The Loss of Something Invisible, Mourning a Dream

The grief of infertility.

Like two little birds, we built a nest. With hard work together we gathered everything we would need to embark on a new journey together in parenthood. And then nothing happened. And now the nest sits empty.

I learned somewhere along the way in our infertility journey that Hannah in the Bible is also infertile, “her womb was closed by the Lord” 1 Samuel 7:1-10. At the time, I worked in a church so coming across the passage I suppose was inevitable at some point but the timing felt like a kick in the stomach. Was this what the Creator wanted for me?

But I don’t really believe that because although I believe in some form of higher creating power, I don’t believe in predestination. I personally believe that God did not inflict me with infertility.

The grief is one of the hardest parts of all of it because it just doesn’t go away. There are no new ways of thinking about it that will make it change. It’s just a loss. It clings to you and makes you feel sad and grumpy. And it might not be all the time but it resurfaces consistently.

Another unique and possibly cruel aspect of the grief of infertility is that you’re often grieving something that never was, or that never will be. The loss of a hope, of something invisible, the loss of a dream. How can you grieve something that never was? How can it hurt just as badly as the loss of something real and tangible? And yet it just does.

It also ruins otherwise happy experiences like hearing a friend or family member is pregnant. You’re so happy for them but that just reminds you how sad you are about your own situation. Baby showers are like nails in your heart, and yet you don’t want to be excluded from important family moments.

Watching tv and movies, seeing it happen over and over and over again seemingly so easily for others and never being there yourself. Mother’s day, father’s day, remembering that your parents won’t get to be grandparents, and all the happy little families and Mommy content on social media. The reminders are everywhere.

Not to mention it is a new cycle of grief every month. You get hopeful, excited, you time everything, you wait, and then you are met with another loss and disappointment. You get sad, angry, you bargain and wish that it wasn’t this way, you have waves of disbelief, how could this be? Even literally years into infertility this cycle still stings a little every month.

I hear myself thinking, how is this my life? You cry and you think, “I can’t do this again.”. And then the next month rolls around, the next fertile window, and you do it all over again. And again, and again, and again, and again.

And this goes on for weeks, months, and years. You try to be callous to it but no matter how thick a skin you create for yourself it always hurts deep down.

I wish someone would have told me this could happen. Maybe I would have been more prepared.

At some point though you have to let go, you are not in control, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not your fault.

After years of being on this journey, the pain and grief are still there. Maybe not as constant as in the early days, but all of these thoughts and feelings are still there. And at times it will hit you so hard you are brought to tears and the breath is knocked right out of you.

Like most things involving grief it feels incredibly unfair and cruel but neither of these is really true, it’s just life and the nature of it. And nothing really heals it but support, thinking it through and in news ways when you can, and mostly just a lot of time.

Write soon,

Hannah B.L.

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