Dealing with Infertility
It has been estimated that infertility affects one in seven heterosexual couples across the UK. Infertility can result in significant mental stress on both members in a couple; this can then lead to conditions such as depression and anxiety, which, in turn, can wreak havoc on a relationship.
As an experienced counsellor, I have worked with many couples who have sought help to overcome their depression and anxiety, as well as provide advice on ways to look past infertility and look towards a brighter future. This blog post will give you my expert advice on how to handle this unfair, but an unavoidable situation.
Depression and Anxiety
Finding out you’re infertile can be stressful, upsetting and confusing to hear, especially if you and your partner are desperate to start a family or have already been trying for months but have been given no results. Becoming aware that one or both of you are unable to help in the process of creating a child can be heartbreaking, and as much as it isn’t anybody’s fault, depression and anxiety can seep in, resulting in you feeling guilty, unhappy and resentful. This, in turn, can cause major issues in your relationship, which if unaddressed, could lead to separation.
Depression and anxiety can become prevalent as the reality of infertility sets in and you question your role in the relationship, how the situation can be handled and the prospect of not naturally producing or carrying a child. We might try to fight these thoughts and feelings, but often they cannot be held back and contained. It is essential to take the appropriate steps to address your emotions, acknowledge the situation and search for a way to move on. For my top tips and expert advice on how to tackle this, read on.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
The first step to overcoming and controlling any feelings of depression and anxiety surrounding your infertility is to acknowledge those emotions and look for acceptance. Often people who suffer from mental health issues want to bottle up their feelings, and while this might be a short-term remedy, long-term these emotions will resurface and be even more dominant than before; making them harder to overcome.
Pay attention to your emotions and recognise what they are and why you are feeling them. If you want to be able to move through this period of your life without permanent damage to your mental health, then you can’t just ignore them. Treat your mental health with just as much importance as your physical health as there can often be many longer-lasting implications if it is suppressed and ignored.
Find Out All the Facts
An essential tip to understanding and moving on from your infertility is to find out all of the facts surrounding it. Whether it is yourself, your partner or both of you who are unable to contribute to the creation of a child, understanding why and the potential options is crucial. Getting your hopes up is the worst thing that you can do, but staying positive and finding out if there are options you can take to increase your chances of a natural pregnancy should be your number one priority.
However, if there is no possibility of a natural pregnancy, don’t let your mind immediately fall into depression. Doctors can inform you of other options that you can take, such as surrogacy and adoption, and there are many outlets that’ll support you in finding a way to expand your family.
Be Open With Your Partner
If you want to effectively deal with your infertility and move on from any pressing feelings, then you need to be open and honest with your partner about your emotions, as well as taking time to recognise theirs. Ask them how they feel about the situation and make sure that you are effectively communicating any thoughts or worries that you have, too. If you shut off from one another, you can make each other anxious, as well as create a distance in your relationship. By establishing a basis of open and honest communication from the start, there will be little chance of misunderstanding one another further down the line that could disrupt your relationship.
Seek Help in Therapy
Sometimes people have a hard time acknowledging their emotions and coming to terms with bad news alone. Therapy provides a safe space where you can talk openly about your thoughts and feelings and in return, you will receive expert support and advice on understanding why you feel a certain way and how to overcome any negative repercussions.
This is also incredibly helpful if you discover that your partner is infertile. It can be challenging to talk about the loss of a potential biological child with your partner when they are the ones who cannot conceive. The last thing you want is to cause more upset to your loved one, but at the same time, you should not lock away your feelings. Talking to a professional can help you to get your inner emotions out of your system without causing damage along the way.
If the news of infertility has taken a toll on you as a couple, and you need some help reconnecting and understanding the impact that this has had on your bond, couples therapy can be beneficial in this situation. Couples therapy promotes positive, calm and honest communication with a mediator present to help you both grieve for the event that has just taken place. Counselling gives you both the support you need to accept and move on from the situation to find a sense of clarity.
Don’t let infertility draw you or your partner into feelings of depression, anxiety or guilt. By seeking therapy, counsellors like myself can help you to tackle both of your negative emotions and repair any tension in your relationship. Contact me today for more information on my services.