Infertility: Let Therapy Keep You From Drowning in a Flood of Emotions

If you and your partner have been struggling to have children, you know how deeply the painful roots of infertility sink into your life. The hurt you feel isn’t confined within the walls of your home. You also have to consider who you want to tell, how much you want to tell them, how to cope with seeing your friends’ growing families, and getting yourself and your partner through treatment .

You can handle the difficult conversations, and you’ve managed the discomfort and sadness, but you weren’t prepared for what feels like an endless wait. Will this horrible state of limbo last forever?

If you’re feeling too small to bear the immense weight of infertility on your own, know that you’re not going crazy. Feeling a flood of emotions is to be expected, when it seems like your plans for a family are veering off course. No one prepares you for the possibility of not being able to get pregnant. This isn’t how things are supposed to go.

What do you do?

You might not think of going to a therapist to talk about infertility issues, but a qualified therapist can help you navigate the many emotions you are experiencing. Maybe you feel like your personal needs take a backseat during such a stressful time. Maybe you’re so focused on finding a solution that you push your emotions away—“feeling like this isn’t helping,” you might think.

In truth, what you’re feeling does matter. How you cope with the stress of infertility will determine how the experience will change you in the end. A therapist is uniquely qualified to help you mine answers from the expanse of impossible questions about what infertility means for you.

– Struggling with infertility can change a lot of things: how you see yourself, how you see your partner, and how you relate to those around you. It can help to have a counselor’s guidance, as you learn to adapt to a new kind of reality. What do you need to know about learning to cope? How can you and your partner help each other adapt?

– When the possibility of not getting pregnant first begins to dawn, the plans and dreams you’ve shared with your partner fade into a murkier picture. What will you do? Who will you be together? A therapist is a great sounding board for your uncertainties; moving forward can begin to seem less daunting with sensitive emotional guidance.

– You and your partner may handle infertility in different ways. It’s possible that difficulty having children will bring out submerged feelings of inadequacy. Maybe you aren’t sure how to comfort your spouse. Maybe your emotional reaction to infertility is too great for your partner to answer on his own. Even if you and your spouse are a really great team, things can come up in infertility that need special attention.

– In the struggle to start a family, you might feel so exhausted and drained that you don’t even realize how painful this time is for you. Maybe you just feel numb. Seeing a therapist during such a tumultuous time in your relationship—and your life—can help you recognize infertility for what it is: an emotional roller coaster that may include feelings of sadness, loss, grief, anger, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, and more.

– It’s a normal reaction to feel guilt or shame when you can’t have children, but the truth is that it’s not your fault. You did not ask for this. The truth of your blamelessness can be hard to accept on your own. Maybe you’re shutting yourself off from your partner because you’re afraid. A therapist can help you see the situation in a different light. Once you let yourself off the hook, conversations with your partner about how you’re handling infertility become a lot easier—and be more productive.