How Therapy Can Help You Prepare for IVF Treatment
Struggling to conceive a child is a difficult experience. This battle is very private, and others may not always understand your pain. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one path that you may take to increase the chances of pregnancy, but it can still be very stressful. Therapy is one way to prepare for IVF and ensure you have the most positive experience possible. Here are some of the ways that therapy can help you and your partner prepare for IVF treatment.
Infertility is not uncommon- out of every 100 couples in the US, 12 to 13 of them struggle to become pregnant. Nonetheless, infertility is a difficult experience that we don’t hear much about: our culture bombards us with messages about the importance of raising a family, depicting it as very easy. When having children is an expectation, it can feel unsafe to talk about having trouble conceiving. Any of us, regardless of our gender or age, can be impacted by this distress.
Therapy offers a space where you can talk about your struggle without judgment. Well-meaning friends and family can unintentionally pressure us, but therapy is a safe and understanding environment to talk. Your therapist will help you consider your options, manage expectations, as well as provide tools to help you overcome distress. You will learn to communicate with your partner, plan for treatment, and feel confident with your decisions. When you develop clear goals, you will be better prepared for IVF treatment.
Building Healthy Attachment
Attachment is a way of describing how we connect with others. Our attachments are the emotional bonds that connect us to others, and these attachments reflect on our expectations and our self-confidence. If you have an unhealthy attachment model, you might feel uncomfortable on your own and expect someone else to solve problems for you. Or you might be nervous about committing to plans and avoid responsibilities. Your attachment strategy can impact your relationship with your partner, as well as your expectations for pregnancy. Insecure attachment can easily intensify distress.
Pursuing IVF can be stressful, and it can strain our attachments. If you pursue IVF with low expectations or feelings of helplessness, your attachments may suffer. It is important to be realistic when pursuing IVF - there is no guarantee that it will produce a pregnancy - but you should be proud of your choice. Studies have shown that having secure attachments, self-compassion, and social support leads to better mental health during IVF treatment. When you have a healthy attachment with your partner, you will have a better experience with IVF. Therapy can help you understand your attachment model and build healthy communication with your partner.
Taking Care of Yourself
Everyone processes grief and distress differently. You may process stress in a different way than your partner, and you may need different tools to manage your stress. When you work with your therapist, you can develop a personal self-care routine. Conceiving a child is a very physical experience, a self-care routine can help you connect with your body and uncover its needs.
When planning for IVF we can forget to enjoy ourselves. You should not feel ashamed to pursue pleasure while trying to conceive. When you take the time to enjoy yourself, you will feel healthier and less stressed. Your self-care routine does not have to be complicated: admire yourself in the mirror before you start your day, go for a regular walk in the fresh air, enjoy the scent of your coffee before you drink it. Self-care is regenerating, and it will boost your passion and sexual energy as you try to conceive with your partner.
Infertility is deeply personal, and it can be painful. IVF is a common route for those struggling with infertility; when you feel confident and prepared, your experience with treatment will be positive. Therapy is one way to prepare for IVF treatment- it will help you develop goals, communicate with your partner, and practice self-care as you pursue pregnancy.
If you think that therapy could help you plan for IVF treatment, schedule a free session with me today. I look forward to working with you!
Sophia Lou. O’Connor, MA, Ph.D (Cand)
Psychotherapist | Trainer | Educator
Tel: (720) 935 2706