Women and health, anxious Asian girl looking at pregnancy test kit, sitting on ground at home

You either wanted a baby or didn’t plan for a baby, and your HPT said:

We’re not that different – those with the unplanned pregnancies and those with the unplanned infertility – we both didn’t see our lives going this way and we are both going to have to make adjustments.  Your life plan has been thrown off course and in your sudden state of shock the phase, “Please proceed to the route…please proceed to the route,” runs on auto-repeat in your head. All you want is go back to a simpler time in your life when having/not having a baby wasn’t a huge looming issue in your life.

Dear friend, those simpler times and dreams are gone. Wave goodbye to them in the rear-view mirror, grip that steering wheel, and courageously look forward to the road ahead of you. The grieving cycle will take you on a ride all its own. Coping mechanisms kick in along with the anger, bargaining, depression, denial, guilt and acceptance. They may come in a certain order or you may feel like you’re trapped in a pin-ball machine, bouncing from one to the other. Hormone swings may further complicate this process and make you feel like there is an eager 8 year old at the controls, frantically pressing all the buttons. Please know:

These are normal responses.

You are not alone.

You are going to be fine.

But right now, you are NOT FINE, and that’s okay. That is expected. The space in between here and there (#NotOkay to #MakingIt) is about 1,438,072 miles of roadtrip and you can plan on hitting some of these pit stops along the way:

  1. It’s Just Not Fair. You are correct. If all those with unplanned pregnancies could trade place with those with infertility – life would be closer to fair. But it’s not. Be careful about pondering this one too long because it oftentimes is the entry-level drug to a pity-party or living in a victim mentality, and neither of those is going to take you to a better place. Don’t dwell here, just swerve around this roadblock and keep moving forward.
  1. Why Me? You won’t have the answer to this one today, in a year, or maybe ever on this side of heaven. I can tell you this for certain though – you are not being punished, karma is not getting you back, and you do not “deserve” this. Dismiss that negative thought process as soon as it rears it’s ugly head as it will not move you forward, only keep you stranded on the side of the road.
  1. Negative or Postive? I’m not talking about the test results here, I’m talking about your attitude towards the results. You didn’t choose the positive or negative HPT results – but you can choose whether it will redirect your life in a positive or negative direction. You can choose to let bitterness, anger, and regret consume you; or you can choose to respond with love, hope and faith that this will all work out for good. While we can’t control what the pregnancy test said, we can control what our formal reaction will be to it (after the initial shock has worn off, of course).
  1. Help is not a Four-Letter Word. Talking to a counselor, pregnancy resource center, or pastor is often the last thing we want to do (ranking somewhere between root canal and digging out an ingrown toenail), but don’t dismiss it so quickly. These people have been gifted in walking alongside others and they’ve devoted their lives to it, so throw them a bone and give it a try. Who knows – maybe they’re good at their jobs and will be able to provide a bit of encouragement, support, and light in this dark season.
  1. Options are not Enemies. Why does your heart get so uncomfortable when you see the following word… “Adoption”. Did you just want to skip to the next bullet point? Are you really uncomfortable right now? Why is that? Open your heart to options that you may consider outside the box or off the table. People come to adoption as the result of many different situations in life. Spend some time looking into this option without writing it off instantly. Learning more about it may stretch and grow you in wonderfully beautiful ways.
  2. #ThingsYouShouldn’tSay. Someone is going to say the wrong thing and it’s going to take your breath away. Decide now that when that happens, you will forgive that person and let it go. Making that decision ahead of time now will reduce the amount of road rage, bloodshed, and trauma inflicted at the scene of the crime.

There’s no magic words or one-step plan to guide you through this season, and anyone who offers you a one-stop all-in “solution” is a liar misinformed. For those of you walking alongside someone….do just that. Walk. Hold their hand, let them cry, don’t try to make it better, tell them they’re pretty, and hand them more chocolate. Because they are going to be fine, but right now they’re not, and that’s okay.

Charis Boone Johnson has been getting the finger from her pregnancy tests for over seven years. She currently serves on staff for NRFA and is the proud Mama of two precious girls, the miracles of domestic and embryo adoption. In her free time (hysterical laughter) she also speaks, writes, and advocates for adoption issues.