The inability to conceive is mainly a reproductive problem. But even though the problem is caused by physical and genetic factors, it can take a great toll on one’s mental health too.
While fertility problems affect both couples, studies suggest that it is the woman who is usually more affected—emotionally and psychologically. This article will talk about how fertility issues can impact your mental health, and what can be possibly done about it.
Fertility Issues Can Cause Grief, Depression, & Anxiety
Fertility issues have a profound impact on both the couples’ mental health. But as mentioned, the most affected is the woman. Her physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and financial aspects in life could be affected by fertility issues. A woman may feel anxious or depressed due to fertility issues, especially after a failed fertility treatment or after experiencing a miscarriage.
The anxiety, grief, and depression might even become a lot worse, especially if the woman has gone through physically and emotionally-demanding medical treatments, like In-Vitor Fertilization (IVF), just to conceive.
The anticipation, preparations, and disappointment when gynaecologists determine that the procedure is unsuccessful bring a roller coaster ride of emotions. This includes anger, sadness, guilt, and even hopelessness. Women with fertility issues may also feel insecure whenever they see someone else announcing a pregnancy.
If these mental health problems are not addressed, a breakdown would be inevitable. To avoid such, it is best to seek therapy or counselling before and after a fertility treatment. It is also important for partners and family members to offer support and assurance.
Infertility Can Affect Self-Esteem, Desires, & Sexual Performance
As a couple continues to be unsuccessful in conceiving, infertility will eventually affect their self-esteem, sexual desire, and performance. If sex becomes associated with failure and frustration due to fertility issues, the couple risks losing their physical and emotional connection.
This will later cause a division between the couples as both will feel isolated and feel out of touch with one another. If the couple is subjected to fertility treatments, sex will become less spontaneous as they are now too focused and tense about being able to conceive. These problems will add up to feelings of anxiety, grief, and depression.
It Can Make You Socially Isolated
One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with fertility issues is that it can make you socially isolated. This is especially true for couples who know a lot of friends that had children ahead of them effortlessly.
It’s common for couples who are having fertility issues to isolate themselves from social situations that can be painful for them. Some may even have a hard time seeing online pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, or just simply seeing baby pictures. This kind of social isolation is normal, but it can trigger feelings of anxiety and depression.
Relationships can also be affected here as you continue to avoid friends who have babies. You may even distance or cut yourself off from family members who are constantly asking you about your plans of having a family or giving you unwanted advice about pregnancy.
While gynaecologists are too focused on solving or treating fertility problems, its effects on the couple, especially the woman’s mental health, are usually left unaddressed. After all, these professionals are not trained in the field of psychiatry.
However, if you do express your concern and explain that you are feeling anxious or depressed about the whole ordeal, your gynaecologist might help you seek a therapist who can do fertility counselling.
Fertility counselling covers a broad range of psychotherapy approaches and treatments which are helpful in guiding couples through the medical procedures and treatments that they are going to face together.