2 Ways to Cope with Stress during Fertility Treatment
An infertility diagnosis can really throw you for a loop. Many of us assume that when we are ready to build our families, we will be able to do so with relative ease – not that we will need fertility treatment plans, medications, donors or surrogates. The path to parenthood is different for everyone, and it’s important to understand that an infertility diagnosis is not the end of the road. You have options, and your fertility specialist will work through these options with you one-on-one to help decide what’s best.
As you work through this process, you may find that the stress of fertility treatment seems overwhelming, that your family and friends can’t relate, and that your usual stress outlets aren’t as helpful as they once were. This is to be expected since education and awareness about the fertility community is still growing. Maybe we’re not yet at the point where we can expect everyone in our lives to understand what it’s like to take medication that affects your mood or to pick out an egg donor to help start your family. Fortunately, a world of resources is available today to ease the stress that may accompany the path to parenthood.
Become a lightning rod for awareness.
It can be an intimidating process—talking friends and family through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or gestational surrogacy—but the more people know about your fertility journey, the more they are able to support and empathize with you. Of course, no one is saying that you should speak about things you deem private or too personal to reveal. Only when you’re comfortable speaking, it can be so helpful to be able to answer questions of friends and family with a quiet confidence, instead of relying on the misconceptions they’ve picked up over time. If you face insensitive or illogical questions or statements, it’s perfectly okay to correct the speaker and share what you’ve learned as a fertility patient.
Consider a fertility support group.
Fertility support groups are far more diverse and convenient than you may expect. Support groups come in many forms (including in-person and online) and cater to female and male factor fertility, LGBTQ, unexplained infertility, secondary infertility and more. You are free to share or not share information during support group meetings, and many patients report finding great comfort in speaking with other couples or individuals who share a similar experience with infertility.