Counselling for Issues Around Fertility, Infertility & Getting Pregnant
What if ‘the time comes’ and you are unable to conceive? Or it is taking longer than expected? Maybe you are coping with the expectations of partners, family or friends to become pregnant leading to pressure, stress and anxiety. Counselling for concerns around fertility & pregnancy can help.
According to NHS statistics, about one in six or seven couples may experience difficulties when trying to conceive, which means that around 3,500,000 are affected by the condition in UK.
However, whilst the number of individuals who experience problems is high, only 5% of the above figure are infertile. Statistics show that for every 100 couples attempting to fall pregnant naturally by having regular unprotected sex:
- 20 will fall pregnant within one month
- 70 will fall pregnant within six months
- 85 will fall pregnant within one year
- 90 will fall pregnant within 18 months
- 95 will fall pregnant within two years
†These values are cumulative
††Based on data supplied by the Office of National Statistics
Although the statistics are encouraging, and increasingly better investigations and treatment mean that many individuals can overcome their fertility issues, for others, infertility often leads to isolation, loneliness and unfortunately a breakdown in relationships
Counselling for Coping with Infertility Issues
Infertility and / or other problems and concerns around your fertility or a partner’s fertility, is a common issue to seek counselling about. To say it is common, is not to dismiss or minimise your pain around infertility – far from it – it is to emphasise the fact that it is normal for this issue to raise many emotions for you as an individual (whether you are a female trying to conceive, or the male partner of a couple trying for a baby). Alongside your own emotions, trying, and struggling, to become pregnant can also, understandably, put strain on a relationship and bring about new feelings and issues to deal with between the two of you.
As a man or a woman, when a longed-for pregnancy doesn’t come there are many emotional and psychological minefields to negotiate:
- Will I ever have my own child?
- Am I infertile or is there a problem with my partner?
- Mum & Dad long for a grandchild that I / we can’t give them?
- Did I / we leave having a child too late?
- If we can’t have children will my relationship breakdown?
- What is my purpose if I can’t become a mother / father?
These thoughts can stir up anxiety and depression, perhaps you are battling with feeling some of the below:
- A profound sense of loss and grief
- Struggling with your identity in relation to your femininity or masculinity
- Feeling a failure
- Feeling guilty
- Feeling angry (with yourself, or with your partner). Perhaps feeling guilty about your anger
- Feeling anxious around the struggle to conceive
- Broader, more existential feelings around not feeling complete or feeling as though you don’t have a purpose and a struggle with what life means for you at present
- Feeling a lack of control over your life and of helplessness
- Feeling separate from your partner – perhaps because you feel they are not telling you how they are feeling, or perhaps because you feel you cannot tell them what you are feeling
- Feeling as though your relationship with your partner has changed in some way(s) because of what you have both gone through in relation to trying to get pregnant
Counselling for Issues around Infertility
When a couple are trying to conceive the emphasis is, understandably, on the physical side of things – specialists, doctors, appointments, etc.
However, alongside the physical nature of this issue, there are all sorts of emotions attached to what you are going through. There is so much going on emotionally that it can be hard to take it all on board – shock, grief, anger, to name just a few. Alongside this, there is potentially stress arising within your relationship as you try to navigate what is happening both for yourself, and as a couple.
Consequently, you may be feeling overwhelmed, low, anxious, or a myriad of other things.
Counselling for issues around fertility is a confidential and safe space where you can explore all these feelings and reactions without fear of “what another will think” or “how will what I want to say impact . . .?” It offers a place where you can work through your own grief, your own sadness, your own apprehensions and fears to understand where you are at and what is going on for you at what feels like such a turbulent, traumatic and overwhelming time.
The fifty-minute counselling session is a place where you can pause and draw breath. It is a space to “gather” and to bring about the sense that your head rises above the water and you can get a clearer understanding of what you have felt, and are feeling, about what is happening. It is often only when we have the space to speak, be heard and to reflect on what has been said, that we can gather the insights to cope, and, (if wanted), change.
Counselling for feeling the pressure of having to conceive
Rather than struggling to conceive, or issues around fertility, it may be that you do not want to have a child, or you want to have a child, but you aren’t ready just yet. At the same time, you may feel as though you are coping with the expectations of partners, family or friends and this feels to cause you anxiety and stress. Issues around areas such as:
- My partner keeps saying ‘I want to start a family’ but I’m not ready
- My parents keep asking me when they will become grandparents?
- My friends are all having children and I feel that they expect me too as well
- I want a baby, but my partner keeps saying they aren’t ready yet
The reality is, counselling for issues around pregnancy are not just about fertility. Whether you are male or female . . .pregnancy, the thought of being pregnant, the thought of your partner being pregnant, trying for a baby, or not wanting to be pregnant or have a child can bring about all sorts of emotions. It can be an overwhelming and scary topic to manage and think about. Counselling for issues around pregnancy – whatever that means for you – is a space for you to work through this topic with someone else, to understand how you feel and to feel a sense of agency at a time when you may feel overwhelmed, lost, scared.
It can provide a space for you to understand, first and foremost, how you feel about the issue at hand, before moving towards understanding, and dealing with, the pressures you may feel are coming from elsewhere and how to set out your boundaries and manage other people’s expectations.
Counselling for Issues Around Fertility, Infertility and Getting Pregnant
Whatever the issues around fertility, conceiving or thoughts around being pregnant, talking things through with Rachel can help.
Some Helpful Articles & Resources Around Fertility & Pregnancy
This video was released as part of National Fertility Awareness Week
The Hidden Face of Childlessness
The National Fertility Network offer lots of help and support including some online forums to get involved with
City Pregnancy Agency
Here is a site dedicated to the issue of Pregnancy and therapy:
A safe space to discuss pregnancy, pregnancy-loss and related issues, in the heart of the City of London