Whether or not you've undergone fertility treatment, it can be hard to feel calm and balanced during pregnancy. All pregnancies are unique, and you will be aware of many first-time experiences and emotions. For those undergoing fertility treatment, it can often feel like there is more at stake. Even after conceiving, the fear of not successfully going to term is a lot to deal with.
Written by Ninna Koefoed. Founder of the RO Association. She and her husband underwent a year and a half of fertility treatment to get their couple's daughter.
When the treatment is finally successful, and you’re standing with the test in hand
You contact the clinic and make an appointment for a blood test, and it confirms you are pregnant. You look at it, and the two lines are clear enough for you to dare to hope you are pregnant. So how does it really feel? Is it exactly as you expected?
Many people expect to feel happy because we have now succeeded in an impossible task we have struggled with for so long. But for many, the positive test can bring new worries and emotions to deal with. Feelings of fear and concern can develop, and it's good to be aware that it's perfectly normal if it occurs. You've been fighting for this pregnancy for a long time, and you've gone through a lot to get to where you are now.
Around week 7, you will be offered a scan at the clinic if you have been undergoing fertility treatment. Here you'll hear heartbeats and determine whether the foetus is still doing well. Again around week 12, you will have a scan, and then you will join the 'normal' healthcare system. You will be treated as if you got pregnant naturally.
Increased awareness of psychological vulnerability after fertility treatment
Fortunately, there has been an increased awareness of the psychological vulnerability many experiences after fertility treatment, although I still wish more was being done. However, it is up to you to make it known you have undergone fertility treatment and are experiencing concerns about your pregnancy after week 12 if that is the case.
I would advise you to speak with your midwife and doctor if you find that your concerns and fears about something going wrong are increasing. Remember, speaking up is okay if something is difficult or you need help. The same goes for your partner. If you underwent fertility treatment with a partner, it is also normal for your partner to experience concerns about the pregnancy.
You have both been through a comprehensive course of treatment, which should not be disregarded.
Today, many people undergo fertility treatment before pregnancy. We all know the numbers. It is, therefore, also thought-provoking that the medical record does not follow the patient after fertility treatment so that the doctor or midwife can be aware of the emotional strains you and your partner have experienced.
How do you manage the conflicting emotions you may experience during pregnancy?
If you experience conflicting emotions during pregnancy, remember to acknowledge them. You may be experiencing fear about losing the baby. You may be concerned during the days or weeks following the scan. It may also be that you can’t believe it’s your turn now. You may be reluctant to buy things for the nursery or hold off telling your network about the pregnancy. Like the mental process of fertility treatment, it can feel like an emotional rollercoaster.
Remember that you've come this far and that there are now no indications that your pregnancy won't succeed. Remember that you have a skilled healthcare professional to ensure your well-being and that of your baby. Pay attention to how your body feels and seek help if it gets too much.
Draw strength from your network
Using resources around you is important because you are not alone. If you find you have a network of family and friends, you can speak with them. Tell them how you feel and your concerns. You can also seek out networking groups of other people in the same situation.
If you get pregnant with a partner, you must involve them and tell them what you are going through. Being scared, sad or worried about little things is not wrong. It is perfectly normal to analyse what you feel in your body and what you are feeling. Talk about things and be open with each other. It may also be that your partner has fears and concerns during pregnancy. You have both wanted this pregnancy for a long time, and now it is here. It is a good idea to set aside time to check in with each other so you know how you both feel during the pregnancy. It may change many times during pregnancy.
Allow yourself to enjoy pregnancy when you can
If you're aware of the concerns, remember to also pay attention to the days when you have positive thoughts and feel happy emotions and a sense of anticipation. Talk to each other and with those around you. Remember that you are doing all you can every day and that it is okay to enjoy the happy situation you are in. Do self-care activities and pamper yourself. Enjoy nature, each other and the beautiful body and mind experiences you have during pregnancy. Paying attention to the good days can give you the space and air to look forward to the future. Because it's a miracle to get pregnant- whether or not due to fertility treatment.