The grief you feel when you can’t conceive can turn into depression. Here are several tips on how to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant. My prayer is that these tips help you move forward in peace, love, and joy.
Some of these strategies for dealing with depression are from Dr Harold Levinson, author of The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness. If you think you may be clinically depressed (as opposed to “just” sad that you can’t get pregnant), read his book. It’s a wonderful resource that will help you deal with depression.
Also, I can’t tell you how important it is to talk to a counselor or doctor if you’re struggling with ways to overcome fertility problems. Don’t put your emotional and mental health low on the list of life priorities! Your feelings and mental state has a direct effect on your body, which in turn affects your ability to get pregnant.
Dealing With Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant
My first tip on how to deal with depression is from a husband’s comment on Signs of Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant. It’s a beautiful expression of love and support, and I wanted it to be at the top of my list of ways to cope with the sadness and pain we feel when we get our period instead of a positive pregnancy test.
Hold on to the love in your life
Here’s one husband’s perspective of his wife’s depression: “You are NOT taking anything from us,” he says. “This does NOT make you less of a woman. We do NOT want to leave you because of this. You ARE still beautiful.”
He adds that husbands just want their wives to be happy. And, men often just roll with the punches. That’s how they deal with depression if you can’t get pregnant: they accept that it is what it is.
“We know that a child would make you the happiest,” says this husband. “And we really do know that society and years of evolution tend to place too much emphasis on child-bearing as standard for a woman’s self worth. It’s not that we think you shouldn’t be depressed that you can’t get pregnant. It is unfair beyond description because there really is no rhyme or reason for it most of the time. You have every right to be sad. But PLEASE, do not compound the issue by blaming yourself and feeling that we, your partners, think less of you. We love you.”
Develop your self-worth and fulfillment in other ways
My husband and I can’t have children. I’ll always be a little sad that I’ll never be pregnant (I’m 45 years old now, so it’s a little late!)….and seeing a baby makes my heart ache. That will never go away. There is no perfect tip on how to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant because the shadow will always be part of your life.
But, you can find value, meaning, and fulfillment in other ways. Don’t let your disappointment and depression that you can’t have a baby overshadow the rest of your life. Hold on to the most important things in life: God, your loved ones, your meaningful relationships, your purpose in life. If you have a strong relationship with God – if you know Him and love Him for who He really is – then nothing external has the power to make or break you. Strive for a spirit-and-soul relationship with Jesus, and everything else fades in importance.
Revive your spirituality
Now may be the perfect time to return to church, synagogue, or other place that encourages you to be spiritual. Coping with life and family problems – and learning how to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant – is easier when you turn to God. Find your spiritual source of strength and courage. Take time to pray, meditate, journal, or quietly reflect on the twists and turns of life…including what the future might hold.
Here are a few spiritual ways to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant:
- Take a deep breath
- Let go of the little stuff
- Take downtime to snooze, read, relax
- Meditate or pray
- Read the Bible, Torah, or other meaningful book
- Seek the deeper meaning behind church or mass services
- Remember that your God, Creator or Higher Power is working behind the scenes
- Adjust your perspective to include peace, compassion, and forgiveness
- Volunteer at a food bank or for a special holiday dinner
- Look outside
It’s all interconnected: your spirituality, emotional health, and physical body. Learn how stress affects your ability to get pregnant, so you can manage your anxiety and depression in healthy ways.
Know your triggers
Holidays such as Mother’s Day and events such as baby showers can exacerbate the pain when you can’t get pregnant. Know how to deal with depression depends on several factors. The most important thing is for you to figure out what works for you. Know what triggers depressed feelings, and learn what helps ease your grief and sadness. The more you’re aware of the factors that both cause and alleviate sadness, the better position you’re in to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant.
Talk to a counselor if you know my tips for dealing with depression won’t help you. Don’t let your feelings get more unbearable than they already are. Reach out for help.
Recall a positive memory
Research on the reactivation of positive memories shows an association between remembering and happy feelings. Specifically, recalling a positive memory can suppress the effects of stress-induced depression caused by not getting pregnant.
I know that simply remembering how much fun you had on vacation last year – or when you went to Disneyland as a child – can’t erase your sadness about not getting pregnant. But, simply thinking about a happy time you’ve experienced in the past can make you feel better momentarily. Why not hold on to that for a few minutes? After all, this moment is all we have.
Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally
It’s a downward spiral: if you don’t take care of yourself, you feel more depressed. When you feel more depressed, you have less energy to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Nurture your body and mind by getting enough sleep, exercising enough, and eating nutritious foods. Listen to your body! Are you overweight? Your body needs you to move, breathe fresh air, work up a healthy sweat. Are you underweight? Your body craves sustenance and nutritious foods. These simple acts of self care are important tips on how to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant.
Be aware of the weather and the full moon
A natural tip for dealing with depression when you can’t get pregnant is to pay attention to the weather. This is especially important during the Christmas holidays or on a vacation. Why? Because external variables such as sun, cold, altitude, humidity, and barometric pressure can be affect your mood and anxiety levels.
A lack of sunlight and warmth can intensify depressed feelings. The full moon can even play a role in some women. If you’re dealing with depression when you can’t get pregnant, take a deep breath and look at the weather. Are you not getting enough light? Get out into the sunshine more, even on cold days. Movement and oxygen are natural ways to deal with depression.
What do you think of these tips on how to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant? I welcome your comments below. I can’t offer advice, but it may help you to share your experience.
When the world says “Give up,” Hope whispers “Try one more time.”