The struggle of infertility can be all-consuming. Between running to medical appointments, tracking your temps, conducting hours of internet research, and trying to ignore that constant voice in your head that whispers “Is that a symptom of early pregnancy?” every time you feel an unexpected twinge in your body, it’s hard to fathom putting one more thing on your plate.
But it’s precisely because of infertility’s all-consuming nature that you might want to consider additional support. Here’s how therapy can help.
It Can Help You Process the Process
Friends and family often fall into two camps – those who ask incessantly about the contents of your uterus, and those who wait for your pregnancy announcement in near-deafening silence. You want to be both hopeful and honest, but there are some things you just can’t say openly. Not everyone can handle you falling apart, and most people don’t know how to respond when you express fears that pregnancy may not ever happen.
Therapy can give you a safe space to speak openly and honestly about your journey, your fears, your hopes, and your disappointments. And your therapist can help you process the experience in a way that even the most well-meaning BFF can’t.
It Can Help Strengthen Your Relationship
Let’s be honest – when you’re trying to get pregnant it’s nearly impossible to separate intimacy from baby-making. It’s easy for a relationship to suffer between a lack of emotional connectivity, high stress levels, unexpected feelings of guilt, and dashed hopes month after month. Add that to the financial pressure that can be present if you’re pursuing expensive medical therapies and it’s not uncommon for two partners to not only feel like they’ve lost their relationship, but to start to have differing opinions on how to proceed in the process.
Therapy – whether couple’s counseling or individual treatment – can help you work through hard issues and facilitate difficult discussions. It can help you learn to separate your feelings of angst over the process from your actions and feelings toward your partner, and support you in developing healthy ways to communicate about even the most sensitive of topics.
It Can Help You Evaluate Your Options
You face a lot of decisions when dealing with infertility. Aside from the initial decision to pursue parenthood, there are a myriad of treatment options with varying degrees of invasiveness (and expense). Some couples need to make decisions about surrogacy or adoption – each of which come with their own set of difficult choices. Still other couples may eventually contemplate living child-free if their attempts to conceive are unsuccessful.
Therapy can help you guide you through this potential minefield of sensitive issues, helping you to find peace with whatever personal decision you make as well as facilitating effective communication strategies between you and your partner so you can work together – rather than battling each other – to decide what’s best for your family.
It Can Help Keep You Emotionally Well
Women wrestling with infertility can be at particular risk for anxiety and depression thanks to the stress of the process and the heightened expectations associated with it. Throw in a few added hormones for those pursuing medical treatment and you’ve got yourself a recipe for potential mental health challenges.
An ongoing relationship with a therapist can help identify and treat symptoms of anxiety and depression before they become too life-altering, and will also be a great source of support after you achieve pregnancy in the event you struggle with pre- or post-natal depression.
Whether you’re simply pondering pregnancy or actively struggling with infertility, a therapist can help you unravel many of the deep-seated personal and relational issues that may come along with it. You know you’ll do anything for a healthy baby, and part of that means giving them a healthy mama. That means physically, emotionally, and relationally. You – and your baby – deserve it.