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Turning a “What If?” Into a “What Now?”

The need for fertility treatment is not always due to age and “bad timing.”

Road blocks women face when trying to conceive include medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition which results in irregular ovulation; endometriosis, when endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus and can cause inflammation and scar tissue; and fallopian tube damage.

But a woman who has been told that she can’t conceive because her ovarian reserve is too low, her eggs are no longer viable or her age is too advanced, may feel an unbelievable sense of frustration and regret.

Struggling with infertility uncovers many emotions. Thoughts of “why did I wait so long?” can pester and even torment a woman as she searches her past, trying to imagine the alternative choices she could have made.

Asking endless “what-ifs” during an already difficult time adds more stress, frustration and heartache. Since we cannot turn back the clock, the better approach is to ask “what now?” Coping with infertility is extremely difficult, but there are ways to live a healthy, fulfilled life by looking ahead.

Helpful ways to move a step forward and not a step back include:

  • Express: Reaching out to others rather than suppressing guilt or anger will help relieve built-up tension.
  • Communicate: Talking with loved ones can be the best support available when dealing with infertility.
  • Exchange: Joining a support group with others experiencing similar troubles can assist with growth and healing during difficult times.
  • Relax: Find a way to reduce stress. Stress has a negative effect on the body and can lead to other complications. Take a small trip somewhere, start a new book or even a new hobby.
  • Exercise: Moderate exercise and a healthy diet promote a healthy lifestyle and offer a new outlook on life
  • Seek Help: If the emotional impact of any outcome becomes too heavy to deal with on your own, seek professional help. Weigh all infertility treatment options to determine viable opportunities that may exist to build your family.

Recovery from the “what-ifs” may also include thinking about other options of becoming a mother and growing a family. If you can’t conceive on your own, there are other opportunities such as adoption and foster care.

It’s important to remember there is still hope after infertility. There are many ways to recover from a loss, but it requires freedom from guilt and self-condemnation. Embrace the possibilities with optimism and joy.