Coping With Truth

Evaluating The Situation

The couple has made work a priority and the time is right. They stop birth control and decide to start their family. For some unknown reason they do not conceive.  Something is very wrong and they decide to go through the testing and evaluation process to find out what is happening to their lives and their plans.

The process is difficult and the testing period can be stressful and expensive.  The other side of the equation is that there is hope an answer may be found and that a diagnosis and solution to the situation may be just around the corner.  For people who were so in control of their lives, the feeling of being totally out of control can be overwhelming as the sense that testing, appointments, doctors and schedules are now taking over.  The questions abound.  Why me?  What did I do to deserve this?  Seeing other pregnant women or mothers with babies may evoke anger and jealousy as resentment builds.  They didn't have to endure the mental, emotional and financial strain you have had to endure.

The Side Effects

Many times the wonder and spontaneity wane as sex becomes a means to an end.  The fun is gone and it is now a medical practice.  The feelings of inadequacy, shame and embarrassment well up over the "malfunctioning" of the body and life becomes very secretive as the need to hide the "inadequacy" from others grows bigger and bigger.  Communication with your partner is stilted and stiff as it seems to be closing down and the feeling that you're living in a fishbowl, sharing your private lives with a doctor, leaves you numb.  The well meaning advice and opinions from others who have not experienced your situation build resentment and pain.

Coping In Times of Stress

How does a couple survive this difficult time?  Being well educated about infertility and its implications is the first line of defense.  Knowledge helps to create a sense of security.  Communicating feelings, emotions and fears regularly opens the door to support one another and relieve some of the stress being endured at this time.  Knowing that there will be periods of sadness, depression and anxiety can prepare you for the need to take time to yourself to work through the difficulties.  The support of family and friends, or a support group of people who have gone through infertility can help to provide a safe environment in which to share emotions and thoughts.  Going to appointments together keeps the couple unified and both are apprised of the results of tests and examination results.  Taking a list of questions to appointments ensures you don't forget to ask.  The pressure of an appointment can cause thoughts to vaporize, so a list helps to get the questions asked and ultimately answered.

This process can challenge a marriage in ways never imagined. Infertility is a "couples" problem and going through the process together can strengthen and solidify the union.