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Therapy and Counseling

Infertility is not only a disease, it is an emotional experience as well. The basic assumption that you can and will have a family when you want to has been shattered. Infertility can feel like an emotional roller coaster, with highs at the hopeful beginning of a treatment cycle, and then intense lows as a menstrual period starts or a cycle fails. While some couples have difficulty getting pregnant, others conceive but experience pregnancy loss. In all cases, it is a loss is of something invisible — a baby you dream of.

The emotional impact of infertility is far reaching; there are ripple effects. You may feel angry at those who don’t understand what you are going through and jealous of those who are pregnant or have children. You may feel left out as your friends start to have children. A couple’s communication may be strained. Religion and faith that may have provided comfort in the past may not feel helpful anymore.

Sources of Support

Infertility can feel very lonely and isolating, but it doesn’t have to. Support is available in many forms, online through message boards and chat rooms, through individual counseling, or group support such as peer-led or professionally-led support groups.

If you are experiencing signs of depression such as problems sleeping, eating, or concentrating, see a mental health professional. If the experience feels like a spiritual crisis see your rabbi, priest, or minister for emotional support.

Emotional support from your partner is critical. The hardest part of the infertility experience for one may not be the same for another. Ask your partner how you can support him or her, and tell them what kind of emotional support you need.

Emotional support from family and friends is also important. You can’t expect family and friends to know what to do for you — tell them what is and isn’t helpful.

Feeling understood, and having others validate your feelings is very helpful. Knowing what the typical emotional responses are while going through infertility, can make you feel less alone. Learning techniques for handling family and friends, coping with holidays, and others’ pregnancies can be invaluable.

Finally, be gentle with yourself. Remember that infertility is considered a life crisis.