Monday, June 24, 2013

Infertility: Grieving Children Who Will Never Be

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Just as parenting a child in your arms takes a lifetime of adapting to a changing relationship, so too does parenting the memory of the child you hold in your heart. This is a journey that lasts a lifetime. ~ Unknown

A reader writes: I was wondering if you had any resources or could point me to resources in relation to grieving a child I never had? I have recently had a hysterectomy due to cancer and now cannot have the children I had already birthed in my heart. I am so overcome with grief and cannot find anyone that can understand my loss, and on my own I do not know how to work through this.
To me the children of my heart were just as real as any other child, I just hadn't physically held them yet. I feel so alone in my grief, especially as a single woman, and people cannot understand why I can't just be happy I am alive. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

My response: I’m so very sorry to learn that you are mourning this most difficult loss, and I’ll do my best to point you to some resources that may help.

I don’t know how you found me, or whether you’ve read anything I’ve written, but your message brings to mind two posts of mine.

The first is about mourning the loss of a love that could never be ~ and although the specific circumstances differ from your own, I think the feelings involved are very much the same: Disenfranchised Grief: Mourning the Loss of a Dream.

The second is about the secondary losses that accompany a miscarriage, and again, although you are mourning the loss of the child you’ll never conceive, your reactions are not unlike the silent grief experienced by a mother whose child has died before or shortly after birth: Silent Grief: Pregnancy and Infant Loss.

I encourage you to explore some of the articles, books and resources I’ve listed on my website’s Death of An Infant, Child or Grandchild page, as well as those you'll find at the base of this post.

Finally, you may find the thoughts expressed in these articles to be of some comfort: Facing the Grief of Infertility.

I hope this information helps, my dear, and I am sending sincere wishes for peace and healing to your broken heart.

Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below.
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