The impact of infertility PTSD

We hear from a reader who despite falling pregnant, is struggling with the impact, that years of infertility and failure has had on her emotional wellbeing. 

“While I often say that infertility is a medical diagnosis, it is so much more than that. It is an entire experience that can take a severe emotional toll on you. ‘Infertility PTSD’ is a common phrase, especially for those who didn’t ever have any counselling, it is also a phrase that I can hugely relate to.

Fertility issues can compromise your sense of control over your life, health, relationships, your faith, and your body. After all, many see having a baby as an essential part of how they see their lives.

However, if you do finally get pregnant, it can be challenging to believe that everything is going to be (and stay) ok. I peed on more sticks than you would believe, and not just initially but for the entire first trimester. Yes, being pregnant after stressing so much about it, working towards it, and paying for it is AH-mazing, but it still can be scary too.

Here, I talk about how you might be feeling during pregnancy after infertility and how you can cope.

Feelings During Pregnancy After Infertility

Respectfully, I sincerely believe many “fertile folk” get pregnant and don’t even consider that anything could go wrong. I’ve seen my fertile friends post positive pregnancy tests the second they get it without having even seen the doctor. I, however, didn’t tell anyone until after my NT Scan, which is at sixteen weeks, and even then, I worried all of the time that something could go wrong.

You may also feel guilty too!

Why did you get pregnant while other friends who are dealing with infertility still can’t conceive? Below are a few other common emotions or behaviors you may notice:

Analyzing every feeling and worrying it’s a miscarriage or premature labor.

Finding it difficult to transition from a fertility specialist’s care to an OB/GYN or midwife.

Wanting more ultrasounds and check-ups than usually required.

Distrust of your body’s ability to carry a pregnancy to term.

Fear of bonding with the baby until you’re confident they’ll remain alive.

Anxiety preparing for the birth or hesitancy to buy baby items, for fear of ‘jinxing’ your pregnancy.

How to Manage These Feelings

First and foremost: This is normal, especially if you’ve had previous pregnancy losses. However, it’s important to remember that feelings aren’t facts. Plus, since you’ve gone through so much to get here, ideally, you want to find to enjoy some of it, right? Below are some tips on trying to find the joy as well as cope:

Find a supportive doctor or midwife who understands your situation. If your care provider brushes off your concerns, please consider a second opinion.

Don’t be afraid to prepare for your baby’s arrival. Remember, it’s useful to familiarize yourself with primary infant care before the sleep-deprivation a newborn can bring.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t bond with your baby during pregnancy or as soon as they arrive. For many women, it takes a few days or weeks. However, if you think you are experiencing postpartum depression, seek help from a professional.

Don’t feel pressured to forget about the previous loss or grief of infertility. One baby does not replace another, and you are entitled to your feelings.

Find your tribe! Remember, your partner, friends, and family can be there to support you.

Seeking Help If You Need It

For some women, the anxiety might warrant professional help. If you find your feelings of guilt or depression are getting in the way of your daily life, it’s crucial to seek help from your doctor. Such symptoms could include extreme fatigue, insomnia, a loss of appetite, or thoughts about harming yourself. Remember, becoming a parent is something you’ve always wanted – and it’s important you’re there for your baby.

Loss and infertility have a profound emotional impact, but remember, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With the proper support, you can find joy in pregnancy after infertility.

Are you struggling with “infertility PTSD?” Have you conceived following fertility treatment? Has your infertility experience had an impact on your pregnancy? Are you still living in fear? We would love to hear from you. Drop us a line at info@ivfbabble.com

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