Why is it Difficult to Talk About Infertility?
It can be incredibly exciting when an individual or couple starts to think about planning their family. People don’t often stop to consider that they might have difficulty conceiving. When pregnancy doesn’t occur and infertility becomes a reality, many feel anxiety, hopelessness and, most of all, shame.
It shouldn’t be this way. About 1 in 10 women in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant. It’s not only a women’s issue either; about one-half of reported fertility problems come from the male side of the equation. So why do we have such a hard time discussing fertility issues when it is such a common problem that can affect anyone?
Pressure to Have a Baby
People in their prime fertility years often have friends, family, and coworkers around them at the same stage in life. A couple might see friends getting married and having children right away, and then feel pressure to do the same.
Women especially face pressure to meet social expectations and have a child, with people constantly asking, “When are you going to have a baby?” Even when someone knows 100% that they plan to start forming a family, the external pressure can increase stress and anxiety.
With this additional pressure in the equation, it can feel like the whole process is a failure if it doesn’t work out on the first or second try. People having difficulty conceiving often blame themselves and have a harder time reaching out for help.
Talking About Infertility
Breaking the stigma surrounding fertility issues facilitates open discussions not shrouded in shame and negativity. With added candor, individuals and families can share their experiences with others, maybe even learning that their friends and family are going through or have experienced similar struggles. Sharing knowledge about fertility issues can also help push people to find the fertility clinics and benefits programs that suit them the best.
People will always face obstacles in family building but should feel able to talk to their loved ones about their struggles and seek help without shame or guilt.