Family Planning, Infertility and Mental Health
Planning for a baby can be an exciting, yet daunting time. While planning for one of the biggest changes of your life, you may be thinking about your finances, relationships, career and health. It’s common to face increased anxiety during this experience, especially if you’re having challenges with conception. Several studies show that people dealing with infertility have higher rates of anxiety and depression compared to their fertile counterparts. Though it’s important to take care of your physical health as you prepare for pregnancy, be sure to prioritize your mental health as well.
Diversion from Your Life Plan
Infertility often represents a major diversion from the plans and goals you have made for yourself and your life. Maybe you planned to be a parent by a certain age, or maybe you feel like a baby is what you need to make your life complete. An unexpected challenge to your plans can be disorienting and distressing. Working with a therapist during this time can equip you with the skills needed to cope.
Infertility and Mental Health
Trying to conceive and struggling with infertility can be an isolating and emotionally painful experience. A lot of focus is placed on ensuring your body is physically ready for pregnancy. It’s important not to neglect your mental health while dealing with infertility and trying to conceive. As you navigate this challenging time, you are more prone to depression and anxiety than at other times in your life. Infertility is also linked to lowered self-esteem and confidence. Pay attention to your levels of stress and anxiety and take breaks when things get overwhelming.
Planning a Pregnancy with an Existing Mental Health Condition
If you have or have ever had a mental illness, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor before planning to have a baby. Most people with mental health conditions have healthy pregnancies and babies, but it’s still helpful to speak to your doctor. Some medications used to treat mental illnesses can also impact your ability to conceive or should not be taken while pregnant. Do not stop taking any medications without first speaking with your doctor. Talking to your doctor can also give you insight on how pregnancy may affect your mental health, so you can feel prepared and informed.
Impact on Your Relationships
Deciding to have a baby can be a mutually fulfilling experience that creates a stronger bond between you and your partner. In other cases, trying to conceive can be stressful and may have a negative impact on your relationship with your partner. If both people aren’t on the same page, this can cause tension and uncertainty about the future of the relationship. For some couples, sex can become boring or routine while trying to conceive, causing issues with intimacy. If planning your family is causing stress in your relationship, it may be worth looking into couple’s counseling.
Deciding to become a parent can impact other relationships, too. Friendships may be affected since you may be less able to dedicate time and energy to those interactions. If your friends are not becoming parents, you may find yourself drifting apart as your interests and lifestyles change.
Professional Support at Every Step of the Way
At Flourish Psychology, our clinicians can help you process concerns about pregnancy and building a family. We can also support you through the process of fertility treatments or healing after a miscarriage. If you are considering surrogacy and need emotional support in making this life-changing decision, our clinicians offer a safe and welcoming therapeutic environment.
Contact us for a free consult to get started.