The journey through infertility is an emotional one no doubt. From trying to conceive without success to a diagnosis and determining treatment you probably feel as though you’ve been hit by an avalanche of feelings which are all over the spectrum.
When you decide to pursue IVF, the emotional aspect of the journey may surprise you. All of these emotions impact your wellbeing in many different ways and as you move through the stages of your IVF journey being prepared for the feelings, you’ll encounter helps you navigate them while keeping your emotional health and wellness in check.
Five Common Emotions of The IVF Journey
Here we take a look at the five most common emotions and offer ideas on how to cope. Remember, while many of the emotions you feel are common, in general, your own experience, just like your fertility, is unique, quite personal, and completely normal.
Fear is a broad stroke when dealing with the emotions of IVF. Fear can run the gamut from a fear of needles and invasive procedures to the fear of failure-and even the fear of success.
The number of shots and invasive procedures varies for each patient, but there will be needles involved. Ask your fertility team what to expect so you have an idea. Fear that your IVF cycle won’t be successful is absolutely valid. Not all cycles are successful, especially the first time. And the fear of success, or pregnancy, is likely the same one those who conceive naturally deal with as well. Fear of miscarriage and all the other risks involved is common among mothers-to-be.
Conquer your fears by getting ahead of them. Fear of the unknown is real, but knowledge is power. Find out what’s in store directly from your doctor, join an IVF support group or ask your physician for a recommendation for counseling specific to IVF. Try to spend some time each day not focused on your IVF treatment or the “what ifs”. Go for a walk, take up a hobby or schedule lunch with a friend. Grab your partner and get away somewhere relaxing.
2. Grief and Loss
The loss of natural fertility carries a certain amount of grief with it no matter if you’re in the middle of an IVF cycle or just deciding the appropriate treatment to conceive. Grieving is a process and understanding that process helps you get through the range of emotions. You may confront grief and loss more than once during your IVF journey. IVF cycles may fail, the need for donor eggs or sperm which brings the loss of a biological relationship, the loss of intimacy and spontaneity in your relationship and most of all the loss of control.
As with any grief it is necessary to move through the anger and frustration, sadness, and all of the other grief-related feelings. Talk out your feelings with your partner or ask your doctor for the name of a therapist who deals with this specific kind of loss. Most of all, recognize your grief as completely natural and normal.
3. Anger and Jealousy
Anger and Jealousy are central to infertility and an emotional experience most people share at some points along the journey. When you want something as intensely as you want a child it’s easy to let anger and jealousy overcome you. Seeing your friend or co-worker proudly display their bump, stumbling upon yet another social media pregnancy announcement or simply seeing parents with their children can trigger an onslaught of emotions. Learn to recognize the triggers and acknowledge your pain. Talk to someone about these feelings and understand the underlying issue involved. Most of all be gentle with yourself right now and maybe take a break from social media.
4. Overwhelmed and Fatigued by The Process
When you embark on the IVF journey all the information and decision-making involved is surely overwhelming. There are the injection and hormone regimens, the ultrasound appointments, scheduling time off work, and any decisions you need to make that are particular to your experience. You very likely might feel like running away and abandoning the entire weary process. This is a natural response and the best way to deal with it is to take things one piece at a time. Talk with your fertility team and ask these questions. We assure you that is what we’re here for and what we expect. There’s no need to overwhelm. When you feel like abandoning ship please reach out.
5. The Waiting is The Hardest Part
When you get to the two-week waiting period after your embryo transfer you board the rollercoaster of emotions. Most couples who go through IVF consider this the most difficult part of the journey. Be aware that your fear emotion is on high alert but so is your hope. You’ve been focused on this part of the journey since it started.
Understand that patience is key. You may be hyper-tuned into any sign of pregnancy but be aware that at this stage the symptoms of early pregnancy are similar to the side effects of your treatment. You probably don’t feel like participating in any activities which could get your mind off the wait but please try. Some popular coping tools for those at this point of the journey are meditation, keeping a journal, visiting friends or pursuing a new hobby. Get involved in something else while you wait and soon the waiting will be over.
We’re Here to Help
We understand the difficult emotions of IVF. When we say we want to partner with you on your journey to growing your family, we mean just that. Please reach out to LA IVF today if you’re struggling with any emotions related to your fertility. We’re here to help.