It is fairly well known that 1 in 4 couples experience some type of difficulty getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy.
Yet few see themselves having to face such a struggle until they are squarely in the midst of it. Once you do grasp being infertile, you may not likely consider yourself in need of counseling.
Couples don’t start out thinking about infertility, because after all, what could be more human or natural than bonding with a partner and raising offspring together?
Fortunately we live in an age where infertility does not always get the last word. Medical advancements are making pregnancy possible in circumstances where it wouldn’t have been an option just a generation ago, however, this by no means makes today’s struggles with infertility devoid of grief, pain and relational strain.
You and your spouse can more readily navigate the ups and downs of fertility and infertility treatment through couples counseling.
Infertility is a medical condition that touches all aspects of your life. It may affect your relationships with others, your perspective on life, and how you feel about yourself. How you deal with these feelings will depend on your personality and life experiences.
Most people can benefit from the support of family, friends, medical caregivers, and mental health professionals.
When considering infertility treatment options such as sperm, egg, or embryo donation or gestational carriers, it may be especially helpful to gain the assistance of a fertility counselor.
Deciding if you need to seek professional help in managing the emotional stresses associated with fertility treatment or need assistance regarding your treatment options is a big step.
You may need to see an infertility counsellor if you are feeling depressed, anxious, or so preoccupied with your infertility that you feel it is hard to live your life productively. You also may need a counsellor if you are feeling stuck and in need to explore your options. Support can come from many different sources. Books can offer information and understanding about the emotional aspects of infertility. Support groups and informational meetings can reduce the feeling of isolation and provide opportunities to learn and share with others experiencing infertility.
Individual and couple counseling offer the chance to talk with an experienced professional to sort out your feelings, identify coping mechanisms, and work to find solutions to your difficulties.
Start by asking your physician for referrals to trained mental health professionals in your area, a list of relevant books and articles, and support resources that deal with fertility-related matters. Counsellors may be psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, or marriage and family therapists.
Infertility strains relationships and can introduce relational conflict. Generally two major functional areas involved with the infertility struggle are money and sex. Creating a family is often connected to dreams and future plans as couples, and the shift in planning and helplessness to push toward those dreams can be overwhelming.
Generally, coping with infertility as a loss of a dream is a common theme among therapists. As couples, men and women want to become parents together. So infertility is about the loss of the possibility of a biological family. You may not think that it can happen to you because it’s not something you expect. It’s also not something that’s tangible. Infertility is often a secret grief and couples counseling addresses the grief and obsession of infertility together.
Whether you decide to pursue fertility treatment or not, the emotions spurred by an infertility diagnosis has to be acknowledged, and grief should be seen as a natural response to the situation.
Being open about your emotions and talking about where you need support and what that support looks like is key.
It is not surprising that counselling is a crucial part of infertility treatment that makes coping more bearable and realistic and less likely to turn into an obsession toward finding an answer. Coping, on the long run, is a process. One of the most important aspects of coping with infertility in a healthy way is making peace with the various possibilities and outcomes that may result.
Often this can help you to reclaim a sense of empowerment in a situation that is largely out of your control. Acceptance of this thought helps but it is a process. Things may not be what you thought they were going to be, but knowing that other options are available, is important.
The diagnosis of infertility can bring so much helplessness, which can require grieving. But after that, as a couple, you can look at options, whether it’s fertility treatment, living without children or adoption.
Helping couples to make babies when they cannot on their own is really a big responsibility even for fertility experts and one that requires mutual cooperation and collaboration.
Too often, couples struggle in silence. Infertility still has a stigma, and people just don’t like to talk about it, which makes people who already feel broken by infertility feel even more isolated and abandoned.
When family members and friends keep getting pregnant, it gets more depressing that no one is ready to understand why it hurts for you to be at a kiddies birthday party or other events, and life keeps racing by despite the huge void of childlessness. For many couples, facing infertility is the first real struggle they’ve had in life.
If you’re young and have not had any health challenges previously, and probably been very successful in other areas in life, to finally hit a wall and not achieve something that you want more than anything that you’ve ever wanted before, it hurts more than can be imagined.
As a couple, facing infertility may be the first real struggle you’ve had in life.
You’re not alone. By raising awareness, the stigma is reduced and there are more conversations about infertility. By demystifying infertility, it can be treated like any other medical condition that deserves compassion and treatment.
Seeking care and treatment is perfectly normal. You should conceive on your own and when you don’t, should be assisted.
Infertility treatment deserves respect and by increasing awareness, you and all those affected should feel empowered to ask for help from your doctor, your family, and your friends, and reach out for the help you need and deserve.