Pregnancy after Infertility or Miscarriage
An emotional as well as physical adjustment
After experiencing infertility it can be difficult to believe a positive pregnancy test can really be true. Initially, many couples are thrilled to hear they have finally succeeded, but quickly may be filled with fears about the preciousness of the pregnancy. It is difficult to transition from the experience of treatments that may not have worked and the conditioned learning to “expect nothing,” to acceptance that the pregnancy is real.
Let Yourself Believe … and Enjoy
If you have had previous pregnancy losses, you may be unable to accept the possibility that this time may be different. Discussions about the fear of being optimistic and believing parenting can occur is beneficial for you and your partner. Sometimes you may feel something like, “If we think it will happen then it won’t,” or, conversely, “if we think it won’t happen then it will.” This can interfere with your ability to enjoy the pregnancy experience.
Many times the fear of miscarriage can influence your decision to reveal your pregnancy to others. You and your partner may experience a wide variety of emotions ranging from frustration that your family isn’t worried to disappointment in their cautious lack of excitement. Direct communication of needs and expectations to the people in your network of support is necessary so they know what to say and do.
It is not unusual to postpone shopping for maternity clothes or baby items until well into the second, or even third, trimester. Thoughts may persist that “if we don’t get excited and miscarriage happens, it won’t hurt as much.” Ultimately this can deprive both of you the joy of the early months of pregnancy and adjustment to parenting.
If you can allow yourselves to enjoy each day of the pregnancy experience, you will create positive memories that will serve you regardless of the pregnancy outcome. The use of positive statements can help to decrease the anxiety you may be feeling. A conscious effort to challenge thoughts of “what if a miscarriage occurs” with statements of “everything is going as it should” can help to restructure any negative thinking. (Check out 10 Ways to Fight Stress During Pregnancy and How to Have a Positively Pleasant Pregnancy.)
Leaving the Community of Infertility
You may find that relationships established with other infertile couples are threatened with the news of pregnancy. It is important for couples to have discussions about the issues of pregnancy early in your friendship, addressing the need for honesty about conflicting feelings of joy and jealousy that may occur with pregnancy. The transition from the infertile to the fertile world can be scary. You should try to maintain as many support systems as possible. (Read Sharing Your Pregnancy News with a Fertility-Challenged Friend.)
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