Breaking the Cycle of Stress and Sadness
The sadness that you may feel when you find you are not pregnant can be profound and paralyzing, or even result in full-blown depression. In fact, research shows that depression among infertile women1 is on par with feelings experienced by those who have cancer or heart disease. But men, too, can experience depression during fertility treatment.
The more difficult it becomes for a couple to conceive, the more one or both partners are apt to experience sadness or even depression. Depression, along with other emotions such as anger and anxiety, can cause more stress.
While no one should ever tell you not to feel sad when you are having difficulty conceiving, it is important to learn how to manage stressbecause, as stress hormones rise, it can become even more difficult to conceive.
One way stress may affect women is that it increases stress hormones that can interfere with the proper balance of the levels of estrogen and progesterone, the hormones necessary for reproduction. Prolonged stress also may cause fallopian tubes to spasm in women.
In men, stress can lead to decreased sperm production.
Increased stress levels could further impair your fertility and can create even more feelings of anxiety, which then can make the situation more difficult. That is why it is important to develop specific ways to cope with the ups and downs you feel during fertility treatment. Whatever you do, keep in mind that you may need more comfort than you realize.
Identifying your stress triggers can help you better prepare to avoid or cope with them.
Potential triggers might include:
- Medical appointments that interfere with work or other scheduled activities
- Scheduled intercourse instead of spontaneous lovemaking
- Baby showers or birthday parties for young children
- Maintaining the positive aspects of your relationship while going through intensive treatment