When you first find out you and your partner are experiencing infertility, you feel shocked and saddened but often this develops into a deep anger and resentment. As you look around at friends having babies and the countless media and retail images of parenthood, you ask “why me”. There is no answer to this question. You have a right to be angry but you may also need to work through these feelings to reach a point of acceptance and a place where you can start working towards solutions.
You imagined yourself having a baby, you always thought you would be a parent but your dream has been radically altered. You are left having to rethink everything. The future, who you are – all of it. The lack of control is the worst bit – and the fact that you feel powerless to change things. Take steps to face the worst and make an honest and practical plan for dealing with your infertility. This will assist in helping you feel more in control but ultimately we gain the acceptance that we are not in control.
Your life-changing news may make you want to stay under the duvet all day. Certainly you may start to actively avoid friends with babies or who are pregnant. Family gatherings, where questions like, “When are you having a baby?” come up, are likely to leave you filled with dread. Don’t force yourself into situations that are making you uncomfortable, spend more time with your partner or doing things on your own but make sure they are nurturing and positive – like walking in nature or gardening or seeing a movie. In time, explain what you are going through to your closest friends and family and make some suggestions as to how you would like them to react.
If you are the one that is infertile, you feel guilty that your body is preventing you from having a child. If your partner is infertile, you harbour guilt about the silent feelings of anger and disappointment you have around the situation. Don’t let these feelings fester – see an infertility psychologist to work things out.
You worry that your relationship may not survive this set-back. That one of you will leave. You are worried that you are never going to be able to overcome your infertility, that the treatment will be painful or uncomfortable; the financial costs high. You are worried that even if you do fall pregnant you may lose the baby before term. You worry that others will blame you, that they will think less of you. These are all natural thoughts and they’ve been shared by many in your position. Going through infertility is regarded by the World Health Organisation as second only to cancer in terms of emotional distress. Working with a good clinic, you should get the emotional support you need but until then – try and live in the now and be present to the good in your life. Looking after your health and your emotional wellbeing will bring you closer to healing.