Infertility Tests Every Aspect of a Couple's Life
Infertility Tests for Every Aspect of a Couple's Life
The Power of Hot Fudge continued...
Often just sharing those experiences can help, Gellman says. "It was so
important to know there was somebody else who felt exactly how I felt, and it
was great for the husbands, too, because they saw that their wives weren't so
unusual and abnormal, or that they weren't going crazy."
But Domar says that depression among infertile women is just as severe as
the depression experienced by those with life-threatening diseases such as
cancer, heart disease and AIDS. That can make positive, or even realistic,
mindsets hard to drum up, she says. "Infertility is a brutal process, and
unlike any other medical condition, the patient is blamed for it," she
says. "Every infertility patient in the world has been told, 'Just relax,
and you'll get pregnant.' Would you say to a cancer patient to just relax and
the cancer will go away?"
So don't be surprised if all the platitudes and rationalizations -- such as
try focusing on other aspects of your life -- don't take the edge off,
no matter how true or well intentioned. "If you tell an infertile woman to
have a life, she'll throw things at you," Domar says. "It's an
incredibly stressful process. The problem is that, I believe, the depression
that results from the experience may kick in and contribute to the
At the Mind/Body Center for Women's Health, Domar teaches a variety of
physical and cognitive skills women can use while they're going through
infertility treatments. Stress-reduction techniques include meditation, yoga,
progressive muscle relaxation, nutrition and keeping a journal to express
emotion. Or women might do things to nurture or indulge themselves, like taking
a mental-health day, having a bubble bath, watching a "chick movie" or
eating a hot fudge sundae.
"I think women pay a very high price with some of these infertility
treatments -- it can be very demoralizing -- and perhaps in our zeal to make
sure they become parents, we've ignored the possible downside," says Penny
Simkin, a childbirth educator, doula and birth counselor in Seattle. She says
women need more professional support, not only during treatments but after
they've conceived. In the meantime, it's fortunate that most couples still have
a pot of gold waiting at the other end.