The Challenge of Infertility: Living with the Void
Being a mother is a personal choice. Some people never feel the need to become one and break that traditional role which was expected of every woman until recently. At the same time, there are also those who are unable to have children, despite their desire to do, and this can lead to personal anguish and emotional emptiness.
Dealing with fertility challenges is extremely difficult, and that only those who have experienced them can understand. We know that current fertility techniques have made great progress, but still, it is not always effective, and not everyone can afford this financial expense.
Nor can we overlook the fact that infertility also affects men; this suffering has no gender, race or religion, and we might all be in the same situation. Being a father or a mother is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, a treasure which contains all of our being and our love by having someone to educate and guide towards happiness and personal maturity each step of the way.
Let’s talk today about this issue by focusing on the figure of the woman, and the pain that comes when the dream of being a mother, for whatever reason, cannot come true.
Psychological implications of being unable to conceive
As noted above, the experience of infertility is not easy for men or for women. It may be a couple that is trying to have a child, or just a woman seeking to have a family on her own.
Whatever the case, the process of accepting that we will not be able to achieve this is a painful process in every sense. In fact, experts tell us that receiving news of infertility is often proceeded by a process of mourning:
- There is first a moment of confusion and misunderstanding, and it’s possible that the person may not even accept it. They may have friends who already have children, or they may also have a very prolific family in which nobody has ever had trouble conceiving. So, they ask, why is this happening to us?
- At times, we must also confront the “social wall” that does not serve as much help during these phases. We’re not talking about the rejection of “infertile” women, but of misunderstanding them. There are times when even one partner fails to understand the pain of the other, or maybe friends or relatives try to console us with “it’s alright, at least you guys will have your freedom.” Expressions can sometimes be devastating.
- Misunderstanding is followed by rage where we search for a culprit, including ourselves. What is it about us that doesn’t work? Is it a drug? Is it because of something I’ve done or something I haven’t done?
- Later the grief, tears and pain will come. There are many women who had already prepared things for the baby they were expecting, long-term plans that they have to rethink.
Slowly and with support, we may come around to exploring other other options such as fertility techniques or even adoption. But we should not underestimate this painful process, of becoming aware that we cannot conceive that child we’ve always wanted, the person we’ve dreamed about loving and caring for.
How to address infertility
We must be clear that if the previous grieving process does not close correctly and we fail to understand the fact that we cannot have children, it’s very possible that it can end in a depression.
The sense of “failure” puts us in a state of utter helplessness, and the accompanying low self-esteem can clearly lead to a depressive state.
How can we manage this situation?
First you should know that you are not alone. You may have your partner, whom you can turn to and who you’ll also have to support. You’ll determine together whether or not to seek other options. If you dreamed of raising a family as a single parent, seek the support of your family and friends. They will love and support you and they may also guide you towards other possible options.
It’s possible that you may never experience pregnancy but that is no reason to love yourself less. Don’t reject yourself because your body cannot have children. Never fall into these thoughts because you can fully enjoy motherhood in other ways like through adoption, for example.
But, if for whatever reason you don’t end up becoming a mother, there are many other opportunities to give and receive love. There are many people around you who also need you. Love yourself in all your fullness. The impossibility of being a mother should not be a void in your life because you can be fulfilled in many other ways. Search along different paths and live happily.