Being sad when deciding to move from fertility treatment to adoption
Being told to “just get over it” doesn’t really help.

I spoke at an adoption conference on transitioning from infertility treatment to adoption. My talk was aimed more for the adoption professionals to help them understand infertility grief and how it affects the transition to adoption. After the conference I received the following email.

My husband and I attended your session at the conference, and it was the first time since beginning the adoption process I felt that I was allowed to be upset that we were not able to conceive. Many of the social workers and people in my life have had the attitude of “well your adopting now, so why are you so upset?”, “You will be a mom eventually so why worry about that whole pregnancy part”, “Its not fair to the kids you will bring home if you cant be happy that you are adopting instead”. So I want to thank you for that… I was the fool crying her eyes out in the back.

The Many Losses of Infertility

Infertility is a disease of many losses. To name just a few:

  • The loss of being able to plan when to have a family.
  • The loss of spontaneity in love making.
  • The loss of being able to parent.
  • The loss of a genetic connection to our children.
  • The loss of experiencing pregnancy.
  • The loss of being able to breastfeed our children exclusively or at all.
  • The loss of privacy.

Adoption Isn’t a Cure for Infertility

So many people want to subtly or not so subtly make adoption the miracle cure for infertility. It isn’t. Adoption takes care of one of the many losses of infertility – the loss of being able to parent. It is a great way to become a parent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t be sad about the other losses.

Just Get Over It

The best way to move past grief for many of us is to be given permission to fully grieve. If you feel like you are getting stuck in the grief, seek help from a trained professional. But often all you need is permission to be sad and a recognition of your loss. I for one give you that permission and see your pain.

Did you ever feel the pressure to just “get over it”?

First published in 2014; updated in 2017.
Image credit: ohmyGaly