If you’ve been trying to get pregnant or have been going through a treatment process or any form of infertility treatment, it is quite likely that you may be feeling the strain associated with long-term medical conditions.
If you have been diagnosed with infertility, it comes as no surprise that you are often under a lot of pressure. Finding ways to minimize the stress on your own and with your partner while pursuing treatment can help tremendously.
This doesn’t mean you should just relax. Investing in ways to cope with infertility is more for your own happiness and wellbeing as you and your partner go through treatment.
Infertility can impact your relationship, your feelings of self-worth, your emotional state and can even cause feelings of depression.
Turning to someone who specializes in these issues, especially someone who is particularly familiar with infertility, can provide the right guidance and extra support you need to cope with the tough times infertility can bring.
This is where infertility counseling comes in. If you and your partner feel you could benefit from infertility counseling, you would do well to pursue it. Speaking with a professional can help immeasurably. Sometimes it may be to talk about an immediate issue with your treatment. Having a trained counselor who is there to be an objective party, assist you and your partner to communicate in a healthy way, and give you a safe place to talk through your feelings, can keep otherwise difficult conversations more calm and productive. They can also offer you coping tools and strategies to implement, so you can begin to better manage the emotions you’ve been feeling.
One of the biggest situations for which infertility counseling may be helpful is when some form of third party reproduction such as donor eggs, donor sperm or surrogacy. It can be a big decision and you and your partner may differ about how you want to proceed. Consulting a specialist in both infertility and counseling can guide the discussion about whether or not this is something you and your partner feel comfortable with and address the emotions that third party reproduction can bring up.
Other reasons to consider infertility counseling is if you feel that treatment or just the long term strain of trying to get pregnant itself has impacted your relationship or your own behavior.
If you’ve been down, anxious, feeling more distant from others, or your behavior is not like your usual self, seeking help to talk through these feelings can provide insight. Even if you feel like you simply need more support or advice on ways to get through the more stressful times like the two week wait or when a cycle doesn’t work out as expected, infertility counseling is an option that can only benefit you if you feel you need some additional guidance as you navigate your family building journey.
Coping with infertility isn’t just a physical issue. It can affect every aspect of your life. It can impact your relationship, your self-esteem, your mental health, your finances and even your friendships, especially if your friends are pregnant or conceiving without issue.
The goal of stress reduction and looking for strategies is to minimize, not eliminate stress. You can’t immediately cure infertility but you can find things that may make you feel better about your infertility journey.
This may entail seeing a therapist, counselor, a local support group, or all three. A therapist or counselor will help you talk out your feelings, sort them through and find productive ways to communicate with your partner. This can be immensely insightful in coping with infertility. Support groups are not for everyone, but for some, being surrounded by people who truly understand and relate to exactly you’re going through can be immeasurable.
When you can’t get pregnant and you’re unsure of how long the journey will last or how it will end, finding ways to have sense of control can help in coping with infertility.
That’s why taking an active role in your care and educating yourself about all of your options when it comes to IVF and talking about them with your doctor can be empowering.
Another approach to coping with infertility is to explore mind and body options. It can range from seeking out acupuncture, mind-body groups, yoga classes or massage therapy or if you prefer to rely on your own private time. Acupuncture improves blood flow in the body and helps one relax, thereby putting the body in an optimal state. There are also options such as writing, listening to music, self-help books, walking, hiking, meditation, or visualization.
The goal is to find what works for you and your partner. If you can manage just a few minutes a day dedicated to coping with your infertility, it may significantly reduce stress, decrease some of those negative feelings and give you back some sense of control.
Infertility could be a rollercoaster of emotions even as it can be unpredictable at times, but this is the whole idea why having support systems in place like infertility counseling can be so beneficial.
You never have to be alone when there are trained professionals available willing to help work through these many emotions and tough decisions.
Between your doctors, your partner, nurses, the infertility community and infertility counseling, you always have a team ready and waiting to help support you when you need them.