My Fertility Journey – Do Not Downplay the Impacts of Those Struggling With Infertility!
Fertility. Ugh. It really is one of my least favorite “F” words.
Fertility (or infertility, as many say) is a complex concept that is generally misunderstood by anyone who has not undergone it themselves.
The assumptions and statements made to those undergoing treatment by those who have not experienced it is at best minimally supportive to, at worst, completely harmful.
It is only in the last year, that I have watched this topic be addressed in mainstream society from Michelle Obama discussing that she conceived both her children through IVF to the Today Show’s Dylan Dryer sharing her story around fertility. It is basically 2020.
Fertility struggles can have major impacts on individuals and relationships.
I, personally, have struggled with fertility and the impacts on my life were far greater than what I was prepared for.
I began my fertility journey in 2015, and my daughter was born in 2019. Over three years later. Overall, I was blessed with the support I received, as the nurse connected me with the resources for my personal struggles.
My case was unique, as I was half of a same-sex couple; thus, our fertility issues were unique because we could not just “have a baby.” That was just step one of the hurdles.
Below are some important lessons surrounding fertility for you to get through it!
There is not enough support for those undergoing fertility treatments, and there are not enough resources.
The impacts of fertility treatment far outweigh what we see or are told. The process for creating life is considered fun, intimate, and sacred for some couples.
For couple’s undergoing fertility treatment, this is not often the case.
Imagine trying to conceive IN a hospital room!
Depending on the fertility procedure, sometimes, your partner may not be able to be with you. This can cause a disconnect from the magic of what is happening… the creation of a child.
The procedures are invasive and, at times, painful. Some parts of the body are incredibly sensitive to the areas where shots are required (abdomen, lower back, arms, thigh, vagina, uterus, and/or cervix).
Sexual contact or any sort of physical activity can become painful and hard for the person who is undergoing treatment to get pregnant.
Monotonous Sex Life
If you are an other-sex couple (sometimes called a heterosexual couple), sexual activity may become about ovulation and be scheduled on a timeline.
As couples engage in fertility treatment, sexual intimacy may become non-existent, creating disconnection between the future parents.
If you are a same-sex or a queer couple, sexual intimacy is taken out of creating your child. Thus fertility treatment can cause a disconnection within the romantic relationship.
Also, sometimes children are created by donors and there is no overt sexual connection involved in the creation of your child.
Performance anxiety for partner’s providing sperm, having to provide sperm at a specific time each day during a certain window of time is anxiety provoking and creates extreme pressure on that partner.
Throughout any type of assisted fertility treatment hormones are used. These hormonal shifts can have massive impacts on the body (water retention, weight changes, pain, lubrication, skin issues, bloating, insomnia, decreased sex drive, excessive hair growth, etc) and emotions (low self-esteem, shame, menopause symptoms, drastic mood shifts, depression, anxiety, trauma symptoms, grief, loneliness).
As you can imagine, all of these things stated above can result in issues in the relationship such as increased conflict, difficulty empathizing, increased difficulty
communicating, disconnection, and decreased sexual and physical intimacy.
People are often not prepared for the loss that often occurs during fertility treatment (loss of pregnancy, loss of fertility, and the loss of biological pro-creation).
*THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE ALL IMPACTS OR EVEN IDENTIFY THE FULL SCOPE OF IMPACTS OF FERTILITY.
- Fertility vs. Infertility
- Couple/Partner Work
- Name your Fear and Shame
- Identify What You Need
So, Basically… Get Therapy
Moral of the story, do not downplay the impact, identify your emotions, your needs, and SEEK support! However you embark on this journey, please be sure to access supports, community, and connection. Creating a family is emotional without fertility, add fertility and it can truly be a very complex circumstance that can make you forget what your doing it for.
If you need help, feel free to come to LCAT, we are here to help you and your loved ones through this process! This could look like couples therapy or individual therapy. Our focus in treatment would be helping guide you emotionally through the process, providing psychoeducation, communication skills, expressing your needs, engaging in self care, engaging in relationship care, and creating connections. We want to help combat shame and fear and build connections as you grow your family!
You can get more free content on relationship and sex tips by checking out my Youtube Channel – The Sex Healer.
If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it.
Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists!
Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems.
LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.