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FAQ | Fertility

Seven ways to stay upbeat when feeling down about infertility

A woman facing infertility can feel lonely in a world that seems filled with babies and where it appears that every other woman gets pregnant with ease. It is often incredibly difficult for those who have no experience with IVF to understand it.

This according to Mbali Lechler, managing director of surrogacy and egg donation programme FertilityCareSA, who writes a weekly blog addressing a variety of issues dealing with infertility.

Having been through three failed artificial inseminations, five failed IVFs, one ectopic pregnancy, one chemical pregnancy, and a miscarriage, Lechler can relate to those who feel that infertility is an uphill battle, and whose global agency has helped more than 300 couples conceive with the help of egg donation.

“Unfortunately, I know only too well what it feels like to have your dreams shattered time and again, to long for something that may never happen.”

Experiencing infertility, a failed IVF, or a miscarriage may evoke a myriad of emotions for both partners in an affected couple. Disappointment, anger, resentment, guilt, loneliness, embarrassment, sense of failure, a profound sense of loss, grief, and a loss of self-esteem, are common emotions a couple may go through. One may experience some or all of these and the intensity and combination may vary for each individual.

According to Vicky Fabricius, a psychologist who consults for FertilityCareSA, a couple can prepare themselves for the possibility of a failed IVF treatment ahead of time, and should allow themselves to feel and experience each emotion as it arises.

“Tell yourself that your feelings are valid and that is natural for you to feel this way. These feelings are not a sign of weakness, they are normal human responses to a very difficult time in life,” believes Fabricius.

Getting the balance is the key, so Fabricius suggests these seven ways to stay positive include:

1) Spend time with loved ones who know what you are going through and can understand and support you and avoid people who are insensitive to infertility issues.

2) Journal your thoughts and feelings. Lechler decided to take her painful experiences and turn them into a purpose by reaching out to others in a similar situation and assisting them in their dreams of building a family. By helping others and focusing less on her personal pain she believes she has helped heal her wounds and find peace with life as it is.

3) Spend time on infertility blogs or support websites, keep yourself educated and informed about infertility and reading widely on the topic.

4) Avoid attending social gatherings that involve children such as baby showers or children’s birthdays.

5) Take time for yourself focusing on your self-care and engage in activities that are nurturing such as going for a massage, watching your favourite movie, treating yourself to something special, and don’t forget to exercise.

“Go on a holiday, do something completely unrelated to trying to have a baby, find happiness in other parts of your life,” suggests Lechler.

6) Connect with your higher power, spend time in nature or participate in other activities that help you feel grounded.

7) Realise that your partner is also feeling a complex range of emotions that may be similar or different to yours and try not to judge this difference, acknowledging that this may put strain on a relationship, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help for yourself and your partner if needed.

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