Empowering Coping Strategies for Dealing with Infertility
The emotional toll of infertility varies from person to person, and the emotions, like a rollercoaster, can change from moment to moment. Experiences are unique, and feelings range from grief, loss, frustration, sadness, guilt, shame and anger to excitement, apprehension, hope, and motivation with each new cycle.
As teens and young adults, we live with the fear of pregnancy at the wrong time. Caregivers urge the use of contraceptives. There is only basic education on the workings of the reproductive systems. Many of us know little more than sex equals pregnancy. This leads to confusion when you remove the barrier and find that pregnancy doesn’t happen. When this continues for longer than you ever imagine, confusion can turn into stress and anxiety.
The difficulty in getting pregnant can affect self esteem and identity, for both men and women. You might find yourself questioning your worth, feeling like a failure with an inability to achieve pregnancy. Some people feel a loss of control over their body, with a desire to regain control, which leads to increased stress. Friends and family often focus on the emotional turmoil for the female, but men have a complex experience too. Due to society’s emphasis on men as the fixers; heroes that make everything right, some men feel the fertility struggle makes them inadequate. To protect their partner, they may withhold these feelings. Like anything, they come out in other ways, which can cause relationship strain. The combined stress, disappointment, and different coping mechanisms can lead to conflicts, communication breakdowns, and feelings of isolation.
As people around you conceive and have babies, you might feel alone. Attending social gatherings, baby showers, or family events can be emotionally challenging, leading to feelings of exclusion and loneliness.
Coping Strategies for Infertility Challenges
Although it doesn’t need to be, trying for a baby is a personal topic that many people like to keep to themselves. Because of this, when it becomes challenging, there is no one to turn to. If you’re not getting pregnant, no matter how hard you try and feel down as a result, it’s important to find someone to talk to. Whether this is a friend, family member, therapist, seek emotional support in a safe environment.
Connect with Others
Some people like to connect with people in a similar situation in online or face-to-face support groups. You can share your feelings knowing that those around you will understand. You might also gain insights that will help you conceive.
Practice Self Care
Prioritise self-care activities that promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Self-care starts with meeting your basic needs, so focus on your nutrition, sleep, and physical comfort. Beyond this, try to exercise regularly (but not extremely), use meditation daily, and set healthy boundaries to keep your levels of stress stable.
Choose open and honest communication with your partner. Share your feelings, concerns, and frustrations. Be supportive of one another and actively listen to each other’s needs. This will strengthen your bond and help you navigate the challenges together as a team, rather than taking individual journeys.
Set personal Fertility Boundaries
It is very easy to obsess about getting pregnant. You might find yourself scrolling forums all day, searching for the answer to your problems. Continually trying new fixes, switching from remedy to remedy and therapist to therapist. Keeping your struggle to yourself is likely to increase the internal obsession. Set designated times to focus on your fertility journey, and commit to a full, joyful life outside of these times. Focus on the experiences that bring you pleasure, and remember the activities you enjoyed before pregnancy came onto your radar.
Create a Plan
Discuss the future with your partner. Consider whether you want a child regardless of how it happens (e.g. assisted reproduction, adoption or fostering), or not. If assisted reproduction is the next step in your journey, create a timeline of when you want the first tests to start. Think about how many cycles you’re willing to have, and what the next step in the plan is beyond that. Knowing your options, the next step in your journey, and the time frame will help alleviate some uncertainty and anxiety – which is sometimes the cause of the problem.
Practice Stress Reduction Techniques
Make stress reduction techniques part of your daily routine. Stress reduction techniques include activities such as yoga, mindfulness, meditation, journaling, and other activities that bring you peace and relaxation.
Always remember that coping strategies vary individually. It’s important to find what works best for you and adapt as you need. Remain patient and compassionate with yourself as you navigate the challenges of infertility. Click here for more information on hypnotherapy for infertility.