Wishing and hoping…and coping with fertility struggles
By: Elise Wouterloot
Many of us dream of having children – we choose names and imagine if they will have curly hair or dimples. For some, this dream seems to be realized so quickly and naturally, with hardly a second thought. Our friends post endless photos of their chubby little cherubs on social media and we are invited to yet another baby shower. Well-intended questions and bits of advice come at us from family and even strangers – “when are you having a baby? Don’t wait forever!” For women and men struggling to conceive, these comments cut deep.
It is easy to become obsessed and discouraged when faced with low fertility. This can become our all-consuming pursuit while our hopes are raised and dashed just as quickly. Our bodies seem to let us down, being unable to do what nature intended. Whether single or part of a couple, waiting months and years for good news can seem like too much. How can we cope with the waiting and facing the potential for such profound disappointment?
- Live a full life. When fertility appointments and treatments feel like top priority, we may have to force ourselves to keep a balance. Many people who’ve gone on to have babies, whether biologically, through surrogacy or adoption, regret having held such a singular focus for so many years. This often comes at the expense of their mental well-being and relationships.
- Set a time. Designate a fixed amount of time for researching, discussing and attending appointments – do not allow yourself to spend all night on the internet. In the longer term, decide how long you are willing to try, what medical lengths you are willing to pursue and what costs you are able to bear.
- Take a break. Have a regular weekend ‘time-off’ from discussing fertility and babies. If treatments have been ongoing for more than a year, perhaps a taking month off could be a welcome break for your mind and body.
- Be kind to yourself. Your body is doing its very best and there is no shame in turning to science for help. Re-discover a few simple pleasures that you enjoyed before you embarked on this journey. Nurture your relationships and interests.
- Make one more appointment. If you are finding this process too overwhelming or all-consuming, it may be time to speak with your doctor or a counsellor. As much as it’s important to care for your body during this time, it’s just as important to care for your mind and heart.
No two people are the same, nor are their struggles but it’s not necessary to go through this alone. Please call Bayridge Counselling Centre at 905-319-1488 if you would like to speak with a counsellor about these issues and how they are affecting your life.