Infertility is a medical condition, but it somehow doesn’t fit into such a neat little box. With such a diagnosis comes a kaleidoscope of emotions, some of which come and go without warning. Coping isn’t easy, but with the right supports and discovering your own way to adjust, you will find yourself on a journey looking back, rather than staring ahead, unable to take the next step.
Loss is one of the most common feelings associated with infertility – whether it’s from a miscarriage or finding out something isn’t working right in your (or your partner’s) reproductive system. Even if you haven’t put your finger on it, you can experience physical reactions to loss, such as a lack of energy, headaches, insomnia, or an inability to focus. There’s nothing wrong with feeling loss. You need to work through any grief.
Next, you’re likely to face denial or shock as you learn more about infertility. Always remember that so many others have faced the same diagnosis you have before. Find solace with others who have walked through your same steps. Anger is also a natural reaction to feeling helpless. Try writing down everything you’re angry about, go for a run (or a kickboxing class for the rewarding punching motions!), and talk about your anger to let it flow out. Lastly, you might encounter shame or guilt or you may be feeling inadequate, but think about the other side – your strength for facing such a diagnosis, your endurance for the journey ahead, and a true understanding and empathy with those who face infertility, as well as anyone who’s had to come to terms with feeling out of control or feeling weak.
How to Cope
While you’re working through your reaction and recalibrating, try these possibilities for learning to cope:
Give yourself permission to cry and be angry. Don’t try to stop yourself from feeling.
Connect with family – explain how you want to be treated, if you’re comfortable sharing, and educate yourselves together.
Tell your partner how you want to be helped and supported.
Let your partner feel and cope however they want to feel.
Limit your conversations about infertility to avoid feeling overwhelmed or wallowing for too long.
Coping with infertility can be a hard path, but there are endless resources to walk it with you. From those who have faced a similar challenge, to support groups, to friends, to family, to doctors. For help with suspected infertility or a diagnosis, give us a call at 717-747-3099.
Dr. Melanie Ochalski