When you’re struggling with infertility, it can feel like everyone around you is getting pregnant and starting their family, but you’re not alone. About 6.1 million women struggle to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term in the United States.
While it can be comforting to know that you aren’t the only one going through it, no statistic can replace having a strong support system while navigating fertility treatments. Infertility can be draining on your mental health and your relationship with your partner or spouse, so you will need a community of friends, family, and medical professionals to lift you up, listen, and be there when you’re struggling most.
Infertility and Mental Health
If you are struggling with infertility, the monthly cycle of trying to conceive can take its toll on your mental health. Not only does infertility bring disappointment each month, both men and women report feeling low self-esteem, loss of identity, and pronounced feelings of incompetence or failure.
Infertility is linked to several mental health issues, including increased anger, depression, anxiety, marital problems, sexual dysfunction, and social isolation in both men and women. Women tend to experience higher rates of anxiety and depression as a result of infertility. This is especially true if you have experienced depression or anxiety prior to your fertility journey.
Unfortunately, mental health issues can be exacerbated by the emotional stress of fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), due to hormonal changes or failed fertility attempts. While fertility treatment may be your best option for starting a family, it’s important that you and your partner prepare yourselves for the tough road ahead and surround yourselves with the best community of friends and doctors to support you.
Infertility Support Groups
Having a support system is crucial for women going through fertility treatments. Your partner is a big part of your support system. However, you will need a community of people to support both you and your partner as you cope with infertility.
Your medical team, family, and friends will be an important support system for you to rely on. You don’t have to tell everyone about your fertility journey, but it’s important that you have close friends or family members to offer support and alleviate the emotional stress of fertility treatment. Not only does a support system improve your well-being, but caring for your mental and emotional health can actually improve your chances of conceiving.
Whether you have a strong support system or not, infertility support groups are highly recommended for women and couples going through fertility treatment. Support groups have been linked to decreased stress and mood symptoms, as well as increased fertility rates. If you are seeking an infertility support group in Dallas, check out Resolve for support groups near you.
How to Support a Friend Going Through Infertility
If your friend or loved one is going through infertility, here are a few ways you can be a strong support system for them.
- Learn the basics of infertility. Your job is not to give advice, but knowing the fundamentals of trying to conceive can help you understand what your friend is going through and offer comfort.
- Let them know you are there. Don’t assume that your friend knows they can come to you. Tell them you are available to talk or help out in whatever way they need.
- Help alleviate stress. Offer to watch their older kids during fertility appointments or just to give them a break. Ask how you can help around their house to give them more downtime during fertility treatments. Offer to be a walking or workout buddy if they are trying to regulate their weight for fertility.
- Support their decisions without judgement. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to fertility. Whether your friend chooses IVF, adoption, or taking a break from trying, offer support without judging or pressuring them.
Find the Right Fertility Doctor
Your medical team is an important piece of your support system. At Walnut Hill, we offer a holistic approach to help you and your partner cope with the emotional stress of fertility treatment, while finding the best approach to help you grow your family. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.