Emotional Impact of Infertility - Phase Three
When a couple decides to seek medical help for infertility, their lives truly cease to be their own. No longer are they able to plan their days for the things they want to accomplish. Instead the calendar is dominated with appointments, tests and many other associated things to help get the fertility wagon rolling.
The Taxing Treatment Phase of Infertility
By the time the couple is at the actual treatment phase of the process, they are not only dominated by appointments, they are also riding an emotional roller coaster. The natural spontaneity and fun of life together is a vague memory as mental and physical exhaustion of the demands of fertility treatments takes center stage. The already present resentment and fear give way to an intensifying sense of anger and frustration. Their infertility is controlling their lives, taking so much time, energy and money for treatments - and there's no guarantee of a baby at the end of it all. Women often feel a sense of injustice and indignity from the fertility treatments as well as feeling victimized by the medical profession on the whole.
Crazy Hormonal Responses and Self-Castigation
Fertility drugs can wreak havoc with already fragile emotions. Powerful hormonal effects of fertility drugs can cause a violent increase in feelings of frustration, vulnerability and sensitivity. Intercourse can even become resented because it ends in failure and if there is no conception, it's a constant reminder of that perceived inadequacy. As costs increase, the financial strain adds yet another source of discord and anxiety provoking an overwhelming need to find out everything possible about treatments, costs, options, success rates and more.
Life feels as though it has been put on hold since it becomes impossible to make any long or ever short-term plans. Then the self-flagellation begins with thoughts like, "Maybe we don't deserve a child" or self-blaming thoughts such as, "If only we had done this differently, then we would have a baby."
All Is Not Lost
There are some strategies to help deal with this onslaught of emotion during treatments which may be helpful. In order to maintain some sense of control, keep excellent records of treatments, paper work and prescriptions. This will help when insurance coverage is being sought. Remember that people feel and process emotions differently. Share feelings as openly as possible, but don't push the issues. It is really important to unload emotionally when it feels like another pressure will create an explosion.
Sex Is Fun, Sex Is Fun, Sex Is Fun
Try to focus on things outside of the treatments and treat the "baby-making-sex" as part of the treatment process. Then, make dates to have fun and "fun-sex" during the times when mandatory sex is necessary for the treatments. Don't hesitate to get involved in counseling or support group meetings as much can be gained from others' experiences.
Hold On To Your Hope
Fertility treatments can feel like the ultimate stress. Now, more than ever, it is important to focus on hope and success and to reinforce that neither member of the couple is to blame for the infertility or for any failure to respond to treatment. Even those couples with no apparent problems often require time before they can conceive.