The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
For me, denial and bargaining have gone hand in hand. I will never forget the morning I got my AMH result I just fell apart completely, sobbing in bed. We spent the weekend watching bad movies to take our minds off of it. I was instantly in despair. Within days, however, I’d switched to some kind of denial/bargaining situation.
Diminished ovarian reserve? This means nothing. I can get pregnant so I’m fine. We’ll just try every single month and I’ll go through 20 miscarriages if I have to until we get our baby. Or I’ll just get IVF, and just like that, we’ll have a baby. All I need is one baby and I won’t ask for anymore. Just one. I’ll take every supplement, do every alternative therapy, I’ll go to a traditional Chinese medicine doctor, I’ll lose a hundred pounds, and I’ll have a baby, right?
The past week I’ve slipped into anger and depression. First came the depression, which I wrote about yesterday. Now the anger is coming through.
Sometimes I feel angry at strangers. A guy on his bike almost ran me over as I crossed the street yesterday morning so I yelled an expletive at him. I was short and irritable with some vendors I work with because they did something stupid.
Sometimes I feel angry at the team of doctors who chose to not test my ovarian reserve until now. A simple blood test and I wouldn’t have wasted a year and a half. Sometimes I feel angry that the professional reproductive health community doesn’t test all women for this in their 20s. No, I wasn’t ready to have a baby until I was in my 30s, but had I known, I may have gotten my eggs frozen, or not wasted years with a partner who didn’t want children because I thought I had time.
Sometimes I feel angry at other infertile women. Women who already have children and have secondary infertility. Women who also have diminished ovarian reserve but are well into their 40s. Women in my online groups who ask the rest of us to tell them if they are ovulating or pregnant. Women who post their BFPs or pictures of their babies online and tell the rest of us to not lose hope. It is important to note that I don’t voice any of this anger at other women out loud. I realize that it is nasty, unproductive, and usually irrational. But it’s still churning away inside some days and I have to acknowledge it for what it is as part of my grieving process.
We are all on Infertility Island together and yet we are really alone because we can only leave alone. I need the support communities I have found, though. I wish I could connect more. The people I can relate to the best are the ones with diminished ovarian reserve, especially when I can see they have been able to have acceptance.