Can battling infertility cause post traumatic stress disorder?

by Nika Ward

Did you know that June is World  Infertility Month? If you’re a woman that has experienced infertility, you’re already are aware. Did you know that infertility is a condition that can cause post-traumatic stress disorder? After watching a recent Insecure episode, it really hit me how quiet the infertility community is about this but how much it actually affects us. A lot of women who’ve experienced some sort of infertility have what can be considered a sort of infertility PTSD. Once you finally get your bundle of joy, you’re afraid to speak up about what’s happening because you feel like you might be tainting your blessing.

I can tell you from personal experience that even though you may consider your future little one to be a miracle, we aren’t exempt from PPD. I personally believe it can even be multiplied in us.

My advice is that if you’re feeling some anxiety or extreme fear of the next round of fertility treatments of any sort, to seek treatment BEFORE you get pregnant. That way you know how to work through what you’re feeling and will be able to recognize what is normal and what isn’t.

Noah was born on a Wednesday and his first doctor’s appointment was the next Monday. They kept telling me he was gonna be a big baby so I didn’t buy any premiee clothing for him. At the appointment, he was practically falling out of his clothes and the nurse said “Poor little one, I guess we’re gonna have to get you some clothes that actually fit.” That single statement sent me into an emotional fit. I cried right there in the pediatrician’s office. After that, I cried a lot, nearly every day during those first few weeks.

But I kept that to myself and from my husband because I kept thinking, how could I be sad about this sweet little person who had been so long awaited? I ignored the physical and mental pain I was in. I had intrusive thoughts and it scared me. Finally One day I answered the calls from my insurance company who had set up a nurse line to check on new mothers. The nurse and I talked and she explained that I was experiencing a second grieving or guilt for the babies that had been lost. Part of my identity had become so wrapped in treating infertility that I sort of lost sight of how to actually let go of the pain I had been holding on to. Also, I wasn’t sleeping at all because I was so afraid of SIDS. She helped me understand that I had to accept that I could not function on zero sleep. So my husband and I made an agreement that he would be with the baby at certain times and my little brother would randomly show up so I could take naps.

If you find yourself consistently crying about negative pregnancy tests and not sure how to process that, I’d advise grief counseling. Your loss of the hope of having a baby each month is just as painful and needs to be addressed if it becomes too overwhelming. This is why I’ve consistently told you guys to take occasional breaks. It’s hard on the body to experience so much disappointment month after month.


Here and here are articles that explain it further and will hopefully help you see why taking breaks is imperative to your mental and emotional wellbeing.