Infertility – A Silent Struggle

You would be hard-pressed to find someone out there who isn’t “Pro-Mom.” After all, the birth mothers, adoptive mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers and countless other women who share in our lives and love us are well-deserving of great praise. But for some, the idea of “mom” can be a very painful one. When women struggle with infertility, miscarriage or with a previous abortion decision, the very word “mom” can stir feelings of dread, loss and pain.

The Far-Reaching Effects of Infertility
Infertility affects 1 in 8 women (or couples). The causes of infertility are complicated and at times difficult to diagnose. Meanwhile, many well-intentioned friends or family members may inquire “When are you going to start a family?” or “Your child needs a sibling, when are you going to have another baby?” as most couples struggle in silence. There are many hidden emotions for women struggling to conceive including self-esteem issues, stress, and depression. Most women feel as if they are alone and without anyone to talk to about their struggles.

Loss of Self-Esteem
Self-esteem issues for both men and women experiencing infertility are very common. They feel betrayed by their bodies, and may at times feel shame they are not able to fulfill the natural process of conceiving a child and giving birth. Treatment solutions range from minor interventions (medication) to major procedures (IVF, surgery, etc) depending upon the diagnosis for both parties (male factor, female factor, both). Some treatments can be very costly and this may add to the stressful burden they may already be experiencing.

Build-Up of Stress
Stress is frequently felt by both the man and woman experiencing infertility. Along with everyday stress from work and life in general, they often struggle with dreams of family and whether it will come to fruition. The cost or availability of treatment options, along with the cost of the initial diagnosis work up, also may play a large part in stress. Every day experiences of seeing pregnant women and babies, being invited to baby showers or gender reveal parties, and even the announcement of a new pregnancy within their family or circle of friends can add to the stress of a woman or man not knowing if their dreams of a family will ever come true.

Beware of Depressions
Lastly, depression is a frequent complaint of those struggling to conceive. With each failed attempt or treatment to become or remain pregnant, it becomes more difficult to maintain a positive outlook on the situation. It is important for couples to share their feelings with others who care about them, or join a support group with people in a similar situation. Isolation and feeling alone in your struggle to achieve a family can be crippling, and it is imperative you have a support system in place to help you through this difficult journey.

Feeling the Loss through Infertility, Miscarriage or Abortion
We should also mention that many women who have undergone an abortion often experience similar stresses, emotions and depression as those who have either lost a child through miscarriage or deal with infertility. While the circumstances are varied, the emotional toil is similar, and should not be ignored.

Whether you are struggling with miscarriage, a previous abortion decision, or the loss of never having a child, we are here to help you. We have a support program called Awakenings that deals specifically with infant loss for any reason. Here you will find one-on-one sessions and supportive small group classes that can lead to healing.  You don’t have to go through your feelings of loss alone!


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