Infertility is the inability to conceive or contribute to conception, or it also describes when a woman cannot carry a pregnancy to full term. Infertility is an unanticipated loss and with it may come feelings that a couple has lost control over future plans, lost the ability to carry on the family line, or be a part of the same community as others who are having children. Many times people naturally assume they will be able to have children biologically, and finding out that may not be the case can be difficult emotionally and create a serious challenge for couples to face.
A person’s response to discovering the diagnosis of infertility can be complicated. Some act unaffected while others may respond with deep emotion. Men and women tend to handle it differently as well, and while one may experience sadness another may take on an aggressive role while trying to solve the problem. Men tend to react in anger or may try to compensate by working harder at their job, and sometimes women may feel alone in their grief. Women tend to respond emotionally while men may avoid discussing feelings or talking about the losses, and how each responds affects the relationship.
Therapy is an important first step for individuals to acknowledge, identify feelings, and openly grieve about their infertility. By working through emotions, couples may be able to communicate about the feelings they are experiencing. From there they might be able to start identifying options for either trying to have a biological child or explore other options such as adoption, surrogacy, or not having children. With the knowledge of infertility, couples commonly experience negative affects on a sexual relationship, and they may lose a sense of wholeness and self-identity. Through therapy, couples can work to restore how they view themselves, build on their strengths, re-establish a positive and satisfying sex life, and learn to accept the diagnosis.
To learn more or get in contact with us at the Atlanta Behavioral Consultants, please call Marsha Schechtman, LCSW at 770.753.4911 or Howard Drutman, Ph.D. at 678.867.7020.