Coping With Infertility
Here are ways to make infertility — the emotional roller coaster — a little easier.
Trying to get pregnant can be an emotional roller coaster — especially when you're struggling with infertility. Not getting pregnant when you really want to can cause depression, anxiety and grief. While the ride can be an emotionally difficult one, there are some ways to make it a little easier.
Acknowledge Your Emotions
The feelings of grief, despair, envy and failure are real, even if you're grieving for a baby you've never conceived. The desire to have a child can become overwhelming for any couple, including those who have had children previously. Don't ignore your emotions or avoid dealing with them because you feel like you're somehow responsible for being infertile. A healthy life — and a healthy pregnancy — start with a healthy outlook. Be realistic about what you're feeling. That's the first step to coping.
Seek a Support Network
No matter how alone you feel, you really aren't. Ten percent of reproductive age couples struggle with infertility. Through online and local support groups, you can meet others who have had the same emotional struggles you're experiencing and benefit from their wisdom gained from living through the ordeal. As an added bonus, most infertility support organizations offer resources to help you decide whether infertility treatments are right for you and, if so, what kind would suit your budget and fit your emotional and ethical boundaries.
Deal With Your Depression
Nearly all infertile couples eventually become depressed. Studies show that untreated depression and stress can cause lower fertility rates, even in women undergoing fertility treatment. So rejuvenate with a relaxing soak in the tub, listen to your favorite music or spend some time enjoying nature — whatever helps you to get the most out of life. Reducing your stress and feelings of despair can give you some hope. If you still struggle with depressive feelings, consult a professional therapist.
Make Wise Choices
The pressure to conceive can make it difficult to determine the right path in pregnancy planning. Carefully consider the decisions you can live with. While the advances of science have made it possible for more than 80 percent of infertile couples to become pregnant, many of those options lead down roads filled with ethical dilemmas. Weigh in with your religious and moral considerations before you make a decision. If possible, seek the counsel of someone whose opinion you respect as you contemplate the ethical issues. Conceiving a child — no matter how it takes place — is just the beginning of a lifetime commitment to making the best possible decisions for the welfare of your family.
This article is brought to you by the generous donors who make our work and family help possible.
Copyright © 2002, Lisa Brock. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.