MSNBC recently ran an article delving into the unique area of infertility among American couples and the psychological trauma that can be associated with infertility. The article discussed how infertility has affected a few couples specifically, and the general facts about infertility:
One in eight American couples will experience infertility, and 1.1 million women will undergo treatment this year. That most won’t talk about it makes it that much more painful: A recent survey of infertility patients reveals that 61 percent hide the struggle to get pregnant from friends and family. More than half of the patients included in the survey, conducted by pharmaceutical giant Schering-Plough, reported that it was easier to tell people they didn’t intend to build a family rather than share their troubles.
To me, it makes sense why infertility could easily become such a unique problem for couples. For starters, it’s easy to endure this challenge in silence. I can see why a couple would choose to not tell their families or friends if they were attempting to have a child, but were unsuccessful. As a result, no one would know to be careful about what they say concerning children (think about how many times a couple struggling with infertility gets asked when they’re going to have kids! That seems painful to me).
There are clearly important psychological issues at play here. The article goes on to address some of them:
Having difficulty getting pregnant can cause as much grief as losing a loved one, says Linda D. Applegarth, Ed.D., director of psychological services at the Perelman Cohen Center. “But it’s different. It is chronic and elusive,” she adds. “There’s a fear that life will be eternally empty. Some feel a sense of damage and brokenness; it goes to the heart of who they are.”
Again, unique to this medical issue, I think it would be easy to blame yourself for somehow being “defective” and unable to have a child. It sounds like a tough thing to go through! And yet we, as a society, as blithely insensitive to the issue in general.
What do you think about the issues of infertility? Do you think we as a society can be better at being more sensitive to those who are struggling with it? Have you, yourself, gone through the rigors of suffering infertility?