Response #
Past experience of grief
Respondent details
45-54 | Female | British
Q1: What was the nature of your relationship with the person who died?
Disenfranchised grief. No one died, but my children never came into existence beyond the embryo stage of IVF. It felt like a death.
Q2: How has the person’s death affected you during the hours, days, and weeks that followed?
I wanted to die. One time I wandered into the middle of the road and contemplated lying down there, hoping a car would run me over. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I screamed out loud and asked God why he hated me so much. I was horrible to my husband. Everywhere I looked, I saw families, pregnant women or babies. I didn’t know how I could go on living. I did not want to go on living.
Q3: How, if at all, have your relationships with other people (particular individuals and other people in general) been affected by the bereavement?
I withdrew. They couldn’t understand as no one had died. They said I needed to move on and have a happy life.
Q4: Does the surrounding world seem any different to you while grieving? If so, how?
For over a year, all I could see were things which reminded me of my loss.
Q5: Has your experience of time changed in any way?
It dragged on.
Q6: Has your body felt any different during grief?
Like a big hole had opened up inside me.
Q7: Has grief interfered in any way with your ability and motivation to perform various tasks, including paid work?
I had to take 2 weeks off work when the final IVF failed as I couldn’t stop crying.
Q8: Is your experience of grief changing over time? If so, how?
Became less acute. I grew around my grief. It will always be there but it is not so painful any more.
Q9: Have you ever found yourself looking for the person who died or expecting that person to appear?
I wish my children who never existed would appear. I have never actually seen them though.
Q10: Are there times, places, and occasions that have made you especially aware of the person’s absence?
Whenever I see a family or visit my siblings who have children.
Q11: People who are grieving often report experiencing the presence of the person who died. Have you had any experiences that you would describe in those terms?
Q12: Do you still feel a sense of connection with the person? If so, could you say something about when you feel this and what the experience is like?
I have written a poem to my unborn child.
Q13: Since the person died, is there anything that you have been doing in order to feel close to them?
Q14: Is there anything that you do in order to avoid being reminded of the person or of their death?
Not go to baby showers or baptisms.
Q15: Has anything in particular helped you to cope with grief? Has anything made you feel better or worse?
Gateway Women, an online community for women who are “childless not by choice”. It helped me a lot.
Q16: How understanding have other people been? Have others said or done anything that you've found especially helpful or unhelpful?
Not understanding at all. Telling me I could travel and still have a good life, or being worried that I was still grieving and it was unhealthy.
Q17: How, if at all, has your experience of bereavement changed you as a person?
Made me better able to listen to others who are grieving.
Q18: How, if at all, does grief over the death of a person differ from other forms of loss that you have experienced?
This isn’t a death as such, but it is a life sentence to live my worst nightmare coming true, every day until I die.
Q19: Are there any aspects of grief that you find particularly puzzling or difficult to put into words?
Q20: Are there any important aspects of your experience that we have not addressed?
Grief is not just caused my death. Disenfranchised grief is a thing which no one understands.