Emotional Impact of Infertility
Psychological Stress of Infertility
If conceiving a baby is more than hard work for you and your partner you can take solace, you're not alone. Studies have shown some convincing evidence: women who suffer with infertility experience psychological stress not unlike that of women dealing with cancer, HIV or chronic pain. Coping with the disease of infertility is not an easy thing and to make matters even worse, many women have friends and family who just don't seem to understand what is happening. They tell the woman to quit stressing, relax and everything will be okay. The fact of the matter is that recent studies indicate that stress does not stop a woman from conceiving.
The Whirlwind of Emotions
However, infertility stirs up a mass of emotions which spin around inside and out like a whirlwind. If it is any comfort, these feelings are quite normal and most women experience them when they discover they are infertile and want desperately to have a child.
Some of these feelings include the sense of loss at not having the child or children you had been dreaming of for as long as you can remember. Missing the experience of birthing and parenting your own children can tear at the heart. Anger and jealousy, both at life in general and toward those to whom parenthood has come easily, are both normal feelings.
And It Seems To Keep Going
The constant hope that "next month" will be the month, only to have the hope dashed, can put a woman into a state of denial believing that it is really just a small issue and it will go away. The huge sense of sadness and shock when the pregnancy test comes up negative once again is almost overwhelming. Some women feel a profound sense of shame that a diagnosis of infertility makes them less of a woman and ultimately less of a person because there is no ability to have children. Something inside isn't complete. Add to all of this the lack of control and the frustration that goes along with it knowing there is nothing that can be done to guarantee the treatments will work and conception will happen and you have a recipe for pain.
What You Can Do
Holding everything inside is far worse than letting it out, so acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself the time to feel them. Holding toxic emotions inside takes more energy than letting them go. Find support amongst friends, family and groups or seek professional counseling. Find a place where you can talk with people who understand your situation. By practicing relaxation, whether it is yoga, meditation, or relaxation techniques, and by learning how to calm yourself you can better get through the treatments and through the days of waiting. Stay educated, keep learning and seeking information. The more you know, the better your chances of understanding what is going on and how to deal with it.
If the negative feelings persist and there is no relief, seek professional help from your doctor. There is help available; one must reach out for it sometimes.