5 Tips to Cope with the Stress of Infertility

If you struggle with infertility, you are part of a club you never wanted to join.

According to The National Infertility Association, “1 in 8 couples (or 12% of married women) have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy.”

You’re connected with this group of people who are forced to deal with a struggle not everyone understands, including the thoughtless words of others.

Unknowning family and friends constantly torture you with questions that break your heart, like:

  • When are you two going to have kids?
  • Isn’t it about time to have a baby?
  • Don’t you want to have a baby?

While these questions seem harmless to those asking, they don’t realize the pain it causes you as you long for a child to call your own.

If you’re struggling due to infertility, the following tips may help.

You might also find some comfort in these Trying To Conceive Quotes About The Miracles Of Birth.

Tips for coping with infertility

1. Connect with others

There is something comforting about talking with others who understand what you’re going through.

The deepest friendships are often formed when you share something personal, and someone responds with a “Me too.”

Well-meaning friends and family may try to support you but end up saying things that make it feel worse.

Look for a support group—in-person or online—where you can connect with others who “get it” because they are also dealing with infertility.

You can find support and new ideas for ways to cope within the group.

You can also offer support and encouragement to others, which can help you take your mind off your own situation.

As you share your story and listen to the stories of others, you may find some of the anxiety and stress over your infertility start to feel less powerful.

If you aren’t sure where to find a group, ask your doctor or a therapist for a recommendation.

2. Acknowledge your feelings

There are a lot of emotions that you may be feeling.

You may be experiencing things like anxiety, isolation, jealousy, anger, fear, shame, sadness, and more.

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When faced with difficult emotions, we often try to push them aside.

However, taking time to recognize and acknowledge the negative and difficult emotions is important.

Consider what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, and even who you’re feeling it about.

For example, you may be jealous of a friend who has gotten pregnant without even trying, let down that your body isn’t doing what you want, or frustrated with others who don’t understand what you’re going through and keep asking you questions.

You may also be dealing with fear and grief of the idea that you may not be able to conceive.

When we take time to acknowledge our feelings, it helps us express them healthily.

Working with a therapist specializing in perinatal and reproductive health can help you work through this process.

3. Be open with the important people in your life

If you’re not careful, infertility can negatively impact your relationships.

You may find the frustration of trying to conceive month after month is straining your relationship with your spouse.

Research has found that infertile couples may experience decreased quality of life, poor marital adjustment, and decreased satisfaction with intercourse.

You may also find that your friendships begin to suffer as friends become pregnant and can experience what you long to experience yourself.

Friendships can be more challenging to continue when friends enter a different stage of life than you and aren’t sure how to navigate the differences.

You may even find your relationships with your parents begin to suffer.

Want-to-be-grandparents may constantly ask questions such as, “When are you going to make me a grandparent?” while not knowing how much you’ve been going through while trying to conceive.

It’s important to be open with those you are closest to.

Focus on continuing to build a strong relationship with your partner.

Communicate what you are comfortable sharing with parents and friends, including what you’d like from them.

For example, if you still want to be invited to their baby showers and children’s birthday parties, let them know you don’t want them to avoid it for fear of hurting you.

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And remember that it’s also okay to keep old friends and make new ones.

You may find it helpful to begin connecting with others in similar life situations that share more in common with you and your spouse.

4. Find healthy hobbies and outlets

It’s easy to be consumed with your desire to conceive and then consumed with the fear that it won’t happen.

Engaging in hobbies and activities you enjoy is an important aspect of self-care.

Look for things that help you feel your best.

Exercise, write, dance, create art, or spend time in nature.

Activities like these can be like a form of therapy.

You can even find options for art therapy, dance therapy, and more to help you process your emotions throughout the activity.

These activities can be a healthy outlet and help shift your focus.

You may also find volunteering time helpful or doing something that benefits others.

When we shift our attention to helping others, it can help us take our focus off ourselves and our problems, which can positively impact our mental health.

5. Educate yourself and explore your options

You’ve likely heard the phrase “knowledge is power,” which can help you as you move forward through your infertility circumstances.

When we don’t have clear answers and information, it’s easy for our brains to run through every single “what if” scenario (and even create some that aren’t realistic.)

It can be helpful to speak with a doctor if you haven’t already to understand the challenges you and your spouse are facing.

Working with a specialist can help you explore your best options for conceiving.

If you’ve been working with a fertility specialist already and know you cannot conceive but would still like to be parents, explore all the options, such as a surrogate parent, foster care, and adoption.

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You may also find it helpful to speak to other couples who have been down similar paths to learn more about the different processes.

Reminders for those not struggling with infertility

If you are fortunate enough that fertility isn’t a concern for you, here are some tips to help you be considerate around others:

  • Don’t ask people when they plan on having children. Not only is it not your business, but you don’t know their situation or what they have been through, such as the loss of a pregnancy or years of negative pregnancy tests.
  • Be cautious with baby shower invites. If you have a friend struggling with infertility, understand that events like baby showers can be difficult to attend. Invite them, but let them know they aren’t obligated to attend.
  • Don’t offer them “solutions” unless they ask for your input. Allow them to navigate their journey, and don’t assume you know what they need to do.
  • Be sensitive with sharing if you’re pregnant. Of course, you should share your pregnancy with your friend or family member, but don’t make it the only thing you discuss with them. And if you’re unsure what to share or not share, ask them what they are comfortable with.

Get support for your whole self

Remember that you are more than your ability to conceive or not.

When our bodies don’t do what we believe they should naturally do, it can create a feeling of failure and shame that we shouldn’t have to live with.

These difficult emotions connected with our ability to have children naturally can spread to all parts of life.

This is why reaching out for help is important if you are struggling.

Connect with a support system, including your spouse, and work with a therapist as needed.

“Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.” — Robert H. Schuller

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