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Rachel Gurevich

The Catch-22 of Pregnancy after Infertility

By November 28, 2012

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So finally, after months or years of trying, you get pregnant. This is a time to celebrate! And yet, if you've been trying for a long time - especially if you've been trying a very long time - celebration may seem... wrong.

How can you celebrate when your infertile friends are still trying? How can you celebrate when you don't even know if this pregnancy is going to last? How can you celebrate when doing so may lead to jealousy or sadness in your fertility challenged friends?

Then come the exciting milestones - the first ultrasound picture! The first quivers of movement! The first baby related purchase! After everything you've gone through, you'd think these would be times for more celebration. Yet, you may find yourself still worrying about how others perceive your celebration. You may still be worrying about whether this pregnancy will last.

Even harder to deal with are the negative sides of pregnancy. Morning sickness, fatigue, aches and pains. Reaching out and talking about these woes may make you feel less alone, but you don't. You don't because how can you complain after all the years of trying? How can you whine about morning sickness when you promised yourself, if you ever got pregnant, you would celebrate dry heaving all day long?

If you can relate to the above, you're not alone. It's the catch-22 of pregnancy after infertility. Compared to a couple who conceives practically effortlessly, you have more reason to be excited and joyful. Yet joy may feel far away, or feel very close but come with a heavy helping if guilt.

I don't have a great antidote to this problem, but I can tell you this:

  • Don't be afraid to celebrate. You will look back at your pregnancy and regret holding back your joy, especially if you lose the pregnancy (oddly enough). This doesn't mean you need to be worry-free and joyful all day long, but at least take five minutes every day to feel celebratory about the growing baby inside.
  • Don't be afraid to announce your pregnancy with joy. Your infertile friends will understand, and in fact, they will want you to celebrate. Try your best not to downplay your excitement; try your best not to apologize for your Big-Fat-Positive. Remember that the heartache your fertile friends may experience is not related to you being pregnant, but related to their own struggle. Your pregnancy may actually give them hope.
  • Don't be afraid to complain. Pregnancy is a blessing, but its side effects can be a pain in the you-know-what! No one wants morning sickness. No one wants to feel at the edge of tears all day long. They want the pregnancy! Complaining about the negative side effects of pregnancy is not the same as complaining about the pregnancy.

Are you pregnant after infertility? Share your experiences in the comments below, and feel free to offer advice to those facing the same catch-22s. I'd love to hear from you!

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