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Phase I - Awareness and recognition of the problem

Most couples assume they are fertile, believing that they can procreate whenever they choose. Acknowledging that, after months or years of trying, their vision of having a child cannot be achieved, may cause emotional shock and dismay.

It is often the woman who emotionally bears the guilt of being infertile. Therefore, it is important for the couple to communicate around this issue and to accept that both partners need to undergo infertility assessment.

The most common feelings that occur during this phase are denial, low self-esteem and jealousy towards those who are successfully started a family. 

Denial

Denial is a typical emotion during the first phase of the infertility process. Both you and your partner may be saying, "This cannot be happening to us." Instead of confronting the issue of infertility, you may choose to deny it. Regardless of what's behind the denial, this phase may be useful since it enables you to come to terms with a challenging situation at your own pace while you pursue a resolution to your infertility Feeling of denial become unhealthy if they lasts for a prolonged period of time and prevent you from accepting the reality of the situation.

Accepting the infertility problem

The truth is that there are not that many alternatives to accepting the situation and moving on with your desire to procreate. So, instead of refusing to deal with this difficult predicament, just choose to view it from a positive angle. As little as fifty years ago, there was no other alternative conception option; People who wanted a loving family of their own underwent the long and expensive process of adoption. 

Today, with the evolution of fertility techniques, a whole new range of treatments is available that will improve your chances of a couple becoming biological parents. There are no guarantees that the female partner will become pregnant, but there are so more options to succeed in having a child of your own.

Low self esteem

When coping with infertility, you may lose some self-esteem and be judgmental about your own feelings. Both men and women can feel less valuable and may even doubt their masculinity or femininitywhether they are "real" men or women.

A tip to overcoming low self esteem

It is important to not be too hard on yourself when going through infertility issues. At a time when there are already a lot of unexpected factors to cope with, try not to put undue pressure on yourself. Remember to allow time to care for yourself and be compassionate and understanding with yourself.

Jealousy

It can be very difficult to find out that friends or family members around you are getting pregnant when you are struggling to conceive. You may feel and express happiness for them, but at the same time, you may feel jealous or frustrated. It is natural to feel this way; should not be ashamed of these feelings. 

You may be thinking that it's not fair or saying “Why can’t that happen to me?” or “Why does it seem to be so easy for other people to get pregnant?” The thought may even arise that you are more deserving of having a child or that you would make a better parent. These thoughts will increase your perception of how unfair the situation is. In addition, hearing that other infertile friends have conceived after treatment can be bittersweet. On one hand, you are happy for them and want to believe that there is hope for you. On the other, you feel it's not fair that you have not gotten pregnant. At times, you might even worry whether you and your partner will ever be able to have baby of your own.

Accepting jealousy as natural and how to cope

Rest assured that jealousy and envy are perfectly normal emotions. Keep in mind that most women who go through fertility problems feel jealous of others. Recognize that your feelings are a result of your current situation, rather than a permanent character trait. Jealous feelings are likely to dissipate once your infertility issues have been addressed and hopefully resolved.

Finally, during this initial phase of infertility acknowledgement, keep in mind that emotions and disagreements are magnified; minor problems can have much more importance than in "normal" situations. It is common for people under these conditions to seek help and support. 

Fertility treatments: phases and feelings

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