in TTC until this cycle, This cycle (C15) I have finally felt back up on my feet enough to feel hopeful, until my Mr. Wonderful couldn’t perform so now its a bust. But at least I'm not hopeful, maybe I can carry that hope and strength into next cycle.

I'm so glad you posted this, I love what you said about withdrawing from the boards, I am so doing that, I don’t mean to but even chatting with girls struggling with fertility reminds too much of what I don’t want to accept as real. It just hurts to bad.
I have no more complaining (although I do) I have no more questions, no more "What do you Think?'s. I just sit in my pain and wait for AF to beat my heart down even more. Makes me wonder why I even TTC, I feel like “trying” sets me up for failure. But I still try. Or at least try to try, sometimes that’s all I got.

BlackRose (Rachel) said...

hey sis, i know at this point you prolly wouldn't want to hear from me then, but i know i haven't had problems or anythin, but you know you have my support! all i can say though, is that maybe sometimes you just gotta quit tryin for a little while, let your body relax a little, YOU relax some too...... i know it would be a long shot, but you never know, takin a break may be what you need. its kinda like takin a step back and takin a breath. i kinda feel bad since both of us have had kids while you're still tryin, it sucks, but hopefully it'll happen sooner than you think. you never know, since you're a christmas baby, maybe you'll actually get pregnant on christmas! it would be a good sentiment! love you and give you the best of wishes.......don't forget to breath
prayin for you,

bleu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bleu said...

Thanks fore this post, very true, it is so cyclical and so painful and unending until...well...who knows.

Black Rose please read this post

and this one

and just love her with no "advice", especially if you are not "in it" yourself because it only hurts us to hear that stuff and we already hurt enough.

Kathy V said...

I came via the creme. I agree with this analysis of infertility. I would also say that you can be straddling two different stages at any one time too. I think you can be angry that you have to deal with the whole process yet be sad or happy at the same time. I think that is what makes the whole thing so frustrating. Thanks again for the post.

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