By now if you are reading this you have undoubtedly become aware that you or someone that you know is struggling with fertility and are maybe even months or years into treatment. This is a difficult time in a couples life and hard to see the road clearly.
This period of time can feel so isolating and confusing. There is a sense during each treatment of “hurry up and wait”. The hurry is the hope propelling us forward to keep trying and get the treatments to work and hurrying to the end of the cycle to see if it worked!! The wait is the part that we know all to well. We wait for each appointment and for each test result and each day to pass for us to do the next shot or take the next pill that is aimed at getting us the baby we have been so patiently waiting for.
As we go through this process and as time moves on and our arms are still empty we can become weighed down emotionally and need some new ways to gain the strength to move forward. One way to do this is to take breaks here and there. Maybe give yourselves permission to take a couple of months off. What about taking at weekend trip or going hiking.
It is very easy to become so focused on living from cycle to cycle in and effort to get pregnant that we disconnect from any of our interests. If you used to spend time playing an instrument, pick it up again and spend some time playing it. If there is another hobby like art or writing, re engage with those things. It is important and maybe even imperative to stay connected to the outlets that help you to feel centered and connected to yourself.
At times things that we have always done may not be what you desire to do. Try something new. Take your spouse or a friend to a cooking class or a pottery class. Join a book group, or if you have a local college take a non credit class. Join a support group for other people struggling with infertility to gain more understanding of your struggle.
Fertility challenges are heavy emotionally as the attempts continue with lack of success or miscarriages, stillbirth or perinatal losses occur along the way. People often experience guilt, shame, anxiety and panic, anger, sadness and also many times post traumatic stress symptoms. These symptoms are often difficult and in my personal and professional opinion would be best addressed as they begin to occur to help with coping skills.
Some tips that may help are to find a therapist that is versed and understands the fertility struggle and the way the cycles that fail can be so exhausting over time. I do not mean that they need to be a former fertility patient, but rather that they have some knowledge of the depth of the topic at hand. It’s also important in my opinion that they be able to grasp that a miscarriage is still a loss even if the pregnancy was only one week long. There is much grieving done for couples going through this crisis at all levels, and I cannot stress enough that getting help early can certainly help with the long term emotional outcome and help to create healthy coping skills that can support you in the crisis and beyond.