Psychological management of infertility is not easy for couples. That is why they have learned to manage all the difficulties in this painful situation.
Fertility is highly valued in most cultures and the wish for a child is one of the most basic of all human motivations. When attempts to have a child fail, it can be an emotionally devastating experience. Even today, when assisted reproduction methods provide solutions for couples who want to have a child, the feeling of losing control over childbearing remains traumatic for them.
It is perfectly understandable, considering the painful path of the efforts. Sometimes this path leads the couple to big conflicts.
In the first phase, the couple finds it difficult to accept the diagnosis of infertility by reaching the limits of denial. Then she feels sadness, shame as well as feelings of injustice thinking of other couples who in a short time had the good news of a pregnancy. At the same time, there is anger towards the individual or the other member of the couple, blaming them for past situations in an attempt to explain the psychedelic ordeal they are experiencing. A review of the past to find an answer leads to the development of guilt.
In addition, the sexual life of infertile couples ceases to aim at communication and the expression of emotions but exclusively at conception having as its main feature compulsion.
The social effects of infertility come to complete the picture of the mental difficulties that couples face. Often the family and the wider social environment put pressure on the couple to have children and the couple (already psychologically burdened), find it difficult to process and delimit the behavior of their environment. Conclusion: the couple feels socially isolated.
From hope το despair
The inability to meet one of their most important life goals is devastating to the infertile individual. The emotional impact of infertility has been described via clinical observation and empirical research. Menning used the psychological stages of the grief and loss model (surprise/shock, denial, anger, bargaining, and acceptance) to explain the infertility experience. As she described the reaction to infertility, she also discussed the guilt, anger, depression, and withdrawal that may follow the discovery of impaired fertility. Her descriptions were based largely on her own observations in dealing with couples who were seeking adoption after unsuccessful medical treatment of infertility but have been observed time and time again by other clinicians.
Infertility couples are expected to experience successive cycles of hope and mourning, as IVF often requires more than one effort. The emotional state that occurs in any unsuccessful outcome is called “monthly mourning” because it is experienced like the death of an infant.
That is why counseling support is necessary at every stage of IVF. During the counseling, the stakeholders express their thoughts, fears, but also their expectations, which should be gradually coordinated with reality. With discussion, insecurities and unfounded, excessive, destructive thoughts are reduced. With counseling support, the couple manages to maintain a healthy relationship, but also each one individually ensures his personal mental balance.
How to manage the «failure»
In such a sensitive period the couple should be protected and set boundaries both in their social environment and in the family environment when he tends to become stressed. To reduce the mental burden they are called upon to cope with, couples undergoing IVF need to remember that:
1. Infertility is not a dead-end
And today IVF methods provide alternatives.
2. Be prepared to answer any questions you may have about when to have children.
Plan your answers especially if the people you meet do not know about your difficulty in having a child. You do not need to give details. Also, remember that you do not have to talk about such a personal matter to anyone. Only do this if you feel this need.
3. Redefine the meaning of your social life
You can treat this experience as a period of freedom and not isolation. Invite friends home for dinner, travel. Fun is for everyone and you should not let the problems of infertility deprive you of creating beautiful memories.
4. Femininity and fertility are two different things
Infertility does not prevent you from enjoying your sex life, nor does it abolish your sexual desire.
5. Do things you really enjoy
Visit a museum, watch a play in the theater, make a gift to yourself. You need to take care of your mental and physical health. Do things couples with children can not do. Do not forget that you may not have children, but you are a family with your partner!
6. Do not judge yourself harshly
Your infertility is not your fault Remember that the first step in resolving negative emotions is to recognize them. Recognize them, then, and do not be ashamed of them. It is part of human nature!
7. Share your feelings with your partner
Give space to the expression of negative emotions, such as sadness. Infertility is a crisis in a couple’s life. By expressing the negative feelings between the couple both benefit. The tension decreases, the ruminant of the negative thoughts stops and the couple does not feel guilt that makes these thoughts.
8. Do not forget that the important chapter in this journey is the relationship with your partner
The quality of your communication is the custodian of your coexistence. By supporting each other, but also asking for help when needed, the process of IVF can be turned into a life experience that will strengthen each individual, but also the relationship itself.