It seems like the physical aspects of infertility are often discussed and studied. Why is this happening? Why is my body not performing properly? What is the medical explanation for why we aren’t able to conceive? But the psychological toll is what I’ve found is the the most difficult part of dealing with infertility. It’s hard to explain just how it feels or compare it to something others might able to understand a bit better.
In a study cited by this article from the Harvard Medical School, it compares the anxiousness and depression levels of women dealing with infertility to someone who was diagnosed with cancer.
“Another study of 488 American women who filled out a standard psychological questionnaire before undergoing a stress reduction program concluded that women with infertility felt as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, or recovering from a heart attack.”
I addition, less research is done on men’s reactions to infertility, “but when men learn that they are the ones who are infertile, they experience the same levels of low self esteem, stigma, and depression as infertile women do.”
While it’s hard to compare my disease with someone who has an actual life threatening disease like cancer, I was not surprised to hear the results of this study. Infertility causes a range of reactions and emotions similar to what others go through when they’re grieving a significant loss. It’s something that you cannot escape. Something you think about nearly every second of the day. It’s physically and psychologically wearing.
Please be aware of this this. Please don’t dismiss someone’s infertility as not that big a deal.
And to those dealing with infertility, know that it’s okay to mourn. Please don’t feel guilty about that.
image: Olga Perevalova