Trying to conceive with infertility can become emotionally overwhelming and begin to feel like it is taking over your life. As many as 40% of women struggling with infertility also experience symptoms of anxiety, depression, or both. Multiple studies have found the emotional impact of infertility on a woman’s life to contain distress levels similar to those found in cancer patients.
Don’t suffer in silence.Treating the emotional aspects of infertility actually improves pregnancy and birth rates! We know you are going through a lot and are happy to recommend therapies to help you reduce stress, implement positive coping strategies, shift negative thinking patterns, and lessen the feelings of isolation infertility can create.
It’s important to remember the negative emotional impact infertility may create is NOT permanent. Even though it may not feel like it now, infertility is only a chapter in your life (hopefully a brief one!), that will one day be behind you.
Resources to Ease the Stress of Infertility
Acupuncture Learn what to expect from acupuncture in this video with Dr. Bill Meyer and Katherine Rowe (our trusted 1st Floor neighbor from Triangle Acupuncture). The video has well over 13,000 views. Definitely a treatment worth exploring! Acupuncture sessions can be timed with your cycle to ease stress and help the body prepare for a healthy conception while undergoing fertility treatments.
Massage Did you know there are women who specialize in nurturing a woman’s body and soul for conception and pregnancy via “Certified Nurturing the Mother ® Fertility, Prenatal & Postpartum Massage”? Here are a few local resources to consider:
Explore the Mind Body Connection Learning to shift negative thought patterns to more positive and hopeful ones has been shown to be an effective tool in both reducing the stress and depression associated with infertility as well as increasing one’s physical health.
There are many medical and psychological examples of the power of the mind body connection – the self-fulfilling prophecy, the impact of expectancy on outcome, the placebo effect, even the power of prayer – are all manifestations of this powerful relationship. Check out Alice Domar’s book, Conquering Infertility, (yes, older now- but still an excellent introduction to this concept).
Guided Imagery or Guided Meditation may be something you’d like to consider. Check out these downloads and CDs from Anji,Inc. to support each phase of your cycle, or surf around on the App store or on Amazon for other ideas to promote feelings of peace.
Couples’ Counseling Complicating the emotional impact of infertility on a person is that typically, infertility is experienced by a couple. Partners are often not in the same places emotionally with their reactions to the diagnoses, treatments options and outcomes. Often, the woman is ready for the next step before the man is; although this dynamic may also be reversed. Additionally, the emotional reaction to infertility for men and women is quite different. One study of IVF patients found that 48% of women reported infertility was most upsetting experience of their lives while only 15% of men felt this way. With such differing perspectives and reactions, certainly the couple may experience strain on their relationship as they attempt to cope individually and together.
At times, it can feel like your biological clock is “unwinding” your personal life. It may benefit you and your partner to talk with a therapist who specializes in sexual issues, including infertility. Call clinical psychologist, Dr. Sara Rosenquist for an appointment in Cary or Chapel Hill at 919-872-4648, or visit Dr.Sara’s website for more information.
Individual Therapy can also be very helpful for patients to vent, learn new coping skills and focus on positivity. Along with great joy, sometimes pregnancy after infertility can intensify feelings of anxiety for the well-being of the little one you’ve been trying so hard for. Here is a list of excellent therapists to consider: