Female Infertility Emotions
Female Infertility Emotions
The emotions associated with infertility come from both the inside and out. In many communities, the demand to have children is instilled at a very early age, often with a sense of urgency from those who will remind you that the “clock is ticking.”
When faced with this sort of emotional stress, it is important to separate the feelings and expectations that have been thrust upon you from those you have thrust upon yourself. One often plays to the next. For example, couples may compare themselves with peers who have had kids. This may fuel feelings of self-doubt and anxiety.
Identifying Your Feelings
More often than not, the emotions associated with infertility are not caused by one thing and one thing alone. They are often tangled in expectations from inside and outside.
Overcoming this requires you to identify and name the emotions you may be feeling. These may include:
Feelings of failure or inadequacy
Feelings of loss
Feelings of guilt
Feelings of being judged
Feelings of shame
Jealousy or anger
Fear of rejection or abandonment
Loss of self-esteem
Once you have identified your feelings, consider what those feelings are about, where they are coming from, and to whom those fears are directed.
It is one thing, for example, to feel guilt. But guilt about what? Are they your feelings or feelings based on expectations from others? And to whom do you feel guilty? Your spouse? Your family? The future you had imagined for yourself?
By asking yourself these questions, you may be able to start understanding these emotions and share them with someone who can help.
How Can Psychological Treatment Help Cope With Infertility?
Mental health professionals who have experience with infertility treatment can be very helpful. Their primary goal is to help individuals and couples learn how to cope with the physical and emotional changes associated with infertility, as well as with medical treatments that can be painful and intrusive.
Some professionals might choose to focus primarily on how to deal with a partner’s response. Others might spend time discussing how to choose the right medical treatment or how to explore and evaluate other family building options.
Some couples might need help controlling stress, anxiety, or depression. Mental health professionals can help individuals work through grief, fear, and other negative emotions related to infertility. A good therapist has the ability to help others sort out their feelings, strengthen existing coping skills and develop new ones, and communicate with others more effectively.
Many have found that their crisis of infertility became an opportunity for life-enhancing personal growth.
How Can I Find A Mental Health Professional Experienced In Working With Infertility?
Make every effort to find a mental health professional who is familiar with the emotional experience of infertility.
The professional should have:
A graduate degree in a mental health profession
A license to practice and state registration
Clinical training in the psychological aspects of infertility
Experience in the medical and psychological aspects of reproductive medicine
It may prove beneficial to interview more than one professional. Ask the person for his/her credentials, especially regarding their experience with infertility issues and treatments. It could also be helpful to ask if they are currently seeing other people with infertility problems.
Preparing for your appointment
For an infertility evaluation, you’ll likely see a reproductive endocrinologist — a doctor who specializes in treating disorders that prevent couples from conceiving. Your doctor will likely want to evaluate both you and your partner to identify potential causes and treatments for infertility.
What you can do
To prepare for your appointment:
- Chart your menstrual cycles and associated symptoms for a few months. On a calendar or an electronic device, record when your period starts and stops and how your cervical mucus looks. Make note of days when you and your partner have intercourse.
- Make a list of any medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements you take. Include the doses and how often you take them.
- Bring previous medical records. Your doctor will want to know what tests you’ve had and what treatments you’ve already tried.
- Bring a notebook or electronic device with you. You may receive a lot of information at your visit, and it can be difficult to remember everything.
- Think about what questions you’ll ask. List the most important questions first to be sure that they get answered.
Some basic questions to ask include:
- When and how often should we have intercourse if we hope to conceive?
- Are there any lifestyle changes we can make to improve the chances of getting pregnant?
- Do you recommend any testing? If so, what kind?
- Are medications available that might improve the ability to conceive?
- What side effects can the medications cause?
- Would you explain our treatment options in detail?
- What treatment do you recommend in our situation?
- What’s your success rate for assisting couples in achieving pregnancy?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed materials that we can have?
- What websites do you recommend visiting?
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