Counting your losses

Your reactions to your (hopefully temporary) loss of fertility are really responses to a whole raft of losses, including loss of:

^ A dream, because you always planned to have children

^ Control, as you can't do what others seem to do so easily

^ Identity, because you always imagined being a parent one day

^ Genetic continuation in the family tree, which may be short of a limb if you can't have children

^ Social inclusion with all your friends and family who have children

If you've had the misfortune of experiencing pregnancy loss, the struggle to get pregnant again is a constant reminder of the baby or babies you almost had. Grieving for the loss of an unborn child is hard because society doesn't usually have rituals for acknowledging this kind of bereavement. People don't always know how to talk about pregnancy loss or how to show their support for couples who've lost a pregnancy. Added to this, you may not have told anyone about your pregnancy and with no funeral to express your feelings, dealing with your loss can be a very lonely experience.

Talking about infertility and pregnancy loss can be difficult but those close to you may find it easier to be supportive and caring if they know how you really feel. So don't hold back about your feelings and pretend you're fine when you're not. Love and acknowledgement of your grief can make you feel much better: Give your loved ones a chance to show their support.

In Chapter 11, I talk about coping with pregnancy loss after IVF treatment and give you some tips on working your way through the grieving process.

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