2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-07-31 02:08
The question has arisen more since the 1960s, when in Canada access to effective contraception became possible for women. Previously, sexuality and the conception of a child were considered inseparable.
The destiny of women was decided: to give birth to children, whether they wanted to or not. Today, having a child is the result of a supposedly voluntary, conscious and planned process, in particular thanks to contraception.
A legitimate, deep, strong and complex desire
This wish for conscious procreation is shared within a couple and fits into the life ideals of many human beings. It is subject to cultural, social, family and religious influences. The desire to live a new experience, to strengthen the love bond, to access the status of parent, to transmit what one has received or not received, to help a human being to grow and flourish, perpetuating family traditions and transmitting one's genetic heritage are among the reasons for wanting to start a family. Let us also not forget that the desire for a child originates in childhood and in history.personal to each individual. Part of this desire is unconscious and enigmatic; we don't fully know what drives us to want to become a parent and we can be ambivalent about becoming one. Let us then consider the desire for a child as legitimate, deep, strong and complex.
Infertility raises existential questions
When a couple decides to start this great adventure of "becoming a parent" and over the months, this long-awaited child does not come, this need is not met, disappointment, incomprehension and the fear of never being a parent, of never having the experience of pregnancy are at the forefront. Infertility awakens existential and identity questions in couples: What are we going to do in our lives if we are not parents? Who am I if I am not a mother? Maternity is often perceived as an essential element, a means of fulfilling the identity of women. We can then understand the state of crisis that a couple facing infertility can go through.
Between suffering and hope
Coming to a fertility clinic is far from the initial project, it's far from the idea of conceiving a child in the privacy of your home. Contraception very often gives couples the illusion that they will have a child when they want it. However, feeling ready and stopping contraception is not always enough to become a parent. Couples usually arrive at the fertility clinic full of hope, but also very affected by thisinability to conceive. They gradually let reproductive medicine into their intimacy: appointments, examinations, waiting for results, etc. Infertility and assisted reproduction treatments are stressful for couples who are then destabilized and hurt by failures. We cannot overlook the psychological dimension; infertility and the use of medically assisted procreation are a physiological and psychological adventure with both painful and happy consequences.
Psychological support: necessary
Our clinical work with couples who are having difficulty conceiving a child shows us that this life experience leads many women and men to start working on themselves to better understand what they feel, what they want here and now, but also for the future. Some revisit their personal story to better understand how they experience this stage of their life and others reflect on concrete ways to better deal with infertility in their daily lives. Psychological support, empathy and benevolence from the nursing staff as well as an understanding and attentive entourage seem to us to be key elements for better living with infertility and its treatments.
By Marie-Alexia Allard, Ph. D, Psychologist
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