Coping with the Emotional Stress of Infertility
Couples that get married and are plan on having a family can suffer from great depression and emotional stress when they find out one of the spouses is infertile. This can be very devastating news for couples that have worked hard and bought a home and now are planning on starting a family. Tension can build between these couples and before the stress gets too high, there are always alternatives to think about. There are many specialists that are available for couples to go through counseling and make some decisions about how they want to proceed with this situation. There are many fertility specialists, adoption, foster care is another option to discuss. Just remember you are not alone and the stress that women go through is almost the same as having cancer, HIV, and chronic pain. Men experience anxiety, depression, experiencing aches and pains from suffering emotional stress of infertility. Men also experience sexual dysfunction and low self-esteem. It doesn’t matter who is infertile and who is male or female, these psychological problems occur to both genders.
Infertility is not easy to go through. Couples feel pressure to have children from their families or feel like they are being judged by close family members and friends and even strangers. People might give advice that really doesn’t rectify the situation. People that are infertile feel inadequate, empty and failure. These feelings bring negativity to the quality of their relationships.
You can help yourself by understanding your feelings and pinpoint the issues that are causing you this type of stress. If you recognize these things. This starts the rebuilding process of coping strategies to help you overcome these feelings. The emotions that go along with being infertile come from both inside and outside. Many communities pressure their children to have their own children at an early age, putting quite a bit of pressure on women that they should have children before they get too old.
This is hard for women when they face this kind of emotional stress, it’s important to separate the feelings from others that are forced upon you and concentrate on how you feel about the issue yourself as a woman. Couples start looking at other couples that have kids so this causes more self-doubt and anxiety.
Some couples can survive and become closer together because they faced this dilemma together. Others drift further and further apart. Distress in marriages occurs with infertile couples and can lead to grandiose ideas that a baby will fix everything that is wrong for some couples. If there is not a baby these couples feel their marriage will be in shambles and some people have gone to illegal lengths to find a baby even if they break the law.
Trying to keep conceiving puts more stress on the marriage and purchasing ovulation tests to predict when a woman is fertile can also become a chore. Sex becomes a job and intimacy drifts away. Men can have problems with sexual performance when they feel this kind of pressure. Women feel that they are not very satisfied because of the thought of conception on their mind during sex. Therefore, both men and women create more stress by going through all of this timing of ovulation and trying to make sure the timing is right.
When couples do start receiving fertility treatments, the costs can remind the couples about their sense of failure of not being able to conceive. In addition, the financial burdens the couples are experiencing are causing more stress. The cost of fertility treatment can set a couple back hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. When couples face this debt or decide they are going into debt for these treatments, this too causes more stress.
When a person has to decide it’s time to take control of their emotions that are associated with this issue, they have to figure out the name of the emotions they are feeling. Some of these emotions are failure, feelings of inadequacy, emptiness, guilt, feeling judged, feeling shame, feelings of jealousy, anger, fear of rejection, low self-esteem and the cost of the treatments.
Once a person understands these feelings and face their fears they can begin to heal. It’s normal to have some of these feelings but pinpoint why you are feeling this way. If you are feeling guilty, is it because your spouse is disappointed? Ask yourself what the problems really are and learn to accept yourself for who you are. This is a way to start to understand yourself and help heal your emotions.
If couples find they are experiencing a variety of these problems, the first thing they should do is to seek out some help and support to help both of you cope with your emotions. Your spouse can be the best support but sometimes, a couple needs more support. The pressure that has been put on both of you by society and yourselves can be confusing and difficult to understand. It doesn’t mean you have to tell anyone you are both getting counseling separately either. This is the good thing about counseling is it’s strictly confidential and very beneficial to both of you.
It’s nice to ask your family for support but sometimes, they don’t fully understand and feelings of negativity can come from the ones who know you the best. Support groups can help, if you like to hear what others have to say and feel like you are not alone. This is the time when you can share these emotions and feelings and gain understanding from those who have been through this.
Don’t be nervous about asking for help outside of your family. You can both attend together or go separately, depending on what kind of person you are and what your needs are. You don’t really have to see a fertility counselor initially, but you can find a counselor who is familiar with couples who have had fertility problems in the past. If you both have already decided you want egg donor IVF or a surrogate, you both might have to attend many counseling sessions before you start any procedures.
Remember the goal is to accept who you both are first and foremost before you proceed with any type of fertility plans. Both of you should be able to understand each other’s feelings and go into this challenge together. Whatever happens, don’t let fertility consume your lives. If you start worrying about taking a break because of your age, then talk to your doctor. Your doctor might advise you both to take a break for a while and gain your emotional stability back. No matter what happens all things will pass and your problems will always find a resolution. Life gets better no matter what happens and even if you both decide not to have children. You always can dote on all your nieces and nephews.