Motherhood is a milestone in life that women look forward to in general. However, some women struggle with infertility. There is still so much stigma surrounding this condition. Because of this stigma, women suffer from emotional pain and trauma.
If you are going through this difficult situation, know that you are not alone. Seeking professional counseling is one way to cope with this condition.
Infertility Among Women
Infertility is a medical condition that affects both men and women. But women suffer from the stigma of infertility more than men. Women are more vulnerable to suffer trauma, depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety due to infertility.
A woman is infertile when she and her partner have been unsuccessful in their attempts to conceive for a year or more. Many factors affect infertility among women, such as:
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
- Ovulation issues
- Implantation issues
Infertility can cause serious emotional damage to women who want to have children. If their efforts for the past year have been unsuccessful, it’s normal to feel disappointed and blame themselves. However, infertility is not anyone’s fault. It’s a serious reproductive condition that affects 1 out of every 6 couples.
Since infertility is a medical condition, your physician can make some treatment suggestions. Your physician might prescribe you certain medications. They might suggest that you undergo several medical procedures. You may also be asked to follow strict health protocols. They will base this on your medical history and whether you have any current conditions.
However, these solutions are not cheap. Fertility pills, artificial insemination, and other treatments can break the bank. Because there are other factors at play, these treatments also cannot guarantee to improve your fertility.
Even couples who get tested for infertility can pass a medical test and still not conceive for more than a year. Extreme stress and anxiety with the expectations to conceive can also affect fertility.
If your stress and anxiety build-up, your physician might refer you to a mental health professional to properly assess the other factors affecting fertility.
Mental Health Issues
You may need to seek a professional who has a background in infertility counseling and regularly deals with women’s reproductive issues. It can be beneficial to seek their advice to learn how to cope with the distress and trauma of infertility. Your infertility is negatively affecting your life if you have the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Irregular or lack of sleep
- Loss of interest in your usual hobbies
- Suicidal thoughts
Many problems that women face with infertility are due to the narrative of building a family. Society expects women to be homemakers and child-bearers.
Women often carry this expectation throughout their lives. Finding out that they are infertile brings about feelings of shame and guilt.
Infertility can also cause stress and tension in a relationship. When there are expectations for the woman to conceive, it can cause misunderstandings. The man might pin all the blame on the woman. Both might even have different opinions on how to treat infertility.
It does not help that some people place a lot of value on having children. They can be nosy about family affairs, which puts unnecessary pressure on the relationship. The inability to conceive, in turn, can feel like an invisible loss.
When To Seek Counseling For Your Infertility
There are many challenges to face when trying to overcome anxiety and depression caused by infertility. It can cause stress for both you and your partner, and it could be hard to make a compromise.
You may have discussed possible medical solutions with your doctor. When your depression takes control of your life and your relationship, it’s time to seek professional help. An infertility counselor can give you sound suggestions and advice. This way, you can address your concerns and decide when to take the next step.
How Counseling Is Beneficial
It is much harder to deal with grief without anyone to talk to. Having a counselor helps you feel that you are not alone. These professionals will give you a safe space to communicate your issues and concerns effectively. Letting out the feelings and thoughts that you have helps manage your stress and anxiety.
Fertility issues cause not only physical and emotional stress. This condition can also drain you financially. Your infertility counselor can help you decide where to go next. Some couples may consider adoption, or some may not. Some may opt to continue medical treatment for infertility, and some may not.
It all depends on what the couple wants. What’s important is to make a decision that you and your partner will both be happy about.
A counselor might mention that your feelings of guilt may stem from social norms, such as expecting a woman to conceive a child. You may have grown up with this belief throughout your life and have set the ability to bear and rear children as the basis of your identity.
Not meeting this expectation might make you feel defective and incapable. You may feel like you have lost the opportunity to nurture and care for a child. You may think that you will never measure up to your mother. These thoughts and feelings are intrusive and can consume you. Your counselor can help you understand that your medical condition does not define you. Your counselor will help you realize that your value and worth as a woman do not come from motherhood alone.
Seek A Counselor
When you plan to achieve a milestone in life, it is important to assess your expectations. Having children is a huge commitment, and many people center their lives around that future.
To love and care for another person more than yourself is a gift. However, sometimes things do not always go our way. We have no control over the future. We need to learn how to be content with ourselves.
Seeking advice from an infertility counselor is the best decision you can make for yourself and your partner. Coupled with medical health, your counselor can help you choose a healthy way to cope with fertility issues. This way, you can come to terms with your condition. You are a step closer to healing, forgiving yourself, and living worry-free.