Whether it is just dealing with the everyday stresses of having difficulty getting pregnant, to being unsuccessful on one or more attempts at a treatment option, to losing a pregnancy, to making a decision to do In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), considering the option of using donor eggs instead of your own, stopping treatment, or deciding on whether or not to adopt; these often time difficult choices, can lead to increased stress personally and in your relationship. Often patients and their partners can experience anger, frustration, guilt, feelings of emptiness and loneliness, rejection, thoughts of inadequacy and being out of control.
Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD, states in Embracing Change:
"To be born is to enter an evolutionary process of growth and change. We all grow in physical size and emotional capacity. We are all called upon to navigate the stages of life. Change is inevitable and non-negotiable. If life were utopian, we would enjoy the present moment, let go of what is over, and to adapt to what has come. But life is neither ideal, nor easy, nor neat. Adaptation to a new reality is met with more or less resistance within all of us, due to the comfort of sameness and the disorientation of giving up a familiar (even if unsatisfying) today in exchange for an unknown tomorrow. Even a happily anticipated tomorrow can be railed against because going into the unknown provokes insecurity about needing skills which could be untested. Most of us do not consider the fact that the only thing that does not change in life is the fact that we will die. We organize ourselves into daily routines so that we need not have the mandate for change in our conscious awareness. There is comfort in being robotic. We all create routines to make life easier and to minimize the need to think about everyday responses. To a large degree, this works well. But, as time marches on, sooner or later something comes along that disrupts the predictable flow of events and shoves the need for change in our faces. Infertility is not a change which is a part of that predictable flow. Infertility brings the status quo to a screeching halt; in fact, the status quo loses its status. Rather, I would call the diagnosis of infertility an abrupt and violent blast of an unwanted reality. There is nothing gentle or gradual about either the diagnosis or the treatment of infertility. With infertility, as with other violent intrusions, our internal gyroscopes go haywire and life as it has been known seems upside down, inside out and backward".
Arizona Center for Fertility Studies experiences over and over again, that women handle this 'time in their life' with grace, strength, discipline and determination; occasionally, the 'process' becomes overwhelming and outside support and counsel is needed to get back 'on track'. Few understand that infertility does not simply mean not being able to have a baby. It is a complicated series of events and losses, during this phase of a woman's life, that hurts deeply. It can be the the loss of the experience of pregnancy and childbirth, the loss of breast feeding and bonding with the baby, the loss of one of life's most important goals, the loss of the ability to express each other's love for one other, the loss of a legacy, the loss of self-esteem, the loss of sexual identity and the loss of control. All women will react differently to these losses, but the feelings are generally present in all women to some degree. A man's silence or apparent indifference can mask his own inner personal pain while a woman may exhibit her pain more visibly. Anyone, including friends and family, who have not experienced these feelings themselves, is to neglect the facts, thus failing to understand what infertility really is, what it does to those involved and why it is so difficult to deal with. Arizona Center for Fertility Studies, as an entire staff, is fully and whole-heartedly, committed to every woman's physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological well-being. Many times, it is just about "listening "to what the woman has to say and acknowledging that although you cannot begin to understand what she is going through, you will be there for her no matter what. Arizona Center for Fertility Studies has often said, "the easy part of our job is getting you pregnant, the hard part is keeping you in the game". Stay in "the game" and there is always a logical outcome. . .pregnancy. There will be "good times "and "not so good times" and each part of the journey, Arizona Center for Fertility Studies strongly believes, has to be travelled together as partners with compassion, understanding, forgiveness, listening and an awareness of the feelings and "fears" that a woman is experiencing as she advances toward achieving her dream. Even after a woman is successful in getting pregnant, the job "is not done" because so many of the feelings, concerns and fears are still there, just not so apparent; and the same support, commitment and understanding needs to be ever so present. Many times, not until a healthy baby is born, can the woman "relax and enjoy", and begin to forgive and forget or at least "lay to rest for awhile" those many days and weeks of worry and "self-recrimination" and finally say, "it was all worth it".
But if a little extra support and counsel is needed, Arizona Center for Fertility Studies has worked for many years with two wonderful, supportive and dedicated women that can help guide you through these difficult times. Arizona Center for Fertility Studies supports and encourages any woman to use these resources if she feels that it will be beneficial to making this journey a little easier.
Marlene Joy, Ph.D., PC
10505 N. 69th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
(480) 998-2635 - Main
(480) 948-8163 - Fax
Marilyn Kieffer-Andrews, RNP, Ph.D.
Registered Nurse Practitioner/Licensed Psychologist
6545 North 16th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85016-1308
(602) 230-7113 - Main
(602) 230-7179 - Fax