How can we cope with emotional stress of infertility treatment?
Your approach to coping
The success rate of modern fertility treatments is high. But for the majority of couples, multiple treatment cycles may be necessary. Learning to cope with stress is an important step towards making sure that you and your partner achieve your goal.
People react differently to stress. Some people are devastated by fertility problems, yet others seem able to adjust and carry on with their lives. One person’s strategy for handling difficult emotional issues will be different to another’s. Some people:
- Are active problem solvers.
- Think positively and view their chances with optimism.
- Seek emotional support from their support network.
- Blame themselves for their conception difficulties.
- Seek distraction or escape through social contact.
- Avoid thinking about their problems altogether.
|It’s helpful to understand how you approach stress. Use the Fertility Compass to discover your coping style and learn new strategies to reduce emotional strain.|
Using active problem solving to reduce stress
Often you’ll feel better about a problem once you’ve taken time to research it or plan something positive to bring about change. Men are often very comfortable with this approach. Learn together and plan your treatment strategy as a team. Organise the months ahead. With a little planning, the time will pass more easily and you’ll find the strength to continue from one cycle to the next.
There are times however, where active problem solving isn’t always possible. You can’t shorten the waiting time that leads up to a pregnancy test or ‘actively solve’ your longing for a child. In such situations, other approaches to reducing stress may help. Distract yourself with activities or friends or try to stay positive by using the ‘waiting card’. This series of positive statements will help you regain perspective when you need it most.
The value of a wide support network
Discussing fertility issues may be uncomfortable, but expressing how you feel may help you release your stress. It’s important that you reach out for support.
Infertility is a sensitive subject and many people may not know how to react. Guide the conversation and help them avoid topics that may be hurtful or make you feel uncomfortable. Feel free to say you’re not in the mood for a heavy chat and ask what’s new with them. Let your friends know how they can support you.
If you feel in need of more emotional support than your partner can give, but don’t want to share everything with a friend, ask to see a fertility counsellor. Your doctor or clinic will be able to help.
|It’s reasonable to feel vulnerable if you’ve just completed a treatment cycle and the result has been negative. A ‘baby shower’ may not be your idea of a fun evening out. However the more you avoid pregnant friends and their babies, the more you’ll become distressed. You’ll become trapped by your feelings. Make the first move. Open up to your pregnant friends and clear the air.|
It’s important that you maintain as much balance and normality in your life as possible. Put some effort into planning something fun where you don’t need to talk about your fertility; go on an outing with your partner or a friend. It will help clear your mind and release stress, especially during periods of uncertainty. This week-to-week planner will get you started.