How to Stop Infertility From Being the Worst Thing in Your Life

How do you cope with the disappointment, pain, and grief of infertility? There are no easy answers or quick tips for stopping infertility from being the worst thing you’ll ever experience – but here you’ll find what works for me. First, read this comment from a woman who went through her own infertility roller coaster before accepting that she’ll never be a mom…

How to Stop Infertility From Being the Worst Thing to Happen to You

How to Stop Infertility From Being the Worst Thing to Happen to You

“Being childless is painful but it is not the end of the world,” says Corinne McDonald on How to Be Happy as a Childless Woman – Single or Married. “I found out I couldn’t have kids when I was 28, and I was devastated….until my little sister was brutally attacked. She lived through it, but she has so many health issues, emotional and physical. The world is full of suffering. Infertility is painful, I get it. But it’s not the worst thing that could ever happen to you – and you CAN learn how to be happy as a childless woman. It’s your choice: depression because of infertility or happiness because you don’t want to live in a black pit. What will you choose?

This reader’s comment so closely resembles my own perspective on infertility, it’s like I wrote it myself! Corinne didn’t say anything about faith or spirituality, but the reason infertility isn’t the worst thing to happen to me is because of my relationship with God. Not my religion; my relationship with the only source of life, love, and light I know.

This list of things worse than infertility might help you change your perspective, and help you hold on to the good things in your life. For there is so much to be grateful for – so much good – even if you’re coping with a devastating diagnosis of infertility.

I was inspired to write this article because Giuliana Rancic, co-anchor of E! News, was guest co-host for ABC’s “The View” in honor of World Fertility Awareness Month. She opened the episode on surrogacy saying that infertility stinks and it’s the worst thing in the world.

Is it really true that “Infertility stinks – it’s the worst thing in the world”? Yes, infertility stinks and it’s devastating…but the worst thing in the world? Not by a long shot.

Is Infertility is the Worst Thing to Happen?

If you adopt the “poor me – I’m infertile (or my husband is infertile) and we can’t afford infertility treatments and all I want to do is have a baby”, then you’re setting yourself up for a life of bitterness, strife, envy, and pain.

Why would you do that to yourself? Why is having a child the only thing that makes your life meaningful?

Why Infertility Isn’t the Worst Thing to Happen to You

Why Infertility Isn’t the Worst Thing to Happen to You

Believing that infertility is the worst thing that could ever happen gives you a negative, depressed, unhealthy perspective that is not based in reality. It blocks all the potential goodness in your life. It stops you from seeing and enjoying the happy things in life.

And it stops you from being grateful for who and what you do have. You’ve experienced a great deal of good, love, joy, and light in your life…and infertility is the black canvas that can let those pinpoints of light shine through.

If you think infertility is the worst thing in the world, then you haven’t slept in a back alley in a cardboard box with your single mom and sister, survived someone breaking into your apartment in the middle of the night to rape you, lived with a seriously mentally ill mother, been cut out of your sister’s life for reasons she refuses to explain, or lived in Africa for three years and witnessed how bad life can really get.

I’ve experienced all those things, which is why I’m childless and still very, very happy. I’d love to get pregnant and raise a child, but it’s not in the cards for us. So, I focus on the benefits of my life — and I write articles to encourage women how to grieve and heal after an infertility diagnosis.

Things Worse Than Infertility

To help you get over the thought that infertility is the worst thing that could ever happen to you, I brainstormed a list of things worse than not getting pregnant:

  • Losing a child to cancer or another painful slow fatal disease
  • Having a chronically or terminally ill child
  • Raising a child who abuses and even kills other people
  • Being abused in any way, especially as a child
  • A friend or family member’s suicide
  • Watching animals get tortured
  • Seeing your mom get beat up, and being helpless to stop
  • Seeing the way animals are treated in third world countries
  • Being homeless – sleeping outside and eating garbage
  • Not being able to overcome a mental illness
  • Having tumors that cause pain, reduced quality of life, and a shorter life
  • Being responsible for someone’s death or serious injury
  • Your husband having a vasectomy without telling you
  • Never loving, never having been loved

You know what? I can’t go on. I don’t want to dwell on all the worst things in the world. I’m more convinced than ever that there are worse things than infertility — but I don’t need to think about them.

If it’s taking a long time to conceive a baby but you aren’t coping with infertility (maybe you’ve received an “unexplained infertility” diagnosis), read Discouraged Because You Can’t Get Pregnant?

What do you think – is infertility really the worst thing that has ever happened or could ever happen to you? I welcome your thoughts below…especially if you don’t agree with me. I realize that my perspective on infertility isn’t the same as many women’s, and I have received negative comments before.

Feel free to share what you really think and feel. This is a safe place to express yourself! Don’t call me names because personal attacks aren’t acceptable…but feel free to share your emotions, opinions, and thoughts.

Help for Women and Men Coping With Infertility

How to Stop Infertility From Being the Worst Thing to Happen to You

In Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility, Janet Jaffe, David Diamond, and Martha Diamond walk alongside women and men who are grieving the loss of their dream of having children.

For people experiencing infertility, wanting a baby is a craving unlike any other. The intensity of their longing is matched only by the complexity of the emotional maze they must navigate.

Drs. Janet Jaffe, Martha Diamond, and David Diamond – who are fertility specialists in the field of Reproductive Psychology and who have each experienced their own struggle with infertility – offer insight and compassion.

In this book, you’ll learn how to:

  • Reduce your sense of helplessness and isolation
  • Identify your partner’s coping styles and erase unfair expectations
  • Listen to your “unsung lullabies” – your conscious and unconscious dreams about having a family – to mourn the losses of infertility and move on

Ground-breaking, wise, and compassionate, Unsung Lullabies is a necessary companion for anyone coping with infertility.


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12 thoughts on “How to Stop Infertility From Being the Worst Thing in Your Life

  • Mom of large family

    As a friend of a few infertile women I found this comforting. I have personally experienced many of the things you listed “worse than infertility”. Now I am married and have been blessed with many children, way more than we planned. I feel really guilty because our friends cannot have children and they are always upset that we so easily can. I try to be thoughtful and respectful on the subject, however, I’ve never shared with my infertile friends that while they had a wonderful childhood, I did not. Infertility absolutely does stink, I have sympathy for them but since I’ve not gone through that myself I cannot began to empathize or fully take in what they have endured (thus the guilt), just as they cannot even begin to imagine my childhood or tragic life experiences that I have not shared with them.

    If I’d been asked before I had my first child, yes, I would have said that infertility stinks big time and is very painful but it’s not the worst thing that can happen. Silent grief comes in all sorts of things taken for granted. Thank you for sharing.

  • Lily

    I appreciate your efforts to help others with your perspective. However, when someone is in the midst of struggling with infertility it is the worst thing in the world because that is where they are. I have had many struggles in life. I was abused as a child, I’ve been and seen destruction in both Iraq and Afghanistan War, and I’ve lost both of my parents – one to Suicide. And yet the biggest devastation in my life right now is my inability to get and stay pregnant. It is the most painful thing I have experienced. When I was in away at war what kept me going was my dream of coming back home and starting a family. And with every month and year my dream appears to be fading away whiles those around me seem to be fulfilling theirs. I believe everyone grieves in their own time and perhaps your time has come but my has just begun. I am already 2 years into fertility treatments; I’ve only been pregnant once and miscarried 2 months ago. And as far as I am concerned that is the death of my child and that is excruciating. No amount of goal setting will make that right or ease my mind. The only thing that will help me is time.

  • Deanne

    I also did not find this article to be helpful. No, it may not be the worst thing in the world, but it is painful. Knowing it’s not the worst thing in the world isn’t all that helpful because most of us will never experience the worst thing in the world, so this is as difficult as it gets. I read somewhere that infertility may well be the first big disappointment many woman will have to face. If they have gone through life without losing their parents, had a good life as a child and teenager, it can be a shock to be faced with this seemingly endless battle, that you really have no control over. Having been raped myself and faced 15 years of poor health and depression, I still find myself feeling gutted about not being able to realise my greatest dream in life, to become a mother. Maybe it is good to have some perspective that life is much more difficult for many people in the world, but that doesn’t stop me mourning what may never be.

    On another note, I would love to adopt a child, but it’s really difficult to do in Australia. It takes years and years.

    • Diana

      I also disappointed…i had children to a abusive i married to a wonderful man and we can’t have a child together due to infertility..and it hurts alot..i have to let go tho..i need to find inner peace god bless to all

  • Disappointed

    I have to say I too am a little disappointed by this article. I appreciate the point but you can’t really compare different life situations and having experienced infertility, child abuse and poverty I personally would rate infertility as the worst thing I’ve experienced. I feel I have to comment on behalf of the multitude of ttc ladies who will read this looking for hope and come away feeling like they were making a fuss about nothing.

  • Amy

    I didn’t feel this article was berating at all.

    I just completed yet another failed fertility treatment, the latest of a series of brutalizing treatments over the last four years, all of them unsuccessful. The treatments have wrecked my health, my mind, my spirit. I have lost all faith in the existence of a good, loving and protective G-d. I desperately want a genetic child, particularly because I have no siblings, my cousins live in another country, and once my parents are gone I will have no family other than my husband. My husband is an only child as well. It sucks, big time.

    Yet Laurie is correct. There are a myriad of blood-chilling horrors this life is capable of producing and no one is immune to being struck by any of them. I’ll give you one: My great aunt and her two little children, marching into a cold Nazi gas chamber, stark naked, and choking on cyanide gas. Doesn’t get more horrible than that.

    If anything, this painful life experience has taught me that nothing is a given in this brief life. Every good thing in life is a blessing and can be taken away at any moment.

    So I am counting my blessings–my wonderful husband, my living parents, my three little dogs, my health, etc.

    What other choice do I have?

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author


    I’m sorry that this article made you feel berated! As a writer and woman who can’t have children, I’m always sad when readers leave feeling worse than when they arrived. Sometimes my articles backfire…and sometimes what helps me feel better about infertility doesn’t work for other women.

    You’re right — there is nothing wrong with your dream of having a biological baby! I’m sorry that dream is eluding you right now, and I hope that it comes true one day.


  • M.

    I read this article hoping to find a little encouragement and light on a bad day and instead I find a list berating me for feeling emotionally depressed and sad due to infertility. Sounds like you have had one hell of a life and I applaud you for moving forward to find your happiness, but shame on your for making people feel inferior because they feel infertility is the worst thing in the world to happen to them. You said previously, focus on your dreams, learn to fly etc. Well, my dream is to have a biological baby. That is what I have always wanted and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And just so you know I am thankful for all of the blessings in my life and do my best to appreciate them everyday.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Dear Katelyn ~ Yes, I agree that never being adopted is worse than not being able to conceive. It is SO sad that we seem to be programmed to want kids who are biologically related to us. Most of the people I love most in my life aren’t related to me at all!

    Dear Dorthea ~ Thank you for sharing your story. You’re helping us see that infertility isn’t the worst thing that could happen to us.

    Thanks for your comments; I appreciate them.


  • Dorthea Cooper

    I lost my parents and husband in a car crash. I’ve never been pregnant because I’ve never found anyone I love as much as my husband. We were married for 10 years, and were just starting to talk about having children. We had busy, fulfilling lives and kids were part of our future.

    If you’re married or in a relationship, cherish your loved one. That person is more important than children that don’t exist yet.

    But I do feel bad for women who can’t get pregnant or who are coping with infertility.

  • katelyn

    Worse than being infertile? Never being adopted because so many families want a baby that’s genetically related. How many kids are parentless and want a loving home?