Pregnancy After Infertility

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Emotions

Emotionally, the first few months of pregnancy may feel strange. The baby may feel very separate from you. You may feel preoccupied with your body, and aware of every little twinge or strange sensation. Morning sickness and fatigue may be intense. You and your partner may question if and when to tell people your good news.

It is important to tell at least one close friend or relative for two reasons: one is to be able to share your joy and concerns with another person beyond your husband and medical team, and the other is to have at least one additional person know that you are pregnant in case you have a miscarriage.

During the first trimester your anxiety levels may be high. Some women don't dare hope that things will work out. Many women who have just learned that they are pregnant report having terrible dreams that focus on something happening to the baby. You may avoid buying comfortable clothes that will reveal your pregnancy to others. Emotional ups and downs are common. Tears flow easily and feelings of joy, fear and ambivalence about the pregnancy and parenting all can surface.

Making the transition to an obstetrical practice can be difficult. It takes energy to interview and select an obstetrician and it is hard to say goodbye to the infertility practice that has been so much a part of your life. Often in this first trimester women say, "I don't feel part of the fertile world or the infertility world -- I just feel different."

Sexual intimacy may be affected not only because the infertility has affected sexual intimacy but also because some couples fear they may jeopardize the pregnancy by having intercourse. The wife may also be feeling so exhausted that her sexual interest is nonexistent.

As a couple, you may feel that you don't fit into the world of your infertility friends and you don't fit into the world of couples who conceive easily without any of the traumas of infertility. Friends and family may wonder why you can't just "relax and enjoy the pregnancy". Because you have been through infertility and because this is such a precious pregnancy, there may be a tendency to feel that you can't express your complaints about the discomforts associated with pregnancy. It may feel as if you are not entitled to have any negative thoughts or experiences in this pregnancy.

If you had a previous pregnancy loss it may be hard for you to attach to the idea that there is a life within you. Some women guard against disappointment by not bonding and not investing emotionally in the pregnancy. But other women bond quickly and immediately begin planning details for after the birth of the baby. It is not uncommon for husbands to seem less involved and somewhat detached from pregnancy. This can be a safety mechanism that husbands use because they fear that the pregnancy might not work out and that they have to stay strong for their wife in case something does happen to the pregnancy.

As the news of your pregnancy progresses and the first medical hurdles are crossed, you may find that you are thinking about your relationship with your parents. For some women, old mother-daughter conflicts can resurface. Thoughts about your own childhood and how you were parented and how you will do it differently can become a concern for you.