As much as it remains a taboo topic, infertility is more common than you may think. But, with hopeful parents keeping their worries and concerns to themselves, dealing with infertility can be a lonely, disheartening process.
If you’re one of the many people who are coping with infertility and looking for support and advice, know that you do have ways of overcoming infertility, moving forward from your struggles and starting the family you’ve always dreamed of. It may not be an easy journey every step of the way, but infertility support today is available in a way it wasn’t decades ago — and can provide you a community as a way of surviving infertility.
One of the biggest and hardest first steps to take for coping with infertility is reaching out — letting others know your infertility struggles and letting them help you along the path to happiness and success. At American Surrogacy, our surrogacy specialists have worked with many parents in your position over the last 20 years, and we’re happy to refer you to trusted infertility counselors and resources, as well as provide the information you need if you’re considering the surrogacy process.
But if you’re not quite ready to explore your infertility options yet, that’s okay. One of the first steps toward accepting infertility is to acknowledge what you’re feeling and do something about it. Below, you’ll find some of the ways you can overcome these emotional struggles and move toward a more positive future.
How to Cope With Infertility
When you search, “How to deal with infertility,” you’ll likely receive many suggestions — medical and emotional — for moving on from this difficult time in your life. However, the first and most important thing you need to do is acknowledge and accept what you’re feeling, not only for your health moving forward but also your future long after you overcome your infertility struggles.
It’s completely understandable if you don’t wish to recount your infertility struggles as you’re trying to pursue your family-building options, but it’s highly recommended that you work with an infertility counselor to do exactly that. This counselor can help you work through some of the difficult emotions you have, making sure you’re in a positive mental state before moving forward. If you aren’t, your parenthood journey will be much more difficult — especially in highly emotional processes like adoption and surrogacy.
Dealing with infertility frequently means dealing with some of the more complicated emotions associated with it, like:
Shock over the inability to have children naturally like your friends and family can
Anger and frustration over your lack of control of your own body and ability to reproduce
Guilt over infertility and the inability to have children, especially if you are the one with infertility struggles in your relationship
Grief over the potential loss of a genetic connection between you and your child if you pursue adoption, egg or sperm donation
Desperation as you try every infertility treatment (medical and homeopathic) you can find
Sadness as you eventually realize your inability to have children naturally
No matter where you are in your infertility journey, it’s important to recognize that these feelings are completely normal. Although they may not make you feel like yourself, they are an important part of your journey to accepting your infertility and moving forward with your family-building process.
However, as you probably know, coping with infertility is easier said than done.
That’s why many professionals encourage hopeful parents who are struggling with infertility to work with an infertility counselor. Your counselor will work with you to understand the struggles you’re experiencing living with infertility, and they may offer suggestions for overcoming infertility and eventually moving forward with your parenthood process. These may include:
1. Sharing your feelings.
While your infertility counselor will play a large role as you work through your emotions, try not to confine your conversations to your meetings with him or her. Share what you’re feeling in a positive way with your partner, and reach out to family and friends for infertility support. Although they may not have experience with the infertility process, it can be helpful to have someone you know just be an open ear for you to vent to. You may also want to seek out infertility support groups to share your struggles with people who have been through the same emotions you have.
2. Allowing yourself to grieve, be angry and cry.
One of the worst things you can do while you’re dealing with infertility is to keep your emotions bottled up inside. It’s unhealthy to try to hide or ignore your feelings, and it can lead to greater resentment and more emotional difficulties down the road. Sometimes, when you allow yourself the chance to break down and let it all out, it can be cathartic — and much needed. Coping with infertility is a difficult enough journey, but when you pretend it isn’t affecting you, you won’t find the sort of emotional release that you so desperately need.
3. Staying in touch with your partner.
If you and your partner are struggling with infertility together, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with all of the disappointing and negative emotions associated with your infertility struggles. You may start to feel guilty or resentful of each other when times get hard. However, your partner is often your closest source of support, so it’s important to stay strong, honest and loving with each other. While physical intimacy might bring up negative emotions of trying and failing to conceive, take care of your relationship; plan special nights where the focus is elsewhere than family-building or simply hold hands and go for a walk. If you’re experiencing difficulty in your relationship, we encourage you to reach out to an infertility or relationship counselor to reconnect with each other.
These are clearly just a few of the things that you should consider as you’re surviving and overcoming infertility. Self-care is important; make sure that you are keeping yourself as mentally and physically healthy as possible given your situation. Focus on your relationships and the emotions you’re feeling, but don’t let them overwhelm you. Once you have begun to acknowledge and accept your infertility, than you can proceed with different infertility options to create your family.
Why Accepting Infertility is Crucial Before Starting the Surrogacy Process
At American Surrogacy, we know that the surrogacy process is not always right for every person struggling with infertility. However, for the people who do decide to pursue surrogacy, we will be there to support you every step of the way.
The first step of us doing so is making sure that those who are interested in starting the surrogacy process are dealing with their infertility properly and preparing for conquering infertility. We know how important it is to start the emotional process of surrogacy from a stable mental state, which is why we set certain requirements to make sure that all intended parents are emotionally ready to make this commitment. While we will not force you to discuss your infertility journey with us when starting the process, our agency (and, likely, your fertility clinic) will require you to complete a psychological screening.
During this screening, a professional counselor will talk to you about your infertility journey and whether you’re truly ready for the emotional challenges of surrogacy. Entering into the surrogacy process without having overcome your infertility issues will cause struggles down the road, from selecting a surrogate to creating a meaningful relationship with her to being present for your child’s birth. These moments can cause emotional distress — and lingering feelings about your own infertility can escalate that distress immensely.
Our screening and your conversation with your surrogacy specialist will give you advice on some difficulties that may arise during surrogacy, like:
Dealing with unexpected developments
Being in an ongoing, healthy conversation with your partner and your surrogate
Accepting your loss of control during your surrogate’s pregnancy
Preparing for the challenges of raising a child born from surrogacy
Therefore, if you haven’t yet overcome any lingering issues regarding your infertility journey and your own feelings, these challenges can be even more difficult — especially because your attention, focus and excitement is not fully dedicated to the surrogacy process.
American Surrogacy and our specialists will always be your surrogacy support system throughout your surrogacy process, and we encourage you to create your own support system of family and friends as you continue coping with your infertility and starting your parenthood journey. Infertility is not an easy journey, but you can have a child at the end of it, one way or another — as long as you take the time to properly acknowledge and move forward from this difficult time in your life.
To learn more about the surrogacy process and receive referrals for infertility counseling, please contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).