January 5, 2018

Infertility & Miscarriage: When The Road To Motherhood Doesn’t Go As Planned

Anxiety & Depression

Infertility & Miscarriage Can Be Overwhelming

When you started thinking ahead to starting or growing your family, you probably pictured some of the common challenges of pregnancy, like morning sickness, back pain, and fatigue. But then, month after month, the positive test doesn’t come. Or the positive test is followed by the sudden loss of the child you were never able to hold. That picture of pregnancy you once had seems to slip further away. This wasn’t part of the plan and yet this is the reality you are facing. The pain, the sadness, and the longing associated with fertility-related issues are overwhelming.

Personal & Emotional Impacts Of Infertility & Miscarriage

Infertility and miscarriage affect so many areas of a woman’s life. Here, we’ll consider the effects on emotions and mental health. In future blogs we’ll look at the effects on other areas, such as relationships. Grief is a common experience when facing infertility and miscarriage. There are multiple losses to grieve. For women coping with pregnancy loss, there is the physical loss of the fetus or child. Some women report that this physical loss can be traumatic and scary. There is also the loss of the dreams and hopes you had for your family. You might have started picturing what this child would be like. All of these are painful losses. Give yourself permission to grieve, whatever that may look like for you. Name the losses you are experiencing and set aside time to feel sad, cry, write, or talk about them with others you trust.

Loneliness is another common experience for women facing infertility and miscarriage. Despite the prevalence of both issues, they are not talked about openly. This silence around these topics leads many women to feel like they are the only ones experiencing them, or that no one wants to listen to them share. Shame is another emotion that accompanies infertility and miscarriage. Shame says “there is something wrong with me” and women come to believe that struggling to get pregnant or stay pregnant means they are “less than” other women who don’t seem to have difficulty with either one. Shame leads you to feel unworthy of connection with others, which can contribute to the feeling of loneliness. One of the ways you can begin to work on these feelings is by identifying the voice of shame when it starts and recognizing how it makes you feel.

Getting Support During Difficulty Is Important

Infertility and miscarriage also bring the feeling of fear for many women. Some women experience fear of an uncertain future. Some women experience fear of going through another loss. Some experience fear of what test results will reveal. These fears and others can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and sadness. If you are experiencing grief, shame, fears, sadness, among other emotions, that is normal. It’s important to talk about what you are feeling. If you have a close, trusted friend you can reach out to, take time to do that. If you are not sure who to talk to or want additional support as you walk through your infertility or miscarriage, I would love to talk with you. Sharing your story with other women going through similar experiences can also be helpful in the healing process. Call me today about meeting one-on-one or joining the group starting January 23rd!

Written by therapist Ndunge Marquardt

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