Most of you are probably familiar with and have experienced for yourself the Five Stages of Grief that were introduced by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in the late 1960’s. While the stages are most commonly used to explain the range of emotions felt when coping with death, they also coincide with the feelings an infertile couple experiences each month. It’s a vicious cycle but being educated and aware of it can help those dealing with infertility to prepare for each stage and allow it to run it’s course. It can also help those who are friends or family of the infertile couple to better understand the ups and downs that they are having.
So this week I’m going to address each stage and speak about my own experience dealing with it and also look to you for advice and guidance because at times I feel completely defeated. Today the first stage, denial.
I first experienced denial before our problem was even diagnosed. After the first year of trying I was still not convinced something was wrong. It was hard to make an appointment with a specialist or to go through with any procedures because I didn’t want to believe we were infertile. I would tell myself:
“It happens to other couples, not us.”
“We just have bad timing, it will work out.”
“We’ll just push things off because surely this is our month.”
Of course we now know there is a problem and denying it is no longer an option.
The denial stage has now turned into something that is revisited every month as I cope with the fact that I’m once again not pregnant. I deny PMS symptoms saying that they could be pregnancy related. I deny the negative pregnancy tests saying that there’s always room for false negatives. I even deny it when my period does arrive and say that maybe I’m just spotting and that’s normal for early pregnancy. I know that sounds crazy but any women who deals with it can probably relate. It’s not logical.
So how do you deal with the denial faze? I’ve tried to balance it with the logical side of my brain but that seems to leave me feeling horribly pessimistic. On the other hand, if I let my denying take over the depression afterwards is much greater. Help please.