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January 3, 1986

But Not Alone

JAMA. 1986;255(1):41. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370010047022

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Anyone wishing to help infertile couples must recognize that the most intractable problem of infertility is living indefinitely with an uncertainty that may never be resolved until that moment when you decide, finally, to let go of all hope and stop trying to become pregnant. I have come to believe what others have told me: that anything can be endured more easily than experiencing profound sadness on every painstakingly regulated day of every carefully monitored menstrual cycle without ever knowing whether it is time to grieve for the child you will never have. Trying to conceive, for me, was a source of hope but also of protracted agony, because it meant I could never leave my sadness behind me.

My husband and I struggled with infertility for a blessedly brief time—2 1/2 years. Even so, I am moved to share my thoughts because I was particularly bad at learning to