Daria Bailey, FCP
Primary Infertility and the Psychological Impact
A word women dread hearing.
A word that many women in our world today.
So what do we do?
When using the CrMS, we would define a couple infertile when they have unsuccessfully achieved a pregnancy after 6 months intentionally trying or 12 months being open to pregnancy. Research shows about 10%-15% of women in the US struggle with infertility. However, in my 4 years as practitioner, I would argue this percentage is somewhat higher. What the research does not take into account is individuals who do not know they are infertile because they are not seeking to achieve pregnancy.
On this blog we have talked a lot about infertility: causes of infertility, how to battle it, and diets that can help you resolve your hormone issues. But the physical aspect is not the only struggle when it comes to infertility. There is also the psychological aspect of infertility.
Being infertile does not just wreck havoc on your body, but it cuts through your heart and your mind. As a woman we often map things out in our minds:
Meet a nice man.
Sadly, the have babies part doesn't always happen as seamlessly as one would think. A lot of the couples I work with face this struggle and often it takes them by surprise. Although using a natural system, such as the Creighton Model, is a great way to help couples overcome their infertility, it can still take a toll on us.
Each day you are tracking your signs of fertility, evaluating what you see, hoping and waiting this will be the cycle you see those two pink lines. But, as cycle after cycle goes by with no luck, all the work seems pointless and exhausting. Watching your body not do what it was literally designed to do can bring about so many emotions.
I have found many different avenues to help women and couples combat the psychological side of their infertility. Each person is unique, so one or all of the following options may help you.
Talk to someone about what you are going through. Each situation is different in the world of infertility and it can bring about many emotions and feelings. Please know there is no shame in feeling what you are feeling and turning to someone to talk to is a great way to process. Having an outside perspective on your situation can be very helpful way to help you and your spouse work through this journey.
Allow yourself to grieve. Maybe you have not lost a baby through miscarriage, but you may be feeling a dream has been lost. This grief, we pray, may not last forever but allow yourself to feel the sadness which comes with the infertility struggle. Your body is not doing what as a woman it is meant to do and it is okay to be sad.
Make a plan. Meet with a practitioner and a NaPro doctor in your area. Decide what you all are willing to do and try. Sometimes there may be a change in the plans. Some plans may be more invasive than others. Either way you are in the best hands and we are here to serve you.
Go the extra mile. This is the tough one, especially psychologically. Going the extra mile can sometimes mean changing your diet drastically or taking a ridiculous amount of supplements. I have had clients struggle with this aspect of the process more than any other part. They say to me "why do I have to work so hard to do this? why can't my body just do it?" I wish I had the answer, I really do. But what I do know is the things we want the most are truly worth fighting for. So put up your best fight.
Finally and most importantly, HAVE HOPE. This is much easier said than done, but I truly believe it is the most important thing for your mental well being when working through infertility. Having hope does not mean being unrealistic or not letting yourself feel the weight of what you are going through. Having hope means you are going to trust in the process, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the tears and the joy. Hold onto hope, it is what will carry you to the end, no matter the outcome.
If you are someone or you know someone who is struggling with the psychological aspects of infertility please find someone to talk to or reach out to us practitioners. We can guide you in finding someone to connect with, as always we are here for you