Monday, November 15, 2010

Bugbears about grief

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was wrong.

That's it, that's my bugbear and I'm so incredibly sick of reading/hearing/talking to people who truly believe that there are predictable patterned stages to grief and that acceptance is the final stage.

Shut the fuck up people.

But sorry if I've just been rude to you, I don't mean to be rude per se.

The final stage to my grief is just plain coping. Resilience sure, but never acceptance.  Why the freaking hell did secondary infertility happen to me and why the freaking hell haven't I gotten pregnant yet.  There is NO acceptance in my heart or body.  I want a baby with my husband, I can't have a baby with my husband and I will never, as long as I live, accept that.  I will, however, cope.

I will also attempt to trick the universe.

See Universe, see! I have "gotten on with my life" ... I have "given up" ... I am "relaxed" and I am even drinking beer I'm so relaxed, which is helping me to relax EVEN more! So what do you think of that eh? How's about you come along now and foil my careful coping plans with a surprise miracle pregnancy.

Anyhoo, Mind Hacks agrees with me and so does the research.

"Evidence-based Findings
  1. Not all people experience grief in the same way
  2. Some grieving people do not report feeling distressed or depressed
  3. Some people experience high levels of distress for the rest of their lives without pathology
  4. Repressive coping may promote resilience in some people
  5. Resilience, growth, and/or positive emotions may be associated with loss"


  1. sigh, I am so sorry you are having a such a hard time. Coping is certainly a good thing and if you can do that, I think you are doing great.

  2. You are absolutely right that we all experience grief in different ways and there is no cookie-cutter approach to it. I think that whatever each of us can find to hang on to or relate to during this horrible infertile existence is a good thing, whether it is Kubler-Ross' model or Mind Hacks' evidence or our own self-determined emotional journey. I hear you that the term "acceptance" is a loaded one. For me, I think if I ever get to that point, "acceptance" will just mean the absence of fighting tooth and nail to have a baby - as you say, coping. And until I am completely menopausal I will always hold out hope that it will happen.

  3. I've always thought those stages of grief were a complete crock. It simplifies what isn't simple at all. And it provides one more bunk ruler against which people measure themselves. I would feel (and do feel) as you do. Fuck acceptance.

  4. I agree, I don't think Kubler-Ross had it right for everybody. What she did do was make it okay for grief to take a while and different forms. But no, I don't think everyone goes through them all and certainly not in order.

    I hope your Universe trickiness pays off. Drinking beer would be the clincher for me if I was 'in charge'!

  5. Oh I agree. And I one hundred per cent support your attempt to trick the Universe. I will be doing same. Do you hear that Universe????

    Honestly this is such a hard thing, acceptance, I can't even begin to articulate it. All I know is that I have been trying to accept the possibility for two years and I am not there yet.

    PS Great news on interview - go kick some butt!

  6. Right on! Tell it like it is! Sending my good thoughts your way.

  7. Sometimes things are just fucked. They're not fair, they have no "meaning", they're just fucked. And people either cope with that or they don't, or they use weird ways to outsiders to get through the day.

    Coping doesn't mean acceptance, and for some people it never will. My only wish for you is that all of the other things in your life that make you resilient can keep you happy and writing and doing excellent things with your Masters/PhD. Because someone with as much awesome as you, deserves no less.

    (PS sorry for swearing again, I'm usually quite ladylike - promise!).

  8. Well whoever designed theories on grief handling was not really God, was he?

    Acceptance is a myth...and not everybody would get to that or WANT to get to that.

    I was giggling at the small-print note you left for the Universe...yeah, booze is apparently sperm magnet...

  9. So true. Every one of us deals with grief in our own way. I think, as humans, we try to find rituals and patterns to trick ourselves into some path to enlightenment in order to get by. Some people find solace in the "stages of grief" others, not so much. I'm with you, Pundie. There's no way I will accept "infertility" as some death sentence. Eff that. In the words of the Dylan Thomas villanelle: "Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light." (oh, and beer too...good, local beer.) ;)


"Scout yonder's been readin' ever since she was born." I wasn't quite so precocious but I do love reading comments!