Counseling Often a Wise Idea for Infertile Couples
Infertility is rough. It takes a toll on every part of your body, including your mental health. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that comes packaged with stress, anxiety, depression, anger, regret, denial, guilt, and much more. And these feelings are experienced not only by the woman who so wants to be a mother but her male counterpart as well.
In addition, struggles with conception and/or sustaining a pregnancy can greatly impact a marriage or partnership and make living together harder than ever.
Most data shows that about 1 in 8 couples in the United States have problems getting pregnant and are considered infertile (which is usually defined as the inability to conceive after a year of unprotected sex).
Yet, other information collected from couples battling infertility shows that few of them take the time to seek any sort of mental health counseling during their often-troublesome journey through IVF or on other roads to starting a family.
And that, experts say, is a mistake.
Plenty of studies demonstrate that infertile couples experience much more stress than fertile couples, and that kind of stress – combined with lots of other feelings – often causes some very serious marital problems.
Couples fight about whether the struggle is worth their trouble. Should they try IVF yet again or should they opt for surrogacy? Is adoption an issue or should they hold out for “their own” child?
Some blame the other for waiting too long to try to conceive while others are seething inside over the fact that their spouse is the one keeping them from starting a family. Indeed, emotions run high and many of them can be very damaging to an otherwise stable marriage.
Women, research shows, have the hardest time coping. They see infertility as their greatest failure and an affront to their womanhood. They often sink into a deep depression, especially if their first few attempts at conceiving with the help of assisted reproductive technology fail.
All of this makes couples therapy a wise idea for those who are in the midst of fertility struggles. Such counseling not only helps both members of the pair deal with the fact that they are indeed infertile, but it also helps tackle feelings that are associated with the whole assisted reproduction process.
For example, it can help couples learn how to face long waits for results or can assist them in figuring out whether to try again or if enough is enough at some point.
The more the frustration grows and the confusion sets in, the less couples talk on their own, research shows, which is why it’s super important to bring in a third party to sort things out before things escalate out of control.
From the start, a counselor can offer ideas for new ways to handle what’s currently happening and can also provide a unique outlook on facing the future, whether with children or without.
Couples who feel as if they need assistance maintaining their relationship/marriage during infertility treatments should ask their medical professional about the options available in their area and should check with their insurance company about counseling coverage.
If the cost of seeing someone who specializes in working with infertile couples is too high, look for information about infertility support groups in your area, especially those run by a counseling professional, and take advantage of what is offered, experts say.
Having a middleman, so to speak, is often essential to reconstructing one’s marriage after it’s all over and the baby has arrived or once the couple decides that their quest for a family has ended.Go back