Shock & Denial – Stage 1 of grieving infertility

doctor's hand holding stethascope WITH TEXT

The question about grief I have asked myself the most is, “How can I MISS someone I NEVER HAD?!?!”  I denied there was anything TO grieve for a very long time.  Well, I suppose I should start at the beginning.

When we had been married 6 months, I began to have more serious issues with my cycle.  I’d actually had issues since I was 14 years old, but the birth control medications the doctors had put me on caused more problems than they solved.  So, we prayed.  We were deeply in debt, I was a full time college student, we had one car, and commuted 30 minutes each way to work and school.  It was NOT good timing to start a family, but I couldn’t take the medication anymore.  So, we decided to trust God and I went off the medicine.

For about the first year or so, I was relieved each month I wasn’t pregnant.  Even typing that sentence now feels absurd.  But it is true.  I felt like Hannah when God closed her womb.  If you are unfamiliar with her story you can read all about her in 1 Samuel 1.  Verse 5 (speaking of her husband) says, “And though he loved Hannah, he would give her only one choice portion because the Lord had given her no children.”  Later in verse 19 it is recorded, “the Lord remembered her plea” and Hannah conceived a son.  I saw myself as the Hannah in the first verse.  But when God’s timing was right, he would remember my prayers and I would conceive.  You may see this as either naïve or faith.  I’m not sure if it wasn’t a little bit of both.

Fast forward 3 or 4 years, and still no babies and no pregnancies.  Now I am the sobbing Hannah on my knees in the temple so upset I am mistaken for being drunk. (1 Samuel 1:12-14), well at least the sobbing part.  I’m now on at least my third OB/GYN doctor by now.  My cycles are getting worse, but no one can figure out why.  I begin a 5 year run of countless tests.  I am diagnosed with everything from gall bladder issues, to IBS, to Crohn’s Disease, to “it all being in my head.”

It is at this point that I think I moved from Shock & Denial to Pain & Guilt.  I could no longer deny SOMETHING was wrong.  After 8 years of what doctor’s classify as “not trying to prevent pregnancy” and/or “actively trying to conceive,” we should have gotten pregnant by now. Several times.  Even without “trying”.

More to come tomorrow.

Image courtesy of [smokedsalmon] /


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