Women's Infertility Emotions
Infertility is rarely an "easy" experience for any woman. In fact, the inability to have a baby is widely considered to be a life-changing event on the level of the breakdown of a marital relationship or bereavement. Furthermore, the emotional pressures exerted on a couple by the infertility experience can be so great that they actually trigger a separation or divorce. Here, we're going to examine the emotional strains faced by infertile women, and what they can do to survive this phase of their lives with their emotional and mental health intact.
Spectrum Of Emotions
All women are different. The way in which they react to a diagnosis of female factor infertility will depend on how much they want to have kids, as well as other things such as their cultural and religious background. Women in the West have reported a whole range of emotions such as:
Numbness, shock and disbelief
Anger and frustration - at the inability to perform a seemingly simple, everyday biological process - (a sense of "why me?")
Guilt - a woman who learns that she's infertile may feel guilt about a whole range of issues. For example, the fact that she prioritized her career and postponed having a family until she was a little older; that she used contraception in the past; or had a previous abortion (and perhaps took her ability to have kids for granted). She may feel that she's being "punished" for making these decisions.
A sense of having been "tricked" - today's media image of the modern woman is she who is educated, has a great career, a loving husband, a few cute kids, and somehow manages to combine all these elements of her life effortlessly. Many women have grown to adulthood with this image in mind, and they feel let down, perhaps even deceived, when they realize that it's just not that easy to do all these things within one lifetime.
Other female infertility emotions may include:
Resentment (of other pregnant women or couples with children)
Isolation and loneliness (as a woman finds it harder to participate in family, or child-oriented holidays or special events)
A crisis of sexual identity (as a woman begins to view her body as deficient in some way - she may begin to avoid sex with her partner, which in turn puts strain on their relationship)
"Obsession" with fertility treatments and becoming pregnant (some women put their whole lives on hold, perhaps with detrimental consequences for their long term health and happiness, in order to achieve the dream of having a baby).
Although we don't like to generalize, women are often more open about talking about their feelings than men. Women who are going through infertility may therefore benefit greatly from channeling these emotions through discourse with other women in the same situation, or through talk therapies with a professional counselor. Information about peer support group meetings and counseling facilities is available at good fertility clinics and from your doctor.
Remember that some fertility experts believe there is a link between depression and infertility in women. It's important therefore to take control, and to try to manage any negative feelings which may be impacting on your ability to get pregnant.