"I felt inadequate as a woman," says Elizabeth, who also struggled with infertility before becoming pregnant through IVF. After suffering an ectopic pregnancy, Elizabeth discovered that both of her fallopian tubes were blocked. The doctors told her and husband Grant that IVF was their only option for pregnancy.
"I knew it was my fault that we could not get pregnant naturally," she says. "We both felt sorrow from the ectopic loss and the thought that we might never have our own children. During the actual IVF process, I felt frustrated because I had no control of the situation and if one thing was wrong the entire process was put on hold for another month."
Marriage counselors and infertility therapists say that it's perfectly normal for couples undergoing fertility treatments to experience a wide range of overpowering emotions. "Both partners can be under a lot of stress," explains Linda Peterman, a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC) and licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) in Tampa, Florida. "Couples will experience grief if there have been miscarriages or other fertility treatment failures. They will experience sadness, anger, hopefulness, excitement, and a range of emotions."
Peterman says that you should allow yourselves to experience these raw emotions as opposed to keeping them locked up inside. "This emotional roller coaster is normal," she says. "You should be aware of your emotions and look to each other for comfort, support, and understanding."
Some, but not all, clinics offer (or require) counseling as part of their services. When deciding on a clinic to use, find out about the type and extent of services available.
We've all heard the old adage: Good communication is the key to a strong, happy marriage. If it's a cliché, it's because it's true, and this invaluable advice has helped countless couples survive fertility treatments.