When you undergo infertility treatments, you face a host of physical and practical challenges, including tiring procedures and making time for doctors’ appointments. It’s not uncommon to experience profound stress throughout this trying and overwhelming process.
“Infertility represents a life crisis, and for many people, it’s the most stressful event they’ve ever encountered,” says Janetti Marotta, Ph.D., former mind-body coordinator at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Fertility Program, who supports people through fertility challenges. “Infertility impacts the most important areas of our lives: our relationships, our careers, our finances—even our sense of self.”
But more than anything, Marotta says, infertility signals a loss of control. And unlike other life endeavors, stepping up your efforts doesn’t necessarily lead to success. In fact, “when you use the coping mechanism of control to deal with a situation of immense uncertainty, the harder you try, the more broken you feel,” she says. “Rather than experiencing infertility as a medical condition, many people view it as a personal failure.”