Infertility is without a doubt a life altering experience. From your self-esteem, to your plans and dreams for the future, relationships with your friends, family and even your spouse can all be affected. Attention is primarily focused on the physical aspects of infertility, and the emotional aspects often go ignored and untreated. People aren’t aware of how emotionally challenging and overwhelming infertility can be.
As time goes by and your baby plans don’t unfold as expected, even the most harmless questions can seem overwhelming. Suddenly you feel like an A-list celebrity being stalked by the paparazzi, and the only thing everyone wants to know is, “Are you pregnant yet?” Whether you’ve been trying for two months, or two years, give some thought as to how much of your personal life you are comfortable sharing, and with whom.
Anger or disappointment at your own body is also a prevalent feeling among women. Feelings of “Why me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” are common. Your sense of sexuality may diminish due to the fact that what used to be spontaneous and fun is now technical and monitored, not only by you, but your doctor as well. You might also experience an inability or difficulty in communicating with your partner, family and friends.
Studies show women dealing with infertility can have stress and depression levels equal to women going through treatment for cancer. The stress, sadness and other feelings you might be experiencing are common. I have found that many of my patients not only benefit from regular exercise including aerobic, yoga, and Pilates, but sharing the experience with others that understand is equally, if not, more important. Support groups in addition to other wellness programs including nutrition and personalized counseling can help you learn how to cope with the physical and emotional impacts of infertility.
Infertility treatments are very stressful for couples. It is important for patients to remember that they did not choose to become infertile but can decide what to do about it. Don’t be afraid to call upon all your support systems whether they’re family members, friends, social group friends, or professional support groups. Support groups consist of couples that are going through or have experienced infertility and its treatments and their support and guidance can often prove invaluable. Infertile couples must also recognize that infertility treatment does not produce immediate results and with patience, a positive attitude and appropriate treatment, most infertile couples can eventually become parents.
Said T. Daneshmand, M.D., FACOG©
San Diego Fertility Center