Most couples have a predetermined timeline for how they see their lives unfolding as newlyweds. It’s safe to say no one’s fantasy involves exploring fertility solutions. First comes engagement, then marriage, a new house, perhaps an energetic dog or two, and then the beautiful joys of pregnancy.
This fairy tale begins to form when we are children as we hope for everything our life can be. According to “The Plan,” we are all supposed to fall in love, get married, and eventually be ready to fill our home and hearts with a bundle of joy.
But something isn’t right; you’re struggling to get pregnant. Time passes, and with no positive pregnancy test after months – or perhaps years – of trying, it’s become a hanging dark cloud.
Feeling sad or angry is completely normal.
To feel sadness, anger, or resentment over difficulties conceiving is completely normal. Fortunately, there are options for individuals and couples to have the family they’ve always dreamed of. Whether through traditional IVF or IVF with donor eggs, everyone deserves to build the family they desire.
Infertility can feel all-consuming. It may feel like that’s all you think or talk about. It’s an exhausting feeling, especially if you feel alone during the journey. In fact, infertility issues can be so emotionally intense that studies have likened women who go through this to cancer survivors. While this doesn’t seem possible, the study surveyed both women with infertility and cancer survivors to find the results showed significant parallels.
What are some symptoms of depression?
While symptoms vary from person to person, the symptoms listed below are the most common. Even one symptom should be enough to raise a red flag, especially if it isn’t a typical behavior or feeling. It is good to also ask a trusted support system to be aware of any outward signs.
- Loss of interest in usual routines and activities
- Strained relationships with family or friends
- Anxiety, especially with routine tasks
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Change in sleep patterns or sleep habits
- Change in appetite, either sudden weight gain or weight loss
- Social isolation
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Persistent feelings of guilt, worthlessness, bitterness, or anger
If you feel any of the above symptoms, reach out to a professional counselor for support. No matter how you go about conceiving a child, you must be emotionally healthy for you and your family.
Additionally, finding support from other women experiencing infertility may help in realizing that you’re not alone. While the journey may be long and arduous, having a support system in place can help alleviate those fears. Thanks to the internet, there are many opportunities to connect with other individuals who understand exactly what you’re going through. Ignoring your thoughts and feelings and trying to cope on your own isn’t recommended. The best way to begin the healing process is to share your feelings with those whom you can trust.
What can you do about overwhelming emotions?
While it’s easy to compare our lives to everyone else’s on social media, couples should do their best to keep their unique situations in perspective. Limiting exposure to social media sites can help lower feelings of inadequacies while undergoing alternative fertility treatment. At the same time, it’s important to find positive influences to support you and your partner through the process.
If you find yourself slipping into depression or extreme anxiety, don’t hesitate to seek professional support through your clinic or donor egg bank. Professional counseling and support tools are specifically put in place for couples experiencing infertility issues, and these are the best option for those specific needs.
One beneficial way to combat negative emotions is to maintain a healthy exercise routine. Exercise boosts the endorphins in the body that help us feel happy. These raised endorphin levels are our body’s way of releasing negative energy and stress. Whether you choose to do a 20-minute gentle yoga flow or an intense game of tennis, an exercise in any form can increase your mood and decrease feelings of depression and anxiety.
Remember to remain flexible and open-minded.
Many couples who undergo IVF or use donor eggs may have planned for a family with a certain number of children. Whether a couple will find contentment and happiness with one child or three, there’s no set number that will equal happiness. What’s important is that individuals and couples remember what their goal is – building a family – and to be flexible if things should change. A family is only complete when the people growing that family decides it is complete.
Becoming a parent comes with so many emotions. In fact, they can happen before pregnancy. Hopeful parents may begin the journey with excitement, looking forward to a beautiful new adventure, but feel discouraged or anxious if things aren’t going according to plan. Every emotion, no matter how small, is absolutely normal and shouldn’t be ignored.
The first step to finding healing is by sharing your thoughts with someone who supports you. The daily love, support, and encouragement of those you trust will help you successfully reach the end of this difficult yet worthwhile path to parenthood.