Many people never expect to have difficulties having a child. But, today one in eight couples have infertility. Infertility is a condition that knows no barriers – it can affect anyone regardless of socioeconomic status, race, religion, sexual orientation, geography, etc. The desire to have a child but the lack of success despite 100% effort can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.
Taking care of your mental health can improve your overall well-being and potentially improve your chances to conceive. While the cause of infertility is influenced by both physiological as well as psychosocial causes, improving the psychosocial causes can put you in the right frame of mind to get ready for pregnancy. Some things you can do to improve your psychosocial environment include:
Group sessions: It is very important for you and your partner to understand that you are not alone. Therefore, joining a local or national support group will allow you to realize that there are others with similar struggles. This can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Knowing that there are others struggling with fertility changes your perspective on things when before all you knew was that all of your friends were getting pregnant, having baby showers and not you. Being with a different group of people who you can relate to is important, while still being happy for your friends who are pregnant.
Your Partner/Spouse: A healthy relationship with your partner is essential to make it through fertility struggles. Make time for each other. Be patient with each other. If one person has the source of the infertility, remember that you are in this together. The blaming game only hurts and does not help. Having intercourse on a time schedule can make the relationship seem scientific and less spontaneous. Spontaneity improves the relationship.
Friends and Family: Should you share your fertility concerns with them? The answer to this really depends on your relationship with your friends and family. They are part of your support system and to a large extent you may want their support. However, this can come at the risk of excessive involvement, frequent questions as to why are you are not getting pregnant, what are your next steps, etc. Why they are concerned, it can be interpreted as meddling. You know your friends and family, and who you can lean on.
Exercise, Acupuncture, Yoga: Exercise, acupuncture and yoga reduces stress levels and can improve your mental and physical well-being.
Dr. Dorette Noorhasan is a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and medical director of CCRM Dallas-Fort Worth.