All women who are trying to get pregnant suddenly see expectant moms and babies everywhere. When you have trouble conceiving yourself, you'll feel sad and jealous as well as happy for friends and relatives who are expecting. You will, without a doubt, be wondering when it's your turn, and if you will ever experience the joys of motherhood. Talking about your fertility struggles with fertile friends is likely to make you feel worse, instead of better. Your partner may not be much help either; men tend to deal with difficult emotions by pretending they don't exist.
Are you depressed?
It's no wonder that infertility and depression are great friends, but recognizing the difference between "regular old sadness" and actually depression may be harder. Depression takes all the joy out of life, and makes you feel unmotivated for months at a time. You may be anxious, worried, angry, and in despair. Depression completely takes over your life, and makes you unable to enjoy much of the stuff you once loved. When you are depressed, you don't just mourn your pregnancy that didn't happen, you just can't seem to feel anything positive anything anymore. Depression can also trigger physical symptoms like crying, insomnia, and a lack of appetite.
Depression doesn't go away by itself. Some people need medication to overcome depression, but a great psychologist may be able to help you overcome depression with therapy alone, too. When my husband and I couldn't get pregnant, I was down about changed life plans, and frankly angry at the world. I'd never been in therapy before, but a friend referred me to a wonderful woman who made me see the sunny side of life again with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
After I was done with therapy, I had the strength to try fertility treatment but only after I accepted that we may never have kids at all. Once we started trying with Intrauterine Insemination, infertility was no longer a burden on our marriage, and we tackled it as a common adventure that may just end with us finding the treasure. If you are attempting to get pregnant with fertility treatments like Clomid, keep in mind that many fertility drugs can cause mood swings and negative feelings as well. Talk to your reproductive endocrinologist about this, as well as to your therapist if you have one. Whether you are depressed or "simply" sad about being infertile, there are a few other things that can really help you find acceptance. You may try:
- Having a good support network around you has immense benefits, but you won't feel better when people around you don't understand what you are going through. Back when we were trying to get pregnant through Intrauterine Insemination, chatting with other friends who were infertile or had been there in the past saved my sanity. When you complain, they never answer with "relax, and you will get pregnant". The internet is a wonderful place to find others going through fertility treatments or who are coming to terms with remaining childless.
- Write about your feelings. Starting a blog will allow you to vent, as well as meet others who truly understand.
- Think about volunteering. Helping others definitely has the potential to make you feel useful, and can be very therapeutic. Old peoples' homes, pet shelters, and soup kitchens are all places where your presence will really offer something. Volunteering keeps your mind off your own struggles for a bit, and can actually help you beat depression.
- If you're religious, or even if you aren't, praying and attending services at your chosen house of worship may give you strength and peace in your life.