Emotional Health > Depression & Anxiety > Overcoming Infertility Depression When You Can’t Conceive

Overcoming Infertility Depression When You Can’t Conceive

Learning how to overcome infertility depression when you can’t conceive a baby is an ongoing process. You may never totally, completely accept the idea of never having kids…but you can learn how to live fully without getting pregnant.

If you feel broken, disconnected or without hope, read Broken Vessel Restored: How to Overcome Depression, Illness, Infertility, and Hormonal Imbalance and Reclaim Your Connection to God by Wanda Cooper. She understands the feelings of confusion and despair that keep women from finding their way out of the darkness. Giving up the idea that motherhood will bring complete joy and happiness is another way to overcome infertility depression. For me, what works is believing that there is a reason my husband and I aren’t parents. God has our lives in His hands, and He knows what He’s doing.

Are you searching for help overcoming depressed feelings? I originally wrote this article in 2009, and just updated it. Come over to SheBlossoms (my new blog) and read How to Deal With Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant.

“If we give up the notion that everybody’s life but ours is perfect, we would be a lot happier,” says psychologist Dr Joy Browne. “Nobody’s life is perfect.” Even if you did get pregnant right away, your life wouldn’t be perfect! Whether or not we get the desires of our heart, there will always be warts, wrinkles and blemishes in our lives. Sometimes we think we’ll be 100% happy if we could only have children, but that’s not true.

These tips might help you overcome the depressed feelings that often comes with not being able to get pregnant. I also encourage you to read the reader’s comments below, as not everyone agrees with these ideas…

Overcoming Infertility Depression When You Can’t Conceive

If you feel like a helpless victim, you may need to hang on to more empowering ways to be happy even if you’re childless. Instead of thinking about how lousy your life is – and how sad you are that you can’t conceive, and how you wish things could be different – find ways to empower yourself.

What does a survivor look like to you? Figure out who she is, and be her.

Listen to what works for other couples who can’t get pregnant

Do you have any friends, family members, or acquaintances who overcame infertility depression? Talk to them. Seek different perspectives, other people’s opinions, and sound advice.

Let go of the words “never” and “always”

Just because you’re not pregnant now doesn’t mean you’ll never get pregnant! Just because you’re struggling to overcome infertility depression now doesn’t mean you’ll always feel sad or anxious. It may help to remember that this is a stage that won’t last forever. Something will change in your life.

Stop the “If you loved me, you’d know” method of communication

overcoming infertility depression

Instead of expecting your partner, friends, or family to figure out how you feel, try volunteering information about your thoughts and feelings. Don’t make people guess or pry it out of you. Be clear and honest about how you feel, and don’t expect people to know what you’re struggling with.

Remember that problems aren’t always insurmountable obstacles

Sometimes problems are just bumps in the road. For instance, I once thought the cost of ovulation predictor kits were a huge obstacle…and now I know that they’re just a little problem. To overcome infertility depression, don’t take life’s everyday challenges (the cost of pregnancy tests or temperature gauges, for example) and make them into huge obstacles.

Let go of the need to control life when you can’t get pregnant

Let go of the urge to be in control of all situations at all times. Don’t feel like you have to always be in charge of everything from how your husband’s sperm count and motility to the month in which you want to give birth. Getting pregnant isn’t always something you can control.

Remember that you’re not alone on the infertility roller coaster

You’re not feeling feelings that are all that different from everybody else, my friend. It’s not you against the world. Other couples coping with infertility do understood what you’re going through. To overcome infertility depression, unite with with people who have experienced the same things.

For help dealing with infertility, read 5 Practical Ways to Cope With Childlessness.

If you have any thoughts on these tips for overcoming infertility depression, please comment below. I can’t offer advice, but you may find it helpful to share your experience of childlessness.


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48 thoughts on “Overcoming Infertility Depression When You Can’t Conceive”

  1. I have been involuntarily childless for 24 years now. Fertility treatments didn’t help. I’m not qualified to adopt. Because of my invertility my marriage broke down. I still feel sad every Day, cryibg a lot. Therapy didin’t help.

  2. Dear Blueluna,

    Thank you for your thoughtful, insightful comments on my tips for overcoming infertility depression. What struck me most was your reference to a “deep empty pain”…possibly because I don’t feel that. I wish I could’ve had kids and I always feel a twinge of regret and sadness when I see babies and pregnant women, but mostly I’m very happy with my life as it is.

    I took out the “pity party” tip. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that! My only excuse is that I wrote this blog post 7 years ago, and I guess that’s how I felt back then. I couldn’t get pregnant and I think I was giving myself that advice. It’s not good advice for a woman who is looking for help overcoming infertility depression, though.

    You are a wise woman, and I appreciate you.


  3. I thought this article was okay and I appreciate your advice on it. I really don’t agree with all of it but I understand it.

    One thing that really ticks me off mentioned everytime there is a crisis is that God has a “reason” for this tragedy. Infertility doesn’t come from God. Even more he commanded us to be fruitful and multiply. Why would he force us to break his own command? There is not a reason for it but he’ll provide something good for it. This is a bad misconception about God that I feel creates a lot of hostility and is why I almost became an atheist from this whole process.

    The other thing is the “pity party” statement. I understand what you’re saying but infertility is related to losing a baby….it’s losing your dream baby. You’ll never get totally over it like a mother who lost her child won’t. Grieving is normal…but unpleasant of course.

    I don’t know, I give you props for giving advice though and hope it worked for you. I just know in my case it’s not a simple fix like that. It’s a deep empty pain. I will say I don’t believe it’s our “purpose” to have babies. Are we only baby breeders? It took me a long time to accept this aspect of it that I’m no less of a woman for being infertile. It’s just a deep rooted want that was never fulfilled. Looking at it in this light is helpful though. We are still worthy of love and acceptance.

  4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Lindsey. I appreciate what you’re saying.

    It’s weird, because I wrote this article in 2009…and I wouldn’t necessarily share the same tips for overcoming infertility depression when you can’t get pregnant today. However, I don’t want to delete this post because it was what I thought at the time. It helped me cope with infertility — and we never did have kids.

    If you have better advice on how to overcome infertility depression, I’d love it if you shared it here!

    May you find peace and joy in all aspects of your life.


  5. This is the worst infertility advice article I’ve ever read. If your big worries are the costs of ovulation predictor kits and the month you give birth in, I don’t think you have any place writing a blog on infertility. This piece reeks of advice from well-meaning, but fertile, friends and family who think “relaxing” or standing on your head after sex (which doesn’t really sound very relaxing to me) are the keys to getting pregnant. Even worse? The author’s response to the comments shows she’s not even considering that her advice was way off the mark.

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tdawg! I’m glad to hear from you and everyone who commented on this article about overcoming infertility depression when you can’t get pregnant.