When you’re dealing with infertility, one thing is constant: it’s a truly awful experience. But it’s also important to remember that although it can feel lonely - you’re not alone.
Truthfully, 1 in 8 women will experience difficulty getting pregnant, and 1 in 4 will experience the loss of a pregnancy.
Infertility means not being able to get pregnant after a year of trying (or six months if you’re 35 or older), something millions of people face each year.
But dealing with the very real possibility of never conceiving or giving birth to biological children goes way beyond any statistic.
Infertility means you’re no stranger to stress, sadness, and disappointment after negative tests, loss, and frustrating doctor’s visits.
Turns out, becoming a mama can be a really long, heartbreaking journey.
How does infertility affect your life and health?
It’s easy to underestimate how difficult dealing with infertility is until you experience it yourself.
It can leave you questioning everything - from your confidence and your body to your relationship and your friendships.
And although the causes of infertility vary (and sometimes aren’t even known!), the emotions are usually the same: sadness, anger, shock, and feeling like you’ve lost control of what you wanted your life to look like.
The strain infertility can put on your relationship is undeniable too.
Trying for a baby is emotional anyway, but not being able to when that’s all you can even think about is devastating.
You might feel resentful, angry, and it could well push you to your limits as a couple.
But remember, be honest, be supportive, and don’t blame each other.
You’re in this together.
Opening up to your friends and family might look a little like this: unsolicited advice, old wives tales, and the classic ‘just relax, it’ll happen!’.
A lot of people don’t know what to say, so make sure you’re clear about how your inner circle can support you.
And when it comes to catching up with friends who are expecting, or friends who have children, don’t feel guilty about taking some time away - they’re relentless reminders that you’re not pregnant, and it hurts. They’ll understand.
And if that wasn’t enough fertility-related stress, you might also have to deal with expensive treatment, horrible medication side effects, and invasive surgeries.
How to cope with infertility
Dealing with failed cycles, pregnancy losses, persistent negative tests, and confusing medications is not easy, and we know we can’t take your pain away.
But these small tips will help remind you that you’re not alone, and there are healthy ways to make things ever-so-slightly better.
1. Don’t play the blame game
It’s all too easy to start blaming yourself, your partner, or some random circumstance that could’ve left you struggling to conceive, but this will only make things tougher.
Infertility is rarely preventable or predictable, so your best bet is to focus on what you can control and try to be kind to yourself - you’re going through something really difficult!
2. Acknowledge your feelings
And address them properly, please!
Don’t pretend your emotions don’t exist - your feelings are valid and it’s perfectly okay to feel however it is that you feel.
Be honest with yourself, your friends, your family, your partner, and find healthy outlets for your emotions.
Whether that’s therapy, journaling, exercise, meditation - you name it!
Whatever needs to be done, do it.
We need you to be okay.
3. Join our infertility support groups
Here at Peanut, we believe that trying to conceive should be a supported journey - not kept in the shadows, but met with shared experience, compassion, and community.
Joining our support groups, or connecting with other women on Peanut who are struggling to conceive can be truly invaluable - the more we speak about our experiences, the less isolating they become!
4. Get clued up
An infertility diagnosis can leave you feeling hopeless and isolated.
Reading up on causes, treatment options, and other women’s experiences (Peanut’s good for that!) can really help you come to terms with what you’re going through.
5. Talk to someone.
A counselor or therapist can help you figure out your emotions and establish health strategies for dealing with them.
Your doctor can refer you to a practitioner, or you could always ask for recommendations in your local infertility group on Peanut.
6. Remember that your self-worth is not based on your fertility.
Read this, read it again, and then repeat it out loud.
We know you feel broken right now, but you’re still the amazing woman you were before your fertility journey.
Don’t lose her.
There is far more to you than your ability to have children.
How to support someone with infertility
If you aren’t struggling yourself, but know someone who is, we know it can be hard to know what to say and how to help.
Although every situation is different, here are some general do’s and don’ts:
- Do tell them that you’re there for them, and that you’re sorry.
- Don’t offer unsolicited advice such as, ‘just relax, it’ll happen!’.
- Do understand if they can’t attend your baby shower, or talk about your pregnancy.
- Don’t push alternative routes to parenthood, like adoption or fostering - it’s their choice.
A simple “I’m so sorry, this must be so difficult for you.
Please know that I’m here whenever you need to talk”, is impactful.
No need to share advice, just because it was right for you doesn’t mean it’s right for someone else.
Accepting infertility is a long and difficult journey.
So, even though you may not understand what your loved one is going through, do your best to be patient, kind, and understanding as they weather this storm.