by Yvonne Haase, LMHC
If you are one of the millions of couples who are considering expanding your family with the support of infertility treatments, you may want to obtain emotional support before you begin. Studies suggest that couples who pursue fertility counseling are more likely to become pregnant than those who do not. Establishing a support system and obtaining information on what to expect emotionally from yourself and your partner help alleviate the stress involved and clear a path to success.
Key #1: Counseling can help with communication in your relationship.
Establishing a relationship with a therapist prior to starting this journey is key in helping couples communicate about the stresses and mixed emotions they may experience. It is also beneficial to have a clear understanding of your partner’s communication style so that you may able to communicate more effectively.
Key #2: Identify your stress triggers and develop coping mechanisms.
Stress affects all of us differently, and different experiences cause each of us different amounts of stress. Although many people have an awareness of their stress triggers, they may not be aware that these triggers may be heightened due to the emotions associated with fertility treatments. These emotions may cause us to react differently or more strongly to our triggers, for example, learning to reach for your journal rather than a pint of ice cream.
Key #3: Gather the right support for YOU.
You may want to limit the number of people who know about this journey. Couples often report that they are overwhelmed by the amount of people asking “How’s it going?” or “So, are you pregnant yet?”, especially if they are experiencing failed cycles or miscarriages. Carefully consider with whom you will share this information.
Key #4: Obtain tools for dealing with the depression and anxiety associated with miscarriages or failed cycles.
It is important for couples to have an understanding of the many emotions that accompany the fertility process. Couples often report that they are not sure if what they are feeling is “normal” or if their emotions are out of control. Having a grasp of the emotional cycle helps alleviate the anxiety associated with this process and allows you to support each other.
Key #5: Set boundaries on how many times is right to try for you and your family.
Only you and your partner can gauge how many cycles you can emotionally and financially handle. Decide your stopping point and take the time to learn about your other options prior to beginning the process. Establishing this will support you in moving forward with alternative options.
Arming yourself with the right set of keys can support you and your partner on the road to fertility, and protect your emotional health as well as your relationship with yourself and your partner.
Yvonne Haase, LMHC is a psychotherapist, certified DISC facilitator and communication specialist, qualified parenting coordinator and member of the Florida Adoption Council. She specializes in couples and families in transition. She provides Infertility Evaluations, Adoption Home Studies and Couples Retreats. Haase is the Clinical Director of the International Holistic Center (IHC), a boutique center that fuses conventional and non-conventional therapies to address problems at the core, not just the symptoms. She is also the co-director of Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick, the women’s division of IHC.