One of the hardest parts for many fertility patients is the constant waiting and the ups and downs of treatment. If you are like most people, COVID-19 has thrown a giant wrench in your life this year. Should you try to conceive during a pandemic or not? When is the pandemic going to end? If you are going through fertility treatment and do get pregnant, should you isolate from your support system further? If you are going through secondary infertility, is it ok to send the child you have to daycare in hopes they do not get sick and put you at risk? All these questions and those like them are one of the things I discuss with patients in counseling every week. One of the hardest parts of the pandemic for most people includes how much risk others perceive when it comes to COVID-19. These differences can surface even in families, making it even more difficult for people to get the emotional support they need when they officially feel Zoomed out.
With patients every week, one of the things we talk about is decision-making about fertility treatments and life in general. While there are no easy solutions, we frequently discuss core values and what that means to people personally. For example, could you potentially see a friend if your core value is friendship, and do it within the constraints of COVID-19 in a way that honors your value and if your concern is safety, honors safety, too. Sometimes this looks like going to a park and sitting on separate blankets so you can both safely talk to each other. For some people, fertility treatments may be placed on pause and they might pursue egg freezing or create and freeze embryos if they want to postpone conceiving until the Spring when COVID-19 rates decrease. Others may not believe COVID-19 is a huge a threat, but family members do not believe they should try to conceive right now. They may wish to set boundaries with family members by sharing less about their fertility experience, and only discuss it with one or two people who will be supportive of their decision. If you need a little further support along this journey, I’d love to work with you to help you establish a way to act on the values that matter to you within the constraints of infertility. The pandemic has added another wrinkle to the experience, but you do not have to carry it alone. Counseling is often a great way to help people with coping. Let us know if we can help.