How Do I Deal With Fertility Anxiety As a Single Parent
The decision to grow your family is significant, and for single parents-to-be, it comes with unique challenges and anxieties. Fertility anxiety—or even stress or worries related to your ability to have children—affects hopeful single parents differently.
Though overwhelming, there are ways to address fertility anxiety no matter where you are on your journey.
Understanding Fertility Anxiety
Fertility anxiety is more than just a sense of uncertainty around building your family. It can also include a wider range of emotions, including fear, frustration, sadness, and self-doubt. There are many reasons to experience anxiety around fertility, and each is valid.
Aspiring single parent or not, it’s important to realize fertility anxiety is a completely normal experience. Whether you have concerns about future fertility or are ready to add to your family soon, you’re not alone. The emotional impact can be a lot to deal with, but the right coping tools can help. This starts with understanding the impact anxiety has on your fertility journey.
Can Anxiety Affect Fertility?
The effects of anxiety on fertility are not entirely clear. While there is a link between decreased stress and pregnancy success rates, stress and anxiety are not exclusively to blame for infertility. The experience of infertility is, in itself, difficult. This makes it tricky to pin down a singular cause, or determine whether anxiety has a definitive impact on the ability to conceive.
That said, a couple-based study on stress and conception rates found that it may take longer to become pregnant in times of stress. Single parents in the making face different stressors when it comes to fertility, and it’s important to keep these in mind when dealing with anxiety.
7 Ways to Manage Fertility Anxiety
Any fertility journey can be unpredictable, which may be especially true for would-be single parents. These practical strategies can help deal with fertility anxiety—whether you’re already on the path to parenthood or not.
1. Take Inventory
Understanding the relationship between fertility and anxiety can help to make the process as a presumptive single parent much easier. Infertility is a well-known cause of stress due to the strain of navigating the emotions and setbacks involved in the journey. Some of these include:
- Financial considerations
- Age and health status
- Pressure to start a relationship
- Work and family balance
- Social expectations
- Personal hopes
Understanding what factors affect your fertility anxiety and how they impact your experience is helpful. From there, you can make informed decisions about alleviating some of your stressors.
2. Acknowledge Your Feelings
It bears repeating: fertility anxiety is normal. Still, it can be difficult to moderate your internal experience. Take some time to acknowledge and validate your feelings of anxiety and the other accompanying emotions you may feel.
Even in moments of significant worry or jealousy, every feeling you have is understandable and completely valid. Give yourself permission to process your experience without judgment.
3. Lean on Support Systems
Fertility anxiety can feel lonely. As a potential single parent especially, it can feel like no one knows what you’re going through. Now is a great time to lean on a safe support system.
Get in touch with friends, family, and even forums or online communities who relate to your experiences. These spaces can be incredibly helpful outlets to share your thoughts, gain insights, and find emotional support.
4. Practice Self Care
It’s easy to get caught up in worries or overthinking when trying to get pregnant. In these times, slow down and practice good self care—something that is crucial to your physical and emotional well-being.
Look for enriching experiences that bring joy and relaxation into your life. Only you can determine what this looks like, but these suggestions can give you a starting point:
- Practice mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation
- Cook or go out to enjoy your favorite meal
- Take a long bath with aromatherapy or Epsom salts
- Find a good book to read
- Engage in a form of enjoyable exercise
- Journal your thoughts and feelings
- Go for a long walk outdoors
You can also engage in a hobby you enjoy or try something entirely new. Whatever you choose, build the activity around helping yourself feel peaceful and valued.
5. Foster Healthy Habits
Practicing a healthy lifestyle has a measurably positive effect on stress levels. Focus on giving your body and mind what it needs to feel your best. This includes eating a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and getting adequate sleep.
Taking care of your mental and physical health is also a great way to do everything within your control to support your own well-being (which can even encourage success on your fertility journey!).
6. Keep Yourself in the Know
Knowledge is power. The more informed you are about what options are available, the easier it is to look ahead with intention. Understandably, prospective single parents have many additional uncertainties surrounding their path to parenting.
Each journey is unique, but it may help to have answers to some of the most common questions:
Can a single woman get in vitro fertilization?
Yes! Single women can receive in vitro fertilization (IVF) to grow their family without a partner. Having a partner is not required to undergo and conceive through IVF treatments. Single-parent IVF follows the same treatment process, but is made possible for single women with donor sperm.
Can you receive artificial insemination if you are single?
Absolutely. Single women and individuals can receive artificial insemination, or IUI, in order to become pregnant. As a single mom, you can have a family on your own using sperm donation. Single women can obtain donor sperm for IUI through sperm banks, and need only to meet the health requirements for treatment.
Can a single father get a surrogate?
Yes, men who are single and want to have a child of their own can find an egg donor and a surrogate or gestational carrier. With surrogacy, the woman donates her own egg and carries the pregnancy, while a gestational carrier does not have a biological link to the embryo.
Why is infertility not covered by insurance?
Your insurance company may cover some fertility treatments, but this depends on factors such as the treatment type, the insurance company, your chosen clinic, your individual policy, and even your location. Insurance companies also define infertility differently. It’s normal to have questions about insurance coverage and fertility, and it’s a good idea to ask your clinic to help ease any present anxiety.
7. Seek Assistance
It takes a village even before you start the process of building your family as a future single parent. This can take many shapes, but just knowing you have options to assist you along your journey go a long way to ease fertility anxiety:
- Fertility Coaching: A designated fertility coach specializes in fertility issues, and can be an invaluable resource along your journey.
- Professional Counseling: Mental health therapists and counselors, particularly those who specialize in treating patients undergoing fertility treatments, can make a significant difference in how you feel every step of the way, especially if you experience anxiety.
- Support Groups: In this setting, single parents-to-be on a fertility journey can communicate openly with others who understand the experience. Support groups for single parents by choice can be found in many cities. These can be found through sites such as Facebook or Resolve.com.
- Financial Assistance: The financial burden of fertility treatments is a notable cause of fertility anxiety. Fertility financing can significantly ease this burden during fertility treatments.
Finance with Future Family
When you’re ready to take the next step, you have several options to make treatment more accessible. Financing options with Future Family make paying for fertility treatments easier, so you can relax and focus on nurturing and finding fulfillment in all other aspects of your experience.
There are many ways to grow a family, and every stage deserves support. Learn more ways to cope with fertility anxiety—including how to prepare for IVF—and discover how we can aid in your fertility journey.