Maybe It's Time For Counseling?

Cyclical Disappointment

Treatment for infertility can be an emotional roller coaster ride as you get your hopes up and are disappointed over and over again, on a cyclical basis. At times, the emotions you experience may seem too much to bear, and it's natural that you would feel this way. On occasion, however, the pain is so great that you may feel you've lost your emotional balance and without help, it's very hard to find your way back to normalcy. If you should experience any of the following symptoms for more than a few months, it's advisable to seek advice from a mental health professional, who has the skills to lead you through this difficult time:

*Unrelenting depression

*No interest in activities you commonly enjoy

*Relationships with others become awkward or difficult

*Constant thinking about your infertility to the exclusion of other thoughts

*Intense anxiety

*Difficulty in completing even simple tasks

*Inability to concentrate

*Sleep disturbances (insomnia, sleeping too much, wakeful sleep, awakening too early)

*Changes in eating habits (eating too much or too little)

*Weight gain or loss

*Increase use of alcohol and/or recreational drugs

*Thinking about death or suicide

*Avoidance of social situations

*Lingering feelings of negativity, self-blame, anger, or discontent

*Persistent low self-esteem

Tough Decisions

You may also find it beneficial to talk things over with a mental health professional while undergoing fertility treatments. Some decisions are difficult to make, and a professional may be able to help you arrive at a place where the direction you want to take becomes clear. Here are some of the situations in which a mental health professional may be able to help:

*You've reached a crucial stage in choosing the direction of treatment

*You're exploring alternative treatments

*You're considering a different route for becoming a parent

*You're thinking about receiving third party assistance (surrogacy, sperm or egg donation)

*You and your partner are having a hard time communicating or you find yourselves in disagreement about how to proceed.

The goal of the mental health professional in working with those undergoing fertility treatments is to assist them in coping with the emotional and physical challenges of infertility and fertility treatments. In some cases, counseling will be focused on how to cope with your partner's attitudes and actions. In other cases, the counseling will concentrate on making decisions relating to medical treatment or exploring other parenting options, such as adoption.

Inner Growth

Sometimes the counseling is all about helping you deal with your intense emotions: stress, depression, or anxiety. It isn't easy to reach a feeling of resolution when it comes to infertility, but counseling from a talented professional can help you clarify and voice your emotional issues. A professional can guide you in accessing the inner strength you already possess so you can get through the grief, pain, and fear of infertility. Many couples have said that in processing the tragedy of their infertility they were led to greater personal growth and happiness.


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