On Fertile Ground

Relief for Infertility Patients

Infertility and Fear

What besides physical malfunction can be implicated in infertliity?

Infertility and Fear


If you are struggling with infertility you are well aware that anxiety goes with the territory. On Sunday, March 4, 2012, The New York Times featured an editorial piece on anxiety by Patricia Pearson that got me thinking.

Certain of us are prone to wariness or fearfulness. About this underlying rumble, the author says anxiety could be said to be fear in search of a cause. While it's true that this tendency may be genetically or environmentally programmed, fear is also circumstantial. If you are fearful to begin with, the anxiety-provoking circumstances of infertility can overwhelm.

There are many aspects of infertility that would evoke fear in any normal person. Who would want their body poked at-and remotely controlled by someone other than Mother Nature? Who would elect to have a family via science fiction? Who would want their finances messed with? Who would want their relationships with partner, family or friends disrupted? Who would want their privacy intruded upon? In sum, who would want their life to become unrecognizable?

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Putting aside all of the details of the fertility challenge, in general, what might help would be to recognize uncertainty as the root cause of the anxiety of infertility. Ms. Pearson reports that research has shown that people can tolerate uncertainty for only so long. Feel familiar? I have seen people, who consider their coping skills to be well above average, hit the wall as the quest for a family slogs along. Furthermore, she says that the "neurotically wired" begin to "prefer negative certitude ... to ambiguity.

In the case of infertility, fear and the inclination to think negatively, are normal! (Therefore the label "neurotically wired seems harsh to me.) While it can be burdensome to be in a constant state of worry, feeling as if you are marinating in negativity, at least you can take heart that it's rare to be in this struggle without these responses. The important thing is to understand that you have the power to learn coping skills that mitigate the helplessness that can overtake you.

For guidance as to how to achieve a state of mind that's easier to live with, check out the resources on www.mind-body-unity.com.

 

 

 

Helen Adrienne, L.C.S.W., teaches stress reduction classes for infertility patients at NYU Fertility Center and is the author of On Fertile Ground: Healing Infertility.

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