From Struggle to Strength: Mastering Emotional Resilience in Infertility

Author: Julie Potter, Infertility Counseling Center

Hey there, jumping into a family-building journey can bring up a bunch of emotions, right? And let’s be real, the longer you’re in it, the harder it can be to handle all the feels. But you’re not alone, friend.  ❤️ Here are some of my best tips on mastering emotional resilience.

First, emotions are not what you think. Emotions are:

  • Information – used by your brain to make sense of the world
  • Not fact – neither good or bad, just information
  • Normal – part of the human experience
  • Cyclical – coming and going, like waves
  • Layered –feeling multiple simultaneously

    Here are some totally normal feelings you might run into during infertility:

    Sadness | Anxiety | Insecurity | Regret | Worry | Loneliness | Frustration
    Stress | Scared | Jealousy | Disappointment | Frustration | Hope
    Excited | Shame | Anger | Resentful | Hurt | Powerless | Content | Inferior
    Shocked | Agitated | Dread | Inadequate | Grief | Helpless

6 tips on managing challenging emotions:

1. Feel all the feelings
You can’t pick and choose your feelings, sometimes they show up unexpectedly.
Instead of trying to hide from the uncomfortable ones, try these new skills. Ever
thought about giving your emotions a name? Labeling your emotions can be
surprisingly helpful. So can remembering that emotions don’t last forever, they all
fade eventually. By accepting your emotions, rather than pushing them away, you can
better handle the ups and downs of your journey.

2. Pay attention to your physical health
Physical health and mood are interconnected. Where should you start? Get better
sleep! Studies show that hours spent and quality of sleep impact how you feel –
emotionally and physically. Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep and focus on getting restful
sleep – give those screens a break an hour before bedtime. Your Z’s will thank you!
Similarly, your diet affects how you feel. Eating a well-balanced diet and moving your
body will pump those endorphins, which will help improve your mood. Added bonus?
It might also improve fertility. Win-win!

3. Grieve the setbacks
Hey, if you’re here, chances are you’ve had setbacks on your family-building journey.
There are so many detours and roadblocks on this journey, which can feel like a loss of
hopes, dreams, or control. It’s okay to feel these losses. Take a moment to
acknowledge them, and then give yourself permission to mourn.

4. Mindfulness works
Totally get it, meditation can be hard. But let’s step back and chat about something
broader – mindfulness. It’s about being present, in the moment. And guess what?
There are so many ways to do this – from deep breathing to tuning in to your senses or
maybe even yoga. Whenever those feelings become overwhelming, try some
mindfulness. It’s a great tool that can help your intense feelings become more
manageable.

5. Relationships matter
The whole family-building journey can really hinder relationships. But reaching out
for support and building new connections can be a game-changer. Maybe it’s time to
find some new groups or friends who truly get what you’re going through. Be
intentional about nurturing those connections – it can ease the load.

6. Cultivate the positive emotions
Now let’s move toward hope and healing ✨ Our brains are wired to focus on the
negative stuff, so make a conscious effort to focus on the positive ones. Quick note:
it’s not about pretending the tough emotions don’t exist – that usually doesn’t help
(don’t forget tip #1 – feel all the feels). A great way to focus on those good feelings:

try a gratitude or contentment journal, or just chat about those happy moments. Give
yourself permission to feel hope, excitement, and happiness, even when the going gets
tough.

Building a family is a crazy ride, but guess what? You’re rocking it!

These tips can help you manage the ups and downs of infertility emotions. Next time those feelings hit hard, try these out to see what works. Remember, your journey is all yours, and figuring out what makes you feel better is up to you.

If you’re still having a hard time with those tricky emotions, know you’re not alone. You
deserve to heal from the heavy stuff that comes from challenges. Consider reaching out to a professional counselor that specializes in infertility and reproductive issues for more help.

BONUS – Here are my favorite books to teach you more about handling hard stuff:
📖 It’s OK that you’re not OK by Megan Devine
📖 The Anatomy of Anxiety by Ellen Vora
📖 Permission to Feel by Marc Brackett
📖 Burnout by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski