Coping with Infertility
Each individual experiences infertility in her or his own unique and valid way. While no one can predict one person's reaction to a diagnosis or treatment recommendation, many have similar reactions to this life-changing event.
Emotional/psychological experiences may include:
- feelings of loss of control are common and sometimes uncomfortable;
- the emotional roller coaster of hope and despair, either with each treatment or on a monthly basis;
- feelings of failure and low self-esteem are normal; as are feeling of guilt, blame, shame and embarrassment;
- the process erodes and consumes time and energy;
- financial issues - loss of other dreams in exchange for treatment;
- changes within your marriage - pull together or apart - infertility brings most couples closer together; but changes in intimacy are often associated with treatment regimens;
- impact on employment and performance at work;
- feelings of injustice are reality based;
Suggestions for coping more effectively:
- begin/continue treatment with an open mind and a positive attitude - never say never!
- realize that you must live and work in the fertile world, and manage your relationships with family members and friends;
- develop a stress management program - simplify!
- confide in select friends and family members;
- periodically reexamine your options;
- consider joining a support group, such as those offered by RESOLVE; no one understands your feelings better than others who have experienced infertility;
- grieve your losses - there are many for some people;
- engage in individual or couples therapy;
- if your infertility is secondary, try to renew your relationship with your child;
- be gentle with yourself;
- avoid uncomfortable social situations - holidays, baby showers, certain family gatherings;
- be "out of town"; buy gift certificates and mail them with your negative rsvp;
It is important to maintain the perspective that treatment is a means to an end, and to realize that you are very likely to become a parent someday soon.
Infertility is like a broken bone. When it heals, it will be stronger than ever, but on rainy days, it hurts…….
- The Courage to Grieve (Judy Tatelbaum)
- A Matter of Trust (surrogacy)
- Living with Our Genes (Hamer & Copeland)
- Lethal Secrets
- Beyond Infertility (Cooper & Glazer)
- Caucasian Chalk Circle (Bertel Brecht)
- What to Expect When You're Experiencing Infertility: How to Cope with the Crisis and Survive (People)
- Motherhood Deferred (Anne Taylor Fleming)