Grief after IVF fails: is there an expiration date?

Oct 18, 2011

It’s been over 3 weeks since we found out that our IVF fresh cycle failed.

On the “something not-good happened to me” scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “Life sucks” and 10 is “Ow I stubbed my toe,” I was a solid 2 when we first got the news. It was a rough two weeks. But I’m feeling better. I’d say I’m at about a 8.5 right now.

Small wins

I haven’t hidden any more new Moms on Facebook. Unless I’m trying to jog, I actually forget about stabbing myself in the ass for six straight weeks. Infertility crap doesn’t occupy my thoughts anymore, and I am now capable of thinking about other things (most of the time).

And when a friend (very considerately, and privately) told me about her pregnancy last week, I only cried for a minute or two! (Full disclosure: I had a good cry about it later, but I was pretty proud of myself for holding it together. I’m happy for them, I truly am. She’s a wonderful enough friend that I can be happier for her than I am sad for myself).

But I’m not “over it.” I wish I was, because I think I would have been unsympathetic to someone like me not long ago.

This gallon of milk is gettin’ dodgy

Somehow, I feel like it’s not okay for me to be upset any more. Why? Because I’ve reached my Sympathy Expiration Date — the point at which the sympathy from others runs out. It’s the moment when nobody’s going to care if you continue crying and whining about something awful that’s happened to you. They feel like it’s about time you sucked it up and moved on. And they’re right.

While nobody’s come right out and said it, I still feel like I’ve exhausted the supply of sympathy from others. Now I feel guilty talking about our fertility troubles to most people.

Should I feel bad? I don’t know.

But I do.

I have a couple of close friends that I know will always be there to listen, no matter how much they think I should have shut up two weeks ago — thanks, ladies — and my therapist, whose job it is to listen (awesome! ladies, if you don’t have one of these, GO GET ONE, it’s seriously a must to get through infertility, and well, life in general).

So now I guess I suffer, a little less than last week, because it gets better as time goes by.

But without the ability to talk as openly about it, I’m just suffering in a little more silence than before.

About Me

Hiya! I'm Lydia. I live in Iowa with my husband and two children, both the result of iVF. I started this blog in 2011, so everything here's a wee bit... old. I don't do a ton of writing anymore... but I'm leaving the blog up, in case it's helpful for those who stumble across it.

Skip to the iVF

If you're going through infertility and want to see our journey, start in June 2011 (first two cycles) or January 2014 (third cycle). Hopefully reading about our rollercoaster with assisted reproduction brings you a little hope, and more than a few giggles. (Keep in mind that this information is over a decade old in most cases; please don't take anything you read here as medical advice. Consult your doctor for facts.)

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  1. Sending my sympathies! No matter what, your sympathy quota should not expire. And this whole issue is one that should not be silenced… people need to hear and understand how impacting it can be.

  2. <3

  3. I really like your blog! You’re very sarcastic and I love it. I completely understand how you feel. Right now, I have a very bad case of New Mom Jealousy. I was pretty proud of myself when a friend revealed a couple weeks ago that she was pregnant and I was only upset for 2 days. Hang in there!

    • Thanks, MLP! 🙂

  4. There should be no sympathy quota amongst friends. I had a friend who recently dealt with not only infertility, but some brutal second trimester miscarriages. This went on for nearly two years. When she wasn’t reaching out to me, I was the one reaching out…wanting to know how she was doing. We had a running joke that I wanted her really fat and pregnant at my wedding (in March) so that I would look skinny in comparison….

    I’m happy to report that I just went to her baby shower (IVF worked…finally). Your real friends will be there for you, without an expiration date.


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