Psychological infertility: causes and treatment
Almost every obstetrician-gynecologist has two special categories of women-patients:
- with no health problems, but unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant;
- trying to carry a child, but unable because of one or more miscarriages.
In both cases, women often need psychological help. It is perinatal psychologist, who can help these patients cope with psychological infertility, which interferes with a woman’s ability to become a mother.
Psychological causes of infertility
Violations of reproductive functions can be caused by psychosomatic disorders or disturbances in the emotional sphere. Infertility is the inability to have offspring. Such a diagnosis is made if efforts to become pregnant does not lead to success within 2 years of constant sexual activity. If women’s multiple attempts end in miscarriages, it is also a sign of infertility.
Men as well as women can be infertile. According to the latest data, infertility occurs in about 10% of couples. Infertility has a serious impact on the couple. It causes depression, anxiety. Infertility causes decreased self-esteem and increases feelings of guilt and shame in women, thus adversely affecting the spousal relationship, especially sexual. Infertility contributes to the rethinking and re-evaluation of life plans and social roles in the family.
According to WHO, in 40−50% of cases, the cause of infertility is the pathology of the reproductive system. Still stress and other psychological reasons are among the main causes of infertility, both female and male. The connection between emotional and physical health can be illustrated by the following:
- severe emotional stress increases the body’s susceptibility to diseases;
- chronic stress leads to a hidden depression and suppression of the immune system, which, in turn, increases the susceptibility to disease and the development of various dysfunctions.
Emotional stress and depression not only suppress the immune system, but also lead to hormonal disorders. These abnormalities may contribute to the emergence of secondary disorders of the internal organs just at the moment when the body needs stable health condition.
Common psychological reasons of infertility
According to many psychologists, psychological infertility has a protective character in response to some negative factors. Thus, some external factors can cause psychological infertility:
- absence of own dwelling;
- career orientation;
- internal fears about impending parenthood;
- instability of family relationships;
- lack of confidence in a partner;
- deep psychological trauma in childhood;
- unwillingness to have a baby.
If you don’t really want a baby, don’t get pregnant!
The most common psychological reason is that a woman herself was born as the result of an unwanted pregnancy. This scenario occurs very often. Infertility of psychogenic nature in a woman in the reproductive period is often associated with an unwanted pregnancy of her mother. The woman has overt or covert aggression to her mother. Since birth, unwanted babies feel guilty and useless, because being in the mother’s womb, they already felt a burden that the mother didn’t not expect and didn’t want them. Subsequently, the grown up woman experiences negative emotions about pregnancy. She may have fear of becoming a mother herself, because she is afraid of the fact that she, like her mother, will hate the baby, thereby causing pain once experienced by herself.
Some women have a fear of childbirth, fear to die during labor. Psychoanalytic study of pregnancy disorders shows that fear of pregnancy or hostile impulses towards the fetus may even lead to changes in the woman’s endocrine system via suppression of those hormonal processes that ensure a normal pregnancy. This may cause vomiting, anorexia nervosa or even miscarriage.
Even if pregnancy develops normally, a woman may experience panic and aggressive or suicidal impulses at the idea of potential harm, which the growing fetus can cause to her body.
Strong subconscious aggression, resentment, jealousy, hatred, contempt towards men are among psychological causes of infertility. According to E. Ford, one of the leading experts in the study of psychological infertility, none of the women, who suffer from psychological infertility, actually wants to have children. Their desire to become pregnant is a reflection of neurotic motives. Most of them are hostile towards the mother or are aggressive in relationships with men. Psychological problems won’t be solved until such women really want children.
How to get rid of psychological infertility?
Pregnancy and possibility of having healthy offspring will come as soon as the couple reassess their values. You should change your attitude to pregnancy. The couple should:
- pass the required tests and examinations to ensure that they have no health problems of reproductive system;
- admit all the fears about pregnancy, childbirth and infant care;
- find the source of these fears;
- analyze the causes of all the fears and get rid of them;
- stop concentrating on a strong desire to become pregnant,
- stop thinking about the process of conception as your daily work;
- stop focusing on possible negative outcomes of pregnancy;
- find positive examples of women who didn’t lose their beauty and career after birth and didn’t turn into a desperate housewives.
It’s difficult to cope with psychological infertility alone and without professional help. Your perinatal psychologist and obstetrician-gynecologist should work together to help you.
Consult your perinatal psychologist
Psychological infertility is a problem impossible to conceal. The more a woman thinks about her problem, the harder her rehabilitation will be. So visit your perinatal psychologist as soon as possible.
If you have no problems with physical health, you can get rid of psychological infertility by identifying and analyzing the true causes that prevent you from becoming a mother or a father. Confidential conversations with your perinatal psychologist is the first step on the path to a planned pregnancy. One visit to this specialist won’t be enough. The number of visits is individual in each case. Only in the process of cooperation with your obstetrician-gynecologist and perinatal psychologist, you can achieve positive result — your long-awaited pregnancy.
In the period of treatment, try to rest more. Avoid stressful situations. Sometimes, muscle tension helps relieve psychological stress. Start doing your morning exercises! If you are being treated for psychological infertility, but feel that you can’t trust your doctor or perinatal psychologist, change them. You should believe in successful results of treatment.
Psychological infertility is a problem for couples and it is better to solve it together. Here are some tips for men:
- learn to listen, try to be objective and willing to help;
- remind your woman that you will love her no matter what happens in future;
- visit your perinatal psychologist together;
- be sensitive, do not consider your woman’s feelings insignificant;
- be patient, the solution of psychological infertility problem is a process that requires time and much money;
- be well-informed in this sphere — then you will be able to make better decisions.