Guilt and Grieving

The PAIL Monthly Theme post for September is “Guilt and Grieving.” There are obviously a myriad of ways to comment on this topic – feel free to click on over and join in the discussion!

What did you lose? What do you grieve?

There’s plenty to consider when revisiting your personal grief and guilt over infertility and loss, but here are a few prompts to get you started:

  • What was your vision of family building?
  • What got lost– or, more accurately, what did IF and/or loss take away from you?
  • Did your loss evolve over time into something else?
  • How do you balance grief and guilt?
  • How supportive were other people of your need to go through a grieving process? Did you feel like you could talk about it?

So it took me awhile to even try to start this post. Honestly? I wasn’t sure where to start…or if I had anything to write. I also didn’t want to come off as bragging, this is just…my reality.

*I didn’t like being pregnant for the most part (damn you morning sickness that was actually all day vomiting), but I had a fairly normal pregnancy and a healthy baby. Thank God.

*I had a birth experience I loved and I am honestly excited to hopefully experience that again.

*I have supportive friends and family members who were/are there for anything we need.

*I thankfully didn’t go through PPD, and I felt connected to Stells from the moment I pushed (and pulled!) her out.

Sure, the timing was delayed by a couple of years (which yes, at the time was absolute hell), but it turns out that it gave us time to buy a house and get into jobs we enjoyed more. If we had a child to support at the time, I don’t know if we would have had the courage to change.

Sure, it was expensive as hell to conceive (though our costs obviously don’t hold a candle to adoptive parents and IVFers)…but between our savings and my parents helping us out, we made it work, and it was worth every penny. Do I wish I could have conceived over a bottle of wine? You bet your ass I do. But I guess I’ve made peace with that not being our reality.

Sure, I’m bummed that Stella’s cousin is nearly two years older than her…but now his little brother is only 7 months younger, and Stella will be that much closer in age to any other cousins that come along, and that’s not such a bad thing!

Sure, my vision of family building used to include 3-4 kids, and now it only includes “hopefully two.” However, I don’t know if this is a function of the cost of TTC for us or just a natural evolution of realizing the cost of raising kids in general, so it’s not something I’m grieving necessarily. I’m actually excited about being able to travel more with my child(ren), since that is something I love doing.

However, as I wrote this, I realized…

I’m still petrified of doing something to jinx next time. By writing that, have I jinxed there being a next time? Is that what I’m grieving, the easy innocence and assumption that fertiles have that the “next time” is a given?

I still have issues reacting with unadulterated joy for friends who get and stay pregnant. I’m way better that I used to be, for sure, but I hate that there’s always a little niggle in the back of my head when I hear about a pregnancy…some shitty little part of me that grumbles, “did they have to try as hard as I did?” It’s not that I ever want anyone else to go through IF, I just want others to get how hard it was for us to go through IF.

So yep, that’s my guilt, that’s my grieving. I just want to be happy for others, and that is fucking hard.

Thank God I have you ladies to turn to.


  1. I feel very similar to you – that yes it sucked but look what resulted from it! I sometimes think I emerged from all of this relatively unscathed, all things considered. I do think that PAIL has helped me move on and “get better” at being genuinely happy for other people and their easily-attained pregnancies. I say that because I’m now surrounded by people who “get it” and understand what it’s like to fight for just one BFP. Because like you said, it’s not that we wish others went through IF, but we wonder if they know how hard it was for us to go through it. I now know lots of people who know how hard it was, and they GET IT, so I don’t care so much anymore if the people in my offline life get it.

    This is a refreshing post – I love your positive attitude!

  2. I feel something akin to what you describe and wasn’t sure what I could even write about for this month’s post. But then I decided that would be enough – I could write about how I’m simply not dealing with it. Haha.

    I think ALL.THE.TIME. about the jinxing. I practically walk around with my fingers crossed…

  3. Reverse psychology all the way babe. The other night I was all I so dont want to be pregnant right now while deep down thinking please let me have a surprise pregnancy.

  4. […] Josey of My Cheap Version of Therapy thought she was going to write one thing and ended up with another, saying “I didn’t think I had anything to feel guilty about or to grieve about. I guess I was wrong” of her post “Guilt and Grieving.” […]

  5. I understand that struggle to be happy for others. It’s damn hard. One of those stings that hits you when you least expect it.

  6. That easy innocence… man. I wasn’t “sure” my girls would be okay until the non-stress test an hour before my c-section. And I never had a pregnancy loss. It wasn’t about having a prior bad experience. It was about having the effortless, natural experience of just “becoming pregnant” like it was a normal, natural thing, and I didn’t get that, so I was operating on a totally different set of expectations.

    It is hard to separate out “things that I feel because of IF” from “things that I feel because now I get what having a kid is like,” as you said. I still have some of the same family-building goals that I did before, as well as similar goals for things like homeschooling, but my girls are still little– I wonder how I’ll feel when they’re 3 and preschool becomes an imminent reality and not a weird , distant “someday, can you believe it?”

  7. Something *I* feel guilty about reading this? That you had support from family and friends on your journey. That you had a positive birth experience. That I am jealous of you for these things. But I can’t *fault* you (the collective you!) for them because they have nothing to do with me, and THAT took me a long time to realize in the last few years. And I think that despite having blog friends (wo are REAL!) like you that I can say *anything* about this journey too, it is still going to be tough not to be jealous of the things other people have that we wish we did. It makes us human. It is the ability to understand each other, and support each other, and love each other in spite of these feelings that makes us good friends in this community and to people IRL. Because we may always feel these things, but we have created safe spaces in which to feel them so that our relationships are not impacted as a result.

    I was really glad to read this though, Jos, because it gives me something to keep working towards. And I thank you for your continued support with that. 🙂

    1. Well, I’m hoping that with your husband’s support and with the HypnoBabies training that this pregnancy and birth experience will be 180 degrees different than your last one, and maybe that will help you to NOT feel jealous of my experience. 🙂 I like this a lot: ” It is the ability to understand each other, and support each other, and love each other in spite of these feelings that makes us good friends in this community and to people IRL.”

  8. I feel you on all of this. For the most part a lot of the grieving is done, but now that TTC 2 is here in full force I feel it hard. Especially now that other moms with children L’s age are starting to TTC their second and they speak in “When I’m pregnant next summer” or “when the second baby gets here.” Of course it will happen for them, you know, while we’re just waiting if we’ll ever be lucky enough and if we are how long it will take. I try not to get to down about it, because it seems like I’m getting upset about something that hasn’t even happened yet, you know?

    Hope #2 comes easily and quickly when you two are ready!

  9. dude, i’ve been struggling like crazy these past few weeks since it only took the first cycle to get pregnant with this little bean. I felt like since it was so easy something must inevitably go wrong. This pregnancy doesn’t take away the three years of shit and loss and struggling while everyone else seemed to get pregnant but I do feel guilty that I’m pregnant again and that it didn’t cost as much as some IFers have to spend. I want to do a post about it but it’s like if I say it out loud then I’m jinxing the way things have been going. Ah to never win. 🙂

  10. […] September – Jealousy is still alive and well in my world, as evidenced by my post Guilt and Grieving. […]

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