What a journey it is; going through infertility treatment. It is almost cliché to say it is a roller coaster ride of emotions, but infertility does have a rhythm that makes this particular life crisis unique. The main highs and lows are predictable, dictated by the menstrual cycle. The first half brings hope. The second without success of pregnancy brings despair. There is a buildup of hope. “Is the breast sensitivity I’m feeling a sign of being premenstrual or pregnant?” “Am I bloated because I’m premenstrual or because I’m pregnant“? Our hope says it is pregnancy. Our fear says it is menstrual cramps. Finally, the period arrives and you are plunged into the despair. This cyclical ride of emotions becomes the center of your life. That takes its toll on your emotional, mental, and social wellbeing. Perhaps most importantly, it can take its toll on your primary relationship that you rely on for support.
Consider couples therapy with an infertility sensitive therapist. Difficult as it may be to expand your horizons at this intense time, doing so is important. Putting all your eggs in the one basket of fertility success is risky. Take trips. Take classes. Move on to that job that is more interesting; expanding opportunities for reward and pleasure within the parameters that your life has room for. Just as important, is putting a time limit on the treatments. This does not mean that you cannot decide at the end of that time limit to continue again, but it is an agreement with yourself and your partner that you will take that time to take stock and reassess your options and desires. Each month is in fact closer to becoming a parent, whether by birth or adoption. Adoption may involve a process of grief for not experiencing pregnancy or of having your own genetically related child, but if chosen, you will become a parent.
Joan Collins, LCSW