Response #
Current experience of grief
Respondent details
25-34 | Female | USA
Q1: What was the nature of your relationship with the person who died?
Infertility is losing so many people all at once. All of your potential children are lost to you. So the relationship is they are my children.
Q2: How has the person’s death affected you during the hours, days, and weeks that followed?
At first I didn't register what had happened. I was in total shock. The weeks following I got worse and worse to where I was not sleeping at all. I would pace the house. I became unable to work. I became very OCD in my actions- switching lights on and off a particular number of times, organizing excessively, etc. I began passing out at random times because I wasn't sleeping. I was erratic and after a week and a half I began to hallucinate and lost touch with reality. I was put in the hospital for a week and a half to be treated and made to sleep. After getting out of the hospital I was still somewhat in denial but grafually fell into a deep depression.
Q3: How, if at all, have your relationships with other people (particular individuals and other people in general) been affected by the bereavement?
By the bereavement itself I have had some who are very close to me become even closer as they saw first hand how incredibly hard this was for me. Sadly, I lost a few friends as they were scared after seeing what it did to me and felt I was too much to deal with.
Q4: Does the surrounding world seem any different to you while grieving? If so, how?
It seems unfair that life just continues to go on as though nothing ever happened. I was no longer able to relate to "happy people" and became isolated. I felt forgotten by the world and as though all I could see and feel was just a pit of despair.
Q5: Has your experience of time changed in any way?
At first during the weeks following, it felt as though time didn't exist. Everything was just smashed together in a haze. Once I got to the stage of depression, every day felt slower than the last, just dragging along, and as though I would never feel regular days again.
Q6: Has your body felt any different during grief?
Beyond the pain associated with surgery the pain from grief feels more like my heart is breaking. My chest will even sometimes physically hurt.
Q7: Has grief interfered in any way with your ability and motivation to perform various tasks, including paid work?
Yes, I was unable to work fot many months at my job. I also had no motivation to do things around my house like cleaning so my house became a huge mess.
Q8: Is your experience of grief changing over time? If so, how?
Somewhat. I am still not to the acceptance stage yet. I am somewhere in the angry/bitter phase. I also don't seem to be healing linearly as the 7 stages of grief are normally portrayed. I will swing from one stage to another and back again.
Q9: Have you ever found yourself looking for the person who died or expecting that person to appear?
Yes. I will have moments where I will think I have a glimpse of my child in the future or see a child and think they could be mine before remembering it isn't possible. I also have many dreams about them.
Q10: Are there times, places, and occasions that have made you especially aware of the person’s absence?
Not more so than I already feel daily but it does feel like a punch to the chest when I realize its not possible.
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?
Only during times of prayer. I talk to God and speak about them and that makes me feel a slight connection.
Q13: Since the person died, is there anything that you have been doing in order to feel close to them?
For a while I saved baby clothes and items I wanted to give to them. I have since stopped. Now I try to find a child in need each Christmas I am able to afford it and buy items for that child.
Q14: Is there anything that you do in order to avoid being reminded of the person or of their death?
I do not attend baby showers or gender reveal parties, even for my close friends. I stay away from the isles in stores that contain baby items (except at Christmas when shopping for a child in need). I do not watch television shows or movies that depict pregnancies, births, or young children. I do not call friends during a time when I would hear their child in the background. I do not babysit.
Q15: Has anything in particular helped you to cope with grief? Has anything made you feel better or worse?
Finding other people who are also experiencing this pain and difficulty has helped me not feel like such a freak for reacting the way I have and still do. I have a group on Facebook dedicated to this type of grief and loss as most people out there I have found don't seem to consider the loss of the ability to have your own children the same validity as having lost a living human. I find this extremely degrading as for me, and those like me, the experience is just as profound and unlike any other type of grief. I have also read books on grief, loss, and coping that have been helpful.
Q16: How understanding have other people been? Have others said or done anything that you've found especially helpful or unhelpful?
Most people don't understand and many don't seem to try to. I do not feel as though people try to put themselves in my shoes and I often feel alone and misunderstood. I hate when people say I should "be over it by now."
Q17: How, if at all, has your experience of bereavement changed you as a person?
Sadly I think it has made me harder and more cynical.
Q18: How, if at all, does grief over the death of a person differ from other forms of loss that you have experienced?
It is more intense and lasts longer.
Q19: Are there any aspects of grief that you find particularly puzzling or difficult to put into words?
The fact that it never feels like you are done grieving.
Q20: Are there any important aspects of your experience that we have not addressed?
Just remember that infertility and the loss of the ability to have children, such as having reproductive organs removed, should be considered the death of a person (or people) even if they are not living.