Dealing with infertility is one of life’s biggest challenges for so many reasons. For women who decide they want to have a child or children, the idea that this dream may not come true is soul shattering. Infertility has even been defined as a reproductive trauma:
“One of the most fundamental aspects of our physical selves is our reproductive capability. When that does not function properly, we doubt everything else.” (Janet Jaffe & Martha & David Diamond, Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility)
As a psychologist with lived experience of infertility I can clearly remember how confronted and ripped off I felt when my body refused to do what it was supposed to be able to do naturally. Everyone else seemed to be able to fall pregnant so easily, why couldn’t my body do the same??? Was I being punished for partying too much in my 20’s and leaving having babies too late? Did this mean I wasn’t supposed to be a mother? Or that my partner and I shouldn’t be together? So many doubts and worries circled around in my head constantly. Meanwhile I was constantly given the advice to “not stress” and “just relax” … are you freaking kidding me?!?
I benefitted so much from seeing my own psychologist during this time, and now I support women, men and couples dealing with the stress and trauma of infertility. Listed below are some signs you might be ready to talk to a psychologist:
- You find it hard to wind down, have a lot of nervous energy, feel on edge, restless, and touchy.
- You find it difficult to work up the initiative to do things and feel like you don’t have anything to look forward to.
- You feel downhearted and blue about life in general.
- Your self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth has plummeted.
- You find that you’re turning away from your partner instead of turning to them for support.
- You have trouble talking to your partner about your infertility experience.
- You feel isolated, alone and disconnected.
- You find it difficult to deal with social situations that might trigger you emotionally.
Infertility can be an extremely difficult and painful experience and can put an enormous amount of strain on you and your relationships. It’s imperative that you look after yourself and take good care of your emotional wellbeing. Engaging a psychologist can help you to learn the coping skills necessary to reduce your stress and anxiety, maintain a healthy perspective, increase your resilience and communicate more effectively with friends and family. Think you might like to speak with a Psychologist about your experience and don’t know where to start? Your family doctor can help by offering recommendations and a referral if required.