For couples who have trouble getting pregnant, there is a lot more to the process of conceiving than diagnosing conditions and shopping for fertility options. In addition to the physical challenges of trying to make a baby, couples will often find themselves confronting a range of emotions throughout the process. Understandably, as time passes without the success of a pregnancy, it can grow increasingly more difficult for couples to stay positive throughout their journey to parenthood.
Something that men and women should both be aware of as they try to start a family is that these emotional responses to delay are normal. Many couples encounter these strains and it is a natural occurrence to experience internal struggles associated with trying to conceive. With that said, couples should definitely be proactive in reducing the amount of stress outside their fertility issues in order to protect their overall health and well-being.
When it comes to confronting the stress of infertility on couples, here are a few things to keep in mind:
It is a big deal. Dealing with infertility is no small thing – and it’s certainly nothing to brush off. Many therapists actually label infertility as a crisis, and will often encourage their patients to acknowledge it as such. When you start to face these heavy emotions and accept them for what they are, you can then begin to move past them.
Social media can be damaging. Even if you’ve never heard the term “Facebook envy,” you’ve likely experienced it in one way or another. When a couple is trying for a baby and has to witness pregnancy announcements or photos of friends’ children on their Newsfeed, surges of bitterness and jealousy will often emerge. In these cases, social media is nothing but a source of misery – and some psychologists will even recommend a “Facebook diet” as a remedy. If you find that your own outlook is greatly affected by these online triggers, then turn down the social media in your life. Or another option is to simply Unfollow friends or acquaintances who are likely to publish these hard-to-see posts.
Practice self-preservation. Struggling with fertility brings a turbulence of emotions – anger, depression, isolation, and confusion, to name a few. Sometimes these feelings appear unexpectedly, and other times they are predictable. In instances when you know an event or activity may be particularly difficult for you, give yourself permission to say no. Decline invitations to baby showers or children’s birthday parties if they will only upset you. Remember to take care of yourself first. Always strive to avoid situations that are painful and make an extra effort to seek out activities that will uplift you – or at least distract you for a while.
Even though infertility might make you feel helpless and consumed at times, there is always a beacon of hope out there for you. If nothing else, you are never alone in this struggle – there are a variety of support groups and coping techniques that exist for men and women like you. RESOLVE, a branch of the National Fertility Association, boasts a wide range of tools and sources to find the help you need. Some women have even found success in “coming out” about their fertility troubles via social media and received support and encouragement that way.
Regardless of how you find your own brand of hope, know that we are behind you as well – and we wish you the very best in your journey to start a family. Hang in there.