Stepping off the Emotional Roller Coaster of Infertility
The pressure of being unable to conceive can bring a myriad of emotional responses to men and women both. It's important that you deal with these feelings by first acknowledging them-in other words, you must fully recognize that being unable to have a child is a crisis, and may actually be one of the most serious challenges you may face in your life. You may feel sad, stressed out and anxious, grief for a loss, and completely overwhelmed, but remember that all those feelings-and more-are perfectly normal, and the only way you can move beyond these feelings is to first face them, then accept them.
The Blame Game: Infertility Emotions
While it can seem easier to place the blame for your infertility on yourself or your partner, there is no good outcome of assigning blame. You may think you shouldn't have waited so long to have a child, or, if you've had a past abortion may attribute it to your present inability to have a baby. Many women feel they are being punished for some past transgression, even feeling that if they had lost weight or taken better care of their health, they wouldn't now be having infertility problems. Instead of looking at the "should-haves," or "could-haves," or "if only I had..." it's time to look forward instead of back, and remind yourself over and over that your fertility problems are not your fault, nor are they your husband's fault. There are few of us who don't look back and wish we'd made some different choices, but the future, not the past, is what's important in life.
Teamwork is Crucial: Dealing With Infertility Emotions
Of all the times in your marriage, this may be the most critical time for you and your partner to support one another. This is not to say that you will both have the same feelings regarding the infertility, but that you should pay attention to what the other person is going through as well as your own feelings. Taking care of each other emotionally will allow you both to come through the experience with far fewer scars, and allows you to fight the problem together rather than apart. Because infertility brings lots of stress, make sure the necessities in your life are divvied up fairly, so neither partner feels totally overwhelmed.
Research the Issue: Infertility Treatments
Finding out as much as possible about infertility can allow you to feel much more in control of your own future. Infertility treatments are complex-and change with lightning speed-so staying up to date about the newest treatments is critical. Learn to ask your doctor lots of questions, and don't be afraid to take notes while he answers. It is your right to understand what's happening medically so you will be able to make the most informed choices possible.
Create Limits-Together: How Many Infertility Treatments
Make sure you and your partner are on the same page as far as how far you are willing to go to have a baby. Perhaps you have no problem going to the ends of the earth, spending years and thousands of dollars until every treatment option has been exhausted, but your partner has limits he is unwilling to exceed. It's very important that you both come to an agreement about how long you are willing to try to have a baby-and how much you can realistically spend. Not communicating your feelings about this freely can cause serious marital problems down the road. It's much better to come to an amicable agreement before you start, then stick to it. Knowing your agreed-upon limits ahead of time can allow you both to feel more in control of your destiny, so ask your doctor to give you the bottom line as far as your medical odds of getting pregnant, and discuss which treatments you are not willing to try.
Get Support For Infertility
Society rarely acknowledges the level of grief infertility can cause, so many infertile couples try to hide their sadness and pain, leading to feelings of isolation. Find others who are going through the same thing you are, or find an understanding therapist who understands the medical issues around fertility. If attending baby showers or baby-centered activities are just too hard for you-don't attend, and don't feel you have to explain your decision to everyone. Finally, take care of yourself, both as individuals and in your marriage. Try to keep up with hobbies or activities you previously found pleasure in, and remember why you are with this person-why you fell in love. Infertility can overshadow every aspect of your life, so make a conscious effort to step outside the infertility issue from time to time and enjoy other parts of your life.