I recently did a survey in my online support group on the topics they would like more support with, and quite a few people have mentioned that they would like more information on grief.
Grief is a common thing that comes up when talking about TTC and going through fertility treatment.
Grief can take many forms and isn’t limited to those that have sadly suffered a physical loss like a miscarriage or baby loss.
You can feel grief for:
A life you want and imagined
Your lost embryos
Your current IVF cycle
Hope that it will happen for you
The friendships and relationships you have lost through this process
And this grief can hit us every month that our period arrives, the fact that it happens every month doesn’t make it any less painful each time it comes.
It’s also often a silent grief, with many people not telling people around them what they are going through, and those that do know don’t always understand the deep, raw emotions that infertility, IVF and miscarriage can create.
Therefore, it is not always recognised or acknowledged by friends and family, and people feel that they are not allowed to grieve, or that they shouldn’t be grieving.
It is really important to acknowledge the grief, to realise that it's ok to feel that way, and completely normal.
These are very emotional and difficult experiences and feelings you are going through and you are well within your right to feel grief.
Once you acknowledge and accept you are grieving it will allow you to release your emotions and seek support if you want it.
Some ways to help with your grief
Allow yourself to grieve – its important and you can take all the time you need. It will be different for everyone, and don’t feel any pressure to do it in a certain way or timeframe. Put yourselves first.
Spend time together as a couple – remember why you are together as a couple, ad support each other through this time. You are both grieving and talking through it will help you both understand how you feel.
Focus on self care and looking after yourself emotionally – do things that help you relax, sleep, make you smile. Give yourself chance to recharge your batteries so you feel stronger and more able to cope.
Journal – writing is a great way of getting out your emotions in a safe place where there is no fear of judgement. You don’t have to show anyone, you can keep it as a place to honestly express how you are feeling and it saves them being bottled up.
Acknowledge your loss – this is completely personal, think of a way to honour your loss, to recognise its importance and allow yourself to grieve. This could be through writing a letter to your longed for child, a baby you have sadly lost or the life you imagined. You could plant a flower or tree, or create something creatively that recognised the loss you have had.
Reach out to friends and family, explain how you are feeling and how you would like them to support you. They may not know what to say and will be glad to know how they can help you.
If you are struggling emotionally, if you feel that you are depressed and struggling to cope, please reach out to a counsellor – they are specially trained in fertility and will be able to support you in the grieving process.
I run an online support group that is full of amazingly supportive people, who understand and will be there to help you when you need it, and you are welcome to join it. It is called TTC Support UK.
If someone you know and love is struggling to get pregnant or is going through IVF, there are lots of little ways you can help them this Christmas that will make a big difference to how they feel this Christmas time. They will really appreciate the fact you care and want to support them.
It is so important at this time of year to focus on self-care and the things you do have, rather than the things you don’t. It is easier to cope with things when you are feeling stronger emotionally and taking care of yourself.