Having a baby is the major transition in adult life that both men and women look forward to. The non-fulfilment of this wish could often result in anger, depression, anxiety, marital problems, sexual dysfunction and social isolation.
Depression caused by infertility is usually more common among women than with men. Women find it harder to accept infertility and suffer a whole range of emotions. Apart from the obvious emotion of frustration, women tend to go through emotions such as jealousy and anger. A feeling of inadequacy soon pervades a woman’s thinking and this in turn can place further stress on the relationship between herself and her partner.
Signs Of Depression
There are several signs that indicate serious depression. If you find yourself constantly feeling sad, desperate, worthless, or inadequate, professional counseling may help you understand your situation better. Other signs that indicate a need for professional counseling are:
- Lack of motivation
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Feeling overly sensitive, vulnerable, or guilty
- Having suicidal thoughts
In addition to the emotional signs of depression, there are several biological and physical signs that you should look for. For example, if you’re having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep or if you find yourself waking up early and being unable to go back to sleep, this could signal depression. Other signs are excessive increase in or loss of appetite, loss of sexual desire, and fatigue.
Tips to Avoid Depression During Infertility
Here are a few practical things patients can do to be more “in control” during infertility treatment.
Optimize Your Health
Consult wellness experts for advice on nutrition, exercise and relaxation to optimize your physical and emotional health.
Talk About Infertility Choices
A negative outcome can be a stressful event. Statistically each treatment cycle has less than a 50% chance of success. Talk with partners prior to completing a cycle about plan “B”. From continued fertility treatment to adoption, donor/ surrogacy, or even living child-free. Communicate to avoid uncertainty about the future.
Get Professional Help
If you are depressed all the time, rather than having “ups and downs” that seem to be related to your treatment, you may need to seek professional therapy. Counseling can help you honestly examine your feelings, determine your priorities and improve your coping skills.
You might also want to seek help if you and your partner are unable to communicate with each other about your infertility and its treatment, and if you’re having difficulty coping with extreme anger or resentment.
It is important to select a therapist who has experience in infertility treatment and the difficulties and emotions that go long with it. Remember, you are choosing the therapist. So select someone who is familiar with your situation and who makes you feel comfortable.
Talk to Other Patients
Understand that the feelings surrounding infertility are quite common as 1 in 6 couples experience infertility. Infertility depression can be understood only by those who are experiencing it. The good news is that if you are going through it, you don’t need to suffer through it alone.
Research all of the financial issues relating to fertility procedures before starting a cycle. Estimate all associated costs and compare them to available income, allocated savings or manageable credit. If it isn’t feasible, wait until it is and avoid unexpected financial hardship.
Understand cycle timelines
How will a fertility treatment cycle impact other important areas of life? Ensure that a fertility treatment timeline doesn’t unnecessarily or surprisingly disrupt other important matters, by mapping out a planned cycle on a calendar.
Sort out Workplace Issues
The workplace can often be an added source of stress. How will an employer react to an absence? Each workplace has a different set of managerial dynamics. Some managers are openly supportive. Some less. Understand the company HR policy. If roadblocks are anticipated, work out alternatives.
Just remember, there is no sure way to remove stress but you can control some of the unwanted and unexpected negative feelings that compound stress and lead to depression.
Tips & Tricks
Dieting during pregnancy can cause abnormalities and a low birth weight in your baby; therefore your ideal weight should be reached before pregnancy.
Taking folic acid in its natural form before pregnancy can prevent serious birth defects. You can find them in fruits and vegetables, fortified cereals, and enriched bread products. If you’re planning to conceive, you should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day.
If you are on contraceptive pills, it could take a few months before your periods are regular and you begin ovulating again. It usually is best to stop the pills at the end of a cycle to avoid mid-cycle bleeding.
Before buying a home pregnancy test kit, be sure to check the expiry date. For accurate results, take the test after one week after the missed period; testing very early, can give you negative results.
Green tea and orange pekoe (popularly known as 'regular') are considered to be excellent fertility enhancers. Research has shown that women who regularly drink tea, increase their chance of conception.