It’s so hard to put words together when describing human emotions, especially when dealing with infertility. Just think about it for a moment. Even if you are here reading this article for the right reasons or out of curiosity or just simply by mistake, take a moment, close your eyes and think. Think of how your life is now and how you want to be; what is missing and what you desire for it to look like in 5, 10 or even 15 years from now. Most of you (especially women) participating in this brainstorming experience would at some point mention family, an offspring, a new life. Now take your thoughts a few steps further. Your self-estimated time of completeness has reached its point and you now need to accomplish your family dream plan – but you can’t. At first, it seems like a small setback that will be dealt with shortly. You know that luck wasn’t always your thing. But then the downslope continues. You put yourself under the pressure of an effort that seems embattled upon your very own self. After excessive trying, you figure out that nothing has worked or will work, and you search for help. Quietly, discreetly, blamefully. And you press pause.
You begin comprehending what you are experiencing, rationalising and looking out for alternative ways of dealing with it. You come closer to accepting the fact that something is wrong with you, with your partner, with life, with the air you’re breathing, with anything; but something is wrong. Shock, frustration, anger, stigma, depression and grief overwhelm you subsequently. The lack of self-confidence and your low self-esteem may make your relationship with your partner suffer. You feel that you lack a sense of control in your own destiny. The phenomenally easy thing to do then, but emotionally draining exposure process, is to reach out to some close friends, then few family members, until you confess to yourself that you need an expert’s help. This was phase one of your road to infertility.
Close your eyes again and think this through. After unsuccessfully trying all conventional methods, including advice on timing of intercourse, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, supplement intake to promote ovulation, etc., you know that medical help will only solve this. Undeniably, hope will always be a motivation, so you exhaust all possibilities. You start searching online, reading forums, contact people who are experiencing or have experienced infertility and have undergone IVF treatment. You contact various clinics and you explore your options. While medical interventions offer much-needed help and hope, they also add to the stress, anxiety, and grief that individuals are already experiencing from infertility itself. Sadly, nobody can relate or comprehend the extent and depth of the emotional burden you are experiencing. It has been proven that people facing infertility experience emotions common to those who are grieving a significant loss. Through the blurriness of it all, you decide that you will have treatment. This was phase two of your road to infertility.
You have weighed down the pros and cons, estimated the costs, and reached the point where optimism has taken over. You hope that this time you will make it. You haven’t thought it through in much depth as you cannot handle any setbacks at this point, but you know deep down that they might appear. The medications themselves influence you in an emotional level enhancing your mood swings and irritability. You are aware of the impact being only psychological, but you overpass this for your ultimate goal. You are aware of the fact that this might drain you financially, but you still go on. You are aware that your chances of success are not as promising as a guarantee, but you hope. This is your only way and you will continue. This was phase three of the road to infertility.
The final stage is the outcome that comes with more stress even if the result is positive.
As you can understand infertility involves a roller coaster of emotions and feelings. Yes, you are dealing with infertility; yes, you feel like your whole world is falling apart; but no, this is not the end of it.
Don't be afraid to seek help and have a helping hand throughout this journey. We here at Newlife IVF Greece have a dedicated International team to support all patients from abroad and make this journey as comfortable as possible.
Monica Lera, BSc
Monica is working as an International Patient Coordinator at Newlife IVF Greece.