Being infertile is bad enough - but unfortunately many infertile couples compound their misery by adding to it ! Tom Robinson has an excellent website at Click here, where he coaches patients with a chronic illness ( such as Crohn's disease) how to take better care of themselves. He points out that the chronically ill can make themselves unnecessarily miserable, and I found it fascinating that infertile couples often end up making these very same mistakes !

He calls these traps misery maximizers, and by avoiding them, you will be able to decrease your suffering dramatically. Not only does he describe the traps, he also suggests clever ways of getting out of them. Below is a short course on what NOT TO DO.

  1. Put yourself down for being infertile. The trap-buster he suggests is that you get a paper and pen , and make a list of the negative or self-critical things you've said or thought in the last 24 hours. Next, pretend that a close friend is also infertile, and has said those things you've written down. Now, for each item, ask yourself what you might say to him or her to cheer her up. What advice would you give your friend when she begins to feel so low, and so self-critical ? Be your own good friend, and say these things to yourself !
  2. Lose control over your treatment and your life. Retaining a sense of control is one of the essential ingredients of emotional well being. The more control you are able to exercise in your lives ( even if it is for something as simple as to what clothes to wear) the happier and emotionally healthier you'll become.
  3. Don't feel grateful to anyone for anything. Gratitude improves emotional and physical health. Saying thanks keeps us human, and helps keep us happy and healthy.
  4. Don't have a sense of humor. A sense of humor and an appreciation for the absurdities of are valuable resources to use to help you cope. Check out our infertility cartoons for a quick chuckle !
  5. Don't take time for yourself. Many women are so used to putting others first, that they often end up neglecting themselves. However, if you don't take care of yourself, you'll never be able to take care of anyone else ! And you don't score any brownie points for being a martyr either ! DO ONE SMALL THING A DAY TO MAKE YOURSELF FEEL BETTER - you are worth it !
  6. Don't take responsibility for your medical care. Obviously if you don't get good medical care you're reducing your chance of starting your family even further ! Unfortunately, many patients still hold their doctors in awe, with the result that they often settle for poor quality treatment and even worse service in the clinic . Don't fall into this trap - there are lots of good specialist around - find the one who is right for you.
  7. Dwell on your infertility day and night. This is one of the easiest ways to get seduced into misery. Remember that there is more to life than having a baby - don't underestimate your contribution to making others happier; or minimize your success in the other areas of your life.
  8. Isolate yourself. Isolating yourself makes it much easier to forget that no matter how serious your problem is, there are always people who have it much worse. While knowing that won't make your infertility better, it will help put it in perspective. Join a support group - supporting others can help you support yourself !

So what can you do when you find yourself stick in one of these traps ? Visit Click here and download the free report, where Robinson suggests simple and useful techniques you can use to help yourself minimize your misery !

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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