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  • Writer's pictureAshlee Swartbooi

How to Live With Infertility

One of the most heartbreaking things someone can experience is infertility. A couple has sacrificed their time to become ready for a child. Usually, the husband will have to finish school and land a job that will pay the bills before the couple is ready to support a baby. The wife will have to be healthy and choose to eat a nutritious diet and participate in safe activities along with going off of all medications she was on before.

Mentally preparing to have a child means giving up parts of their lives to raising a child. They will no longer be able to have the freedom to do whatever they want because they will have a child to take care of. After all of the changes and commitments they have made, they cannot get pregnant.

The wife usually blames herself because she thinks it is her body’s fault for not working properly or because she is too stressed out. It is proven, however, that “psychological stress does not cause infertility. Although a recent study found that more than 70 percent of women believe mental health problems can have a negative effect on fertility, there is no science behind this belief,” (Gurevich, 2020). The only thing that can cause infertility is age or a physical condition. Stop blaming yourself because it’s not your fault.

It is hard not to feel like God is punishing you or that you are not meant to be a parent because you are not getting the blessing of a child that you desire. It gets so hard to feel happy or like life is worth living. You may become depressed and/or suicidal.

What can you do about all of this pain and the constant reminder that you are not able to get pregnant? Month after month comes and no matter how much you try to prepare yourself, the negative pregnancy test is another dagger in the heart. You think “How can I go on?”

I am going to share some things you can do to try to deal with this heartbreak.

Have a mental health check

Look for the three “D” s. They are often signs of psychological overload:

  • Disorganization - The pen was in your hand and now it’s gone from the face of the earth. Even worse, when you spot it, it’s right in front of you.

  • Decision-making difficulties - Not the big decisions, like who to vote for, but the little decisions, like what to order for lunch.

  • Dependency needs - Wishing for others to take care of the daily life we used to enjoy. If you have even one of these symptoms, it's time to make your mental health a priority and try the strategies that follow.

If you see yourself in the descriptions above, then you might want to work on your mental health and get some help so that you can feel happier.

Focus on the present

I know it can be hard to stop living in the future when you are wanting a child but the truth is, doing that won’t get you anywhere. Thinking about the should-haves and would-haves will not do any good. You cannot control the future so stop worrying and focus on what you can do to stay healthy and active in life.

Do something that makes you feel fulfilled and purposeful. Finding something that brings you joy when you are in a lot of pain is important.

Practice Self-Care

Feeling sorry for yourself isn’t going to help in any way. Take time to do things to take care of yourself. Make sure you are treating yourself the way you treat your friends and family members. Give yourself time to relax, get enough sleep, exercise, get some Vitamin D, eat a heathy variety of foods, do not isolate yourself. Use the support you have from your friends and family.

Talk to others

You may not feel like talking to family about your struggles because you don’t want to hear their stories and how they got through them. Your friends may not understand you because they have not been through the same things. There are resources to turn to like the national fertility organizations RESOLVE, or resources from your fertility clinic for finding others to talk to in confidence.

Focus on Your work

Fertility treatments can be stressful and time-consuming. When you spend too much time worrying about if they are working or not, it is not healthy. Try to find ways to distract yourself so that you are not stressing constantly about the treatments. Working on projects will give you a sense of accomplishment, and will make you feel confident and that you have a purpose outside of just being a mother.

Check for Depression

There is a difference between feeling sad for a few days and being clinically depressed. Infertility most likely means you will struggle with hormonal therapy, recurrent pregnancy loss, treatment failure, financial or relationship stress, and more.

If you think you are depressed, you need to get help. Trying to live with depression while going through all of this is not a smart idea. You need support from a psychologist who can get you a counselor who understands the situation you are going through and who will know which medications can help you feel better.

At the end of the day it is important to remember that you are not alone in this fight, and that there is always hope. Just because you have lost the fight a few times does not mean it will not happen. Try to live a happy life even when you are in pain. Give yourself opportunities to take care of yourself!


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