Infertility, in and of itself, is one of the harder emotional and physical experiences a woman can face. It triggers a range of uncomfortable emotions, questions and new realities—and that’s especially true if you feel like you are the only one struggling to conceive. Indeed, being surrounded by friends with babies and bumps is a constant reminder that you are still not pregnant. But however tough your fertility journey may be, there are ways to cope.

Here are 6 tips to help you cope with infertility struggles

1. Try not to compare and be gentle with yourself

One of the more common ways we start judging ourselves is relative to those closest to us. Though we inherently know that comparing ourselves won’t ease our pain, it doesn’t really keep us from looking at our friends during a baby shower and wondering what might be wrong with us.

First, remember that you don’t know someone else’s story (especially not their sex life). Though you may think your friend got pregnant in no time, it may not be the case. After all, a lot of people keep their fertility struggles to themselves. Plus, conceiving isn’t a competition. So please, be gentle with yourself and try to understand that your journey may not look the same as others’.

Related: I miss how easy and fun sex was before my infertility struggles

2. Get support for infertility struggles

If you feel overcome by negative feelings and can’t be around pregnant people without starting to compare yourself, seek the help of a therapist, a counselor or even a dear friend. Surrendering to the comparison mindset can become very isolating and can make you feel like you’re spinning out of control. The simple fact of talking about your pain can not only make you feel safe, but also help you put things into perspective.

3. Feel your feelings around not getting pregnant

Honoring your feelings and giving yourself permission to feel them is a crucial step towards recovery and acceptance. So if you’re feeling angry or sad when a friend announces her pregnancy, don’t repress or deny your feelings, and give yourself some time to get them all out. Write in your journal, talk about your pain to your partner or someone else you trust… However you choose to let it all out, give yourself a time limit and try to find perspective.

Related: It’s time to stop calling infertility a women’s health issue

4. Set boundaries

It’s okay to decline a baby shower invite. Especially if you just experienced a pregnancy loss or got yet another negative sign on the pregnancy test. The same holds true for inquiring minds. It’s okay to say you’d rather not talk about your fertility experience. Setting limits will give you the space to work through your feelings. Plus, communicating those boundaries will also allow you to open up about the fact that you are having a difficult time and just need understanding.

Related: Bookmark these virtual support groups on your TTC journey

5. Become your own ally

When you’re dealing with any kind of social pressure, the first thing to do is to admit that you’re having a tough time. So many women who are going through fertility treatments maintain a strong facade instead of admitting to and accepting their own struggle. Acknowledging your needs and emotions as challenges arise is the first step to self-care; and being able to treat yourself in a kind, gentle and loving way during your fertility journey is essential.

6. Do something just for you

You deserve extra love and care right now, so why not try and do one of those things you’ve always wanted to do? Plan a getaway across the globe, go skydiving, or go on a wine tasting trip with your girlfriends. Whatever is on your bucket list, go out and do it.

Not Getting Pregnant

Infertility can often feel like an isolating journey, especially when it seems as though pregnancy announcements are constantly surrounding you. It’s important to remember that your feelings are valid and you’re not alone in this experience. Finding effective ways to cope with these emotions can help you feel more grounded and supported during this challenging time.

One crucial step towards coping with not getting pregnant is seeking out communities or groups that understand what you’re going through. Connecting with others who are experiencing similar struggles can provide a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation. Online forums, social media groups, or local support groups can be valuable resources where you can share your feelings, experiences, and receive support from individuals who truly understand.

Engaging in self-care practices can also play a significant role in managing the emotional stress of infertility. Whether it’s through meditation, exercise, creative hobbies, or simply taking time for yourself, prioritizing your well-being is essential. Self-care is not selfish; it’s a necessary part of maintaining your emotional and physical health during this period.

Another effective strategy is to focus on aspects of your life that bring you joy and fulfillment outside of your journey to parenthood. Cultivating hobbies, investing in relationships, and pursuing goals unrelated to pregnancy can provide a sense of purpose and satisfaction.

Additionally, consider setting clear boundaries with friends and family regarding discussions about pregnancy and babies. It’s okay to let others know when you need a break from these topics. Communicating your needs helps protect your emotional well-being and ensures that your loved ones can support you in ways that feel helpful rather than overwhelming.

Lastly, remember that seeking professional help is a sign of strength. A therapist specializing in infertility can offer strategies to cope with the emotional impact, work through feelings of grief or frustration, and help you navigate your relationship dynamics during this time.

By adopting these coping strategies, you can create a supportive environment for yourself, filled with understanding, care, and compassion. It’s a journey that requires patience and self-compassion, but with the right support and resources, you can navigate the challenges of infertility with resilience and hope.

If you have more questions about why you’re not getting pregnant, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).

FAQ: Coping with Not Getting Pregnant

Why does it seem so easy for everyone else to get pregnant?

It might seem like everyone around you is getting pregnant easily, but it’s important to remember that many couples experience challenges with fertility. Some may not openly share their struggles, so what appears effortless could have involved its own set of challenges.

How can I cope with feelings of isolation when dealing with infertility?

Connecting with others who are going through similar experiences can be incredibly helpful. Look for online forums, social media groups, or local support groups where you can share your feelings and find community. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey.

What can I do to manage the stress of infertility?

Prioritize self-care activities that nourish your body and soul, such as meditation, exercise, journaling, or pursuing hobbies. Consider professional support from a therapist who specializes in infertility to learn coping strategies and manage emotional stress.

How should I respond to friends and family asking about my fertility journey?

It’s okay to set boundaries with friends and family. Let them know how much you’re comfortable sharing and when certain questions or topics are off-limits. Communication is key to maintaining your emotional well-being.

Can focusing on other aspects of my life help with coping with infertility?

Yes, investing in other areas of your life that bring you joy and fulfillment can provide a sense of purpose and distraction. Cultivating hobbies, strengthening relationships, and setting non-pregnancy related goals can all contribute to your overall happiness and satisfaction.

Is it normal to feel grief or sadness about infertility?

Absolutely. It’s normal and valid to experience a range of emotions, including grief, sadness, anger, and frustration. Allowing yourself to feel these emotions and seeking support when needed is an important part of the healing process.

What are some self-care tips for someone going through infertility?

Focus on activities that make you feel good, whether that’s physical activity, relaxation techniques, or spending time with loved ones. Also, make sure to give yourself permission to take breaks from fertility-focused activities when needed.

When should I consider seeking professional help?

If you find that infertility is significantly impacting your daily life, mental health, or relationship, it may be time to seek help from a professional. A therapist who specializes in infertility can offer valuable support and coping strategies.

A version of this story was originally published on April 22, 2019. It has been updated.