There are three slightly subtle scenarios for when to seek infertility counseling. Subtle only in that they creep in on us, and then they sound off like a wake-up call. Wouldn’t it be nice to detect the scenario before the sirens?
But, wait. Even before these more common and subtle scenarios, there’s a matter to be aware of: PTSD. Not that we need research to know this, but studies confirm that the psychological impact of infertility is no less than that of those facing cancer or any other life-threatening condition. It’s known as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), and you may not even know you suffer from it. If you find you might, you’ll want a therapist who not only is an infertility counselor but who is also trained in this area too.
As for the subtle scenarios, you might enjoy counseling when:
1. Infertility Is Taking Over Your Life
As mentioned above, infertility is usually overwhelming. If you suspect that infertility has taken over your life, counseling helps you to get your life back. If you’re chronically sad, depressed, worried, anxious or irritable–yeah, the list is long–then your wish to have a baby has taken a toll and counseling can help ease the devastation.
2. You or Your Partner Are Feeling Stuck and Uncertain
Get more facts so you can make emotional and realistic choices. Physicians may be sympathetic to all of your options, but many are not trained beyond the medicine of getting you prego. A counselor does know the facts and nuances of your choices and with less bias of “Let’s get you pregnant.” Therefore, you can more likely explore and try-on your most informed and authentic choices: for instance, more treatments and how many, adoption and what route, as equally so the surprisingly pleasing facts about leading a life without “having” children of “your own.”
3. Not Having A Baby Is Hurting Your Relationship
Even without the concern of becoming pregnant, our relationships ask a lot of us. Add in multiple miscarriages or the repeated disappointments of another month missed? It’s the kind of stress that can make you feel alone and break the best of love.
Over time, the daily misunderstandings can build up and run intensely deep: One partner may want to express the emotions over and over again, while the spouse may, in contrast, need to cope by staying silent or problem solving.
Rather than your partner and you sharing the experience supportively, you’re feeling more like strangers, even if intellectually you know you love each other. You crave the days before this all started but no matter how you might try, you each seem to keep getting it wrong with each other today.
Because the dynamics are complex, counselors who are formally trained in couples counseling can best assist with this scenario, yes, even more than an infertility counselor; an unqualified counselor can make an already fragile couple break. Of course, if your counselor is trained in both, super! He or she can facilitate the togetherness and turn the difficult experience into an opportunity for you to feel closer than you ever thought possible.
Strong people know that enlisting those around them makes them stronger and more vibrant, not less. The collaboration converts a heavy load into a hopeful one.