IVF Mood Swings - It’s Not Just the Hormones

Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

In a Swedish study of couples trying IVF, a shocking 26% did not have success because they quit mid journey. The reason they gave? Psychological stress.

Mood swings during IVF aren’t just from the hormones it involves. There are very clear psychological stressors that the IVF journey presents you need to be aware of.

IVF, stress, and anxiety - what are the challenges?

How does IVF affect you and your partner’s moods so much?

1. Everyone else has an opinion.

Future grandparents and friends can be too involved in the process and cause you stress with their expectations, unhelpful comparisons ("I know a couple who did IVF and they said….."), and advice.

2. Your relationship gets tested.

If there are any unresolved conflicts between you, unhealthy ways of communicating, or lack of boundaries? It can mean you end up fighting your way through IVF instead of supporting each other.

3. Old mental health challenges are triggered.

If you have unresolved childhood trauma, a sensitive personality, or if you previously suffered depression or anxiety? It can all be triggered by the IVF process.

4. Wellbeing falls to the wayside.

IVF can be a heap of appointments, health monitoring, research, and worry, which all takes time. Self care and wellbeing can be endlessly put off to 'tomorrow', and the effect is cumulative.

5. Money worries add to things.

Even if you can afford it, one partner might worry about the investment, or you might have different opinions on how many rounds you can and can’t afford, or feel guilty about investing in something with limited sucess.

6. It’s a rollercoaster of expectations.

The rise and fall of hope and expectations that several cycles can involve can mean frustrations, hopelessness, disappointment, even fear. It's exhausting, especially if you and your partner are always out of tandem with your highs and lows.

So then how does therapy help?

Why are so many couples integrating talk therapy into their IVF budget? It is a invaluable safe space to vent, plan, troubleshoot, communicate, and find new ways forward.

1. You can truly say anything in therapy.

Unlike family or friends, a therapist is not invested in your IVF outcome and won't judge if you share negative thoughts you've deemed too childish, negative, and, selfish, even though they keep running through your head.

2. A therapist helps you handle failure.

One thing therapy is good at is increasing resilience - our ability to handle the highs and lows. You can:

  • prepare for any outcome
  • work through the grief if there is a pregnancy loss
  • sort out how you feel
  • get honest with yourself about how many attempts you want to make.

3. You’ll learn good boundary setting.

Again, everyone seems to have an opinion when we try IVF. But a therapist can help you recognise where you need to set boundaries with certain people, and where you need to be a bit less reactive.

4. They can also help you handle a successful outcome.

The IVF process can be so stressful there is no time to consider what to do if you actually are successful. And some people find a whole new set of emotions and challenges arrive at this time, that a therapist can help them navigate.

5. Talk therapy can stop IVF from ruining your relationship as a couple.

You can attend IVF counselling as a couple, which can help you communicate your frustations and worries in constructive over destructive ways.

Ready to get some help through your IVF journey? Use our easy booking tool to find a therapist that is right for you and you can be talking this week.

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