Dr. Abayomi Ajayi
There is no shame in being infertile. It may make you more self-conscious, but all is not lost and certainly, you are not alone.
Infertility can be emotionally damaging and can provoke many unexpected responses, be they emotional, cultural, spiritual, moral, or ethical. Counselling and support are vital regardless of the fact that you may even feel it is not necessary.
The importance of counselling cannot be overstressed. Infertility counselling is a way for you to understand how you feel about infertility and the treatment procedure. It gives you a better understanding of the choices that you make and helps you to accommodate your feelings. It is a highly recommended step in the process of seeking treatment.
You may need to seek help during infertility treatment because of the emotional distress you go through. Infertility is a rollercoaster of emotions that range from despair, hope, anger, anxiety and isolation. It has an adverse impact on others in the family and usually gets hard to deal with those in the family who have a baby even as it causes a hard time for everyone.
As a woman, it is acknowledged that you’d have more problems than a man, partly because you blame yourself for being the problem. So, there is self-blame, low self-esteem, avoidance, negative emotions, anxiety, depression, and distress.
All these undermine your sense of security and lower your positive and optimistic thoughts. Diagnosis and treatment must go hand in hand because it helps you to lead a better life. The role of counselling is mainly to keep you informed about all possibilities – regarding the psychological, social, and legal implications of donor treatments.
Treatment counselling offers a non-judgmental platform for you to be clearer about the possible solutions and seek what you find best.
It facilitates decision making regarding the treatment and whether or not you wish to continue it. It also provides an advanced approach towards your confusions and questions, giving therapeutic support to address the problem in a mature manner. While counselling does not provide you with the answers to your situation, it encourages you to find them.
A counsellor cannot interfere with your own decisions or influence them in any way. The counsellor will only allow you to talk and listen without giving any advice. Sometimes, it also happens that you may focus on your problems and neglect your partner’s issues. Instead of discussing them together, you both choose not to address it. This can be a naive mistake which needs to be worked on.
An IVF counselling session should be conducted where both of you are open to each other and talk about how you feel about the treatment. This will improve your spirits and allow you to make better and more honest decisions regarding your treatment.
The most important thing to consider during treatment is what you feel as the patient. There are underlying emotions in you such as shame, anger, frustration, aggression, inferiority and rejection which are important to perceive and inspect.
Such emotions are to be talked about and made clear to you so that you find ways to express your concerns clearly. There should be a confidential and reliable environment where you can talk freely.
The counsellor who sits with you has received special training and has the role of listening to you. They can also assist in any problems you’re facing and give hindsight of everything.
For such cases, there are counsellors who have special training in dealing with the psychological and emotional implications of the treatment process. They want to help you to understand the entire process and cope with the challenges that come with it.
Not being able to give birth to a child places uncertainty in your mind and you need to feel secure and understood in your journey toward chances and acceptance.
It is important for you to understand what you are about to do and how to understand and cope with the effects and implications of the treatment. You must accept that the treatment does not work all the time. There is no guarantee for this. This is why counselling is important so that they are prepared for any outcome or failed attempts.
Such failures may result in feelings such as frustration, hurt, disappointment, hopelessness and depression among couples. Counselling can help with this and make you decide whether you want to try again.
Counselling usually offers an option of trying again a few months later after a failed attempt. It takes time to recover from stress. This time can give you open discussions about why you failed so that you can improve your chances of success the next time.
If the treatment is successful, this counselling helps you understand the role of parents and cope with new challenges. Sometimes it also ends in a pregnancy loss or miscarriage. This is also something you should be prepared for and counselling helps with this.
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