Struggling with Infertility?

Longing to fall pregnant but it just doesn’t seem to be happening? Struggling with infertility and all the emotions and fears it is stirring up inside you?

struggling with infertilityAnd what about the impact it is having on your relationship?

Australia’s infertility network (ACCESS) says that 15% of Australian couples of reproductive age have a fertility problem. If, after one year of trying, you have not been able to get pregnant (or six months in a women 35 or older) – or stay pregnant – you are struggling with infertility.

And so begins the emotional roller coaster – tests, temperature charts, fertility drugs, medical appointments and surgical procedures – raising hopes one moment, before the crash down with the next disappointment or period that arrives.

Although a doctor or medical specialist can help you with falling and staying pregnant, what about your relationship? And how are you handling it emotionally and mentally?

Infertility Counselling

Doctors are often busy and don’t always have the time to explain procedures in detail – and they tend to focus only on the medical solutions, rather than the emotional impacts.  It is at times like this that counselling with a psychologist, or connecting with a support group, can be invaluable.

It is a very emotional time and due to its somewhat clinical nature it often feels like nothing is within your control. The whole experience can feel like a massive invasion of your privacy – something you only tolerate because of the depth of your desire and longing to have a baby.

Not only can the experience of infertility batter your self-esteem, it can place huge strain on your relationship with your partner, as well as affect your relationships with family and friends. It can be particularly hard to cope as one by one your friends seem to fall pregnant with ease; and every time you see pregnant bellies or prams, it just reminds you of your pain.

It is common to experience a range of emotions, such as:

  • disbelief;
  • disappointment;
  • blame;
  • guilt;
  • anger;
  • jealousy;
  • isolation;
  • grief and loss.

What about IVF?

Many people act like IVF is the answer. While it is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology (2), there are still no guarantees and the IVF journey can often be a turbulent one. Counselling can be a valuable support if you are struggling with infertility and can provide a safe place to explore the myriad feelings and emotions you are likely experiencing.

Some of the common questions that arise when I am working with people struggling with infertility and/or IVF include:

  • What am I doing wrong?
  • How many rounds do I do? When will I know it is time to stop?
  • My partner wants to keep going – but I don’t want her to go through the pain of another failed attempt. What can I do or say?
  • Should I try another clinic/doctor?
  • I still have frozen embryos left and I can’t decide what to do with them.

The counselling process is tailored to the particular stage of the individual’s or couple’s infertility journey, and may include:

  • Looking at ways of coping with the consequences of infertility and treatment, and resolving issues arising from a diagnosis of infertility.
  • Adjusting expectations of treatment and moving towards acceptance of their particular situation.
  • Making decisions involving the management of their treatment.
  • Emotional support and assistance at times of high stress, or following a crisis or adverse outcome during treatment.
  • Discussing the implications of treatment on key parties.

If you are struggling with infertility – whether primary or secondary, and would like some support to help you and your relationship through the highs and the lows, I welcome you to make an appointment with me.

Nicole Wimmer PsychologistAuthor: Nicole Wimmer, B Sc (Psych), MA (Psych), PG Cert Mgmt, Grad Dip Safety Science, MAPS.

Nicole has an interest in working with individuals and couples experiencing the heartache of infertility; she has personal experience in IVF treatment. Nicole is a member of both ANZICA (Australian and New Zealand Infertility Counsellors Association) and FSA (Fertility Society Australia), and is able to provide counselling and reports for Surrogacy or Donor arrangements.

To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Nicole Wimmer, try Online Booking – Loganholme or Online Booking – Mt Gravatt. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129, or Vision Psychology (Mt Gravatt) on (07) 3088 5422.

References:

  1. Access Australia website viewed 09.12.2014
  2. Mayo Clinic website viewed 09.12.2014