Whether you are trying to conceive for the first time or the fifth, when you receive an infertility diagnosis, you become overwhelmed by emotion. After you calm down from the initial shock and disappointment, you might find yourself feeling alone, confused and unsure how to move forward. You aren't alone, and the sooner you can plug into the following opportunities, the sooner you can begin to feel empowered instead of lost.
The first step after you receive an infertility diagnosis is to learn what that means for you and your family. See if your local hospital or obstetrics clinic offers educational sessions or if they can recommend any that might benefit you. You can check online for education too, but make sure you are getting your information from reputable sources. RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, is a great place to start and offers educational articles on everything from in vitro fertilitzation protocol to emotional struggles. They also offer a great cheat sheet for infertility abbreviations and jargon that can be a lifesaver when talking to specialists or veteran infertility couples for advice. And don't forget to check out Parenting.com's list of fertility vocabulary and for articles on the lastest infertility news.
The next step in your infertility journey is to find the right treatment for your diagnosis, and the key to that is finding a fertility specialist. After you find someone that you trust, navigating the waters of fertility drugs and ultrasounds will be less stressful. Depending on your situation, you might find that your treatment might require more than just your reproductive endocrinologist. You might create a treatment team that includes an acupuncturist, chiropractor or psychologist.
Couples trying to conceive without success can feel isolated and alone, even though approxiately 1 out of every 8 couples is dealing with infertility. Isolating yourself can lead to depression and create problems in your relationship, so finding support is crucial to your journey. Ask your fertility doctor if any support groups are nearby, or become active on an online message board for infertility. You can talk to your place of worship to see if a family-building ministry exists that you can join, or simply meet with your friends a few times a month to unload what is on your mind.
Find a hobby
Finally, try to remember your infertility diagnosis does not define you or your relationship, even though it might feel like it. Find a hobby that you can enjoy alone or together that has nothing to do with trying to conceive. You can try running, yoga, scrapbooking or volunteering. While online support groups and infertility blogs offer great support, reading them shouldn't consume your life. Unplug, close your infertility journals and remind yourself that you are more than your ability to have a child.
As you walk further along your infertility journey, you'll find that you'll start speaking the jargon along with the best of them and you'll have educated yourself enough to advocate for your own care. The more you empower yourself, the more you'll feel in control of your situation and what it means for you.