Life Coaching/Infertility and stress
Thank you for volunteering your time to answer questions! I'd like some advice on how to deal with the stress related to infertility. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for two years. Now it feels like suddenly everyone in my family and group of friends is pregnant at once, and I know of at least one other who is trying to get pregnant. While I am happy for all of these people, it is like being punched in the stomach every time I hear someone else is pregnant. How can I deal with this emotional stress while also dealing with the stress of trying to conceive? Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom you can offer.
My heart goes out to you, even though I have not been through infertility, myself. Its sounds so painful and isolating not to be having a baby and yet to be surrounded by couples who are pregnant. My first reaction after reading your post is that you may need some extra support right now. Your emotional reaction and stress is very understandable and I think it would be helpful to talk to other people (women or couples) who also struggle with infertility. There is no one who will be able to understand what you are going through better than those who have been through it themselves. Have you looked into any support groups for couples or women with infertility? I would check local hospitals and counseling centers for groups. Also, check out Resolve-the National Infertility Association. They have a website which lists support groups in your area by location.
I know it can seem scary and overwhelming to attend a group. Maybe your husband would attend with you and this would relieve stress for him as well. Support groups have positive effects through providing a safe space for expressing your feelings and have the added benefit of other members in the group sharing a similar experience. Also, other group members will have valuable information to share, offer strategies for overcoming problems, and ways to cope with the reality of painful emotions. This may lesson your stress through being heard, acknowledged and understood by others.
There are many other ways to help relieve stress which may or may not be helpful to you. Sometimes it is a trial by error process to find which strategies work for you. Some stress relief measures I recommend to clients (and many I use myself):
1. Journaling-This is especially helpful for painful emotions or thoughts that you do not feel comfortable expressing verbally. The process of writing down your thoughts is very therapeutic. Just pick up a notebook or journal and start writing-let yourself be free to say whatever comes to mind-whether pleasant, angry, sad, or loving.
2. Acceptance-This refers to an acceptance and nonjudgmental attitude toward yourself during this time of difficulty. Too often, people increase their own suffering by fighting against or trying to repress negative emotions. They deny their true emotions and maintain a “Pollyanna” stance with other people. In most situations, it is better to explain to others the truth-that you are hurting-rather than to pretend to be okay. With family and friends, you may need to test out the waters and see how much you feel comfortable revealing.
3. Channeling your painful feelings into a constructive activity-I do not mean distracting yourself-rather-doing something that is personally meaningful to you, that gives you a sense of hope. I know a lovely woman, a friend, who lost a baby through a miscarriage. She is now volunteering for an organization that makes hand-made blankets for infants of impoverished women. There are many other charitable organizations to get involved with if this interests you.
4. Spiritual Activity-Whether you go to church, synagogue, temple, or have your own spiritual practice, many people feel a sense of relief through spirituality. Some pastors, rabbis, or priests offer counseling services which may be helpful. For some, yoga and meditation, whether spiritual or not, can be great forms of relaxation.
I hope very much that you find some stress relief practices that you will have as life-long tools. Best wishes to you and your husband.