How to Manage Emotions When Going Through IVF
[Published July 2021]
IVF treatment can put an immense strain on the emotional and mental health of those undergoing fertility treatment. In this article, we discuss how you can better prepare for your treatment pathway and support each other throughout your journey.
Managing the Expectations Placed on Each Other
Before deciding to undertake IVF or any fertility treatment pathway, both partners must really sit down and communicate with each other to discuss their hopes and expectations of each other during the treatment cycle. Discuss whether you will attend each other’s appointments and how you will support each other through the injections and procedures, before, during and after.
You may want to also agree before embarking on treatment, on who you can both tell, be it family or close friends who can be relied upon to provide amazing emotional support.
Speak with your Fertility Consultant to work out what can be achieved during this time and stick to the commitments you make to each other. Communication is key. Try not to get frustrated, this is a process with an amazing end goal.
Clear the decks
Fertility treatment is widely recognised as the most stressful ‘life event’ you will ever experience. Plan as best you can to avoid other major life decisions, life changes and stressful work or family situations to avoid being entirely overwhelmed. The strain IVF treatment can place on individuals and indeed, the relationship itself is more than enough right now. You don’t need to be liaising with estate agents and conveyancers or packing moving boxes amidst the turmoil you’re in. Be kind to yourselves, clear the decks and focus on each other, without interruptions or further stress factors. Friends and family will understand, this is a big undertaking. You’re trying to start a family.
Book A Counselling Session
The advantages of fertility treatment are that most clinics provide the services of a trained Fertility Counsellor who is available to discuss any worries you may have. They can impart experience and knowledge that will help you obtain a reframed and more positive perspective on your journey. You can schedule an appointment prior to treatment to discuss your hopes and fears or meet with on an ad-hoc ongoing basis to help keep you focussed, dispel any demons of doubt and keep you mentally healthy.
Consider Joining a Support Group
Whilst this journey is entirely new to you, there are others who have progressed further and will happily share some advice and information that may help to allay any fears and provide you with a greater sense of understanding of this undertaking. These types of groups, whether they are provided by your clinic, or you choose to join a social support group; are invaluable in the help they can provide. You may choose to join a group together as a couple or find one individually that you feel better supports you as a male or female. Men can too often feel side-lined throughout the process but it’s just as important that their emotional needs are met too and with knowledge comes understanding. Male Support Group numbers are increasing, helping to create a greater awareness and acceptance of male-factor fertility too. One size doesn’t fit all so do take the opportunity to test a group to see whether the general group ethos is suited to you and your personality. If it’s not, move on. There are no hard feelings. Remember this is your personal journey.
Making time for You
Self-care is so important. Taking the time to relax and prepare yourselves will help you gain the energy and emotional strength required to carry you through your treatment. Enjoy each other’s company, plan date nights and schedule a massage. Eat well. Have fun together, have fun with friends. In a few months, you will be expectant parents so treat this time as a preparatory phase for family-hood.
Speak to your HR Department
Most couples are surprised to find out that their employer has an IVF Policy and perhaps even offer financial support as part of a medical insurance plan. It’s far better to have an understanding employer than one who is unsure of frequent days off and sick leave. You’ll also feel better supported when at work which in turn, can help to alleviate any stress you’d otherwise be feeling.
Fertility treatment can be emotionally challenging and having the right support from a professional counsellor can be of immense benefit. You may want to seek support before, during or after treatment. Our counsellors Sue Moore and Daniel Burbidge have a wealth of experience. You are welcome to use our service even if you are having treatment at another centre.