Infertility Coping Skills
Stress Changes Things
Infertility is not an easy experience and even with all of the help available, it is often difficult to come to terms with the myriad emotions which assault the psyche. The extreme sense of loss and the feelings of shame, anger and denial can stress a couple, draining them of energy for other things in life. The relationship can undergo changes as stress filters into everything, leaving behind a layer of unhappiness about the individuals and their relationship.
It's Just Not Fun Anymore
While many would like to say that the experience is actually drawing them closer together, infertility can have negative effects on a relationship in a number of ways. Sexual tension arising out of the determination to get the timing right, especially around ovulation, may make sex feel like more of a chore than a pleasure. Men may experience performance anxiety which backlashes into feelings of guilt or shame.
Financial Strain & Fear
The cost of fertility treatments can add stress to the financial picture. The guilt of putting a limit on the amount a couple is willing to pay to conceive - after all, what price do you set on children? - to coping with mounting financial encumbrances can put more and more strain on the relationship. This added financial stress can particularly affect men who want to help their wives or partners fulfill their maternal instinct as well as feel good as providers. Add to this the arguments that can arise around deciding which treatments to take, options to pursue or whether to stop treatments and you have the potential for explosive behaviors.
The fear of losing the relationship is a very real one for the individual who has received a diagnosis of infertility. He or she may feel afraid that their partner will not be interested in them any longer and want to leave them in order to find someone with whom they can have children.
What Can We Do?
With all of these potential hazards along the way, having a good set of coping skills is imperative. Along with the understanding that communication is a major key to stress reduction and the need for establishing a strong support network, there are some things a person can do to help themselves along through a difficult time.
Practicing relaxation and learning how to calm fears and quiet the mind, can help quell stress, especially during times of treatment. Acupuncture, yoga, relaxation techniques and journaling are all good ways to lessen the anxiety.
Become informed and learn and ask all the questions necessary to feel confident about the matter. Look at alternatives and allow freedom to think outside of the box. The other side of the coin is to not allow infertility to take over life. It is a double sided coin and requires balance. Devote time to the relationship and if infertility is the constant subject under discussion, look for ways to limit the amount of time spent there. Find ways to make life more loving and to bring fun and joy back into the relationship.