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. Many even feel they have “infertility PTSD,” and I can understand that. Even just trying to afford IVF or if nothing else, preparing for your IVF Cycles (and the ever-important “IVF Bikini Wax“) can cause feelings that linger long after you injected your last hormone. Fertility issues can compromise your sense of control over your life, health, relationships, faith, and body. After all, many see having a baby as an essential part of how they see their lives. However, if you finally get pregnant, it can be challenging to believe that everything is 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 about it, working towards it, and paying for it is AH-mazing, but it still can be scary too. Below, 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 16 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:
● Obsessing over symptoms of 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.
● 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 Emotions
The most important thing to remember is that these emotions are entirely normal. Other women who have experienced pregnancy after infertility have had them, and you certainly won’t be the last. However, the emotional toll needn’t mean pregnancy is a joyless experience. Below are some tips about how to cope.
● Find a supportive doctor or midwife who understands your situation. If your care provider brushes off your concerns, consider switching.
● Educate yourself about pregnancy and birth. Although you shouldn’t obsess over the symptoms, doing your research can ease anxiety.
● 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 previous loss or the grief of infertility. One baby does not replace another, and you are entitled to your feelings.
● Assemble a support system around you. Remember, your partner, friends, and family will be there to help you through this complicated time.
Seeking Professional Help
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 mother 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.