Struggling to conceive a baby naturally can have a tremendous impact on people physically, emotionally, relationally and socially. Treatment for infertility requires a great deal of time and investment and the emotions that come with it can feel like a rollercoaster. You may feel angry, anxious, depressed, disappointed and even a sense of shame. In a society, which is baby focused and defines women’s role and identity in line with motherhood and child-rearing, the pressure to conceive can bring a huge sense of isolation.
A recent survey from Middlesex University revealed that 90% of participants reported feeling depressed and 42% experienced suicidal feelings. This demonstrates the gravity of infertility and the devastating difficulties it can bring.
As a couple, many people even find that fertility problems impact the intimacy and sexual connectivity in their relationship. This added complex layer to one’s relationship can feel extremely difficult to process and may feel as though the foundations of the relationship are changing. These struggles can be rooted in how a couple are coping with infertility on an individual level as well. Both individuals within the relationship may go through a period of mourning. You may be mourning a loss of what could have been or you may feel a great injustice has been done to you, which may lead you to ruminate on how things “should” have been. The experience may even bring to surface feelings on what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man. This is a deeply complex process which can bring a relational strain.
You may come to a point when you consider all the other alternative routes to creating a family. You may consider going for IVF treatment, which is unique journey bringing further ups and downs emotionally, but also has implications for your finances.
In recent years, a greater importance has been placed on accessing emotional support when people are experiencing infertility issues and undergoing IVF treatment.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) advise individuals and couples should access psychological therapy so they have an opportunity to explore feelings around fertility more. The British Infertility Counselling Association (BICA) are a British charity and the only professional counselling association recognised by the British Fertility Society (BFS) in the UK.
Dr Rima Lamba has received foundation training in infertility counselling at BICA.
Whilst this journey may feel isolating, it does not need to be, Blue River Psychology can be a space for you to explore feelings around infertility, go ahead and contact us. Let yourself have that space!