Feb 04, 2022

Dr. Brita Reed MD, PsyD, The Center for Fertility Psychology and Counseling


We would all assume that the sadness and anxiety associated with infertility treatment would disappear once a couple gets pregnant, right? After all, why should they be anything but ecstatic once they have a healthy pregnancy? Isn’t that what they have waited so long and worked so hard for?

In reality, couples who get pregnant after infertility treatment experience a whole host of complex emotions, including anxiety, irritability, depression, and guilt. Many couples who have a prolonged experience of losses associated with infertility treatment are often convinced that more losses are inevitable. Even after a pregnancy is achieved, they are afraid to hope. They hold their breath for what seems like the duration of the pregnancy. They tell us that, at best, they can only muster “cautious optimism.”

Even as a new pregnancy progresses over time and the grief of a previous pregnancy loss slowly diminishes, anxiety concerning the current pregnancy can dominate the couple’s mood. They often panic before each ultrasound and doctor’s visit. They may also feel the need to distance themselves emotionally from the pregnancy, itself, to protect them from the heartache of another loss. Ironically, this distancing, thought by the couple to be protective, can also be felt as another loss as the joy of the pregnancy is taken from them.

When we work with couples who are pregnant after infertility treatment, we reassure them that the spectrum of emotions that they feel is normal. This helps to lessen the guilt. We also help couples to process their experience of infertility and to understand the meaning of that loss in their lives. We help couples understand the lows of their experience so that they can enjoy the highs of pregnancy and parenting.

If you have experienced infertility and would like to better understand how that experience affects a current pregnancy, please call us at (404) 951-7401.


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