How an Infertility Diagnosis Affects Your Mental Health

If you’ve been trying to get pregnant without success, you may be experiencing anger, frustration, depression, and even grief. When you encounter a situation that’s out of your control, your mental health may suffer. And when relatives ask when your little bundle of joy is going to appear, that can make you feel even worse.

You may end up blaming yourself for the problem. And having to time when you have sex can dampen your libido after months of trying. Studies show that stress doesn’t cause infertility, but infertility can cause stress. Furthermore, couples who have multiple miscarriages may even experience post-traumatic stress disorder.  

And as your infertility goes on, your relationship may also experience a bumpy ride. Your anxiety, depression, and anger can affect your partner, who is likely having the same emotional ride. Some studies indicate that couples who are unable to have a baby after undergoing fertility treatments are more likely to divorce than couples who are able to have a child. Psychologists say that if grief due to failed fertility treatments stays unresolved, it can be too painful for some people to remain in the relationship.

Get professional help for your mental health

During your journey through infertility, inventory your mental health. You may be unable to make simple decisions or unable to take care of yourself. Are you constantly tired or sad? Do you cry frequently? These are signs of depression. 

Many mental health therapists specialize in helping patients who are experiencing infertility. Marsha K. Howerton, MD, can provide referrals for not only fertility treatment, but also mental health counselors. 

Things you can do to help your mental health

Outside of seeking professional help, there are a number of things you can do on your own to help you cope on your journey through infertility.

Stay in the present

No one has total control over the future, including people who do have children. Focus on your life now. 

Don’t blame yourself

Infertility can result from advanced age, medical conditions, and congenital issues. Your stress isn’t causing you to be infertile.

Practice positive self-talk

Your thoughts are powerful. Despairing thoughts can lead to hopelessness. Instead, remind yourself that there are a variety of ways to build a family. Psychologists call this cognitive restructuring.  

Take care of yourself

Get plenty of sleep, exercise, and healthy food. In short, be kind to yourself. 

Get support 

If you can connect with others — such as friends and family — about your experience, they can help support you. You can also contact fertility organizations, such as RESOLVE, and join other people who are facing the same challenges as you.

To get compassionate care for all your gynecological needs, book an appointment online or over the phone with Marsha K. Howerton, MD, today.

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