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Contributor

IVF emotional rollercoaster

I have always wanted to have a child. But I put it off waiting for the right partner, a stable job, being in a good headspace. I realised there would never be the perfect time & so decided to go ahead with IVF using a unknown male donor. Although not permanent, I had a job that I thought was not too stressful & my mental health was ok.

 

As I prepared to start IVF things at work changed. My boss and close colleague, also both good friends, moved away. My psychologist also moved jobs. So my work changed from a supportive environment to a toxic one & I had lost both personal and professional supports. I held onto the hope of IVF.

 

I worried that it wouldn't be successful because of my stress levels. But I hadn't realised that the medications and emotional rollercoaster of IVF would make my mental health even worse.

 

My mental health declined dramatically. I blamed it on the toxic environment at work - with bullying and constantly being told I couldn't do my job, despite doing it fine the previous year. In hindsight the IVF medications were a major contributor making me more emotional and less able to cope. I think my GP was using my IVF as a reason to encourage me to keep living. But the process was making me more stressed and the stress was lowering the likelihood of success. An ever downward spiral.

 

This downward spiral has lost me my job, and got me in trouble with the police (while they tried to take me to hospital). My IVF was not even considered as a factor. I thought I had hit rock bottom, with a criminal record, little chance of employment, loosing friends & being ashamed to show my face in the community. I had also had 3 unsuccessful attempts at IVF.

 

But it got worse: my 2 main supports my GP and psychologist left the town. I couldn't cope, and was so upset I cried myself to sleep, even though it was still morning. I asked Lifeline to get me help, but I the police were so sick of me that they dragged me to hospital and charged me with assaulting them. I can't remember doing anything that would count as assault, and am not sure if they made it up, or what happened. But the incident was the final straw that pushed me to attempt suicide.

 

After my suicide attempts, I have struggled to find any services to help me. At times I try to find a GP, psychologist, lawyer, or anyone to help, but haven't had much success.

 

There doesn't seem any reason to live. There doesn't seem any point continuing the IVF journey.  I don't have work and so would struggle to pay any medical expenses. I have put on weight and have poor mental health, which both reduce my chances of success. I don't believe in myself and feel undeserving of conceiving a child. The medications the doctors are trying me on are not recommended for pregnancy. But I won't get any younger so the pressure is on for me to keep trying to conceive.

 

Has anyone else struggled to balance the desire to have a child with the negative effects of the IVF process on mental health?

7 REPLIES 7
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Re: IVF emotional rollercoaster

Hi @CrazyChick 

 

Ochre here, moderator. I just wanted to check in with you as your message was concerning and I want to make sure you're utilising supports in this time where you're questioning your purpose and reflecting on some really difficult times.

 

It's awesome that you're connecting on the forum but it's also important to be reaching out for professional support as you need.

 

I want to encourge you to check in with counsellign supports being that you've described your usual supports not being what they used to be:

 

Suicide Callback Service: 

1300 659 467

 

Lifeline:

13 11 14

 

Heart

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Re: IVF emotional rollercoaster

Thanks Ochre for checking in,

 

Somehow I am surviving & getting through each day. But that is it. I just try to fill the day. I try to keep my help seeking to a minimum - not because I am doing ok, but because I am scared of what could happen. Since having negative experiences with the police & in mental health hospitals, I would do anything to avoid both of these. Sometimes this includes avoiding telling people how bad my thoughts are getting & pretending that I am doing better than I am. But by pretending I am ok, it has seemed to help me get through some tough times without escalating into worse experiences.

 

If I think about the situation I am in, I don't want to be alive. So I don't think about it much. Which means I don't look for jobs, or do anything that involves thinking about the future or which brings up the pain of past experiences. I just keep busy in the moment. I know it is not sustainable. I know I don't have the supports that I used to have, so it would not take much for me to be overwhelmed and unable to cope. But I keep going, not knowing if today will be the day that it all gets too much. I have tried to seek all the help that I am willing to. I might somehow get through this, but at the moment feel like it is just a matter of time till I can't keep going anymore. I am not actively suicidal at the moment, but feel that it is inevitable.

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Re: IVF emotional rollercoaster

Hey there @CrazyChick,

Thanks for letting us know you are safe now, but that's tough to hear that right now it just feels keeping busy in the moment, without much hope you might experience something that makes life worth living for you. It's great you reached out to the forums, you're not alone, so many people feel like they're just 'suriving' or getting through, and thankfully it does pass for many.

 

Your question about IVF and mental health is so important, I hope members with some experience in this jump in 🌻

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Re: IVF emotional rollercoaster

Hey @CrazyChick thank you for sharing your story and being so open about your situation. It is sometimes so hard to reach out for support but you have at least taken that step here and many will support you as much as they can.

After reading your thread I second your way of surviving currently by faking your ok. I too went through this for a very long time. My phrase was "fake it till you make it" and it got me through a substantial part of my life. As you know though it will only work for so long especially if you feel you are at your wits end.

I will insist on continuing to try and find a new psychologist and GP when you can. Being able to speak to someone will help tremendously.

Regarding the IVF I can not say anything from experience but on the topic of motherhood I can. I have just become a first time mother and I have known for a very longtime that I have wanted to be one. I also had many conversations with other women who knew that they would or could not have children. There is so much pressure out there for women to have children and of you don't you are then shunned from society. Women have a right to not have children if they don't want to. It definitely isn't for everyone!

The only thing I will say is have you though of alternative ways of having children instead of IVF? Have you thought of adoption? Foster? These options could be better for you so you don't have to take extra medication.

I do hope that you can find some professional help to guide you through this process. Thinking of you 😊
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Re: IVF emotional rollercoaster

@Blep Congratulations on becoming a mum.

I have previously using the "faking strategy" to pretend to work colleagues, family & friends that I am ok. It made me to do normal things like eat, interact with others, and work. Then anything that wouldn't be seen would fall apart. My house was a mess; I struggled to shower and cook meals. Each night I would be exhausted and crying from pretending to be ok. But back then, I could tell my GP & other mental health supports the truth that I was struggling.

 

Now I am pretending to everyone. I don't even trust the doctors or other mental health workers. If I seek support, I am careful to just to tell them a little bit about my struggles, and do not mention anything about suicidal thoughts in case they overreact. I wish I had someone I could be truthful to without the risk of being judged.

 

Faking it till you make it might work for some. But I seem to take 1 step forward and 2 steps back, each time dropping even lower than I thought possible. I keep thinking I have hit rock bottom, then things get even worse.

 

Thanks for the suggestion, but I doubt I would have a chance at fostering or adoption. As single woman with mental health issues and a criminal record, I think I would be near the bottom of the list.

 

My infertility issues are especially difficult to cope with currently as I can't even work or volunteer in any role that involves children. I know I am not a risk & so did my doctors and anyone that knew me. But the authorities look at my criminal and mental health history and say they would prefer to err on the safe side, not allowing me to be with children at all. It is like my heart has been ripped out. I am trying to appeal their decision, but if that doesn't work, I don't think I will want to keep living.

 

People have tried to get me interested in applying for work or re-training in fields that are not child-related. But I can't. People have suggested aged or disability care, but they need a clean criminal history. I had a Science degree, but have no confidence or interest in that area any more. It hurts too much to think about all the things I can't do. It just feels like I can't work. I get upset even thinking about not being able to get work.

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Re: IVF emotional rollercoaster

@CrazyChick 

 

It sounds like there's a lot there and that it feels heavy. I'm glad you're continuing to connect on the forums and that others are being present for you. Please continue to connect on here and also with professional supports. It's important you have a number of supports in place (telehealth services such as Lifeline)  as well as the forums. 

 

Heart

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Re: IVF emotional rollercoaster

@CrazyChick 

 

Thanks for letting us know you're safe at the moment.

 

I can understand you wanting to avoid services based on some negative experiences. That being said there are a number of telehealth services and online services you can uses where you might feel a sense of safety. This woud allow you to access professional support around some of the big issues you're experiencing (without having to present in person).

 

Here are a few services to have on hand when thing feel big:

 

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Sane Help Centre:1800 18 7263

Suicide Call Back Service:1300 659 467

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

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