How to Cope With Infertility
By now, you’ve spent countless hours daydreaming about what kind of parent you’d be and what kind of children you’d have. The first days of school, the broken hearts, the driving lessons, and the sleepless nights – you looked forward to every second of it.
Then, all your plans and visions for the future came to a screeching halt when the doctor gave the news. Infertility felt like a brick wall stopping you from your dreams.
Grief, Loss and Infertility
You might have expected infertility to be an issue for a while now. Month after month went by without a pregnancy, and you started to suspect that something was not standing in the way of the family you wanted.
With confirmation that infertility is a reality, you likely experienced an intense and fluctuating flood of emotions. This reaction is very normal and expected for anyone who is trying to accept the life-changing news. After all, you’re facing a loss.
At first, it might be challenging to see the connection between learning of your infertility and death, but the similarities are striking. With death, you physically lose an important person in your life. With infertility, you lose the opportunity to bring an important person into your life.
Emotions of Loss
It is essential to remember that loss is a process that ebbs and flows with time. With this being the case, your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors will shift depending on your position in the process.
At the onset, you may feel:
- Shock and disbelief
- Intense sadness
- Confusion about how this could have happened
- Yearning for a child
- Anger towards the doctors, your partner, or God
Some might feel all of these simultaneously while others might feel only one and then move to another. Some might feel one before moving to the next while others might cycle through and repeat each feeling multiple times.
Like other emotional experiences, men and women can have varied reactions to the prospect of infertility. Women are more likely to feel higher levels of sadness, and men are likely to feel higher levels of anger.
Each person’s grieving process will be unique to them and the situation, so practice patience with your partner and yourself. Your feelings will be rooted in the same experiences, but your expressions of these feelings can be quite different.
Coping With Infertility as a Team
When working as a team, a couple can achieve much more than two people working alone. If you always coming from a place of support and understanding can make even the most challenging events manageable. Here’s how:
When a new problem emerges, people look for something or someone to blame. In this situation, your partner represents the perfect target for your frustrations. Dodge the desire to turn your loved one into your punching bag.
Practice empathy by putting yourself in their shoes to imagine what their experience feels like. Consider their perspectives to maintain the team.
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So, if you cannot blame your partner, you should blame yourself, right? No!
It might be a natural reaction to feel excessive shame during a period of infertility, but shame only makes your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors more negative. Blaming yourself for outcomes beyond your control is an unfair course.
Try to acknowledge that this situation was outside of your control to move closer to acceptance. You never wanted infertility to be an issue in your life.
What is fertility all about? It’s about having children, caring for them, and giving them every opportunity to prosper and find happiness.
Having your own biological children is only one way to accomplish this goal. What are the others? Are you interested in infertility treatments, utilizing a surrogate, fostering, mentoring, or adoption?
The possible methods to bring a child into your life are numerous if your employ your creativity. Staggering amounts of children need a positive influence in their life, and your unexpected infertility crisis can be an amazing opportunity for someone in need of love and stability.
Find New Paths
Perhaps you and your partner concluded that, due to infertility, you should not have children by any means. This decision could result in a hole in your life.
Left unfulfilled, this hole could fuel depression, anxiety, and anger. It is your task to find some purpose to fill this chasm.
Set your eyes to behavioral changes that will produce some desired goal. At this point, your new path could be almost anything.
You could decide to travel the world, start a new business, or form a charity organization for a cause that has been dear to your life. Children require a tremendous amount of time and energy. What can you transition the free time and energy towards?
Losses are stressful burdens for all people, no matter the type of loss. Sometimes people are well-suited to address their losses, grief and mourn in healthy ways, and move forward with their lives.
Other times, people benefit from professional intervention in the form of a therapist or counselor. Mental health professionals are helpful in these situations because they can assess your symptoms, stressors, and supports while offering interventions to modify your process. With helpful suggestions and some nudging in a different direction, you can be less influenced by your loss.
The emotional impact of infertility is enough to tear apart any partnership. By coping as a team and understanding that improvement is a two-person job, you can find happiness with whatever life throws your way.