Feeling depressed because you can’t have a baby is natural. You’re trying to conceive, and getting your period every month is worse than disappointing. It’s heartbreaking.
Here, you’ll find help coping with depression’s numbness, fatigue, sadness, anxiety, and inability to care about life. Those signs of depression are normal when you’re TTC; there is nothing wrong with feeling exhausted, weak, and depressed when it takes a long time to get pregnant. In fact, not getting pregnant after months or years of trying to conceive is one of life’s biggest stresses.
“I can’t have a baby and I’m sometimes but not constantly depressed about it,” says Kat on How to Deal With Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant. “I am infertile and have been trying to conceive for five years. Generally I am not depressed about it however there are moments when the stress, financial expense and disappointment of failed fertility treatments is overwhelming. I go to an infertility support group and my sister is a therapist, so I do get emotional support. But the reality is that the pain of infertility will take you by surprise even if you get help coping with depression when you’re trying to conceive but can’t get pregnant. It has been shown that an infertility diagnosis is as hard as having cancer –and nobody would tell a cancer victim to just ‘get over it.'”
Not everyone recognizes the signs of depression right away. Here, you’ll find the most common symptoms of depressed feelings when you’re TTC and are disappointed to get your period every month. I included behavioral, emotional, and physical signs of depression.
If you can’t have a baby and you can’t shake the feelings of depression and sadness, know that you are not alone. Read through the comments section here and on other blogs about feeling depressed because of the monthly disappointment of trying to conceive. Explore different ways to process your feelings, work through the depression, and maintain your spirit of joy, peace and faith no matter what the future brings.
Always remember that getting pregnant and having a baby doesn’t mean your feelings of depression will be forever over! After having a baby, Brooke Shields publicly talked about her feelings of postpartum depression. “I just felt as though I would never be happy again,” she said, “as if I had fallen into a big black hole and couldn’t get out.”
Actress Linda Hamilton agrees with that description of depression. She said, “The lows were absolutely horrible. It was like falling into a manhole and not being able to lift the lid and climb out.”
Signs of Depression for Women TTC
These signs of depression will help you see that your feelings are normal. You can learn how to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant – and you will feel alive and happy again!
Numbness, fatigue, sadness, anxiety, and inability to focus are a few signs of depression when you’re trying to conceive (TTC) and can’t get pregnant. It’s normal for a woman to feel depressed; not conceiving a baby after months or years of trying to get pregnant is a huge disappointment. Getting your period every month is heartbreaking.
Not everyone recognizes the signs and symptoms of depression right away. The following signs of depression include behavioral, emotional, and physical symptoms, and will help you figure out if you need to get help.
These lists include a wide range of behaviors that could be signs of depression. If you exhibit more than one or two in each category, then you may be dealing with depression. If you have one or two signs of depression overall, then you may simply be sad that you’re having trouble getting pregnant (which is normal).
If you’re not sure if you’re depressed, talk to your family doctor, a counselor or psychologist, or even a fertility specialist. Reach out. Get help. Don’t struggle to deal with your feelings of depression on your own. You need to stay positive. It’s important to stop focusing on the “I can’t have a baby and I’m depressed” thoughts and start focusing on the positive aspects of your life.
- Fatigue, low energy, exhaustion are often signs of depression
- Poor sleeping patterns – waking early, not sleeping even when exhausted
- Loss of appetite or, occasionally, increased appetite
- Loss of sexual interest
- Withdrawal from people, work, pleasures, activities is one of the first signs of depression
- Spurts of restlessness can be signs of depression
- Sighing, crying, moaning
- Difficulty getting out of bed is a sign of depression
- Lower activity and energy levels
- Lack of motivation – it’s a physical sign of depression when everything feels like an effort
- Consistent sadness, misery, and gloominess are clear signs of depression
- Overwhelmed by everyday tasks (eg, cooking dinner)
- Numbness or apathy
- Anxiety, tension, irritability
- Helplessness is a sign of depression
- Low confidence and poor self-esteem
- Disappointment, discouragement, hopelessness
- Feelings of unattractiveness or ugliness
- Loss of pleasure and enjoyment
- Inability to make decisions
- Lack of concentration or focus
- Loss of interest in activities, people, and life
- Self-criticism, self-blame, self-loathing
- Pessimism can be a sign of depression
- Preoccupation with problems and failures
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Another sign of depression could be anxious feelings about what the future holds. Learning how to deal with anxiety when you can’t get pregnant is will help you cope with depression. Anxiety is helplessness and worry about the future, and can lead to worse feelings of depression.
Help Dealing With “I Can’t Have a Baby” Depression
Getting pregnant does not mean you’ll never have to deal with depression again. To truly heal from depression, you need to learn the source of your depression (eg, biological, emotional, spiritual, situational, etc). And then you need to deal with the causes of your depressed feelings.
Ask yourself if you’re experiencing other causes of depression
You may think it’s obvious that you’re dealing with depression because you can’t get pregnant, but you may have physiological reasons for feeling depressed. For example, you may have too much or too little of different brain chemicals or hormones (eg, low dopamine or serotonin levels can lead to depression). You may have a genetic predisposition to depression. This may add to your “situational” cause of depression. For example, situational causes of depression include the frustration that you can’t get pregnant after spending thousands of dollars on fertility treatments or relationship problems because of infertility.
Different causes of depression can lead to different signs of depression. If you’re depressed because of low dopamine levels, then you may feel tired all the time. But if you’re depressed because you can’t get pregnant and you’re surrounded by happy pregnant women, then you may fell sad only when you’re reminded of your inability to conceive.
And, different signs or symptoms of depression require different treatments. The first step is to talk to your family doctor or even a fertility counselor. Get help. Don’t rely on the internet or fertility forums, or even on inspirational faith-filled blogs like Blossom! Reach out in person, be honest about your struggles, and learn the best way to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant.
Be open to all possibilities for your life
Can you give up the idea that getting pregnant and having a baby will bring you peace and joy?
My husband and I struggled to cope with infertility for years. It was only until I surrendered to the reality of our life together that I finally found peace and joy. 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.
“If we give up the notion that everybody’s life but ours is perfect, we would be a lot happier,” says psychologist 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. If you think you can only be happy – and the only way to deal with depression – is by getting pregnant, then you may find yourself disappointed again and again by your life.
Use your energy wisely
You don’t have an infinite amount of energy, do you? Whether or not you’re dealing with depression, you only have a certain amount of energy to cope with people, work, traffic, problems, and life in general.
Choose your battles wisely. For example, examine your expectations of people. Instead of expecting your husband, friends, family, or doctor to understand how it feels to keep thinking “I can’t have a baby and I’m depressed”…start by identifying what kind of help you need. 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.
Allow healing to happen over time
It’s not likely that you’ll simply pray a powerful prayer for healing, and God will miraculously cure your depression. The symptoms of depression are serious, and sometimes even getting pregnant doesn’t make the depressed feelings disappear.
Dealing with depression when you can’t conceive a baby is an ongoing process. You may not find the solution right away. You may have to try antidepressants for three months before you notice a change in your mood, thoughts, and behavior. You may have to constantly turn your thoughts and feelings over to God before you notice that you actually are dealing with depression in emotionally and spiritually healthy ways.
Also – coping with the “I can’t have a baby” blues is sometimes easier if you consider different ways to start a family. If you’re considering adoption, read 10 Things You Need to Know About Adopting a Baby.
Help Dealing With Depression When You Can’t Conceive
If you’re a woman of faith, 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, and can help you learn how to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant.
In this book, Wanda describes:
- The real cause of mental imbalances and how to stop the suffering.
- The three nutrients all women’s bodies desperately need.
- How to heal from past abuse and overcome negative thought patterns.
- The major causes of depression and how to conquer them all.
Wanda understands the feelings of confusion and despair that keep women from finding their way out of the darkness. With empathy and compassion, she reaches out to every woman who has ever felt broken, disconnected, or without hope.
In The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness, authors Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn explain why our usual attempts to “think” our way out of a bad mood or just “snap out of depression” leads us deeper into the downward spiral.
Through insightful lessons drawn from both Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy, these authors demonstrate how to sidestep the mental habits that lead to despair, including rumination and self-blame, so you can face life’s challenges with greater resilience.
Learning mindful ways to deal with depression when you can’t have a baby is extremely helpful and powerful. Get support and resources – don’t struggle with depressed feelings alone. Find ways to help yourself through the process, to heal, and to get emotionally healthy.
How are you? Feel free to write about how you’re coping with the “I want to have a baby but I can’t get pregnant” feelings of depression, frustration, and futility in the comments section below. I can’t give advice, but you may find it helpful to share how you’re doing.