how do you manage the announcement of your infertility

How do you manage the announcement of your infertility?

The shock of being diagnosed with infertility

In the event of a delayed pregnancy, the couple will be offered the opportunity to explore the obstacles to motherhood. Depending on the results of the tests, medical solutions will be proposed.

By offering the couple medical assistance, their infertility is diagnosed. But how is this moment experienced? How do you deal with it?

Infertility is received by the couple as a slap in the face!

This announcement is always a very painful moment. It is a sign that the couple has a problem! This word INFERTILE or INFERTILITY is received by the couple as a slap in the face. And its translation is: we have a problem! Many questions then arise: Why us? What are we going to do? Will we have a child? This news sends shockwaves through the couple, which they will first have to digest and then accept.

It is important to emphasise that when the announcement is made, a diagnosis is made, highlighting the reasons for infertility. Is it the woman with the problem, or the man? Or both? For a lot of people, this revelation comes as a double shock and poses a problem because it "makes" the sufferer feel guilty. From now on, he or she will bear the responsibility. Even if the couple is loving and caring, there may be things left unsaid about infertility. Sometimes there are two sides to the story: the one you tell your partner and the one you tell yourself.

But let's not forget cases of unexplained infertility. In these cases, there is no diagnosis! The guilt is all the greater, and the question of psychological responsibility may arise. It's important to remember that unexplained infertility is often not just psychological infertility! It's very difficult for a couple with no known pathology to be told "Well then, it's all in your head, don't think about it and it'll happen". This stigmatises the couple even more and makes them feel even more guilty.

From grief to hope to fertility: the vicious circle of a fertility journey

It is important to bear in mind that when a couple starts their fertility journey, they have already had many failed pregnancies. The arrival of menstruation marks the end of a cycle and signals that there is no pregnancy. For the woman, this will generate a feeling of despair, disappointment, and failure with regard to her fertility treatment.

But menstruation also marks the start of a new cycle, which may lead to pregnancy, so there is a sense of hope. In just a few days, or even a few hours, a woman's state of mind can swing from low to high.

In fact, it is the accumulation of failures that can end up shaking the couple and generating a "psychological state specific to infertility" in both the man and the woman! Entering a fertility journey will therefore generate tremendous hope for the couple, but will also mark a new stage in their mourning: the mourning of the natural child.

The fertility journey restores the couple's desire to reproduce

Assisted reproduction, which, as we have seen, is organised and monitored, leaves no room for the unknown. So it's with a mixture of sadness and hope that couples begin their treatments. These ambivalent feelings become part of the couple's lives as they discover the emotional rollercoaster.

What's more, the hope generated by these treatments at each attempt will also lead couples to focus more and more on questions of reproduction, motherhood, and fatherhood. Couples will start counting and calculating their fertility period. Women will gradually learn to observe each other. The slightest sign of pregnancy shook the couple, and the days when menstruation was late became long and unbearable.

The couple will be organising their lives around this one event! Holidays will be planned around treatments or potential pregnancy. The more time passes, the tighter the noose gets and life outside the baby project is put on hold.

Finally, let's underline the aspect of the way others look at this failure, whether it is verbalised or not. However, this failure is understandable to everyone.

Advice on dealing with infertility

When infertility is announced, it is important to take time to digest, understand what is happening, and decide with your partner! This time should allow you to become aware of what has just happened: "How do I feel? Where do I stand? Where does my partner stand?

You mustn't lose touch with your partner. How we feel is just how we feel, and your partner is probably not experiencing the same thing or feeling the same emotions.

We can't impose our vision on the other person, which is why it's essential from this point on to remain constantly connected to the other person because emotions and feelings are evolving. We also need to accept that each person moves at their own pace and that sometimes we don't agree on every decision, and that we may need to give the other person time to make their own way.

We don't make decisions to please others, but first and foremost to be in tune with ourselves.

Written by:

Déborah Schouhma​nn-Antonio​,                                                                                                                                                     Therapist, Life Coach, Trainer


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