Infertility is stressful for the majority of couples – the combination of wanting to be parents with sometimes intense hormonal changes, treatment schedules, and financial pressures, can make conception attempts increasingly upsetting. Rather than soldiering through, it’s essential that couples speak openly about these pressures and try to work through them to ensure good mental health and to even improve chances of success by reducing stress and the harmful hormonal changes that it can bring about.
PTID: Post Traumatic Infertility Disorder
In some rare cases, patients may develop something called PTID after failed pregnancy attempts or multiple treatment cycles – in some cases, the symptoms continue even after a successful pregnancy and birth.
Many of the symptoms are normal for people going through this difficult process, such as anxiety (even after a positive pregnancy test) or bad dreams about doctor visits or intrusive treatments. However, even if you believe the symptoms to be mild it is essential that you look at discussing these with your partner or a professional to prevent them from developing further into a condition that can seriously affect your day to day life.
Symptoms of PTID include:
- Nightmares, flashbacks, and intrusive thoughts about distressing procedures or pregnancy loss (particularly common among patients who have experienced miscarriage)
- Extreme distress when seeing pregnancy or fertility related situation such as being around pregnant women, menstruating, or going to the doctor
- Avoiding the subject of fertility/infertility/pregnancy altogether – avoidance can even result in failure to bond with a new born if treatments are successful
- Apathy towards previously cherished pleasures and close relationships
- Hyperarousal or hypervigilance, such as irritability, being ‘on your guard’ all the time, difficulty concentrating, exaggerated startle response
Different people manage the psychological strain of fertility treatments and infertility differently – it’s perfectly normal to feel anxiety regarding pregnancy and to remember negative events. Psychologically, people are geared towards remembering negative events more than positive because they are typically seen as more important to survival, but it is essential to manage these symptoms and problems when they occur to maintain healthy relationships and positive bonding with your child when your treatments are successful.
Most reputable fertility clinics partner with psychotherapists in order to help patients manage these feelings and learn to cope with them at every stage of their journey. Concept Fertility have a specialist fertility counsellor and a number of associated wellbeing practitioners, including psychotherapy and life coaching which are all private and confidential to help you through your treatments.