When you’re struggling with infertility, every pregnancy announcement from your social circle can be more painful than the last.
Part of you may feel happy for your friends and relatives, while another part of you may be wondering why life can be so unfair. No matter how supportive you are of your friends who are becoming parents, watching someone else start their family when it feels so out of reach for you can be agonizing.
Dealing with this situation can bring up complicated feelings, and you may experience waves of jealousy, guilt, frustration, or anxiety. All of these emotions are completely valid.
So, how can you cope when your fertility is in question? Here are a few suggestions.
1. Talk to Your Family and Close Friends
If your loved ones know what you’re going through, they can make an effort to be extra sensitive to your situation. Therefore, it may be best to let them know how you feel.
Sincerely opening up to a select few people who you trust can feel like a huge weight lifting off your shoulders. You don’t have to go through this alone. And letting them in on your feelings means that they can help you navigate stressful situations, such as baby showers, etc.
2. Be Selective on Social Media
Most social media platforms have a mute button for a reason. And if seeing photos of other pregnant women feels like too much for you, now is the time to use it. You can curate your feeds so that you don’t unexpectedly come across maternity photoshoots.
Feel free to unfollow influencers or other people you don’t know in real life if they’re documenting their pregnancies or first days of parenthood. Do what you feel you have to in order to protect yourself emotionally. It’s okay to admit that seeing these photos upsets you and to use the “unfollow” button liberally. It can help you find a little peace of mind.
3. Keep a Journal
When you’re wondering if you’ll even be able to have kids, it can be hard to be enthusiastic about your friends’ pregnancies, even when you want to be. And when everybody seems to have a joke about “something being in the air or the water” to contribute, but your air/water is anything but fertile, it’s hard to join in the laughter.
Sure, at times, you have to put on a brave face and congratulate them. However, it’s also perfectly normal if you need a space where you can vent and be real about your pain without judgment and worrying about what anyone else might think.
A journal can serve as an outlet for expressing all of those emotions. Just getting your thoughts and feelings down on paper might help you make sense of everything you’re going through. Perhaps you will feel a little bit lighter once you start filling up the pages.
4. Accept Your Mixed Emotions
When your friends are getting pregnant, but your own fertility is in question, experiencing jealousy is NORMAL. At times, you may feel bad about… well… feeling bad. And you may wish you could just be happy for your friends. But when you’re longing for a family of your own, it isn’t that simple.
Sometimes, it can be impossible to separate your feelings about your personal journey from your feelings about your friends’ pregnancies. Yet, accepting the validity of even those negative emotions instead of telling yourself that you’re wrong for feeling this way can actually ease your stress.
Want to talk to someone about the complex emotions surrounding infertility? Read more HERE about how I work with people navigating their fertility journeys. Or contact me today to discuss fertility counseling options.