Perhaps you planned to have children after you reached a certain degree of success in your career or achieved a similar personal milestone. But after trying to become a parent, you receive the devastating news that you are facing infertility.
You know that this doesn’t mean you will never have a family. With Assisted Reproductive Technology, you may still be able to experience the rewards of being a parent. Right now, however, you need to focus on processing the news and taking care of yourself.
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
The first step in proper self-care is accepting that your feelings are completely normal. Going through fertility tests and treatments are emotionally and physically draining experiences that can sometimes leave you feeling as though your body has betrayed you, or that you have failed in some important way. Knowing that feelings of sadness, disappointment, and hopelessness are acceptable and understandable will make it easier to move forward.
2. Reach Out for Support
Reach out to people who will nurture and support you in the way that is most comfortable to you. Therapists can be an invaluable source of support when you need an honest and supportive sounding board. Many individuals and couples facing infertility also find online forums and local support groups to be beneficial, especially if they don’t know anyone else who is coping with similar challenges. If your friends and family are unsure as to how to best show their support, feel free to tell them with comments like: “I’ve received advice from my doctor, but as my friend, I’d love if you’d just listen” or “I don’t really want to talk about my challenges right now, can we just (go for a hike, watch a movie, eat chocolate) instead?”
3. Discover a Passion
Infertility may be a part of your life now, but it doesn’t have to guide your future. Try to keep up the activities you have always enjoyed, both alone and with your partner (if applicable). A doctor who specializes in reproductive health (and who later dealt with her own infertility diagnosis) recommends exploring opportunities that allow you to take care of someone or something, like a new pet or even a small plant that you can nurture into a lush and beautiful piece of greenery. Your fertility challenges do not define you.
4. Take a Mental Break
If your schedule allows it, go for a nature walk and let the sights and sounds give you a well-deserved mental break. If such an excursion is not feasible for you, pamper yourself with some aromatherapy candles. Citrus scents such as orange, lemon, and lime are energy-boosters while lavender and eucalyptus promote relaxation. Sometimes taking some time to not think about your struggles gives you the mental rejuvenation needed to clearly weigh your future options.
5. Look into ART Options
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) encompasses the different medical treatments used to achieve pregnancy and/or parenthood. Talk to your doctor about IVF, donor options and/or surrogacy. You should also talk to a knowledgeable attorney about the legal side of ART, as well as adoption or other parentage options that might be available to you. The medical side of ART is advancing so rapidly that there may be options out there that you’ve never even considered before.
At Haas & Associates, P.A., we counsel and represent individuals and couples of all backgrounds who wish to use Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to become parents. Attorney Jennifer Tharrington is a fellow of the esteemed Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys and one of the few attorneys in North Carolina who specializes in ART law, so you can rest assured that your rights and interests will be explained and protected. For more information or to begin the legal process of parenthood through ART, contact us today.