Some time ago, a reader commented that she’d had an idea to write a letter to the child she never had, and she asked if I thought it was crazy.
Here’s what I told her (edited slightly to maintain her anonymity):
“Writing a letter isn’t crazy at all. One of the things that makes infertility grief so unique is that there is seldom a finite end to the journey. There’s almost always some option still open and the loss is more of a gradual moving away from the dream, rather than a sudden end. It makes it really hard to acknowledge the end and grieve that loss.
Doing something tangible, such as writing a letter, creates a kind of marker that says, “this is the end.” And the other ladies [in the program] are absolutely right about not being silent. If you need to find a time to be alone, close the door to your room, and just let it all out, do it. It’s exhausting, but it’s amazing how much grief you can purge with a good cry.”
I told her I would write a post on this topic so that you could share your experiences with creating an ending to something that has none. So here it is.
In order to start moving on with your healing process, did you need to create an ending with something symbolic and meaningful to you? Please share any “crazy” ideas that helped you find a stopping place and begin coming to terms with your life without children.
We put the onesies that we had bought (star wars themed that we couldn’t pass up when we saw them) when we were first trying and the picture of the embryos that were tranferred but didn’t develop in a special box that we keep on the mantel. I cried when we put the things in the box, but haven’t opened it in the 9 years since we put the things in there. I think of it as a little memorial for what we wanted but didn’t get. It is also surrounded by visuals of what we got instead (there is a digital picture frame next to it with what we call our “adventure selfies.”).
Perfectly Imperfect says
You are exactly right when you say that there always seems some option to explore during infertility. I’m still somewhere in the middle (?) of ivf treatment with my 5th cycle ending in a failed transfer on Thursday. I feel like a record on repeat with the anger and embarrassment I feel after yet another failed cycle. And coping with what other people are up to whilst I struggle to get to step one. There just always seems like something new to cope with around you. From pregnancy or newborn announcements at work, to what is happening with friends and family, to avoiding social media or social landlines, to coping with my mum’s inquiries about what’s happening next. And we seem to exist in a world where preserving is an admired quality so you think to yourself, “I can’t give up yet!” “I’m not a quitter..” etc. I hear so many ivf success stories, more than you hear about the people who quit. When I asked my ivf dr for the reality of the situation eg how many people my age who do multiple cycles and quit, he said “about 50%”. Where are these people? I’d like to hear their stories too.
Is anyone here in Sydney or Australia? I’d like to connect with others going through this but I don’t want to be in Facebook groups as I’m off social media.