Coping with infertility
When infertility dawns it's a devastating shock. It can cause our foreign, illogical thought about ourselves to become lodged in our minds and refuses to leave, hurting us when we are at our most depressed and vulnerable.
It can also place immense strain on relationships.
Here's what you should know:
- Women and men generally differ in the way they respond to the strain of infertility. Women bear the brunt of tests and treatment, and are more likely to want to talk openly about their feelings. To men, talking a lot about the feelings infertility brings can seem like a waste of time, because it doesn't change the situation. Through all this, a destructive pattern of non-communication and miscommunication can develop between you and your partner. Seek help and fresh understanding through counselling - before this pattern develops.
- Family and friends - Sex generally, and not getting pregnant in particular, is such a personal and private matter that it might seem too painful to you and your partner to tell others. Before awareness of your infertility reaches friends and relations, their remarks about you not having children can be hurtful.
- Loss of personal power - It is common to question your own feelings about your sexuality. You may feel that you're not whole. You may feel angry with your body, which doesn't seem to do anything right. You might sometimes feel you are going mad. Such feelings are normal and counselling can help. Once such imaginings are out in the open - in the safety of a counselling session with a true professional - they have less power over you.
Here's what you can do:
- Live for the present - Make the most of the resources you have. It may be cold comfort, but when it comes to time and finances, you are in a better position to do things spontaneously than couples bound down with kids are.
- Plan your life - Decide ahead which months will be set aside for assisted conception or infertility treatment, which months for pleasure. With a plan of action that stretches for months ahead you're less likely to feel the bumps, month by disappointing month. Don't volunteer to take on additional commitments with work or family while you are having IVF, or at least during the months you've got IVF scheduled. Keep up the planning ahead, so if it's disturbed by a pregnancy - well, that's life!
- Remember, you're not alone - 10 to 15% of couples take longer to achieve a pregnancy than they think it should. Sometimes when you share your diagnosis you find others in similar situations, and there'll be couples who've been trying longer than you have. A good support group can help keep you grounded and centred.
- Lean on your counsellor, your nurse, your doctor - At Genea we have a counselling service which is available to all patients of the clinic. Don't ever be afraid of asking questions.