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Breaking the Silence: Navigating the Emotional Impact of Infertility

Infertility is a difficult journey that can take a toll on one's mental health. The stress of trying to conceive, the pressure of undergoing fertility treatments, and the disappointment of unsuccessful attempts can be overwhelming, heart-breaking and tragic to say the least. Relationships can also feel the effects of infertility and might feel unstable or rocky during the process leaving couples feeling even more uncertain and isolated. There's no easy path with infertility and a lot of people report feeling like they're on a constant roller coaster ride that they didn't want and yet, had to pay a hefty price for.

An emotionally depleted woman standing alone

If you are struggling with infertility, it is important to prioritize your mental health. Here are some helpful techniques to help you cope:

1. Seek support

Some people will get it, most won't. Talking to others who are going through similar experiences can be incredibly helpful by helping you to feel less alone and more understood. The World Health Organization states that around 17.5% of the adult population - roughly 1 in 6 worldwide - experience infertility. You are absolutely not alone. However, infertility can feel taboo to talk about leaving many without much support. Joining a support group or seeking therapy can provide a safe space to express your feelings and receive emotional support. Couples therapy may even be useful during this time to help you and your partner communicate your feelings and needs in ways that bring you closer rather than apart.

2. Practice self-care

Self-care can take many forms. It can be as simple as taking a bath or going for a walk, or as involved as taking a yoga class or booking a massage. Whatever it is that helps you feel relaxed and rejuvenated, make it a priority. Infertility treatments can take a toll on your physical body, emotional wellness and mental health. It's important to make sure that all of these areas are being nurtured. Self-care and wellness can also help reduce stress, which could be a contributing factor to infertility.

3. Set boundaries

It's important to set boundaries around conversations and situations that may trigger anxiety or stress. This may mean avoiding certain social events or setting limits around conversations with friends and family. Those who will get it, will easily support your boundaries however, those who can't relate may have some pushback. I recommend having a few staple statements to repeatedly use in situations where your boundaries are disrespected. For example, something like, "It's really hard to explain unless you're going through it, and I don't have the energy to find the right words. Just trust me that I'm doing what's best for me and my health." or "I can't make it to ____ and if you truly care for my well-being, you will respect that."!

4. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a powerful tool for managing stress and anxiety. Try incorporating mindfulness practices such as meditation or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine. Calming your nervous system will be vital during these extremely stressful times. Again, stress can greatly impact treatment outcomes so it's important to remain as relaxed as possible. Mindfulness can assist you in de-cluttering your mind, accepting results with a little more grace and increase patience (which you will need).

5. Focus on the present

It's easy to get caught up in worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Instead, try to focus on the present moment and find joy in the small things. With many doctors' appointments, medications, waiting for tests and results, and constant thinking about hopes, dreams, doubts and fears, it's really hard to stay in present moments. They can feel impossible, painful and scary. However, the present is the realist and truest moment during these unpredictable times. The present will keep you grounded and sane.

6. Seek professional help

If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns, it may be helpful to seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide guidance and support as you navigate the challenges of infertility.

Remember, infertility is a difficult journey, but you are not alone. Prioritizing your mental health can help you cope and find hope as you navigate this challenging time. Even though the process of infertility is a struggle, you don't have to feel completely helpless and out of control. Keep yourself informed and empowered when it comes to what realistically works for you! You got this.


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