Getting Over Infertility or Miscarriage

Dawn Davenport

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I hate just about any expression that includes any variation on the words “get over it.” Regardless how you conjugate it, it feels dismissive–especially in relations to infertility or miscarriage.

how to get over infertility or miscarriage

  • Isn’t it about time you should be getting over it?
  • Haven’t you gotten over it yet?
  • You need to try to get over it.

NO! Just no.

Being told to “get over something” implies putting something behind you, walking away, becoming yourself again; all of which misunderstand the nature of grief. I very much believe that we can move past something and live a fulfilled happy life, but great pain leaves a scar. When we move past, we will not be the same person we were before. And that is another something to grieve.

C. S. Lewis, author (The Chronicles of Narnia) and theologian, was a man who understood the nature of grief. In his book A Grief Observed, written about his attempts to reconcile his faith and his grief over the death of his wife, he wrote:

“Getting over it so soon? But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he’s had his leg off is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he’ll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has ‘got over it.’ But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way of life will be changed. All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off. Duties too. At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again.”

getting over the grief of infertility or miscarriage

According to C. S. Lewis, grief changes us even when we have “gotten over it”.

Elsewhere in that book, Lewis says “there is nothing we can do with suffering except to suffer it?”  So true. I’d also suggest that getting support from others who understand what you are going through and information about your options will also help, but ultimately, you can’t avoid the pain. You also can’t hold onto it. Another C. S. Lewis quote comes to mind:

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”

Have you been told some variation of “get over it” in relation to your infertility or miscarriage? How did that make you feel?

 
Image credit: Elizabeth Albert  (monkey bars); Tom Magliery (amputee sign)
First published in 2014; Updated in 2018

25/06/2018 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 4 Comments



4 Responses to Getting Over Infertility or Miscarriage

  1. Greg says:

    I’ve been told many times by people in my life and people I’ve encountered online not in the infertility community that I need to “get over it”. We all process grief differently. I don’t think anyone ever “gets over” grief you just learn how to live with and manage it.

    Those who say to “get over it” have either not gone through infertility or they forget where they came from.

  2. Michelle says:

    Yep, I know I’m not alone there! I’m in a community of millions.

  3. Michelle Kenoyer says:

    I think the only person who has told me to “get over it” is myself. I have often interpreted things my husband has said and the tired way he has reacted to my confiding my feelings of loss and grief to him as a subliminal message to me to “get over it,” but I honestly don’t know how much of that is self-projection and feeling as if I’m burdening him with emotions he can’t, or doesn’t want to, understand. It is not fair to him to assume his not wanting to talk about it, or to listen to me in this regard, is purely ennui or simply a realization that we have to move on. We have two children we skipped out of foster care and I should be more grateful–I’ve even written about my experiences at length and have gone through a ritual to let go, but it still hurts from time to time. A lot.

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