There are a lot of complicated emotions that are associated with the diagnosis of infertility. In general, there is sadness, stress, then frustration, then comes the feeling of failure, uncapability. But, one of the less-often spoken about is the loneliness. Despite the fact that 1 in 8 couples have problems conceiving naturally, this very personal subject „infertility” is still considered taboo. Couples going through infertility and treatments often stay quiet their experience out of embarrassment, or even the fear of being seen as incapable, inadequate. Even those couples that are open with their journey also report feeling loneliness. In this blog, we discuss the feelings associated with staying silent, with speaking out, and what you can do to take care of yourself while going through infertility.
While it’s true that the topic of infertility is more prevalent now than it ever has been, fertility and miscarriage still remain a taboo topic for many people. Why do people suffering from infertility choose to stay quiet about it?
When men or women discover that they have fertility issues, surprised, shame, embarrassment, stress and negative thoughts are often their initial feelings. „Having a baby is so easy for everyone. Why it is me who suffer from this infertility problem?” Feelings like these can cause people to keep the information to themselves as a secret, as they fear that others will look at them as abnormal, incapable persons, even if that is not true.
Avoid an uncomfortable talking and situations
By and large, humans do not react well to uncomfortable situations. Talking about infertility means talking about very deeply personal problem, incuding marriage life, sex, reproductive organs, sex capability and what’s wrong with all of it. It is understandable that it is a really sensitive, emotional topic that can only talk about between close people (with mothers, sisters, close friends). and also many times, the other person don’t know what to say or advise to the subject of infertility. They either choose to avoid the subject, or say something “wrong” which in turns can hurt the suffered person.
These, combined with other factors make for a silent and sometimes isolating experience.
Deciding to be open about your infertility journey may make you feel less alone in the process, because you know that you are not the only one who suffer from this problem. Being open and speaking with family and friends can be a great way to relief your feeling. You also may find others that may have gone through something similar and get advice from them. On the other side, being open about the process may also bring some complicated factors.
General questions and advice like „What, why, how do you do…”, “You’re stressing too much, just relax.” “Have you thought about adoption?” “My friend went through this and got pregnant the first time. Have you tried that?” can make you confused and uncomfortable. In case you do not want to share your story, there are some responses which may help you fending off and ignore unfavourable questions.
- “We’re looking at all our available options and will let you know when we’re comfortable sharing our decision with others.
- “Thank you so much for the advice. We really appreciate it, but we have trusted medical professionals for the rest of it.”
You Do not owe Anyone an Update
There are some people that frequently ask for updates regarding your fertility, or where are you on the treatment journey. You may eager to share with them your story, or not, if you do not feel comfortable. Do not forget that you are not obliged to update anyone on your story and what is currently happening in your health status unless you decide to. How do you handle this stuation?
- “Thanks for asking, but we’re not ready to say everything just yet.”
- “We’ll give you an update where there’s one to give.”
- “Thanks for being concerned for us, I will share with you in detail when I am ready.”
If you are not ready to update to anyone your process, this is how you can control the level of information you decide to share.
Taking Care of Yourself
Remember that the most important person in this journey is you. Taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally is essential during the infertility process. When you’re deep in a lot of diagnosis examination, treatments, doctor’s visits, therapies, here are some tips you can do to make sure that you are okay.
- Take a break when you need to. Infertility is not linear. If you feel you need to have a break, discuss the plan with your partner and your doctor. Sometimes stepping away will bring a new perspective.
- If you are over stressed, consult in with a mental health professional. Going through infertility is hard on your body and your mind, so you need to take care of both. Many times, speaking with a non-biased source person will help you open up more.
- Plan activities and events that are not related to fertility topic at all. Do hobbies, sports, go to theater, enjoy a short holiday, etc. Do things you enjoy the most. You may be too obsessed with the treatment cycles and forget many interesting aspects of your life. By distract your mind a bit and enjoying life, you get small but great happy moments throughout the process.
- Find a support group. Many times having a group of like-minded people makes the process easier. They could help you feel less alone by giving advice or pointing you to resources that you did not know before.