Understanding Fertility Problems: Keeping a Positive Attitude
Dealing with fertility problems can be exhausting. But if you feel discouraged or depressed, remember that you're not alone. Keep sharing your feelings with your partner. Take advantage of help from your doctor, family, or support groups. And remember that no matter what happens, you and your partner can still look forward to a rewarding life together.
"Joining a support group really helped us feel like we weren't alone."
If your stress and anxiety feel overwhelming, it often helps to share your feelings with someone. This could be your partner, a family member, or a friend. It could also be your doctor, a therapist, or a clergy member. Another option is to ask your doctor about joining a support group for couples dealing with fertility problems. Being in a support group can help keep you from feeling alone. You can also learn from the experiences of others.
Coping with Your Feelings
Trying to cope with fertility problems is a challenge you probably never expected. So it's natural to find yourself having strong feelings at times. You may feel guilty, angry, or sad. You might start to resent other couples with children. Or you may simply be tired of having to "schedule sex." Recognize that these feelings are not only common, they're completely normal. Just don't let them take over your life. Keep things in perspective. And don't be afraid to ask for support if you need it.
Dealing with Social Situations
Over time, it's likely that some people may unintentionally offend you with comments or questions. Although this can be upsetting, just remember they probably have no idea what it feels like to be in your shoes. It may help to explain your situation. But if you don't want to talk about it, you don't have to. If nothing else, tactfully changing the subject can help ease the situation.
Nurturing Your Relationship
Fertility problems can strain even the best relationships. That's why supporting each other now is more important than ever. Be careful not to assign blame or lash out in anger. Instead, listen to each other. Share your feelings. And make time for intimacy and romance. Even little things, like a weekend vacation, can go a long way toward easing your stress.
Thinking Things Over
If you've been through a long period of treatment, consider taking a break to think things over. Just a month off can help relieve some of the pressure you may be feeling. You might also use this time to reevaluate your goals or agree on a date to stop treatment. Deciding on a time to stop can be very difficult. But many couples find that setting a deadline helps them regain a sense of control. It can also give you a fresh outlook on other alternatives.
It's okay to decide to stop treatment. You and your partner still have options. One is to plan for a life together without children. This may seem strange at first. But not having children can still lead to a satisfying life in ways you may not have expected. If you still want children, adoption is a gratifying and enriching alternative for many couples. Ask your doctor for information about adoption agencies. Talk to other parents who've adopted. And if adoption isn't for you, you may want to consider getting involved with organizations like Big Brothers/Big Sisters.