Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Parenting after IVF - Why am I not Ecstatic?

For most couples that have traversed the infertility road and met with success, parenting brings solace and happiness and a long awaited relationship. But for some couples, even as they are happy to have their little bundle of joy in their lives, the seemingly joyous surface feelings have undercurrents of sadness. Given the fact that these couples have waited so long for something, got it and are still riddled with feelings of unhappiness, this seems a little ironic to say the least.

But this is not an isolated case, and a number of women who finally get pregnant after a prolonged infertility treatment phase are surprised to find that a certain level of anxiety still persists.

Shifting Emotional Gears

Many of my patients start out by saying that only if they would get pregnant, things would be better for them; and once they reach this milestone, their fears shift gears. Some patients are worried about losing the pregnancy while others are concerned about complications during delivery and few will also be worried about parenting multiple children. So, when and how does a person get rid of this fear? It must be understood that infertility is not merely a medical condition that once it is resolved will not have any psychological effect.

Long-Lasting Impact

In most instances, infertility has a long-lasting emotional impact; and this can manifest itself in a number of ways, even if the infertility treatment has been successful:

•    Couples feel that they have no control over their lives. It is probably one of the things they work hard for, that does not guarantee the desired result
•    They are riddled with feelings of grief as they are unable to build families  in the manner they had envisioned
•    Some women may feel very strongly about wanting to experience pregnancy
•    Infertility churns a number of deep-rooted emotions such as grief and loss of control and its effects can have a very long-lasting impact

The Double Whammy

Women who build their families through surrogacy or adoption go through a double impact of sorts. There are times when pregnancies of friends and even their own wedding anniversaries become strong reminders that the adopted child does not share any biological likeness to them. This can bring about a resurgence of sadness about their infertility as well as guilty feelings about not “appreciating” the long awaited addition to their family.

Process your Feelings

However, emotions are always reflexive. There may be a feeling of sadness around the fact that your family did not come together in the way you had imagined it would. However, this particular feeling doesn’t really take away from the love & fierce devotion that a parent feels for his/her child. But time is a big healer and most women who have eventually resolved their infertility in one way or the other, report that these feelings of sadness fade over time. As is the case with any grief, it is important that the person process it effectively- that is the only way to make it go away.

Vanquishing Grief

Infertility colors your experience and regardless of how much you move forward from it, it’s always a part of you. It defines how you managed a conflict and a disappointment, a shift in relationships and friendships and a lot more.  When you give yourself some space and allow yourself to experience a certain amount of resurgence of this flood of feelings, the situation becomes more manageable and healthy for you. Making peace with something and moving on is always about accepting that something has impacted you on a deeper level and that you have the strength to take it on and emerge a winner!

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