Infertility treatments have mostly been discontinued, except in a few high-risk situations, and that can be devastating. (Photo by Abigail Faith on Unsplash)

You’ve spent so much time, money, energy, and emotion on trying to get pregnant, only to have the coronavirus interrupt your infertility treatment. It’s painful to put something so important to you on hold and to cope with uncertainty about when you can move forward. This is a tough time, especially when you can’t access your usual support system. It would be so nice to get a hug from your best friend, or go to the gym to work off the stress.

Why no fertility treatments?

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has recommended canceling elective procedures and embryo transfers, and not initiating new treatment cycles. All the guidelines have been developed with safety in mind, as well as to comply with recommendations for social distancing. First, medical professionals don’t know yet what the coronavirus can do to pregnant women and babies born during this time. They want to be extra cautious until they know more about the virus and its impacts on the mothers, babies, and the unborn. Plus, the medical supplies needed for elective procedures are in high demand for emergencies, making it hard for fertility doctors to justify diverting them for elective use. Last, fertility treatments involve contact, which can mean transfer of the virus, and is something everyone wants to avoid when possible.

It’s still a loss…

Your logical side understands all of this, but it’s still a profound loss. In a circumstance where you have already experienced feeling vulnerable and powerless, an indefinite delay in your infertility treatments is one more heartbreaking setback. You have a right and a need to grieve that.

Be kind and gentle with yourself, just as you would be if you’d just lost a loved one. When a loss is invisible, it does not receive recognition from others, so you need to be there for yourself. Both you and your partner also need to be there for one another. This means being compassionate if it’s hard for you to get things done, if you feel weepy, if it’s hard for you to concentrate, or you’re having trouble doing anything but watching TV.

It also means being understanding of your need not to be around triggers. For example, you may not be able to talk on video chat with your friend with a new baby because it’s hard to see her baby gear in the background. This doesn’t make you a bad friend. It means that you are being honest about your emotional vulnerability right now.

Consider journaling in the form of writing letters to your future baby. Imagine your child reading someday about how you lived through a pandemic and what it was like day to day. This is a way of keeping your child real and present in your mind, honoring him or her, and doing something that’s within your control. It’s also a way of honoring hope in the child that is yet to be, but is already so very loved.

Seek support. Reach out to a friend whose been through infertility or check with your fertility clinic to see if they have online support groups that are ongoing during the pandemic. You may also decide it would be helpful to seek counseling support through telemental health.

Other services offered by Nova Terra Therapy:

Our Burke, VA therapy office and online therapy practice offers a variety of comprehensive mental health services to women in the Washington DC area, including support during your infertility journey. We wish the very best for you as you seek to expand your family and understand how hard it is during this coronavirus crisis.

The services we provide inclue individual therapyCBTanxiety treatment, relationship counseling, trauma treatment and PTSD treatment, and EMDR.  Please contact us to learn more about the many ways we can support you or your loved one in counseling.