Did you know that people dealing with infertility experience the same amount of psychological stress and anxiety as someone with a critical illness such as cancer, heart disease, or chronic pain? Infertility stress can be more challenging. The reason is most people still don’t treat infertility as a disease. Society, including friends and families, may often judge a couple struggling with infertility instead of showing compassion and offering support.
You are not alone if you are dealing with infertility; many have faced and successfully overcome this crisis with medical and professional mental health support.
The Stress of Infertility
Infertility impacts our lives in many ways. There are many reasons for infertility stress. Be it the societal expectation of conceiving and raising a baby, relational strain with family and life partner, peer pressure, or financial burden of expensive treatment. All these factors affect a couple dealing with infertility.
Feeling inadequate, ashamed, jealous, angry, and rejected is understandable. However, at any cost, you can’t hold on to this emotional burden for too long. Because if you do, the stress will start impacting the chances of having a baby. Studies have found that stress can lead to a delayed pregnancy since couples treat sex as work, not a pleasurable activity. It is now a fact that mental health professionals can play a significant role in dealing with infertility cases.
To deal with infertility-related stress, you must learn and understand the reasons for infertility issues. Once you do that, you know that there is no reason for self-blame or criticism.
What Is Infertility?
Health care professionals define infertility as a condition when a couple cannot conceive even after one year of not using birth control. With age, the amount of time for evaluation decreases. Health care practitioners recommend an evaluation after six months for women above age 35. If the women are above age 40, immediate evaluation is needed.
Infertility is prevalent, and every one out of ten women has trouble conceiving. Infertility may happen due to problems with either female or male reproductive organs. The couple may also face issues with having a baby due to undetermined causes.
Contrary to perception, infertility can occur to a woman who has never given birth and cannot conceive after trying for six months to one year. And to someone who cannot create again even after having a successful pregnancy. The good thing is that there are treatment and fertility options to manage infertility.
Fertility Options and Treatments to avoid Infertility
The moment you know how to manage your condition, most stress vanishes. The same is the case with infertility. With medical enhancements, various options help couples have a child and lead a happy life.
- Medicines – There are fertility drugs available that can help improve the chances of pregnancy by treating ovulation problems releasing certain hormones that encourage ovulation.
- Medical procedures: Surgical procedures, including fallopian tube surgery and laparoscopic surgeries, are safe and effective in infertility.
- Assisted conception: One can choose techniques such as artificial insemination (intrauterine insemination) and IVF (in vitro fertilisation) in case of infertility.
The latest medical techniques such as IVF are very effective. Since everything happens in a controlled environment under medical supervision, the chances of a healthy pregnancy are much higher than natural conception.
Why Do We Struggle with Infertility stress?
One of the reasons we struggle with infertility is that we fail to recognise and accept our emotions. The couple often stops communicating, leading to marital distress. The lack of communication can also affect other aspects of life, such as work, family, friends, financial issues, mental health, and physical health.
The couple facing infertility issues feels guilty and gets into the self-blaming trap. Stress and anxiety cause low self-esteem and poor mental health. The struggle increases when the couple doesn’t get the proper family support or seek professional help.
It is essential to get out of the vicious cycle of stress because it worsens and delays the chances of conception. Infertility stress can also affect ongoing medical treatment or procedures like IVF.
Ways to Deal with Infertility Stress
You can better deal with infertility stress once you understand that it is a common illness that can happen to anyone.
- Acceptance: You must acknowledge your feelings and emotions. Both you and your partner must share their genuine emotions, be it sadness, anger, anxiety, or guilt. Only by accepting your condition can you deal with it.
- Seek help: Share your situation with your loved ones, family, friends. You can also find help from support groups where couples dealing with a similar crisis can guide you and share their own experiences and learning.
- Think beyond conception: Take a break, calm down and think about your life beyond having a baby. Take care of your health, exercise, practise mindfulness, meditate, do breathing exercises and focus on good things life has offered you.
- Look for other options: It’s not compulsory to conceive if you want to raise a child. Even if the assisted fertility procedures and medication don’t work, there are other ways like surrogacy and child adoption.
While infertility stress is daunting, there are many ways to deal with it. You only need to look around.
Other Tips for Dealing with Infertility Stress
Below are a few additional tips that can help you manage your infertility stress:
- Counselling: Seeking professional help is the best way to deal with infertility stress. You can go for couple counselling to deal with the relationship distress. Online depression therapies can help you deal with anxiety and improve your mental wellbeing.
- Stay healthy: One of the things we do while we are stressed is to stop taking care of our physical health. We overeat or exercise too much, and too much of anything is wrong. We should keep a check on our weight and exercise moderately. Walking for 4-5 hours a week is sufficient instead of putting long hours in the gym.
- Change your perspective: Stop thinking about how society has taught you to. Your life is not only about conceiving a child. Millions of kids don’t have parents; you can raise one of them. Or simply live a child-free life.
Infertility can be challenging; it can cause stress, affecting emotional health, relationships, and finances. However, you shouldn’t lose hope. You can seek medical assistance and opt for fertility options that increase your chances of conceiving a child. Remember, things will improve with the proper family support; you must treat yourself and your partner compassionately. For online counselling and therapy, you can reach out to our team of mental health care experts at United We Care.