By Cristina Enjuto (gestalt therapist).
Last Update: 05/19/2015

There are many inevitable waiting periods in the trying-to-get-pregnant journey. Why is it that complicated? Is it better to be a pessimist rather than an optimist?

When you are facing a fertility problem, you have to go through many waiting periods whether you are undergoing an assisted reproductive treatment or not: when you expect a delay in your monthly visitor, when you are waiting for your blood test results, to see if your medication works as expected, to know if your follicles and embryos are developing, and to find out whether you have good quality oocytes or not.

It is not always easy to face these waiting periods, since the lack of news may cause anxiety and thus a greater level of stress is the body.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

What happens when we are forced to wait

Each person is different and faces stressful situations in a different way:

  • Uncertainty is one of the most complicated challenges for the human being. It implies going through an empty space with nothing to lean on or no certainty about the future. Psychotherapy calls it process of mourning. In such case, the person has lost chances of becoming a parent—though it is temporarily—and wonders if it is possible to recover it. Since the waiting period may last several years, keeping this uncertainty for so long can be very stressful. Other symptoms may be anxiety or depression.
  • The challenge is enormous given the fact that two opposed emotions take part: fear of failure and hope that it can be achieved. Some patients asked me “What should I do? Should I be excited and face a shock in case of failure? Or should I be preoccupied and then cope with sadness?”.

Should I be optimistic or pessimistic?

I have seen many people being strongly assertive with their position while hiding other points of view; I did it myself. Gestalt therapy focuses on the achievement of both positions. How?

Instead of choosing the former and refusing the latter, you are encouraged to see both perspectives and agree with the fact that one can be afraid of infertility and hopeful at the same time. It is like living with two totally different flatmates.

Mixed emotions

Why on earth should you tolerate it? Because they work together for a positive purpose: on the one hand, fear acts as an alarm system by preparing us to face any problem and letting us contemplate alternative options; on the other hand, optimism reminds us that we can still become parents and should keep on trying by overcoming any obstacle on our way.

The actual danger is hosting only one of these flatmates. If there is only hope, then obstacles might be unbearable. If there is only fear, depression and discourage might take us over. Paying attention to both emotions is helpful to go through the process and cope with our feelings, whatever they may be.

Mankind is often forced to face situations in which opposing views can be found. However, we are prepared to overcome them. When undergoing a fertility treatment, feeling hopeful and optimistic while simultaneously having fear of failure in case of a negative pregnancy test is not unusual.

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Authors and contributors

 Cristina Enjuto
Gestalt Therapist
Gestalt Therapist & Professional Master-Trainer of NLP by the Institut Integratiu of Barcelona. Individualized therapy sessions aimed to achieve personal growth for women and men. Corporal psychotherapist and integrative psychotherapy. More information
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One comment

    1. Patricia Harris

      The truth is optimism is always positive in this life, especially in complicated situations such as infertility diagnosis and assisted reproductive technologies.

      Although we can be surrounded by feelings like frustration or even despair before a negative pregnancy test or a long reproductive cycle, we should always stay positive and aim to become parents in every moment.