Grief and Loss
My friend recently went through the struggle of suddenly losing her mother after a failed surgery. We talked about how difficult it was to know how much time to take off work because she knew her mom was dying, but when would be the day or days that she was most needed? How long would the process go on? There were so many things that couldn’t be planned for, that were so challenging. What was her relationship with her mother and how did she feel about the process of dying? How was she supposed to deal with her grief and also deal with all the details that had to be taken care of? Everyone that experiences a loss has not only that major loss to deal with, but also secondary losses that go with the situation at hand or other trauma.
In the same way, infertility can sneak up on us. No one really plans for the loss of an unborn child. We don’t put it on our calendars and plan ahead to take time off. And how do you plan for the ongoing grief of simply not conceiving, but wishing every month that you will be pregnant? I used to think I trusted in my fertility. Until all of a sudden, that trust with my body and my partner deteriorated until I was staring infertility in the face. What was formerly describing my abundance of potential (fertility) now described my lack (infertility). The grief that accompanies this struggle can be overwhelming and I want to give hope to others who are in the midst of the struggle and help others avoid the long drawn out process to finding their healthiest self.
Everything is on hold in your life
The challenges that make infertility so emotional are many. Every area of your life can feel like it has been put on hold or is up in the air. You feel feelings of loss and grief, but we don’t have society rituals to help us through this. I remember actually feeling a little upset when so many people consoled me after my miscarriage. I was upset because I didn’t receive any of that support for all the other months and years where I felt the intangible loss of not conceiving. Grief is a strange thing, it is so personal to every one of us. And yet, to anyone who is grieving, what they need most is for you to not judge and not offer solutions. Just be a positive presence in their life, understanding when they have no energy to call you because they might cry at any moment. And also understanding when there are no words at all and they simply want to be alone. And understanding when they want to spend time with you and talk about anything except that which they are grieving over. And at other times, everything in the world will remind them of their loss and what they need most is a hug.
Finding the cause of my Auto-immune Response to Implantation
I spent 4 years waiting and wondering what was wrong and why I wasn’t getting pregnant. I felt many months that I was pregnant for two weeks and then I would have mood swings, night sweats, early morning insomnia, horrible cramps and then, with no positive on a pregnancy test- start my period. When months turned into years, I started to feel that I was going crazy. I couldn’t talk to anyone about my pregnancy-related symptoms because then they would want to know how things progressed. And, most months I never got even to the positive pregnancy test stage, so I didn’t want to have to deal with everyone’s strange attempts at consoling me (usually unknowingly saying things that were more hurtful than helpful). But, I was feeling it in my body. I was living it.
I felt my body had betrayed me, but maybe it was just crying out to me to change directions. I kept asking “Why?” My regular blood-work and other basic tests all seemed within a normal range. (Heavy metal toxicity is not something that is normally tested for, yet I was greatly suffering from it.) I needed to change my question from "Why is this happening?" to "How can I improve my situation?"
Finally, in the midst of trying to let go of my dreams of a biological child, I found myself in a spiritual coaching session. And later that week, I awoke to the voice in my head screaming, “Get them out!” Once I got to the right dentist, I had a nickel-containing bridge, two teeth implants, two root canal teeth and one silver amalgam filling all taken out. It turns out the metals and infection from the root canals were leaching toxins into my body and this was causing my autoimmune reaction to implantation. As I found my way back to health, I was able to turn back the biological clock. And with that, also restore my faith in my body and its amazing ability to heal. And now, I’m looking at my toddler running around my living room and feeling blessed that I got to the root of my health challenges.
Turning the pages to your own story
I wish we could all know the ending to our story. I wish I could tell everyone who struggles with infertility that I know that this one thing if they try it, is how that particular couple or individual will become parents. But, the crazy part is that our lives are all partially written stories. We just keep turning the pages and see what comes next. May you create something wonderful in the next chapter of your story, even if the last few chapters have been filled with tears.