Infertility is what occurs when a couple tries to have a baby, but are unable to do so. The time line given by most doctors for conception is one year. If no baby is conceived within the year time period, the couple is usually diagnosed as having fertility problems.
There are many causes that can make it difficult to have a baby at a desired time. Health problems in both men and women can be a problem. It’s no one’s fault if it’s health related, but because of the high hopes involved in wanting to have a child, it can send couples on a merry go round of emotions.
The emotions a couple deals with when having trouble conceiving are the same as one would experience dealing with grief. The first stage is shock or denial. One or both may have trouble believing the situation to be real.
Questioning the doctor’s verdict even after a second or third opinion is part of this stage. The second stage is anger. This anger is a result of feeling hopes or expectations have been crushed.
The anger might be for one another, for the diagnosis or for life in general. The third stage is bargaining or guilt. This is the internal dialogue that begins with thoughts like, “If only I’d done this or not done that.”
The fourth stage of emotion is depression. You feel all alone and believe no one can understand how you feel. It becomes hard to want to get out of bed, hard to take pleasure in the things you used to like doing.
The final stage is acceptance. It’s at this stage that most couples sit down and begin to cope with their circumstances. They decide to undergo treatment or take other routes to have a child.
How you and your partner deal with the condition is a personal decision. Talking about it can help rather than sweeping the topic under the rug so that it becomes the white elephant in the room-this thing that you both know but are afraid to discuss because of the pain involved.
Talk to your family and friends about how you’d like the subject handled around you. People mean well but a thoughtless remark can upset or discourage. Sometimes friends and family just don’t know what to day to a couple going through a difficult time like this.
The uncomfortable feeling might lead friends or family to withdraw leaving the couple feeling even more isolated. If it’s okay for them to talk about it around you, tell them, if you’d prefer not to hear any remarks or advice about fertility, let them know and ask them to respect your privacy. They want to support you, let them know which way is best to offer that support.
It’s easy to take grief inward and close yourself off emotionally even to the one facing the problem with you. Remember to stay tuned in as a couple and work through the stages and the journey together.