The joys of parenthood are sometimes overshadowed by the emotions of infertility and struggles to conceive. Often we hear about the problems associated with postpartum body issues and depression, but the process of trying to get pregnant still isn’t a common topic in society.
Part of the reason for this is that many couples who are having problems conceiving keep the matter to themselves. This is especially true for couples who have announced a previous pregnancy that led to a miscarriage or have begun being asked by others if they plan to have children.
Infertility is a painful, sometimes embarrassing, topic for many men and women. But it’s important for couples to acknowledge the emotions they are feeling so they can better manage stress and find ways to cope while trying to have a baby.
Many men and women experience an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. They can’t get pregnant and don’t know why. It seems like the cards are stacked against you, and no matter how hard you try your efforts don’t pay off.
Fortunately, couples can take a more proactive role in their family planning these days and have options for overcoming infertility issues. Even if in vitro fertilization or other treatments don’t work, there’s always the possibility of using a surrogate to have a child that’s completely or partly yours biologically.
Feelings of Hopelessness
Feeling hopeless is something that most people dealing with infertility run into at some point. After a year of trying to conceive without success (which is the standard benchmark for infertility), many people stop because they feel like it’s a hopeless endeavor. Some people assume since there are so many unplanned pregnancies that getting pregnant should be fairly easy.
The truth of the matter is your chances of getting pregnant in any given month is low, and only 38% of women get pregnant after the first month of trying. The older you are the lower that percentage will be, but 86% of women under 35 are able to conceive after a year of trying.
There are so many things that can lead to infertility or simply make it more difficult to get pregnant. Stressing out about how you aren’t getting pregnant could be the very thing causing the problem. Many women are also slightly off on when ovulation occurs, which is vital for conceiving.
Before giving up couples should seek the assistance of a fertility specialist. They can check hormone levels, semen count and egg quality to determine if there’s an underlying issue that can be corrected.
Feeling abnormal seems natural for men and women that are faced with infertility. However, you aren’t a freak of nature. The Center for Disease Control notes that 12% of women between the ages of 15-44 have infertility problems. Also, 7.5% of men under 45 years old reported in the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth that they sought help with infertility.
It may seem like you’re going through the problem alone, but infertility is much more common than most people realize.
Frustration is often a precursor to feeling hopeless. You keep trying and want to get pregnant so bad but nothing happens. Every month that passes the frustration builds. Patience is a virtue when it comes to parenting. As noted above, it takes up to a year for many couples to conceive.
Resentment towards others who are pregnant can start to creep in. Other people’s joy becomes a reminder that you aren’t yet pregnant. Instead of feeling happy for family and friends, it’s easy to begin feeling resentment.
Understand that no one is trying to make you feel inferior or rubbing it in that they’re pregnant and you’re not. Most of the time people aren’t even aware another person is struggling with infertility.
Try to focus on the fact that every pregnancy you see means it’s a possibility. It’s not this pie in the sky thing, but something that actually occurs. If you find yourself feeling resentful towards family and friends that are expecting and need a little space – take it. It may also be a good idea to join a support group that can help you sort through your feelings so you don’t miss an important event in the lives of the people you care about.
Failure is possibly the most common feeling that couples have after they try for months without conceiving. There’s a nagging thought that pregnancy is a natural thing that you’re naturally supposed to be able to do with minimal effort. It’s easy to begin feeling like you’re a failure or that your body is working against you.
The body is very complex. One thing being slightly off can throw everything out of whack. Infertility is often something you don’t have control over so failure on your part isn’t the problem. Instead of focusing on how things are going wrong with conception, anytime you feel down think about all of the things you do well. It’s a reminder that you’re successful at the things you do have control over.
At the end of the day, once you have a child — whether it’s natural or by surrogate — through adoption or with the help of in vitro, you will realize the struggle was worth it. You’ll feel the pride and love of being a parent no matter how your child came into your life.