The stress of going through infertility is said to be as difficult as those who go through cancer.
While comparing hardship experiences helps no one, it can be eye-opening for our patients to hear this. It validates the unique struggles of women who are being diagnosed and treated for their fertility while still holding things together; juggling work, appointments, and keeping a happy face on for everyone around them.
So many women on the rollercoaster (or spinning teacups, per one patient) of infertility find the mental/emotional aspects harder to deal with than the needles, the ultrasounds, and difficult conversations with doctors because…at least those end. You can put up with a few minutes of physical, but you can never get away from or avoid the negative chatter in your mind, the breathless pain at seeing other families with their children, the shocking isolation of being the only one in your circle of friends who isn’t pregnant.
No one is saying you can affirm, pray or wish yourself pregnant. Being told that ‘you just need to relax’ or that ‘it’s God’s will’ is horribly invalidating to women who are clinically infertile. Straight up, prayer will never increase a sperm count or unblock a fallopian tube.
But putting as much priority on preserving your mental and emotional balance as you do on taking your prenatal vitamins, refrigerating your Follistim, or drinking that 24 ounces of water before your millionth ultrasound is SUCH an important step in surviving infertility. Here are a few of the things that made the biggest difference for some of our patients.
Resolve meetings--- Many women don’t recognize how heavily the feelings of isolation weighed on them until they have stepped into a room full of people who fully understood. It can really change your daily experience and possibly even bring you some very close friends.
Counseling--- having someone who is 100% in your corner and whose goal is to help you stay mentally healthy is critical when all your other appointments are about follicle counts, sperm counts, and estradiol levels.
Mindfulness--- this is not wallowing and it’s not accepting your infertility as YOUR failure. it’s compassion. It’s saying to yourself “It’s okay to feel sad/mad/miserable when you’re going through a hard time. And this is a seriously hard time” and cutting yourself a break.
Are you ready to kick off your fertility journey?