Dealing with the disappointing news of not being pregnant wears you down, doesn’t it? Your yearning to see a positive pregnancy stick gets stronger every month…and so does the disappointment you feel when you’re not pregnant. Again. How do you cope with the pain and frustration of not conceiving the baby you so desperately want?
These suggestions will help you see that you are not alone. My husband and I tried to get pregnant for years; we gave up after fertility treatments and more negative pregnancy test results. We’re okay, though! We both learned how to deal with the disappointment of not being pregnant. One of the ways I coped was by reading books like Silent Sorority: A Barren Woman Gets Busy, Angry, Lost and Found by Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos. Infertility books help – I list a few at the end of this post. But two things helped me more than anything: 1) the very real, deep presence of God in my spirit and soul; and 2) my passion for writing and blogging. Learning how to cope when you can’t have a baby is easier when you have a strong desire to enjoy other aspects of life.
My husband and I had to see a fertility counselor when we were getting treatments for infertility. One thing she said stuck out to me: “Instead of allowing the pain and disappointment of not getting pregnant overwhelm you, look forward to how you and your husband are going to manage the situation.” Her advice didn’t help! I never did figure out how to “manage” my situation of being childless. But I did learn how to live fully, deeply and joyfully despite never having children.
I don’t know if my tips will help you deal with your pain and disappointment. Not being pregnant is a very, very sad situation. And, what helps some women cope doesn’t help other women at all! In fact, some of my tips for coping with childlessness have angered and depressed some of my readers. So, in this post I included the advice of another childless couple. This way, if you don’t like my coping tips you can look to theirs for help and hope 🙂
6 Tips for Dealing With the Disappointment of Not Getting Pregnant
Are you coping with the thought of being childless forever, or “just” the disappointment of not being pregnant again this month? There is a difference. These tips are for women who are probably never going to have children. Childlessness is a permanent and painful situation for many couples.
If you’re coping with the disappointment of not conceiving this month – and you’re positive you and your husband are not infertile – read How to Be Positive When It’s Taking a Long Time to Get Pregnant.
1. Give yourself time to grieve your loss
Not getting pregnant isn’t just disappointing. It’s devastating. Childlessness is a major trauma for women who desperately want babies and a family. This loss is just like a death. And, this loss deserves to be grieved like any other loss or death in your life.
Instead of fighting or hiding your depressed, angry, disappointed, hurt or frustrated feelings, let them wash over you for a short time. Feeling awful is much better than shoving the feelings down or expressing them in other ways, such as overeating, drinking, doing drugs, or being cruel to others Let yourself feel rotten. Grieve. You may feel like you’ll die from a broken heart…but you won’t. When you’re dealing with the disappointment of not being pregnant, it’s better to feel your grief instead of suppressing the pain. It hurts, but it will pass.
Before you can learn how to be happy even if you’re childless, you need to grieve your loss.
2. Don’t blame yourself
It’s not your fault that you can’t get pregnant. It’s not your husband’s fault that you can’t conceive, or that you’re childless. It doesn’t matter if you had an abortion when you were 16, or gave a kid up for adoption, or waited until you were 40 years old to start trying to get pregnant. You’re not being punished for your past, you’re just part of a couple coping with infertility – and there are a lot of us out there! Don’t fall into the blame game, and don’t get angry at or blame yourself or your partner. To deal with disappointment in healthy ways, you need to stay emotionally centered.
“Accept the hardship of infertility,” says a reader called Ellen Naylor, who couldn’t get pregnant. “God has other plans for you…so listen…and do!” It’s been almost 20 years since Ellen and her husband Rodgers accepted a life without children. “Infertility was harder on me, but one of my best moves along the way was reading Christiane Northrup’s book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing. It provides a holistic perspective for a woman during her fertile years, and much more.”
3. Stay connected to family and friends who comfort and cheer you
Don’t give up on the friends or family who comfort and cheer you. You may not want to be reminded of infertility or childlessness, but keep spending time with people you love. You may be tempted to pull away, but isolation can make disappointment of not being pregnant worse. Focus on simple things, such as holding one another when you cry or going for quiet walks.
Avoid people who remind you of the pain and disappointment of not being pregnant – especially if you’re at the beginning stages of acceptance and loss. If you think or know that you are childless, give yourself time to grieve before you spend time with anyone. I had to limit the time I spent with new moms and pregnant women when I first found out we’d be a childless couple. That was almost 10 years ago; now, I can spend time with anyone and not feel the fresh disappointment of not being pregnant. My heart still aches a little, but it’s okay. That’s how life is: bittersweet!
4. Take good care of your mind, body and spirit
Get enough sleep, eat nutritiously, go to yoga class, and find your own healthy ways to blow through the stress and disappointment of not being pregnant. The more physically fit your mind and body is, the better you’ll feel emotionally and mentally…and the quicker you’ll bounce back from the disappointment of not being pregnant.
“A fertility psychotherapist helped me focus on getting past the emotional issues of my life, which were wrapped around infertility,” says Ellen. “I had 10 sessions we her over the telephone, and this helped me more than anything else I did. I recommend infertility counselors highly, especially if they have books and programs for couples.”
Take a break from your grief. Grieving is exhausting. Distract yourself with your favorite movies, vacations, new restaurants, yoga classes (or even fertility yoga), new recipes, watercolor classes at the local school or college, new hobbies, road trips, belly dancing lessons, and so on. As important as it is to grieve your loss, it is important and healthy to take a breather every once in awhile. Take a vacation. Remember how to laugh!
If you can’t seem to let go of your dream of getting pregnant, read Dr Phil’s Tips for Women Obsessed With Having a Baby.
5. Create new dreams and goals – when you’re ready
“I’m 52, and have had time to look back at our infertility and more readily accept how it affects our lives today,” says Ellen. “I was 41 when we tried in vitro fertilization. It was our last effort to get pregnant at the end of our infertility journey, which started when I was 34. Now I realize that my husband and I were meant to run our own businesses and create. I am developing a new concept called Cooperative Intelligence, which helps a person ‘Listen & Be Heard’ through generous leadership, connection and communication. It took a number of years of focusing on my business, competitive intelligence to birth this concept. This probably wouldn’t have happened if we had a child or children since I would have been focusing more on getting pregnant.”
First, Ellen and her husband worked through the pain of not getting pregnant. Then, they dealt with the disappointment by creating new life goals and dreams. They built a business together. It didn’t take the place of being pregnant and having babies, but it did give them something exciting to focus on!
6. Be open to a new season in your life
Ellen explains how her husband developed his career as an artist: “Meanwhile, my husband is a fine artist whose media is oil (G.R. Naylor.com). He is creating his own style of painting and is very focused. I don’t think he would have left his corporate job back in 1998 if we had a child. Now neither of us has a steady paycheck, but we are creating every day, and that’s what we’re meant to be doing. So my message is: accept the disappointment of not getting pregnant or of infertility. God has other plans for your life.”
I dealt with the disappointing news that I’d never get pregnant by my husband (read What to Do If Your Husband Has Azoospermia) by focusing on my writing career. I love what I do, and it really helped me get past the pain of infertility. To find joy in your life and not be completely destroyed if you’re childless, be open to a new season in your life. If you don’t have passions or dreams, create some.
Refuse to let the pain of infertility or the disappointment of not being pregnant be the thing that defines who you are and how you live.
How are you dealing with the disappointment of not being pregnant? Feel free to share your story below.