By Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD
Infertility. The experience is a bad dream that couples may not wake up from for many months or even years. When it becomes clear that pregnancy is elusive, life as it has been known becomes unrecognizable.
As solutions are sought, the world gets dark. Friends who are popping out babies left and right become objects of jealousy. Questions and glances from well-meaning family feel intrusive. No matter how well situated you are financially, the costs of treatment threaten to overwhelm your plans. Career choices can become an ordeal. The array of decisions to be made, medical and otherwise, is dizzying. Worst of all, the collective demands of biology, psychology, sociology and spirituality attendant to this quest can destabilize even the most solid relationship. It’s self-evident that having sex is necessary for conception. Simultaneously it is a form of loving communication. Both go out the window, replaced by the tendency to limit sex to the fertile time, sometimes without pleasure. In many cases and sex is unnecessary because intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, ovum or sperm donation, embryo adoption or surrogacy hijacks the need.
This is just an outline of the ordeal. Add in all of the details, combinations and permutations and you’ve got a crisis. Not an acute crisis which usually resolves itself in about six weeks, but a chronic one where complications increasingly convolute complications.
Eek! Not only is the crisis chronic, but the stress that comes along for the ride is chronic, too. The stress of infertility has been measured to be on par with life-threatening illnesses like cancer and heart disease.
How can couples cope with all of the stressful manifestations of infertility?
Read More…Go to my column at HuffingtonPost.com.