Infertility is a very personal issue and one that weighs heavy on those who are experiencing it. Because society seems so focused on birth control, infertility issues can make women feel as though they are alone. A woman who is suffering from depression due to infertility may not be as open about her problems because she may not feel that others can understand her particular situation.
If you feel that a loved one may be experiencing depression due to infertility, it is important to look for the warning signs. Depression is a very serious disorder, thus it must never be taken lightly.
- She seems sad or anxious for an extended period of time. A bad mood or a feeling of sadness is fleeting, but depression lasts for weeks at a time and is so severe that it may interrupt regular, daily activities.
- She cries much more often than normal. Some women feel better after they cry through their problems, but those suffering from depression due to infertility may cry every day, though they may keep it hidden well enough that others may not notice.
- She seems fatigued, listless, and idle. This does not necessarily only apply to women who were once very active and suddenly are not. If a woman seems often tired, takes more frequent naps, and has difficulty rising from bed, this could be a sign that she is depressed.
- She avoids interaction with others. This can be apparent if your loved one has started avoiding the public and no longer wishes to talk to people.
- She experiences changes in appetite. If she is suddenly eating much more or much less than she previously did, this could be her way of handling depression. This is a serious sign as it could develop into an eating disorder, which may only prolong infertility.
Once you have scrutinized the symptoms of depression, it is wise to remember that some of the signs of depression can also be caused by side effects of certain fertility treatments. That does not mean that symptoms of depression should be ignored, but that your loved one should be given the opportunity to express herself freely and openly.
If you do believe that your loved one is suffering from depression due to an inability to conceive, reach out to her. Let her know that you are there to listen and do not judge. Try not to offer advice about fertility treatments or to make light of her situation, as sometimes this can cause more harm than good. Instead, listen to her words, console her, and if you feel it is needed, encourage her to seek professional help.