One of the most challenging issues for couples to navigate are those regarding infertility. The heartbreak and frustration that can come with each month that you do not conceive can really take its toll on your emotional and relationship health as well as your finances – adding even more stress.
Wanting so badly to be parents but not being able to do so, while watching people around you announce the growth of their families with what seems to you like little effort, may leave you feeling sad, angry, disengaged, and possibly feeling like you are somehow defective.
There are many reasons for infertility and each one can bring different feelings that can be hard to deal with. Especially if there is no known reason.
Symptoms & signs of the stress from infertility
If you and/or your partner are experiencing infertility issues you may be experiencing some of the following:
- Inability to stop worrying about your infertility
- Feelings of never-ending stress
- Feeling socially isolated or alienated from others in your life
- Problems in your social relationships due to the feelings of being vulnerable
- Trouble catching your breath
- Difficulty sleeping, fatigue
- Trembling, muscle tension
- Heart palpitations
- Indecisiveness and inability to concentrate
- Feeling guilty
- Feeling worthless
- Frequent thoughts of committing suicide or of death
- Lack of interest in everyday activities
- Lack of joy in things or activities that used to bring pleasure
- Feeling irritated
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Back pain, chest pain, muscle aches, and joint pain
- Digestive problems
- Exhaustion and fatigue
- Change in appetite or weight
- Self-destructive behaviour (alcohol or drug use/abuse)
- Extreme sadness
- Inability to function
- Obsession with the inability to conceive
- Feelings of anger or guilt
- Withdrawing from others
- Lack of appetite
- Digestive problems
- Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
- Feeling achy
Low self esteem
Feelings of anger
When is it time to get help?
If you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, abnormally anxious, depressed, feeling excessive grief or sadness, when your relationship with your partner and others are affected, or your ability to cope or function is limited, it’s time to seek help. This can be a very difficult time with many “ups” with the hope that each new month or treatment brings, and many “downs” if they are not successful.
Infertility stress treatment methods
There is no specific treatment for dealing with the emotional impact of infertility. It depends on your unique situation and what treatment method best suits you and/or your partner’s needs and personality. Your therapist will work with you to determine the most effective treatment method for you (and your partner if you’re both seeking support). Many treatment methods can be successful depending on how infertility is affecting you. They include:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves.
- Solution focused therapy views people as inherently strong and resilient, and capable of creating change and discovering solutions to their everyday problem.
- Grief work therapy refers to the methods used in counselling that help people to grieve loss and understand their emotions associated with the loss in a healthy way, with the ultimate goal of moving forward.
- Faith based therapy is using science-based therapeutic techniques that are administered by a therapist with similar spiritual beliefs or an understanding of those beliefs. This is not based on any one religion or spiritual belief.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
Our therapists will support you, give guidance and resource, and help you to strengthen your relationship as you go through this time in your life. You (and your partner) do not have to face this alone – we can help you with coping strategies.