Coping With Infertility: 5 Things a Reproductive Psychologist Wants You to Know

By reproductive psychiatrist Carly Snyder, MD, Director of Women’s Health, Family Health Associates in NYC, as told to Kristen Dold.

Yes, you’re surrounded by babies. But a lot of them took work.

When you’re waiting for a baby, it’s hard to walk down the street without noticing every single mom and tot that strolls by. And while the assumption is often ‘she’s so lucky, it was probably so easy’ the truth is this: it probably wasn’t. Conception truly is a miracle. It may have taken her five minutes to get pregnant—or five years. Take comfort in knowing that you, too, will have a baby someday, someway, and someone’s going to look at you on the street thinking the same.

You’ll look back at this time as painful—but it won’t define you.

When you’re struggling to conceive, the journey may feel like it permeates every inch of your being. But it won’t define your life, or who you are as a person. You’ll look back and remember tough days, but there will be so much more to your story to focus on.

Share your story, and you’ll be overwhelmed by support.

There is no shame in infertility. If you can find it in yourself to talk openly about what you’re experiencing, the stories and support will pour out. So many women will come forward and say, ‘I went through the same thing,’ or ‘someone I’m close with had the same experience.’ As you build your support network, finding women who’ve gone through situations similar to yours will be the most helpful. 

Accept what you can and can’t control.

When a woman struggles to conceive, there are often questions left unanswered by her care team. Sometimes, doctors simply can’t pinpoint a cause—or a quick fix—to infertility. While you work on finding patience, focus on the one thing you can control: taking care of yourself. Don’t forget that getting pregnant is just the start of a long process, and as a future parent, you want to be as healthy as possible for your child.

Find your people, and get out outside.

We all need quiet moments, but being alone all of the time isn’t going to make you feel better. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone to socialize and take walks. See friends. And, if you’re bringing in outside help, make sure your ob-gyn or fertility specialist is someone on your wavelength—feeling like you can truly open up to them is an important first step.