Coping with Infertility

Infertility affects couples in various ways, but for all, it is a difficult time. 1 in 6 couples deal with issues of infertility.  Most couples experience feelings of grief, envy, despair and even failure. These feeling can be overwhelming for any couple as they decide what course to take. Coping with infertility is challenging, but there are ways to help you manage this trying time.

Acknowledging your emotions is an important first step; Ignoring or avoiding feelings is not healthy. No two people are the same so everyone will deal with their emotions differently. Some will immediately adopt a positive attitude and others will find that initially impossible. It is important to know that you are not alone, your feelings are real and you shouldn’t be afraid to express them.  Don’t ignore your emotions or avoid dealing with them because you feel like you’re somehow responsible for being infertile. Being realistic about your feelings and what you are experiencing is the first step to coping.

The next step is to get educated.  Read as much as you can about fertility problems and ask questions of your doctor and other couples in your situation. It is important to know as much as possible when dealing with a fertility problem because treatments and technologies behind them are complex and can change quickly. Staying educated will help you make informed decisions about your medical future.

Seeking a support network can be beneficial to some.  There are online and local support groups where you can meet with others who are going through the same emotional struggles you are experiencing.  Being able to speak with others and learn from their journeys can help you cope. There are also infertility support organizations that offer resources to help you decide whether infertility treatments are right for you and, if so, what kind would suit your budget and fit your emotional and ethical boundaries.

Incorporating some healthy, stress relieving coping skills into your routine can provide comfort.  There are some great ones mentioned at

  • Moving. Lift weights, shoot hoops, run, swim, and get active several times a week.
  • Relaxing. Get a massage, explore yoga or tai chi, spend time with friends, and be sure to get plenty of sleep.
  • Writing. Start a blog or email yourself thoughts about infertility.
  • Crying. Crying is healing, and may leave you in a more relaxed state. We don’t let ourselves cry enough.
  • Laughing. Humor is fun and can also be therapeutic

The last thing I want to mention is more of a what not to do list. This list mentions things from not putting yourself down for being infertile to not isolating yourself.  It preaches the importance of a positive outlook to avoid misery maximizers.

Couples struggling with infertility will learn to manage their emotional stresses in different ways, but this list is a good place to start. Finding an organization like Resolve: The National Infertility Association, can help you find resources, support services and opportunities to get involved with your community.  Remember, you are not alone.

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