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 possibility of being childless not by choice is a hard pill to swallow.
Infertility means you’re no stranger to stress, sadness, and disappointment after negative tests, loss, and frustrating doctor’s visits.
Infertility depression and infertility grief are very real things to go through, and while we can’t take the pain away, we can share some tips on how to cope with infertility from our TTC community on Peanut.
Turns out, becoming a mama can be a really long, heartbreaking journey.
Let’s take the journey together.
In this article: 📝
- How does infertility affect your life and health?
- How to support someone with infertility
- Does the pain of infertility ever go away?
- Can you overcome infertility?
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 of infertility 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 being childless not by choice 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 things like infertility anger, and infertility grief 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, medication side effects, and invasive surgeries.
How stressful is infertility?
If you’re dealing with infertility, you don’t need us to tell you that infertility can be super stressful.
From sex feeling like a chore to lots of fertility tests, pregnancy tests, blood tests… all sorts of tests ‒ on a scale of 1-10, infertility stress can get up to 11.
How to cope with infertility
Dealing with infertility ‒ failed cycles, pregnancy losses, persistent negative tests, confusing medications, and treatment cycles ‒ is not easy, and we know we can’t take your pain away.
But these small tips from our Peanut community can help remind you that you’re not alone, and there are healthy ways to make things ever-so-slightly better, to help you find the right balance between accepting infertility and keeping onto that infertility hope.
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 with infertility, 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!
If you’re dealing with infertility as a single person, it can feel lonely, especially if you’re trying to conceive with costly infertility treatments.
But it’s not your fault. Putting the blame on yourself will only make things harder.
2. Acknowledge your feelings
And address them properly, please!
Don’t pretend your emotions of infertility don’t exist ‒ your feelings are valid and it’s perfectly okay to feel however it is that you feel.
Even feeling infertility anger is perfectly fine. We’ll say it again: your feelings are valid.
Be honest with yourself, your friends, your family, your partner, and find healthy outlets for your emotions.
Whether that’s therapy, keeping an infertility journal, 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 infertility 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 of coping with infertility, the less isolating they become!
4. Get clued up
An infertility diagnosis can leave you feeling hopeless and isolated.
Reading up on all kinds of infertility resources ‒ 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.
Infertility therapy has helped a lot of our TTC community on Peanut to understand their emotions of infertility, helping to ease the burden of struggling with infertility.
Your doctor can refer you to a practitioner, or you could always ask for recommendations in your local infertility group, sort of like an infertility chatroom, on Peanut.
6. Try some infertility self-care
One of the nicest things you can do dealing with infertility depression is infertility self-care.
We’re talking meditation (as we mentioned before), taking time to do the things you love to do, as much exercise as you’re comfortable doing, and indulging in your favorite foods.
7. Dealing with pregnant friends during infertility
This one’s really tough.
When you feel like all my friends are getting pregnant and I can’t or everyone is getting pregnant but me, it can feel doubly lonely, like the people around you will never understand what you’re going through.
If you’re wondering how to cope with infertility when everyone is pregnant, the best advice we can give is to find people going through the same thing as you.
We’re not saying to stop talking to your pregnant friends or mom friends, more to open up lines of communication with other people dealing with infertility.
When it comes to dealing with infertility and pregnant friends, we know we’re not the first to say that it can really hurts.
Hang in there, you’re just as valid and important as your pregnant friends.
8. Grieving after IVF failure
Grieving after IVF failure is a special kind of infertility grief.
IVF is often expensive, complex, and time-consuming, and can take a toll on the person going through it.
So finding out you’re not pregnant after IVF can feel like a loss in itself.
It might help you feel less alone to know that IVF success rates range from 55% to 4% ‒ a pretty big range that basically starts with a 50:50 success rate at best.
IVF depression can be complicated ‒ most of the time, depression isn’t brought on by just one factor, so IVF depression should be treated just like ‘normal’ depression.
If you feel you might have IVF depression, reach out to your healthcare provider. You can get through this.
9. How to cope with infertility at Christmas
Christmas is a particularly tough time of year for people dealing with infertility.
Families going caroling, children opening presents on Christmas Day, all the family-friendly Christmas films… we hear you.
Here are a few tips from our TTC community on Peanut on how to cope with infertility at Christmas:
- Keep yourself busy: It’s a temporary solution, but, just over the festive period, distracting yourself from any infertility struggles can help get you through.
- Reach out to other people: Particularly those who are also dealing with infertility. Talking about it can work wonders.
- Try some infertility self-care: Like going for walks outside, your preferred form of exercise (yes, sex counts!), meditation, bubble baths, pamper days, settling down to your favorite Christmas movie, whatever works for you!
- Take a break: Whenever you need to, you can just not do the Christmassy things. You don’t even need to justify it or explain yourself, just sit out any activities you don’t want to do.
10. 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.
Does the pain of infertility ever go away?
This sounds bad, but for a lot of people, no, it doesn’t go away.
But you know the saying “time heals all wounds”? Well, it doesn’t really heal wounds, but it does help reduce the emotions of infertility.
And some people do find that the pain of infertility does go away ‒ being childless not by choice doesn’t mean that you can’t have children in your life at all.
After all, every family looks different.
Why does infertility hurt so much?
Dealing with infertility depression can be physically, mentally, and spiritually painful.
It’s because you’re grieving.
Coping with infertility grief can be just the same as any other type of grief.
Is infertility a trauma?
Yes, for some people, infertility is a trauma.
No matter the cause for infertility, or how much infertility hope you have, there’s no denying that, for a lot of people trying to conceive, infertility is traumatizing.
Which is why seeking help from a therapist or another healthcare professional is a totally valid response ‒ just like any other trauma.
Can you overcome infertility?
Yes, you can overcome infertility.
But overcoming infertility can have different meanings for different people.
For some, overcoming infertility is accepting infertility.
For others, it’s holding onto their infertility hope and being able to conceive and have a baby ‒ whether that’s using fertility treatments or not.
And for some people dealing with infertility, it’s going down another route, like adopting, surrogacy, or fostering.
But overcoming infertility can take time, so the best thing you can do for yourself when it comes to coping with infertility is to give yourself time.
We’re here for you. You don’t have to go through dealing with infertility alone.
💡 You might like:
75 Infertility Quotes That Will Help You Feel Not Alone
Overcoming Loneliness While Trying to Conceive
What is Secondary Infertility?
Infertility Affected My Marriage - Here’s How We Survived
All You Need to Know About National Infertility Awareness Week
What’s Up With Unexplained Infertility?
I Explained Unexplained Infertility: Here’s How