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She’s Mourning Infertility

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From Brazil: I read a ton of articles about this subject, but my case doesn’t fit any of those. My girlfriend is 31 years old (I’m 24) and we’ve been together for a little over a year. I love here as deeply as I possibly could and I wanna build my life with her.

In june she discovered that she’s infertile, the chance of having a baby is 5% max., if not totally impossible. That didn’t affected me at all!! I’ve never wanted to have children anyway, and I always thought adoption is AWESOME.

After that first discovery, she did many exames with other doctors, but I wasn’t asking a lot about the treatment fearing that it would make her even more anxious. A terrilbe mistake. She did other exames showing how infertile she was and she did’nt tell me a word until a few day ago. In addition, one of her relatives (thank God it wasn’t a close one) got arrested for murder. Everything in one month. I tried to be as loving and caring as i could, but I could indeed feel that she was kind of avoiding me.

Now, she’s devastated. She keeps saying that she feels like she’s taking my right to have a kid, she can’t even imagine telling our friends and especially my family. She’s is so stubborn that she haven’t told her family yet. She’s taking a ton of hormones to stabilize her period (polycystic ovaries) and she is NOT at her normal state. I can’t figure it out how to take this burden of her away.

I sad that I didn’t care, that we’re a couple, no one know what the future holds, that I always thought that adoption was awesome (too soon perhaps?) and we’re going to figure this out togheter, but she just couldn’t just accept that. She asked to take some time off on last monday (07/06), crying a lot, I can see that she really loves me. On the next day, I summarize everything that I feel: we’re a couple, she’s going to organize her life but I will ALWAYS be here for her.

How can I convince her that isolation is a terrible mistake, that she’s is not taking anything from me, that she needs psychological help and that we’re better and stronger together?

Thank you so much for this chance!!!!!

Thank you for writing. I applaud your attitude. There are so many children in the world who need the kind of loving parents you would be. But right now your girlfriend is in mourning. She isn’t ready to think about adoption as an option.

I’m guessing that she put off thinking about having children until she met a guy like you. Now, at 31, she finds that it’s likely she can’t be a birth parent. Like most women, she probably had fantasies about her future children. She is now grieving those children she will not have.

It really is a kind of death.Taking hormones and not telling her family are only signs of the usual elements of grief: denial, bargaining and anger. With help, she will eventually move to acceptance but it will take time.

Unlike other deaths, there are no rituals to help in the process. There is no wake or funeral. There is no grave to visit. Other people often don’t understand.

You aren’t saying anything wrong. You may be saying it at the wrong time. You are moving to what you can do. She needs to first be supported in her grief.

I suggest you encourage her to cry and to tell you about what she had imagined her future children with you would be like. Be sad with her. Think together about some kind of private ritual the two of you could perform to say goodbye to those mythical children. Plant some flowers. Burn a candle. Do whatever would be meaningful to her. Only when she has time to truly accept the loss will she be able to embrace other children; children who need her and who can receive all the mothering and love she can give.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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