At Harley Street Fertility Clinic, we know all too well the mental strain, exhaustion and anxiety that going through infertility and fertility treatment can cause. The desire to have a baby is an all- consuming one and can often leave couples feeling fatigued with a loss of identity. Today on Mental Health Awareness Day, we would like to acknowledge the struggle that many couples face and remind you that if you’re struggling with your mental health during your fertility treatment, you’re not alone!
Fertility treatment can cause high anxiety for many couples and seemingly normal things such as appointments or blood being taken can often lead to feelings of sadness and isolation, which in turn can be triggering for your mental health. Below we have outlined some of the most common reasons for stress and anxiety during your treatment.
Common Reasons for Anxiety During Fertility Treatments
Appointments: For many, seeing a doctor or having blood taken would be a routine 5 minute job. Millions of people do it every day. But for women suffering from infertility trauma, there can be many triggering aspects to fertility treatment; from the invasiveness of scans and medications, often leaving a woman feeling like her body isn’t her own, to blood tests and doctors appointments.
The Two Week Wait: This is a time filled with anxiety. Patient’s have been through so much to get to this point and often the wait to find out if the transfer was successful is unbearable. We suggest sharing your journey with people whom you find comfort in can really help to ease the load you’re carrying.
Two Little Lines: Then the successful pregnancy, is accompanied by 8 weeks of worry and expectation that something will go wrong, especially if patients have already experienced loss. This is a very normal feeling. We suggest that you allow yourself to remember each pregnancy is different and someone else’s story won’t be yours.
The Whole 9 Months: For some women, their brain won’t allow them to enjoy any part of the pregnancy, for fear that it will all be taken from them at any moment. You have desperately wanted to get to this point, but you find yourself unable to live in the moment. Some women talk about feeling like they no longer fit in their infertility community, but don’t fit anywhere else either.
We asked Mollie Graneek, a fully qualified professional counsellor with a particular interest in assisted reproduction and donor conception, her advice on coping strategies for patients embarking on IVF treatment. She has 5 key principals for supporting patients going through fertility treatment:
Don’t isolate yourself
Communicate with your partner
Identify and share your feelings
Don’t blame yourself.
What can HSFC offer?
Harley Street Fertility Clinic hold the mental health and wellbeing of our patients at the forefront of all we do. As such, we offer two free counselling sessions to each couple undertaking treatment as well as 1 free acupuncture session for the female partner.
If after reading this you feel you would like support for your mental health before, during or after your fertility treatment, please do not hesitate to contact us.