Finally, seek the help of a mental health professional familiar with reproductive health problems as you go through infertility can be useful whether you are in the beginning phase of testing and treatment or whether you have been at it for a long time. Meeting with a counselor in the early stages of infertility treatment can help prepare you for what may lie further down the road, and help you to know what feelings are normal and expected as you go through the process. If you have been going through infertility treatment for a long time, counseling can help you take stock of where you are, reassess your goals, and help you to set a reasonable time frame for continuing treatment versus pursuing other options like adoption. Counseling can also help to focus and restore some of your feelings for each other as a couple – something that often gets lost in the intense pursuit for a baby.
In sum, if you are feeling depleted by the process of going through infertility, counseling may offer you the support you need to feel energized enough to continue. It is important to realize that you need not be at the breaking point to feel that you should turn to counseling for support. Even if you are coping well, it can help you to clarify your goals and set reasonable expectations and limitations. Having a regular place to “leave” your emotional burdens can also help free you up to enjoy life more fully and spend less time obsessing about infertility.
Last, but not least, joining a RESOLVE support group or one through your clinic can help ease the isolation of infertility by connecting with others who truly understand and share your feelings.
In general, I see going through infertility as a time to think about your own needs and to take care of yourself. Turning to others for support, whether it be friends, family, your spouse, or professionals, can help you feel less burdened, less isolated, and better able to cope with what lies ahead. You have the right to decide what kind of support can help you most. Learning to ask for it in some of the ways discussed above can help you make use of support without leaving you feeling vulnerable and out of control.