When trying to get pregnant takes longer than you first expected, it can quickly take over your life. Infertility is extremely difficult emotionally, and the fertility challenged can get sucked into a whirlpool of sadness and obsession.
While we can't change our circumstances, we can change how we face the challenge. Here are 10 ways to cope and keep infertility from taking over your life.
Don't Let the Two Week Wait Take Over
The two week wait is a time of high stress for most women trying to conceive. If you want to stop letting the two week wait take over your life, you need to focus on other things and people during that time.
This is the time to plan a date with your partner or a girls-night-out with your friends. This is a good time to go see that movie you always wanted to see, or to get started on some home or craft project.
Your two week wait obsessions may still linger in the back of your mind, but that's much better than letting them sit in the front seat.
Stop Letting Your Period's Arrival Pull You Down for Days
Most women aren't thrilled when their monthly period comes, but when you're trying to conceive, you're likely to feel upset. Getting your period is a pretty definitive sign that this month was another failure. Whatever hope you had that this time was going to work is squashed.
If you've experienced miscarriages, getting your period may not only signal another failed cycle, but also remind you of previous losses. Until I had a good amount of therapy, periods were intense reminders of my inability to get pregnant and stay pregnant.
No one expects you to be cheery on the first day of your cycle - but don't let it pull you down for days or weeks. You end up feeling depressed the first week of your cycles, ambivalent or obsessed with ovulating the next week or so of your cycle, and then anxious during the last two weeks of your cycle. That's no way to live!
- How to Cope with Your Period's Arrival
- When the Pregnancy Test Is Negative: What It Means, How to Cope
Remember and Reclaim What You Used to Love
The stress of infertility can get our minds so wrapped up in getting pregnant that we forget what we used to do for fun. Get some paper and a pen, and start making a list of everything you can possibly think of that you used to love doing. Feel free to even write down what made you laugh when you were a kid - why not?
If you're having trouble, call up a friend or have your partner help you out. Ask them directly what they remember doing together with you that made you smile. See how many items you can add to the list. Aim for 50!
Then, post your list where you'll see it every day. Hopefully, on the days you're feeling really down, you'll see the list and take action on something you wrote.
Spend More Romantic Time with Your Partner
Infertility is notorious for turning sex into a chore. What used to be a passionate time to connect intimately with your partner may now feel like a task - one with a seemingly unattainable goal. When the sexual relationship breaks down, the every-day parts of your relationship may soon follow.
It's important to give attention to the relationship you have with your partner. Take time to talk to each other about how infertility is impacting your relationship, and what you both need to feel more connected.
Remember that list of fun things I asked you to make? I bet several are activities you do with others. You may even want to make a new list together, featuring the activities you'd like to do as a couple.
- How to Improve Your Sex Life When TTC
- How TTC Changes Your Sex Life
- Ways to Add Romance to Your Dating Relationship
- Romantic Date Ideas
- A Month of Dates
Make Time for Relaxation and Self-Care
Taking care of yourself does not just mean eating right and seeing your doctor for check-ups. It also means making time for relaxation.
Relaxation may mean taking a long bubble bath, or it might mean turning up the music and dancing yourself silly in your living room. Relaxation might be meditation, yoga, or an art class.
There are several mind-body therapies that can help you relax, and some have been shown to improve pregnancy rates. They're worth trying!
- Mind-Body Therapies for Infertility
- Guided Imagery: Help for Fertility
- Acupuncture Basics
- Readers Share Experiences with Yoga for Fertility
Make Time to Acknowledge the Difficult Feelings
Taking back your life from infertility doesn't mean pretending infertility doesn't have a strong effect on your emotions. In fact, making time to acknowledge the difficult feelings can help you feel freer and more relaxed afterwards.
One way to express yourself is through writing. Writing can be healing, and the fertility community has a wonderful blog community. If you don't have a blog yet, consider starting one. If you have one, get more involved with the fertility bloggers.
Writing out your story can also help, and you can share your blog and your trying to get pregnant story here at About.com.
- When You Need to Cry
- How and Why to Keep a Fertility Blog
- Share Your Trying to Get Pregnant Story with About.com
- Share Your Fertility Blog with About.com
Join a Support Group
Many couples with infertility feel isolated. It seems as if all their friends and family are getting pregnant, raising children, and moving on with the next phase of their lives. In the meantime, you're left alone, trying to get pregnant and feeling like the only childless couple left (or only couple who can't have more kids.)
This is how a support group can help. You'll be with other couples who really get it. To find a support group near you, speak to your fertility clinic or call your local RESOLVE representative.
Don't be Ashamed to Seek Professional Help
Support groups are a good place to connect with others, but sometimes, you need more personal attention. Depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are common in infertility patients, and counseling can help you work through the difficult emotions that infertility brings.
Some therapists have special training or experience with infertility, and they can also help you with making informed decisions regarding treatment and moving forward. Therapy may also help a couple whose relationship is struggling, or a couple who can't agree on what to do next.
- Quiz: Are You Depressed?
- Infertility and Depression 101
- Reasons to See a Fertility Counselor
- How to Find a Fertility Therapist
- Checklist: Signs of Infertility-Related Depression
Let Your Friends Support You
Sometimes we're so busy trying to protect ourselves from our family-oriented friends that we forget that they are still the same people who were our childless best buddies not too long ago.
Friends and family often want to support you, but they don't know how. They are afraid of saying the wrong thing, or not saying the right thing. Don't wait for them to read your mind.
Does your sister complain about her morning sickness too often? Ask her if she could not talk so much about her pregnancy, but you would love to just chat about some new movies or a book you both read. Let friends and family know when you just need a shoulder to cry on.
Sometimes friends and family can't support you because you haven't given them a chance - you've never told them! Not every person is the right person to tell, as unfortunately, not all people are equally tactful in this arena. But chances are you have at least a few friends and family who would be.
- 10 Things to Stop Doing If You Want to Support Someone with Infertility (for your friends and family)
- Answering Questions on When You Plan on Having Kids
- Should You Tell People About Your Infertility?
- Readers Share: Telling Others About Infertility
Don't be Afraid to Take a Break
If trying to get pregnant has truly taken over your life, and all your efforts to take things back are not working, it may be time to step away for awhile. Taking a break from trying to conceive can help you get a handle on your regular life.
I personally took a two year break in the middle of my trying to get pregnant, and it made a huge difference. It gave me the time I needed to pull myself back together, and start trying again with renewed strength. You may not need as long as a break, of course.
You should speak to your doctor about how long of a break is ok. If you're over 35, time may be a factor. But you should be able to at least take a couple months off, if not several.
More on coping while trying to conceive:
- Quiz: Are You Depressed?
- 10 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself
- How TTC Affects Your Sex Life
- How to Cope During the Two Week Wait
- Emotional Impact of Infertility
- Coping with Fertility Test Anxiety
- How to Have a Baby When You've Been Trying for Awhile
- Take a Fertility Quiz
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