• Infertility

    Infertility

    The Emotional Toll of Infertility on Women

    Are struggling to get pregnant? Do you feel inadequate? Are you tired of the questions and pressure? Many women struggling with infertility feel stigmatized and inadequate. Though infertility can greatly affect the couple as a unit, it usually impacts women significantly harder. Though men often want to have children and become fathers, many women see motherhood as a necessary part of their identity as the grow in life. Often women feel responsible for not getting pregnant and as a result, commonly carry the burden as if it is their “fault.” Infertility in women can result in feelings of guilt, insecurity, frustration, sadness, anxiety, anger, and depression.

    How Infertility Affects Relationships

    Many couples see having a child as a significant milestone that can strengthen their relationship. So, it’s no surprise that stress begins to build in the relationship after all the attempts at trying to conceive fall short. Soon worry, frustration, and sadness begin to grow and many times partners begin to blame themselves or each other. Seeing friends begin to have children as well as the well meaning (and annoying) questions from parents and in-laws further compound a couple’s struggle. Many times couples have to go to couples counseling to work out the emotional stress infertility causes.

    The Stress of Infertility Treatment on Women

    When couples grow weary of “trying” on their own with no pregnancy, they begin to look with fervent hope at the various treatment options. Though men undergo testing for infertility, women usually go through more rigorous and invasive testing methods. As soon as possible causes are determined, and your doctor discusses treatment options, you find yourself grasping for even more hope of getting pregnant. While some women become pregnant soon after treatment, many struggle to get pregnant even with multiple medical interventions. When this happens, it can increase feelings of low self-worth, high anxiety, hopelessness, frustration, and depression.

    Psychological Symptoms of Infertility

    Because infertility is such a difficult experience, it is important to recognize the symptoms that come with it. These are some of the psychological symptoms associated with infertility:

    • Depression
    • Mood swings
    • Feelings of unworthiness
    • Guilt
    • Marriage problems
    • Change in weight or appetite
    • Constant obsessing about infertility
    • Low libido
    • Sexual dysfunction (scheduling sex)
    • Feeling stigmatized
    • Difficulty focusing or concentrating
    • Sleep problems

     

    How Counseling for Infertility Can Help

    It is important for women struggling with infertility to know that there is help! An expert psychotherapist is highly sensitive to, and informed with, all of the dynamics associated with infertility. You should know that many therapists specialize in counseling for infertility. A specialist is able to help you sort through how your specific circumstances and particular set of emotions need to be treated. Great care is taken to see you as an individual and not lump you in with a one-size-fits-all approach. Your therapist can help you process what bringing a little one into the world ultimately means to you. She can help you understand how to navigate through the wave of pressure you feel all around you so you can find ways to move forward. Counseling for infertility can allow you to get to the heart of what is causing you pain so that you can find meaning and hope.

     

    If you are stuck and would like to receive counseling for infertility, contact us today!

     

    Helpful links:

    American Pregnancy Association

    MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health

    American Society for Reproductive Medicine