Raising a family is one of the most important things in life, but for many people, it becomes impossible to do so when they are struggling with fertility. We talked about how you can best cope and find peace during this difficult time by speaking out or seeking professional help from reputable sources like mental health professionals who work on dealings just as much at helping others sort through their emotions!
Recognize that a fertility problem is a crisis
Therapists urge those who are facing fertility problems to first realize that they are in a difficult situation and should not be ashamed of their feelings. If you feel helpless, angry or sad about your situation, do not bottle up these emotions but seek out help from other people.
It is also important for you to first define the reason as to why you are developing these complicated feelings towards this issue. You should take time to reflect on the problem and figure out what it means for your future plans if you can't have children. This will give you a better perspective on what's really happening and help you deal with your emotions accordingly. Other than possibly helping yourself avoid depression, such reflection could also help improve your chances of conceiving since one of the major barriers to fertility is stress.
Make your own decisions
Fertility specialists are qualified in this field and know what they are doing, but it is still up to you whether or not to take their advice. If the treatment proposed by doctors do not meet with your approval, consult other medical professionals until you find one whose plan you can feel comfortable with. Only when you are okay with that specific treatment should you then embark on its journey.
Because fertility treatments often involve big financial outlays, ensure that your partner or spouse has an equal say in these matters, especially if receipts indicate that finances will become tight for everyone involved in this process. It's also important not just to discuss decisions about treatments outside of bedtime - make sure you take the time to let your partner know what is going on, why it's important and how he or she can support you in such a trying time.
Find support from other people
As any therapist will tell you, healthy relationships with family and friends are an excellent source of emotional support when dealing with fertility problems. Knowing that others care enough about your well-being to ask how things are going and offer help in their own unique ways is very comforting in times like these. Find someone who has successfully gone through similar trials in life and allow them to share their experience and advice if they feel comfortable doing so; sometimes all we need is a different perspective to make us come around to our own way of thinking!
Like many mental health professionals, we believe that people who are undergoing fertility treatment should reach out for professional help. Although you may feel embarrassed about going to a therapist or psychiatrist with your concerns, it is always better to talk things out instead of bottling up your emotions, especially if the problem has started to affect other areas of your life like work and personal relationships.
Therapists can also give you exercises and techniques commonly used in therapy sessions for clients who've been through these types of emotional upheavals before. These proven tools have been clinically tested and shown to be effective in dealing with the stress associated with fertility issues so why not give them a shot?
Identify and share your feelings
Talking to a therapist can help you figure out how to deal with your feelings about the fertility problem. There are several questions that will be asked, such as:
- What do you think caused this issue?
- Are there any specific incidents or events that made things worse for you?
- Which emotions have been brought up because of these factors?
- How have these emotions affected your life so far? Your health? Your relationships with others? How have they interfered with other plans and goals in your life? What do you need to do about them right now?"
It's also important to express yourself without holding back or being afraid of judgment from others. Talk about what is going on in your mind regarding the infertility challenge. Do this with your partner if you can, but make sure that you do it even if he is not around. If the cause of the depression was a specific incident or series of events, remember to avoid generalizations about yourself or others since this will only make things worse.
Don't blame yourself
It may sound like an empty platitude to say that you should not blame yourself but our therapists can tell you from experience that many people who come to them with depression stemming from fertility issues do indeed make themselves feel worse by constantly putting the blame on themselves and saying things like:
- "I must be a bad wife because I cannot give my husband a child."
- "I am destined to remain childless for life because it's my fate."
- "It is all thanks to me that we are going through this difficult time now."
Doing this will not help you in any way, so don't fall into the trap of self-criticism. Instead, make an effort to focus on your strengths and accomplishments; not only will this help bolster your self-esteem, but it can also lead to the realization that you are still a whole person even without children in your life.
Make time for yourself
As any therapist will tell you, minding your mental health is just as important as caring for your physical well-being. Without taking the time out of our busy days to recharge, we may start to feel overwhelmed and burnt out. This leads to stress which manifests itself in different ways like depression and anxiety among many others. If you haven't already, make sure you schedule some "me" time every week; whether this means reading a book or watching your favorite movie with a glass of wine or two down at the local bar is entirely up to you.
Work with your partner as a team
Couples don't go through this kind of emotional turmoil alone, so do your best not to act as if you are. Some couples may have differing opinions when it comes to how they should deal with their fertility problems, but if you are working together as a team then reaching out for professional help will be much easier to handle. Plus, receiving couples' counseling can also improve communication between the two of you; this means that instead of constantly fighting or feeling distant from each other, you will feel closer and more connected. Be open about what is going on in your mind and communicate openly without blame because at the end of the day, there really is no distinction between the two of you anyway since both parties are experiencing these issues together; feeling isolated and alone in your problems is one of the most common triggers for depression.
The most important thing is to persevere and seek help when you need it; remember that there are plenty of infertility support groups available for this reason and also online forums where people who have the same condition as you can offer advice and support. You can make a list if you like, but we recommend these techniques:
- Get adequate rest on a daily basis
- Eat well-balanced meals regularly
- Engage in some form of physical activity at least 3-4 times a week. Try different types of exercise until you find something that works for both your mind and body.
Resolve conflicts with others peacefully
No how stressful or frustrating a situation may be, resorting to abuse of any kind will only make it worse. Instead, remember to treat others with respect and dignity while defending your own rights; this means dealing with conflicts peacefully by avoiding physical contact and trying to calmly talk out the issue instead of yelling or screaming. Learning how to let go is also important because this can help free up some much-needed mental space in your busy day-to-day life; you might not think that letting go is beneficial but it really can help reduce stress levels.
People who are having trouble conceiving should not feel embarrassed about seeking pregnancy therapy or couples counseling because infertility is a medical condition that needs attention just like other ailments do. What's more, infertility affects around 1 in every 6 people so there is no shame in being a part of this statistic. People don't choose to have fertility problems but the good news is that there are ways you can treat infertility, both medically and emotionally.
It is always best to arm yourself with knowledge before entering into any type of medical treatment because this will help you feel more confident about what is happening. For example, if you are having IVF, then you should know (at least in general terms) exactly how these procedures work and why they are important. The same goes for fertility drugs; many women who use these wonder "why do I have to take them?". By educating yourself about infertility treatments, it can increase your chances of success when dealing with stressful situations that come up during treatment. This knowledge will also empower you by helping reduce feelings of helplessness which lead to anxiety and depression so remember, the more knowledge you gain about infertility, the better equipped you will be to handle anything that comes your way.
- Eat healthy, nutritious meals regularly and try to get plenty of rest every day
- Avoid alcohol and other substances which can harm your chances of getting pregnant in the future
- Try relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation when you need a break from the stress
With infertility treatments, especially IVF, no two cycles are ever the same so it is important to try not to compare yourself with others because there will always be someone out there doing better than you in terms of pregnancy rates or success stories. Remember that everyone's experiences are different - one person may have been trying for many years while another never had any problems conceiving until they were older. Your doctor should give you a clear idea about what your chances of success are and you should trust their advice because they're the one who knows best about your specific situation.
What else can I do?
And finally, remember that you are not alone - there are many other women out there going through the same thing as you or worse. You may find that reading infertility blogs or speak to people in chat rooms who have been trying for years only makes it worse, but if this is something that interests you then go ahead and read up on what others have to say. Infertility is a journey, sometimes it's good to be aware of what others might be experiencing in order to put things into perspective when dealing with your own problems.
Remember the future is unknown
Although it may be difficult at times, try to focus on what is most likely to happen rather than worrying every day about problems that are hard to predict. Fertility specialists often tell patients not to risk their health by taking fertility drugs for more than three cycles in an attempt to conceive, but many people continue doing so even when they know better. Waiting too long to reach out for medical help could lead some couples further away from their goals instead of closer to them.
Make a list of everything you can think of which helps make a stressful situation more manageable and try to address each point as the need arises. If for example, you find yourself worrying about your IVF results during your next treatment cycle, then make a plan of what you'll do if the worst happens and how to readjust your goals accordingly. Remember that having fertility problems does not necessarily mean that you will never be able to have children so try not to dwell too much on negative thoughts when there are other options available such as adoption or surrogacy.
Just like most difficult situations in life, it can sometimes be helpful just talking about your feelings with someone else who is experiencing something similar they will understand exactly how you feel. If fertility treatments are making you anxious, depressed, or stressed then don't hesitate to speak to your doctor about it.
Fertility is a very private matter but it can help to know that there are always people out there who are happy to listen when you need them the most.