Grief and Loss: A Common Thread for Alternatively Created Families

When it comes to adding a child to a family, many hopeful parents look forward to the day when they see that positive pregnancy test. They dream about going through every up and down of the pregnancy process and being a part of the beautiful delivery journey bringing their little one into the world.

But, for many hopeful parents, having a child is not that easy. They may find themselves dealing with unknown fertility issues — a hard journey full of medications, doctors and schedules. After months or years of this, many hopeful parents choose another, alternative way to build their families.

It’s often not the path that intended parents originally wanted but, for many, it’s the only way they can build their family.

Here at American Surrogacy, we’re very familiar with the grief and loss that many intended parents go through before coming to our agency. Choosing an alternative family-building method can be an emotionally exhausting journey. Fortunately, our specialists are knowledgeable of both the gestational surrogacy and adoption processes (thanks to our sister agency, American Adoptions), but we know that it can still be a tough decision for many.

That’s why we’re here to support you every day. We know infertility loss is an experience that stays with hopeful parents forever, even after they’ve successfully created their families.

We recognize that there are many kinds of pregnancy and infant loss that affect parents all over the world. In this blog post, we’ll specifically tackle the experiences that many families created through surrogacy and adoption go through.

The Prevalence of Infertility

Infertility and pregnancy loss is surprisingly still a taboo subject for many to discuss, but these are topics that affect more people than you may know.

You are not alone in experiencing infertility or pregnancy or infant loss. In fact, 1 in 8 couples (or 12 percent of married women) have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. This leads to 11.9 percent of women receiving infertility services during their lifetime.

Although it is rarely discussed, pregnancy loss is common, too. About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. It’s a common experience, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

The Isolating Effects of Infertility and Pregnancy Loss

Even though these situations are so common, they are still isolating experiences. For many reasons, they continue to be taboo topics — circumstances to be borne quietly and on your own.

Many intended parents feel ashamed of their pregnancy loss and infertility, even though it’s not their fault. With so many of their family and friends (seemingly) getting pregnant with no troubles, they often feel like no one understands the struggles they go through. This can dissuade them from sharing their experience with others. And, thus, begins the self-fulfilling prophecy: No one talks about infertility, so those who experience it are less likely to share their experience, and on it goes.

Even when a family chooses an alternative method to build their family, the isolation and sense of “difference” doesn’t go away. While adoption and surrogacy are wonderful ways to bring a child into a family, they are still viewed as “alternative” ways to build their family. The processes invite questions from friends and family members, and many intended parents are made to feel like their family is not “normal” because of these paths.

Infertility loss leading to adoption or surrogacy is not something that just affects parents; it affects children, too. Adoptees and children born through surrogacy are also subjected to questions and comments from friends, family members and peers about the way they came to be with their parents. Even when children are instilled with a sense of pride in their birth story, it can be tough to answer the same insensitive questions and be made to feel “other” because they were not brought into a family in a traditional way.

Ways to Cope with Emotions of Infertility and Pregnancy Loss

While infertility and pregnancy loss can be a lifetime journey, it’s not one that you have to suffer through alone. There are many ways that you can cope with the emotions you have, but it’s up to you to determine which methods are best for you and your spouse.

To help you through this Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, here are a few options to consider:

  • Talking with an infertility counselor: If you haven’t already, talking with an infertility counselor can help you and your spouse move forward from your experiences in a positive way. An infertility counselor can help you choose an alternative family-building method and prepare you for the ups and downs of the path that you choose.
  • Sharing your experiences with others: While your friends and family may not understand what you are going through, there are plenty of others who do. See if your fertility clinic or infertility counselor can connect you with local infertility support groups. There, you can share your emotions with those who have been in your shoes.
  • Taking time for yourself: Infertility and pregnancy loss emotions can be overwhelming. Sometimes, it’s best to try to forget about them for a bit by indulging in some self-care. Take yourself and your spouse out on a date night, go for a walk or run in nature, or simply watch that movie you’ve been dying to see. Remember: You are more than just your infertility struggles.
  • Talking with your surrogacy specialist: If you are pursuing the surrogacy process with our agency, our specialists will always be here to support you. Whether that’s answering questions about the next steps in your journey or simply needing a shoulder to lean on, we are here to help. Don’t hesitate to call us anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to get the support you need.

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