Coming to terms with the inability to have biological children is a long process. Many adoptive parents find that years after they are “done” trying to conceive, even after they have built their family through adoption, that some situations “trigger” their unresolved feelings of grief regarding their infertility. While, like most grief, infertility-related grief may never go away completely, there are things you can do to help work through your feelings.

The best plan of action is to talk to someone. A counselor, therapist, psychologist, or social worker. Find someone in your area who has experience working with people dealing with infertility. It may take some trial and error, and you may have to visit a few therapists before finding one you feel you work well with, but it is worth the effort. Therapy is often awkward at first, exposing your vulnerability in front of a stranger, but if you stick with it, you will find it gives you ways to cope with the feelings when they arise.

Another thing that many people find helpful is to find a support group. There are many infertility support groups online as well as some that meet in person. Even just finding a friend or family member who has dealt with infertility and talking to them can help. It’s a truly unique experience, and finding people who have been in your shoes can help you feel less isolated.

Whatever you do to work through your grief, know that those feelings of loss may reemerge in the future, often when you least expect it. This is totally normal, and if you have a good support system in place, you will be able to work through the feelings more easily. There are many families out there who have built their families through adoption as well as biology, and they will all tell you that there is no difference in the love they feel for their children, regardless of how they came to them. If you desire to be a parent, that desire will outweigh any grief you may feel about not being able to have biological children. It may take time and work to get there, but when you do, know that adoption is just as valid and wonderful a way to build your family.

Julianna Mendelsohn lives in sunny South Florida where, odds are, it is hot enough right now that she’s sweating just a little, no matter what she’s doing. She is the brains, brawn, blood, sweat, and tears behind The Adoption Mentor and is thrilled to be able to help others build their families through adoption. She is a former elementary school teacher, current MS in school counseling student, Sephora junkie, and the momma via domestic adoption to one lovely daughter.