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How to Cope with Infertility


Mindfulness has become extremely popular over the past decade . . . and for good reason. Our lives seem to be more stressful and full of anxiety than ever, and we need a way to find equanimity in the face of it all. In its essence, mindfulness is learning to accept reality for what it is with a sense of peace and stability so that we can better deal with life’s challenges.

One of the biggest challenges that life can throw at us is infertility.

Why is infertility viewed as a life crisis? Infertility reaches into the most important areas of our lives: our relationships, our careers, our finances, and especially our sense of self. It is typically experienced as one of the most difficult situations ever encountered. Read more...

Everyone faces stress in their lives but research shows some life events – the death of someone close, a divorce, or loss of a job – have a bigger impact than others. Add dealing with infertility to the list as causing major stress: evidence shows that women faced with infertility have stress levels comparable to being a cancer patient.

But what about men? Read more

Keeping stress at bay is important for couples trying to get pregnant. While the impact of stress on infertility is not well understood, the consequences do affect the probability of getting pregnant. Stress can cause poor sleep, unhealthy eating and weight gain, smoking and drinking – all known to have a negative impact on fertility. As RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association points out “While stress does not cause infertility, infertility most definitely causes stress.” Read more...

Dealing with infertility can be stressful – on yourself and on those you love. While occasional frustrations are normal, how do you know when it's more seriously impacting your emotional life? To better understand your anxiety levels, take the stress information test below. Your answers are confidential and will not be shared with or sold to an outside source. Take the Infertility Stress Test.

What impact does infertility have on psychological well being? Infertility often creates one of the most distressing life crises that a couple has ever experienced together. The long term inability to conceive a child can evoke significant feelings of loss. Coping with the multitude of medical decisions and the uncertainties that infertility brings can create great emotional upheaval for most couples. If you find yourself feeling anxious, depressed, out of control, or isolated, you are not alone.

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Everyone has feelings and emotional ups and downs as they pursue infertility treatment. Feeling overwhelmed at times is a perfectly normal response. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms over a prolonged period of time, you may benefit a great deal from working with a mental health professional: loss of interest in usual activities; depression that doesn't lift; strained interpersonal relationships (with partner, family, friends and/or colleagues); difficulty thinking of anything other than your infertility; high levels of anxiety; diminished ability to accomplish tasks; difficulty with concentration; change in your sleep patterns (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, early morning awakening, sleeping more than usual for you); change in your appetite or weight (increase or decrease); increased use of drugs or alcohol; thoughts about death or suicide; social isolation; persistent feelings of pessimism, guilt, or worthlessness; persistent feelings of bitterness or anger. Read more...

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