Initially, going into fertility treatments may have been exciting, talking about your upcoming cycles, and growing your family. But after a while, something seemed to shift. You found yourself not wanting to talk about treatments anymore. You’re tired of trying to conceive, and you’re starting to think you may be depressed.
Depression and infertility can go hand in hand
It seems like everyone around you is getting pregnant easily. You might feel as if your body has betrayed you—infertility is taking a toll on you, emotionally and mentally. Infertility has infiltrated every aspect of your life.
Many people who are experiencing infertility are also dealing with feelings of depression. Your mental health, your job, your relationships, and infertility—can all be overwhelming. If you already have a depression diagnosis, you may find your symptoms worsening while you’re going through infertility. In fact, according to a 2015 study, out of 174 women going through infertility treatment, almost 40 percent met the criteria for major depression.
It makes sense. Triggers appear to be all around you when you’re dealing with infertility. Everywhere you turn, someone seems to be pregnant or getting pregnant easily. You might feel guilty because you shouldn’t be this upset.
Many people going through fertility treatments struggle with depression and aren’t aware of it. You might have been in a state of stress for so long trying to have a baby, and now suddenly it feels like symptoms of depression have come out of nowhere.
Ways to cope with infertility when you have depression
Just trying to power through this time isn’t always enough. Here are some tips that can help if you’re struggling with your mental health while experiencing infertility.
Infertility is a season
It might feel like infertility is never going to end, but you’re not always going to feel the way you are right now. Tell yourself this is temporary, a season you’re going through and it won’t last forever.
Focus on yourself
Focusing on what you need right now isn’t selfish and it doesn’t mean you need to cut yourself off from the world. Rather, you’re creating coping techniques, giving yourself a safe space to practice self-care. Some ways to focus on yourself include:
- Limiting social media
- Saying no to things that are triggering such as baby showers, kids’ birthday parties, or baby clothing aisles
- Finding a therapist or support group specifically for infertility
- Inform your friends and family of what you need from them during this time
Limit the infertility talk
Don’t spend too much time in your relationships talking about fertility treatments. Consider setting a timer to discuss your doctor’s appointment, your follicle count, lab work, and then moving on to another subject. It takes discipline because much of your life might revolve around fertility. But it’s important to nurture other areas too.
Be intentional in your activities
Engaging in activities that feed your soul, mind, relationships, and health. Spend time outside of infertility to put “fuel in the tank” and help you through the stress and uncertainty of fertility treatments. Learn a new hobby, get a massage, or read your favorite books.
If you’re undergoing fertility treatments to grow your family and you are struggling with your mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out to talk with a therapist. Reach out to a CCRM Fertility counselor for additional support.