The Grief of the Infertile


How infertile do you have to be before you are considered infertile?

It’s been over a year. I knew it would take a while, but I heard all the stories. “My best friend’s brother’s girlfriend had that but she got pregnant straight away…”

It’s like living in stasis.

Do you plan for the kid you may never have? Do you plan for a future without them? Do you book a holiday, or take a new job, or plan anything at all? Do you just carry with life as per normal thinking “well if it happens, it happens” or do you try to accommodate the possibility?

It’s the lack of control. It’s the feeling of drifting in someone else’s sea. It’s grieving for something you feel you’ve lost, even though you never had it. It’s that mixture of joy and sadness when someone else falls.

Congrat-u-fuck-u-lations as a friend so succinctly put it.

It’s being terrified to go to the doctor and say “I need help”. It’s the frustration that when you do it’s just tests and no quick fix. It’s the desire to pretend it isn’t happening, not to talk about it or reference it. Block it off from everyone because you’re not meant to talk about it. Because you don’t want their advice. Because you don’t want them to ask.

It’s the stress it puts on your marriage. It’s the fun it takes out of sex. It’s the frustration, the hurt, the feeling that you’ve somehow failed as a woman, as a human being.

Little Viking, what if I never meet you? I already love you so much and you’re just an idea.

It’s grief.



  • Lana (Sharpest Pencil)

    You need to go see the doctor. There is hope and there is joy ahead of you. Don’t be afraid to look for help. For your body and your mind xxx

    • Tamsin Howse

      I have. It’s all about tests at the moment. But thank you xx

  • Sophia Russell

    Thinking of you today, Tamsin. Thanks for sharing; you write so beautifully about what you are experiencing.

    • Tamsin Howse

      Thanks Sophia

  • Emily

    It really is grief. It took us almost two years (and medical intervention) to conceive #1, and longer again (and ditto) for #2.
    It’s everything you say it is, and more. Beautifully written. Hugs to you xx

    • Tamsin Howse

      Thank you Em xx

  • Monique Fischle

    I’m so sorry you are experiencing this grief. I hope you don’t have to experience it much longer x

    • Tamsin Howse

      Thank you xx

  • S.

    For me, it’s been 16 months of tests and over 3 years of trying with multiple miscarriages all before 10 weeks. I knew it would be difficult (the medical tests told me it would be) but after so long, I’ve given up. It’s hard. I understand. You know I do T.

    See need to talk to your GP – they will likely refer you to an obstetrician (go private if you can) and tests will be run. There may be something simple you need to do to help conceive, there may be a large challenge to face, there may be nothing at all and you just have to be patient and keep trying. But if you don’t see a professional, you’ll always wonder if there was something that could’ve been done to help you and the Viking.

    • Tamsin Howse

      Yeah, I’ve started down the road of tests. It’s not a fun road. Thinking of you
      Xx T.

  • MrsGinger

    And it is a stab in the heart every time someone you know announces or worse when a friend who knows you’re trying then tells you someone they know just found out they’re pregnant and they LOOK at your face to see the heartbreak that fills your eyes as you try to pretend you’re happy for them and all you want to say is ‘Oh f*** off.’

    Cyber hugs, my friend. xoxo

    • Tamsin Howse

      And you feel so bad for being selfish enough to feel bad…

  • Dani Netherclift

    I remember what this felt like. It took 2 years of trying to conceive before I became pregnant with my son. There was no medical reason for it (other than being in my late 30s, perhaps). Don’t lose hope, though I know how hopeless it can feel, month after dashed month. It took only 3 months to conceive my second child, at age 39, strangely enough.
    Dani @ sand has no home

    • Tamsin Howse

      Thank you for your kind words.

  • Hayley Ashman

    I can’t even imaging this. I hope your grief is over soon xxx

  • Carly Findlay

    I am so sorry you’re going through this. I hope you get to meet Little Viking.

  • Miss Kitty-Cat

    Tamsin, this was me 5 years ago. We tried for 2 years, did all the tests, nothing. It was only a forthright fertility specialist who said that 1/3 of infertile couples actually have nothing identifiably wrong with them, which oddly made me feel better. And now I sit here with a 3.5 year old annoying the pip out of me. Conceived via IVF. And she is the joy of our life. We have been trying again for 12 months and we will probably go back to IVF. But the pain of infertility is still there even though I have a child. And it’s not helped by people saying to me “oh, I’m pregnant and it was a total accident. We weren’t even trying.” That happened to me last week and I cried for a day. Big hugs. It’s truly sucktastic.

  • Vass

    grown up knowing I cant have kids but does get challenging as I get older. is in some ways impacting my self worth especially with mood and hormone issues added on to that. I have however set alt life goals for myself.

  • HandbagMafia

    It is grief, absolutely. I have no advice but just wanted to send you a virtual hug and to tell you that I hope you get your Viking very soon xx

  • Dorothy

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this Tamsin. It took me 6 months to fall pregnant with my first child and I remember getting really sad and angry. A year would be even sadder. I hope you get some answers soon.

  • Amanda Kendle

    Oh Tamsin, it’s totally sucky and I don’t know how to do it without putting your life on hold because that’s what I did for 3.5 years. But it was ALL worth it. I’ll keep everything crossed for you. xxx

  • jrronimo

    Some friends of mine had trouble and through tests and treatment were able to conceive. I hope you two have the same luck — I can’t imagine two people I could think of that would be better parents. I can’t begin to fathom your frustration, but my heart and love goes out to you two — sending every positive vibe I can.

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  • Maxabella

    Feeling for you, lovely. This is just so hard. x

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