Emotional Trials Of Treatment

By the time a couple has recognized they are infertile and undergone the evaluation and testing necessary to establish a diagnosis, they probably feel they have been taken over by a foreign entity. Infertility testing, visits to the doctors' offices and endless questions dominate their days and minds. The roller coaster of emotion that accompanies the journey is exhausting. It seems all spontaneity, freedom, and fun is gone from their lives.

Things That Make You Mad

In many ways, the treatment phase of the infertility process can be even more demanding than the evaluation and diagnosis stage. It can become even more stressful if initial treatments fail to produce the desired result. First, since virtually all of the couple's time is consumed with treatments (at least it feels that way), anger at the idea of being dominated by infertility can grow to greater depths. It is fueled by the frustration of expended time, energy, and money that does not seem to be producing anything. The indignity and injustice (particularly for women) of infertility treatments can be added to the mounting list of "things to be angry about." Anger and frustration take the number one spot on the list of emotions felt during infertility treatment.

"I'm Feeling Very Violated"

The next intense emotion is often vulnerability as the sense of being a mouse on a wheel rises to the surface. It is normal to feel victimized and intimidated by the doctors, medications, and treatments. The powerful effect of the hormones often necessary in these treatments exaggerates the feelings of frustration and increases sensitivity. Everything becomes too much to deal with as time goes on. The financial strain is likely being felt as well-another log on the already blazing fire. Both partners can be very frustrated over the amount of time the process is taking. Resentment may build toward intercourse as it may be seen as an exercise in futility if treatments are not working. Life has been put on hold and the need to be better informed, to learn and know everything possible consumes whatever moments are left over in the day.

On top of everything, the thoughts of self-blame and self-punishment can begin to crowd the mind. "If only we had done this, then..." or "Maybe we don't deserve to have a child." "Maybe we're being punished."

Gaining Some Control Over Life

One of the best ways to cope in this very stressful segment of the process is by focusing attention on what can be controlled. Keeping careful records of all treatments, paper work, and information helps to restore a feeling of being in charge of an aspect life. If treatment has become overwhelming, consider changing the way things have been done-again a sense of control is restored. Make an effort to accept the ups and downs of treatment as part of the process and try not to dwell on them too much.

Frustrations and anger need to be released and dealt with appropriately. Each person deals with emotions in their own way, so do not expect your partner to feel as you do. Intimacy may be increased by having dates and "fun sex" on non-fertile days. Remind yourselves why you are married to each other.  Get help if you need it.

As difficult as it may be at the time, a positive attitude goes miles in helping a couple get through infertility treatment. Remember, this is not anyone's fault. Even in normal fertile couples, there can be difficulties that slow down conception.


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