How Does Infertility Affect Your Mental Health?
If you’ve faced infertility for any length of time, you’ve definitely felt the strain on your mental health. Studies show that emotional struggles such as depression and anxiety have a much higher occurrence in couples seeking infertility treatment. Which of course makes sense, since the stress of trying and hoping without any control over the results just compounds over time, as hopes continue to rise and may or may not be satisfied.
Women in particular are more prone to high levels of anxiety and distress than men involved with infertility. Struggles with such an issue cause us to feel like we’ve lost our identity, or like something’s wrong with us. We might also bear the brunt of any stigma around us concerning infertility. All those factors combine to make a pretty harsh reality to wade through for our mental health.
What Can You Do?
While it’s not possible to simply avoid the mental stress arising from your journey through infertility, here are many ways you can go about managing it as best you can.
Attend a group therapy session: some mental health professionals and reproductive specialists partner together to help the mental and emotional health of their patients. Cognitive behavioral group therapy has been shown to decrease stress, and in turn, increase fertility rates.
Join a support group: even just decompressing with peers facing the same or similar issues can relieve some of your burden. This has been shown to be nearly as effective as therapy at reducing incidences of anger, depression, and anxiety, as well as increasing fertility results.
Seek out couples counseling: seeking out stress relief together as well as receiving more education as you undergo fertility treatment can help you through the process. Studies have shown an increase in fertility success rates as those methods help decrease your stress levels.
Start individual counseling for you and/or your partner: the powerful act of someone trained to listen and guide can really change the quality of your daily life, especially during a time that can be traumatic.
Prioritize friendships: the ones that are a balm to your situation – either because they distract you or they’ve been through similar circumstances. Either way, it will be a boon to your soul.
Mental health needs our attention often even when we think we’re doing OK. So make sure you’re taking the steps to ensure you’re as stress free as possible during a very trying time in life. If you have any questions about infertility or would like to make sure your mental state is as healthy as it can be, please contact us anytime at 717-747-3099 or click on the button below.
Dr. Melanie Ochalski
P.S. If you’d rather find out more about us before getting in touch, you can check out our free webinar here.