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Infertility Worry: The Perfect Storm

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a blog by Barbara Blitzer, LCSW-C, M.Ed., March 29, 2012

When dealing with infertility,worry has many faces. It begins early with the first worries that maybe something is wrong. Once in fertility treatment, the worry continues with each new hope and each disappointment. You worry about your life in the present. You worry about your body. You may worry about your relationships, your social life and your finances.

If you find yourself worrying, here are some thoughts to keep in mind:

  • It’s normal to worry when something very important is at stake and you can’t control the outcome. High importance plus low control combine to create the worry, so infertility is a kind of perfect storm that way.
  • Even though it’s normal to worry, you don’t want to worry more than necessary. Worry is not the same as thinking through a situation and making a decision on a course of action. Worry tends to become repetitive and go in circles. If you find yourself having repetitive negative thoughts try the following. Check out the validity of your worry with the facts. Compare your thoughts with the facts. Are you picturing something very negative such as a childless life when you don’t really know that is what is going to happen? Are you feeding your fears with worry? Is there another way to look at the situation? Remember, you are working on building your family because you know it’s possible. Try focusing on that when the negative thoughts pop up.
  • Know yourself and evaluate your own tendencies in relation to worry. If you’re someone who has a tendency to be anxious and to worry a lot, make a list of things you worried about in the past. Now notice how many came true. Most of the things we worry about never happen. Worry is about the future, and most likely you don’t have a crystal ball right now.
  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment and can be a great antidote to worry. It helps us cultivate patience and acceptance and fosters an appreciation of the pleasure and beauty that we can easily miss while focusing on problems. Don’t let infertility rob you of what is good in the moment. This moment, with all of its challenges and all of its pleasures will never come again.

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