Grieving and Growing

There is no one right way to work through your grief. Learn the five stages of grieving and activities that may bring you comfort in your infertility journey.

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Contributed by: Beth Jaeger-Skigen is a psycho-therapist in private practice in San Francisco specializing in all aspects of infertility.

About Grieving During Infertility

Grief will inevitably be a part of your infertility journey. Grieving each loss is an integral part of the process toward parenthood. I believe that in order to fully make next-step decisions with clarity, it is important to grieve losses in concrete and purposeful ways.

I believe that all people who are experiencing infertility are grieving parents. There is no avoiding grief.

Grief is never linear and grief from infertility is particularly nonlinear. People experience infertility cycles with both hope and loss. This brings high- highs and low- lows. The unique part of the infertility process is that the losses are compounding. Month after month, cycle after cycle, treatment after treatment, the losses compound and the grief can expand.

In 1969, Elisabeth Kubler Ross came up with five stages of grief in her classic book, “On Death and Dying.” She described the five stages a person goes through when they suffer a loss. Grief specialists throughout the years have found that these stages can be applicable to losses across the board. The stages aren’t linear and many grieving individuals find they move in and out of the different phases at different times during their grief.

How will you know the difficulties of being human if you’re always flying off to blue perfection? Where will you plant your grief seeds? — Rumi

Examples of the five stages of grieving as experienced in connection with infertility stages are:

There is no one right way to work through your grief. Below are some suggested activities that may bring you some comfort in your infertility journey: