Living with infertility and undergoing fertility treatment can be stressful for anyone. You enter the process—sometimes having already having spent months or years trying to conceive through intercourse—with high expectations, adding extra pressure to an already emotionally fraught ordeal.
Knowing what stressors to look for ahead of time can help you better handle them along the way. Here are three unintentional sources of fertility patient stress and how you can deal with them:
1. Unexpected Twists and Turns in Your Fertility Journey
You may have heard it already: With fertility care, expect the unexpected. So what does that entail? While assisted reproduction technology is advancing rapidly, increasing the likelihood of success, you should be prepared for the possibility that your first try may be unsuccessful.
It’s common for intended parents to undergo multiple cycles before building their families. It’s important to not set your expectations too high; it’s equally important to not consider the process—or yourself—a failure if the first cycle is unsuccessful.
Similarly, you don’t want to encounter surprise costs, as they can create a financial burden or even preclude your taking a new step in your journey. In addition to confirming exactly what your insurance plan covers, talk to your fertility facility about what expenses might come up—if you’re undergoing IVF treatment, for example, and the first attempt is unsuccessful, have a plan laid out ahead of time regarding how many cycles you’re willing to pay for.
2. Communication Issues With Partners, Friends, and Family
Poor communication can be a major cause of stress. If you’re undergoing fertility treatment with a partner, maintaining clear lines of dialogue throughout the process is essential. Your relationship should be strong before you initiate fertility care consultations, as the ordeal can add stress to a relationship. During treatment, it’s important to not blame or resent your partner if things don’t go as planned. Remember: You’re going through this together, and you both want to build a family.
Communicate with your facility too. You (and your partner, if you have one) should be upfront about any concerns or anxieties, so that your doctors, nurses, and staffers can put your mind at ease.
Another major stressor can come in the form of well-meaning but unwanted questions from those close to you. Friends and family might not realize that a certain comment or intrusive question can feel judgmental or invasive. If you familiarize yourself with such questions, you can plan ahead of time regarding whether and how you want to answer them. Your fertility story is yours to share, and no one has a right to information that you’d prefer to keep private.
However, it might be helpful to read others’ experiences and how they shared this journey; many people find it comforting and relieving to be able to vent or share their feelings with those close to them.
3. Neglecting Your Usual Activities and Hobbies
Fertility treatment can be a major, life-changing process, and it will quickly fill your schedule—but that doesn’t mean it needs to consume every minute of your life. If you’re spending all your hours focused on fertility care, from treatment logistics to financial planning to reading everything on the process you can find, anxieties will inevitably pile up.
Build relaxation into your schedule, and allow yourself to think about something else. Pursue a hobby, read a book, take a walk; take the time to do something that makes you happy.
On the flip-side, don’t take on too much. It’s important to distract yourself, but you probably want to put other life-altering events—like moving to a new house or switching jobs—on hold.
If you’re considering fertility treatment and want to discuss any questions or concerns you may have, get in touch with Fertility Solutions today.