No one ever expects to face infertility, but for many couples, it is a harsh reality. Right after they hear the news, it can be an extremely difficult and emotionally charged time for both partners, as well as for their families.
Infertility could be defined as the inability to become pregnant after one year of trying (or 6 months if a woman is older than 35).
There are three main categories of causes for infertility: female, male and unbalanced hormones. In about 10% of cases, there is no identifiable cause for infertility; this is called unexplained infertility.
About 30% of infertility is due to problems with the male partner, about 30% is attributed to issues with the female partner, and 30% is due to the combination of both partners. Infertility itself does have two forms, which are primary and secondary infertility.
In this article, you can find how infertility impacts the mental health of the person and the family. You can also find the different research-proven strategies and techniques that you or your family can do to cope and help when diagnosed as infertile.
Infertility’s impacts on mental health
It’s no secret that trying to conceive can be a stressful and emotional time. But what’s often not talked about is the impact infertility can have on your mental health.
Infertility can take a toll on your mental health in more ways than one. It is proven that not having children has a significant effect on a couple’s mental health. If you’re struggling to conceive, you may find yourself feeling anxious, depressed, or even hopeless. You may feel like you’re not in control of your body or your life. And you may feel isolated and alone like no one understands what you’re going through.
It is also shown that stress and anxiety in an infertile couple are due to medical interventions such as treatment. One of the main reasons is the high rates of failure from the treatment itself.
Other than that, the unaffordability of an infertility treatment cost, especially for couples in a country where infertility treatments are not covered by insurance, could also increase their anxiety and depression.
Based on research, infertility could also cause several relationship problems. From the intervention of others, infertility in a couple could cause family conflict that eventually leads to divorce and remarriage among a lot of them.
Strategies to cope with infertility
Even though hearing news of infertility in your family can be tough, there are things you can do to help yourself and your family during this difficult time, which are:
Always look after your mental health. You should always keep your confidence in yourself and try to think that this is just another problem that you and your family have to go through. Always remember that you have dealt with a lot of problems together and don’t break down easily when you are faced with these kinds of problems. Think that the medical treatments are just stages that you need to go through to be able to conquer these obstacles in your life.
In a family, of course, there will always be family gatherings like on Thanksgiving or any other holiday. That gathering will also be a place for conversations such as having a baby or raising kids. For sure, that is a lot to take for someone who’s having an infertility problem.
So the best thing you can do as a family to support an infertile couple is, don’t force them to come. If they are feeling uncomfortable, then just let them be. Instead, you can just arrange a gathering of your own nuclear family with maybe a couple of friends, or just take a vacation and go on a short getaway with them.
Seek information and support
If you are struggling with infertility, it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many resources and support groups available to help you and your family cope with this difficult situation.
You should always seek information and support, whether from friends, family, or professionals. Even though the best and easiest way to find support is through your spouse, it can never go wrong if you also seek support from external sources.
When infertility hits you, it won’t be just you who will get hit by the news, the impact of the news can also affect your spouse. The pressure can make it hard for you both to sort out and work on the problem together.
As a family or friend, one of the best things you can do to help an infertile couple is to give your wholesome support. That way, the person will feel supported and not feel like going through this problem alone.
Research has shown that positive reappraisal is one of the most successful coping mechanisms when it comes to infertility. Try to think about more positive events in your life, think ahead, and learn from the experience.
When dealing with your infertile spouse, you should also think about what you can do to help them. This will surely make them feel more positive and loved in their life.
Keeping yourself busy will always work when you are faced with certain obstacles in life. Work or exercise can act as a distraction from the persistent anxiety and stress that you might feel when you are doing nothing, which can make overthinking make you feel more guilty and pressured.
Other than that, while you’re doing these things, you can take the accomplishment as a self-reward which will boost your self-confidence.
If caring for an infertile friend or family member, take them somewhere. Go on a vacation and do some fun activities. Whatever it is, just help them keep busy in their life, as it will also help them with the problem that they are facing, even if it is just for a while.
Infertility is something that could impact your and your family’s mental health. The news can be heartbreaking, and the medical treatment could hurt you emotionally and financially. But when you are hit with it, you sure have to know that certain things could be used as a coping mechanism to handle this infertility problem together with your family, to make it seem that this problem is just another obstacle in your life that you have to face together.
As a family or friend, you can do a lot of things to help someone who happens to face this problem and one of which is to always support them.
If you would like to know more about coping with infertility, visit the Family Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other learning tools and resources. Check out the Family Science Labs today.
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