Managing your mental health when facing fertility challenges
- Infertility has a profound impact on women’s mental health affecting her physical, emotional, sexual and financial aspects of life. The most common symptoms reported in women facing fertility challenges are of anxiety and depression.
- Infertility can also affect a person’s self-esteem, desire, and performance. Even though it is a medical problem, infertility has been associated with shame and secrecy.
How psychological treatment can help?
- The primary goal of mental health professionals is to help individuals learn how to cope with the physical and emotional changes associated with infertility.
- The treatment for infertility itself can be really hard on one’s emotional health and counselling can help in coping with such treatment procedures that can be painful and intrusive.
- A good therapist with experience in this area can help individuals understand their feelings, comprehend the existing coping skills and develop new mechanisms to articulate and communicate with others more effectively. For many, the life crisis of infertility eventually proves to be an opportunity for life-enhancing personal growth.
- Treatments such as couple therapy could improve the couple’s relationship that can tremendously contribute in enhancing the mental struggle associated with infertility.
What are some of the therapies that might help?
Psychotherapy – Specific types of therapy such as – Interpersonal therapy (which focuses on improving relationships or resolving conflicts with others) and Cognitive Behavioural therapy (which identifies and tries to change unhealthy patterns of thought or behaviour) can help in coping up with persistent feelings of grief and loss in women facing fertility challenges. These may also be beneficial in treating depression and anxiety associated with infertility.
Relaxation techniques – Various relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, guided imagery, and yoga promote stress management and therefore might help in coping up with stress and other distressing emotions one might face.
Counselling – Fertility counselling has a specialized place in the broad framework of psychotherapy approaches. This can start before or during the infertility treatment to increase coping strategies, or to provide help with making decisions (as patients face many choices during treatment).
Stay strong, you’ll find a resolution!
Nowadays, there are many treatment options for couples experiencing fertility issues, and there is reason to not lose hope. Our emotional health influences each and every sphere of our lives and therefore, it’s imperative to take care of it while we continue to seek resolution for any other struggle.