Becoming a Parent: The Intersection Between Anxiety and Fertility

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You always imagined that becoming a parent would be filled with happy and positive feelings, right?

Anxiety was probably the last thing on your mind.

Yet, here you are... anxious.

And it's not because you're worried about what will happen when the baby gets here. You haven't even conceived yet! In fact, you're having problems with exactly that.

Before you began your journey to building a family, you probably didn’t realize how closely anxiety and fertility are connected. Quite truthfully, you probably didn't even think that starting your family would be this hard.

However, that turns out to be exactly the case.

Now, questions keep hanging over your head: Will fertility treatments work? Why did this have to happen? Why me?

What seemed like a straightforward goal has now become much more complicated, making anxiety and fertility the perfect intersection for stress in your life.

When Anxiety and Fertility Meet

While anxiety can greatly affect your reproductive journey, it may not exactly be in the way that you think.

First off, then, think about this: What do anxiety and fertility have in common?

We become anxious when there are periods of uncertainty in our lives and we don’t know what the outcome will be. Of course, family building can fall into this category. The journey to becoming a parent—especially when there are fertility issues—can cause lots of anxiety.

So what are some examples of how anxiety connects to fertility?

  • Learning the odds of becoming a parent through different procedures (IVF, IUI, etc.)

  • Needing to go to appointments, meetings, and procedures

  • Experiencing procedures that are invasive or require sedation

  • Having to conduct procedures (injections, etc) even on yourself

  • Worrying about financial problems regarding the expense of treatment

  • Feeling judged for not being pregnant yet

  • Thinking about your ticking “biological clock”

  • Being troubled over whether you even want to become a parent, especially if getting there has to be so hard

When you take a step back and look at the situation, it turns out that the reproductive journey is filled with instances that can cause anxiety and stress.

Will Anxiety Have a Negative Effect on Fertility?

This is an important question to consider, and it makes sense to be concerned. After all, you want to ensure that you have the best chance at becoming a parent. So, what is the answer?

According to recent research, anxiety actually does not have a negative impact on fertility directly. In other words, your infertility is not likely to be caused in one way or another by your anxiety.

That’s good news!

However, the experience of infertility can cause you to experience anxiety. Moreover, you may be less likely to continue fertility treatments because of your anxiety.

In turn, these factors can indeed have a negative impact on family building and even on your desire to become a parent.

What Can You Do to Counteract Your Anxiety?

If you are struggling with anxiety and fertility, there are several things you can do about it.

First, consider the specific reasons why you are experiencing anxiety. Your initial thoughts may be that it’s because the specifics of this process and protocols are so stressful, aggravating, or discouraging.

But, I challenge you to look deeper.

Consider, for example:

  • Could it be that you are anxious because you are afraid that your fertility process won’t work?

  • Or could it be that you have a very specific vision about what becoming a parent looks like?

The thought of not meeting those expectations can cause anxiety.

Next, it’s important to talk to someone who understands what this whole experience with fertility issues means to you.

One idea is to attend a support group of like-minded people who are also working on family building and who have anxiety and fertility issues. Another is to get professional help through a therapist.

Ultimately, you want your focus to be on becoming a parent and family building. However, it makes sense that you are having anxiety as well. Anxiety and fertility can go hand-in-hand but you can get support or even professional help so that you can stay on track to achieve your dream.

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I have assisted many clients who have been in this same situation. Together, we can work to both identify the reasons you are having anxiety and also how you can better manage that anxiety. I invite you to learn more about my approach to fertility and family building.