The Dream of a Family: Coping with Infertility
“It’s hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but it is even harder to give up when you know it is everything you want”
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive. If you are over the age of 35, the time of trying to conceive is reduced to 6 months. It is estimated that 10 percent of women in the United States between 15-44 have problems becoming or staying pregnant due issues with either female or male infertility.
Infertility knows no race, ethnicity or religion. It cuts across all groups of people. There is a good chance someone you know is struggling with infertility right now. Or, perhaps, you are struggling with many the medical and emotional challenges that accompany infertility.
Infertility is very stressful in many ways. According to The National Infertility Association, women with infertility have the same levels of anxiety and depression as do women with cancer, heart disease and HIV. Infertility can also be a very lonely process, especially when you feel like those around are able to conceive quickly and easily. The stress of infertility can impact every area of your life, your relationship with your partner, your job, your relationships with friends and family and even your spirituality. Combined with the blame and societal pressure to get pregnant, it is no wonder why this journey can create such turmoil for a person.
When do you know it is time to seek professional help? The experience of infertility can cause pain and grief either acute or prolonged depending on diagnosis. Infertility can be a time in which a multitude of emotions are experienced at varying levels of degree and severity including anger, jealousy or sadness. It can also bring about struggles with self-esteem or identity. Infertility is a couple’s experience and each partner may respond differently. This can sometimes bring couples closer together or create strain on the relationship.
If you are concerned that your emotional response to the pain of infertility is beyond what you can manage, you may want to consider meeting with a therapist to help you through your journey.
In the United States there are currently three psychological methods for individuals and couples experiencing infertility; (1) individual/couple’s therapy (2) support groups (3) mind/body groups.
Infertility counseling can help you:
- Gather information and making decisions about treatment
- Cope with medical/surgical treatments
- Cope with the emotional responses to infertility
- Manage any pre-existing mental health problems
- Improve relationships
- Manage stress, anxiety and depression
- Improve communication with friends and extended family
- Grieve the losses that accompany infertility
Infertility counseling can help you and your partner:
- Improve communication
- Navigate decisions regarding medical treatment and how to build your family
- Improve closeness with one another
- Learn to support one another and meet each other’s unique needs during this time
Support groups can help you:
- Reduce the feelings of isolation you may experience
- Gain support from others going through a similar struggle
- Learn coping mechanisms
Mind/Body Groups will teach you:
- Behavioral techniques for coping with stress and anxiety
- Cognitive techniques to re-frame negative thoughts and beliefs that have developed
- Help you build skills to feel like yourself again
Click Here for Article: Healing the Wound of Infertility
You do not have to go through this journey alone. Do not be afraid to seek out help and find the healing you deserve.
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association; www.resolve.org