Find Emotional Support for Infertility
Infertility is a common diagnosis today among millions of couples. While stress doesn’t appear to cause infertility, infertility often increases emotional stress. In fact, many couples rate in vitro fertilization (IVF) as one of the biggest stressors in their lives.
As each negative pregnancy test registers as a loss deep inside your core, you may feel grief or something akin to infertility depression. By learning stress management skills, taking care of yourself and considering professional therapy, you can start to feel in control even when you are having trouble getting pregnant.
Individual infertility counseling
Start by talking to your doctor, especially if you are feeling depressed or anxious. If the emotional stress is overwhelming, or prevents you from participating in normal daily activities, contact a mental health professional like a professional counselor or psychologist for help.
If you are actively seeking fertility treatments, your fertility clinic may even offer onsite counseling services. Fertility counselors are trained experts that offer emotional support for those dealing with infertility. Many of these therapists have experienced the struggles of infertility themselves.
If IVF support is needed, a therapist or counselor can help you through. Learn new ways to cope with infertility and get support when making difficult fertility treatment decisions.
Group infertility counseling
If you feel that no one can possibly understand what you are going through, consider joining a support group for women or couples coping with infertility. In these groups, share your experiences with others and learn from their experiences, too. Hearing their stories can help you find new solutions to current problems. Your self-esteem may improve as new ideas emerge.
Infertility counseling for couples
Relationship issues can be common as infertility is often an issue for two people, not one. Coping with infertility can either strengthen your bond with your partner or destroy it. Deciding to pursue sperm or egg donation, for instance, can bring up a lot of different emotions.
If you and your partner argue a lot during this time, set up rules about how and when to discuss difficult topics. Make an appointment with your partner, make sure you are both calm, and set a time limit on the discussion. You might want to consider couples counseling to learn how to communicate better.
Sex therapy is also available to help with issues with sexuality and intimacy. If scheduling intercourse around your fertile time and taking hormone medications has zapped your libido, get help.
Set boundaries with others
Couples coping with infertility often dread certain social events. Attending a friend’s baby shower or seeing your brother’s children during the holidays may trigger painful emotions. Feel free to set boundaries that protect yourself from these emotions.
If necessary, set a limit regarding time spent in situations that may upset you. Be prepared for well-intentioned, but potentially upsetting questions from friends or family. When others ask about how things are going, decide how much information you want to share. And if you feel that your emotions are out of control, change the subject or feel free to cut the conversation short.
To counteract the negative health effects of stress, learn meditation or progressive muscle relaxation. Learning these relaxation methods can help when coping with infertility, like staying calm during uncomfortable medical procedures.
Exercising regularly, eating right, and getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep will help you feel your best each day. Try massage therapy, chiropractic care or acupuncture to help when coping with infertility. And, these positive complementary medicine interventions may even increase your chances of conceiving.
When dealing with infertility stress know that there are opportunities that can help you during this time. Empower yourself by learning all you can about infertility treatments, and seek help when tough emotions arise while coping with infertility.
For more advice from Attain Fertility therapists, check out past blog posts on coping with infertility.Sources
- American Pregnancy Association. Working through the emotions of infertility
- American Society of Reproductive Medicine: Infertility Counseling and Support: When and Where to Find it, If you are having trouble conceiving, speak with someone who can help
- IntegraMed Fertility Network: Yoga and Fertility. Can Yoga help Infertility Treatments?
- International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc Preparing for IVF: Emotional Considerations, Rourke, M. From The New Yorker: Good Grief
- RESOLVE: Benefits of Joining a Support Group When Couples Disagree, Tips for coping with the holidays, Coping Techniques, Relaxation and Stress Management for Infertile Women, Stressed for Success