The full range of the infertility experience — from the desire to have a baby to the diagnosis of reproductive problems and the sometimes lengthy process of trying to conceive — can bring on a range of emotions, including overwhelming anger, confusion, depression, a sense of helplessness, and frustration with your body’s limitations.

You experience loss — the loss of your image of yourself as a healthy person, as a fertile person, as a parent. The hopes and dreams you have carried with you for many years seem further away.

Things to consider:

Remember you are not alone. About 7.3 million people in the United States and Canada face reproductive problems.

The distress and pain you feel about infertility is normal. The pain of reproductive problems is particularly difficult because it doesn’t end with a diagnosis. You are not being “needy” or “over emotional” because you need help coping.

Realize you may go through stages. The process of coping with a reproductive problem can be likened to the famous “grief cycle” defined by Swiss doctor Elizabeth Kübler-Ross. Commonly described in literature on death and terminal illness, this cycle of human response to grief involves going through periods of shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and acceptance. Additionally, because the nature of conceiving happens in cycles you may experience grief over and over.

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