The 4 phases of infertility grief


S. F.




Statistics remind us every day of the increasing effects of infertility at the national and international level. The downward trend in the birth rate in the Western world has been accelerated by the effects of the pandemic. In our country, and during the confinement, the birth figures, already at minimum historical levels, plummeted, achieving a new record downward. Only 23,226 babies were born in December 2020, 20.4% less than in the same month the previous year.

Behind these data hides, undoubtedly, the caution due to the effects of the virus, the fear of the resulting economic crisis, but also the levels of infertility, on the rise in recent decades, and, behind them, the people who suffer from it. They are women and men for whom fatherhood is a life project and not being able to carry it out means going through a long road of sadness and anguish, which usually ends in depression.

For Dr. Alessandro Magnelli, a gynecologist at EVA Clinics, and faced with the failure of assisted reproductive techniques or the impossibility of achieving pregnancy naturally, the couple faces the loss of a child they have never seen before. Therefore, you live a grieving process, similar to the one that is or should be done when a loved one disappears. Harder still, a loved one who has not been born, for which they themselves can become guilty.

The doctor differentiates four phases in this grief due to infertility:

1. When a pregnancy was expected and this does not come.

2. The period in which the couple is facing to treatments of different complexities to be parents.

3. When treatments They do not have success.

4. Yes, after all, pregnancy is achieved, but sadly, an abortion does occur.

It is a process, says the expert, very difficult to face and that manifests itself differently according to each person, although gestation creates a very close natural bond between mother and baby, which is why they tend to have a worse time.

While the baby does not arrive, the couple may feel a sensation of paralysis, of a dead end. They are perceived differently from other couples who do have children, even responsible for if something they have done that has led them to the current situation. Furthermore, the vital desire to be parents can be retro-stimulated, explains Dr. Magnelli, and it is even possible, not only to look at other people’s babies, but also to look at children’s stores to look for objects and clothes that can serve that child expected.

Meanwhile, there may be emotional and physical manifestations, loss of libido, loss of concentration, including the ability to perform daily tasks. These sensations can coexist in time and intensity with anger, frustration and helplessness, which makes them question their own ability to reproduce.

You can also fall prey to despair, guilt, loss of control and this generates overwhelm, anxiety and many times couples isolate themselves and begin to suffer loneliness, hopelessness and grief. Thus, sadness, melancholy, depression are reached.

Very significant, this gynecologist, an expert in assisted reproduction, says is more is the loss of confidence that someone can help them efficiently. Therefore, the recommendation is, whenever there is a difficulty in having children and this causes a decrease in our mood, to put ourselves in the hands of psychologists. Support to navigate this infertility journey is vital. If the baby finally arrives, he needs his parents to be healthy and strong for the upbringing.

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