How to Deal With Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant

Here are the most common signs of depression in women, plus tips on how to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant. Take heart: you WILL feel alive and happy again!

“My partner and I have been trying get pregnant for seven years,” says Roo on How to Be Happy as a Childless Woman – Single or Married. “He has four kids from two previous relationships so I know he’s not the reason I can’t get pregnant. He’s 31, I’m 33. I’m falling apart more every day and he’s just angry at me. He doesn’t know why I can’t just snap out of it. I have all of the symptoms of depression and I just want to get pregnant. I don’t have much feeling for anyone or anything anymore. I feel so all alone. Even the smallest things are difficult and require so much energy. Even writing this comment is exhausting. I just wanted to write to say I understand and truly know how heartbreaking it is to be a woman and not be able to perform your basic and primary purpose for being. To create, nurture and give birth to another human being. I hate myself for not being able to get pregnant and I can’t understand why this is happening…how do I deal with depression?”

My first tip for dealing with depression is to stop thinking that having a baby is your basic and primary purpose for being. God didn’t create every woman to get pregnant! My purpose here on earth is not to have children and raise a family. Even if you are already a mother, your sole purpose is not to have children.

You were created for more. God may have put the longing for children in your heart, but getting pregnant and having a child is not the only reason for your existence. If you believe the lie that a woman’s sole purpose is to have children, then you will never learn how to deal with the depression that descends when you can’t get pregnant. You will always be stuck in the “I’m depressed because I can’t have a baby” rut.

Signs of Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant

These signs of depression will help you see that your feelings are normal. You can learn how to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant – and you will feel alive and happy again.

Numbness, fatigue, sadness, anxiety, and inability to focus are a few signs of depression when you’re trying to conceive (TTC) and can’t get pregnant. It’s normal for a woman to feel depressed; not conceiving a baby after months or years of trying to get pregnant is a huge disappointment. Getting your period every month is heartbreaking.

Not everyone recognizes the signs and symptoms of depression right away. The following signs of depression include behavioral, emotional, and physical symptoms, and will help you figure out if you need to get help.

How to Deal With Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant

How to Deal With Depression When You Can’t Conceive

These lists include a wide range of behaviors that could be signs of depression. If you exhibit more than one or two in each category, then you may be dealing with depression. If you have one or two signs of depression overall, then you may simply be sad that you’re having trouble getting pregnant (which is normal).

If you’re not sure if you’re depressed, talk to your family doctor, a counselor or psychologist, or even a fertility specialist. Reach out. Get help. Don’t struggle to deal with your feelings of depression on your own. You need to stay positive – whether or not you’re still trying to conceive.

Physical Signs

  • Fatigue, low energy, exhaustion are often signs of depression
  • Poor sleeping patterns – waking early, not sleeping even when exhausted
  • Loss of appetite or, occasionally, increased appetite
  • Loss of sexual interest

Behavioral Signs

  • Withdrawal from people, work, pleasures, activities is one of the first signs of depression
  • Spurts of restlessness can be signs of depression
  • Sighing, crying, moaning
  • Difficulty getting out of bed is a sign of depression
  • Lower activity and energy levels
  • Lack of motivation – it’s a physical sign of depression when everything feels like an effort

Emotional Signs

  • Consistent sadness, misery, and gloominess  are clear signs of depression
  • Overwhelmed by everyday tasks (eg, cooking dinner)
  • Numbness or apathy
  • Anxiety, tension, irritability
  • Helplessness is a sign of depression
  • Low confidence and poor self-esteem
  • Disappointment, discouragement, hopelessness
  • Feelings of unattractiveness or ugliness
  • Loss of pleasure and enjoyment

Cognitive Signs

  • Inability to make decisions
  • Lack of concentration or focus
  • Loss of interest in activities, people, and life
  • Self-criticism, self-blame, self-loathing
  • Pessimism can be a sign of depression
  • Preoccupation with problems and failures
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Another sign of depression could be anxious feelings about what the future holds. Learning how to deal with anxiety when you can’t get pregnant is will help you cope with depression. Anxiety is helplessness and worry about the future, and can lead to worse feelings of depression.

How to Deal With Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant

Remember that getting pregnant and having a child won’t necessarily “cure” your depressed feelings. If you tend to be depressed because of biological or physiological reasons, then you could have a perfect life but still struggle with depression.

Further, you may have to deal with postpartum depression. Brooke Shields experienced severe postpartum depression after her baby was born. “I just felt as though I would never be happy again,” she said, “as if I had fallen into a big black hole.” Actress Linda Hamilton agrees. “The lows were absolutely horrible,” she said. “It was like falling into a manhole and not being able to lift the lid and climb out.”

Getting pregnant does not mean you’ll never have to deal with depression again. To truly heal from depression, you need to learn the source of your depression (eg, biological, emotional, spiritual, situational, etc). And then you need to deal with the causes of your depressed feelings.

Learn the cause of your depression

You may think it’s obvious that you’re dealing with depression because you can’t get pregnant, but you may have physiological reasons for feeling depressed. For example, you may have too much or too little of different brain chemicals or hormones (eg, low dopamine or serotonin levels can lead to depression). You may have a genetic predisposition to depression. This may add to your “situational” cause of depression (the situational cause may be the fact that you can’t get pregnant, or troubles with your relationship because of infertility).

Different causes of depression can lead to different signs of depression. For example, if you’re depressed because of low dopamine levels, then you may feel tired all the time. But if you’re depressed because you can’t get pregnant and you’re surrounded by happy pregnant women, then you may fell sad only when you’re reminded of your inability to conceive.

And, different signs or symptoms of depression require different treatments. The first step is to talk to your family doctor or even a fertility counselor. Get help. Don’t rely on the internet or fertility forums, or even on inspirational faith-filled blogs like Blossom! Reach out in person, be honest about your struggles, and learn the best way to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant.

Be open to all possibilities for your life

Can you give up the idea that getting pregnant and having a baby will bring you peace and joy?

iDealing With Depression When You Can’t Conceive

Dealing With Depression When You Can’t Have a Baby

My husband and I struggled to cope with infertility for years. It was only until I surrendered to the reality of our life together that I finally found peace and joy. For me, what works is believing that there is a reason my husband and I aren’t parents. God has our lives in His hands, and He knows what He’s doing.

“If we give up the notion that everybody’s life but ours is perfect, we would be a lot happier,” says psychologist Joy Browne. “Nobody’s life is perfect.”

Even if you did get pregnant right away, your life wouldn’t be perfect. Whether or not we get the desires of our heart, there will always be warts, wrinkles and blemishes in our lives. Sometimes we think we’ll be 100% happy if we could only have children, but that’s not true. If you think you can only be happy – and the only way to deal with depression – is by getting pregnant, then you may find yourself disappointed again and again by your life.

Use your energy wisely

You don’t have an infinite amount of energy, do you? Whether or not you’re dealing with depression, you only have a certain amount of energy to cope with people, work, traffic, problems, and life in general.

Choose your battles wisely. For example, examine your expectations of people. Instead of expecting your husband, friends, family, or doctor to know how to help you deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant, directly ask for the help you need. Don’t make people guess or pry it out of you. Be clear and honest about how you feel, and don’t expect people to know what you’re struggling with.

Allow healing to happen over time

It’s not likely that you’ll simply pray a powerful prayer for healing, and God will miraculously cure your depression. The symptoms of depression are serious, and sometimes even getting pregnant doesn’t make the depressed feelings disappear.

Dealing with depression when you can’t conceive a baby is an ongoing process. You may not find the solution right away. You may have to try antidepressants for three months before you notice a change in your mood, thoughts, and behavior. You may have to constantly turn your thoughts and feelings over to God before you notice that you actually are dealing with depression in emotionally and spiritually healthy ways.

Help Dealing With Depression When You Can’t Conceive

how to deal with depression can't get pregnantIn The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness, authors Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn explain why our usual attempts to “think” our way out of a bad mood or just “snap out of depression” leads us deeper into the downward spiral.

Through insightful lessons drawn from both Eastern meditative traditions and cognitive therapy, these authors demonstrate how to sidestep the mental habits that lead to despair, including rumination and self-blame, so you can face life’s challenges with greater resilience. Learning mindful ways to deal with depression is extremely helpful and powerful. Get support and resources – don’t struggle with depressed feelings alone. Find ways to help yourself through the process, to heal, and to get emotionally healthy.

how to deal with depression can't get pregnantIf you’re a woman of faith, read Broken Vessel Restored: How to Overcome Depression, Illness, Infertility, and Hormonal Imbalance and Reclaim Your Connection to God by Wanda Cooper. She understands the feelings of confusion and despair, and can help you learn how to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant.

In this book, Wanda describes:

  • The real cause of mental imbalances and how to stop the suffering.
  • The three nutrients all women’s bodies desperately need.
  • How to heal from past abuse and overcome negative thought patterns.
  • The major causes of depression and how to conquer them all.

Wanda understands the feelings of confusion and despair that keep women from finding their way out of the darkness. With empathy and compassion, she reaches out to every woman who has ever felt broken, disconnected, or without hope.

Your thoughts on how to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant are welcome here. I can’t offer advice, but you may find it helpful to share what it feels like to be depressed because it’s taking so long to conceive.


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53 thoughts on “How to Deal With Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant”

  1. As someone that has a sister that can’t get pregnant, I empathize with those that can’t…but I feel like never seeking treatment and just wallowing in your own misery, gets you no where in life.

    Grieve, spend time with positive people, figure out who you are and live for Christ, go to counseling or see a Psychiatrist. Adopt a child, there’s many children that were abandoned and would do anything to receive a loving family.

    To only view life through the scope of someone not getting what they want, is overlooking our true purpose in life. Eternity with Christ. Marriages can break down, children can be born with disabilities, people can become sick and die, but on the flip side of that…some are just thankful to even breathe each day.

    So while I understand grieving a loss, I don’t understand the mindset of giving up on life and not seeking out God’s purpose for your life, as if it is the only reason that we exist.

    Please don’t let anything hold you back, and stop comparing your life to your friends. It adds to the sadness that you already feel.

    I wish everyone the best in life!

  2. I was in the same situation… for many years I couldn’t get pregnant and just as described in this article, I was very depressed, I didn’t know how to get over this feeling. I tried so many things, but from day to day I felt worse. Counseling helped me learn how to cope with depression when they can’t get pregnant. The only way to move forward is to accept reality.

    Wish all the best to you all.

  3. Thank you so much for posting these tips on how to deal with depression when you can’t get pregnant.
    I’m pretty much new to this scene. Today, I just got a phone call from my doctor to say that my results for my AMH test have placed me in the low range (9.6) and that I should see an IVF specialist which I am absolutely devastated because I did not want to go down this path.
    I’m 37 and my husband and I have been trying for a few months and after hearing all these stories of people trying for years and nothing has happened only fills me with more dread, fear and hopelessness, because I’ve spent these last few months envisioning us with own baby, and to have that hope partially dashed is heartbreaking. But at least I know that I’m not alone in this battle and that there’s a whole community out there that I’ve yet to untap.

    Please keep posting topics like this.

  4. Stepmomma, thank you for sharing your life here.

    You have given women hope and strength, joy and peace. You have shown us that we’re not alone, that even if we’re dealing with depression because we can’t get pregnant….we don’t have to give up hope for a beautiful, fulfilling life. You sound strong and smart. You are a survivor.

    Not having children — childlessness — is painful, yes. But we don’t have to suffer just because we have to experience the pain of not getting pregnant. Suffering is optional; it is a choice. Pain is inevitable.

    What would life be like if you could fully embrace your life without getting pregnant? What if you can life joyfully even without children? Think of the possibilities; allow the flow of life, healing, and power to course through your veins.

    Let go of what isn’t, and embrace what is.

  5. Sometimes being barren will bring you to your knees with emotional pain. I’ve known since age 17 that I can’t have children. I just turned 35.

    Infertility cost me my marriage. We went through IVF 4 times. Once was successful but I miscarried at 5+ months. I mourn that loss daily and will until my death. My ex blamed me for the miscarriage and our marriage fell apart. I raised his 3 kids from his first wife but couldn’t give him another.

    I picked myself up,threw myself into my job,and eventually found my soulmate. To this day, I feel unworthy of him. I can never give him the one thing we both desire. He had 4 grown children from a previous marriage. If not for that, I would never have allowed myself to be in a relationship with him.

    Today is just a day of extra grieving for me. The anniversary of the one successful IVF, 14 years ago. My peers are all raising teenagers and having more babies. I stand on the outside looking in. My heart breaks for the tiny life snuffed out before it could even begin. I know the challenges of motherhood from being a step-mother. I know it’s not all roses. But a part of me will always grieve for not being allowed to have my own.

    I am well adjusted, active ,and lead a happy life. Friends all tell me that I should be grateful as I have the perfect life. I usually laugh at that because they truly think they mean that. If only they knew what it is to be truly barren.

    I often wonder why I was given such a nurturing heart and then forbidden to utilize it in my personal life. I pour it all into my work and my relationship. I wonder why I have resisted the hysterectomy that was recommended 17 years ago. I suffer every month because I choose to retain the nonfunctional reproductive organs that I have. I refuse to consider the surgery because as much as nonfunctional hurts,nonexistent is unbearable!

    I was recently diagnosed with an incurable disabling condition unrelated to infertility. My first thought was, ” so this is why God refused to allow me a child “. The treatment for my condition isn’t compatible with pregnancy so I’ve had to lay to rest my dreams of motherhood.

    The emptiness will never be filled. The pain will never be eased.
    But I will go on. I will live to the fullest possible. I will deny myself nothing that I can possibly do or have. Those who wish to judge because of that can go kick rocks!

  6. Dear Blueluna,

    Thank you for your thoughtful, insightful comments on my tips for overcoming infertility depression. What struck me most was your reference to a “deep empty pain”…possibly because I don’t feel that. I wish I could’ve had kids and I always feel a twinge of regret and sadness when I see babies and pregnant women, but mostly I’m very happy with my life as it is.

    I took out the “pity party” tip. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that! My only excuse is that I wrote this blog post 7 years ago, and I guess that’s how I felt back then. I couldn’t get pregnant and I think I was giving myself that advice. It’s not good advice for a woman who is looking for help overcoming infertility depression, though.

    You are a wise woman, and I appreciate you.


  7. I thought this article was okay and I appreciate your advice on it. I really don’t agree with all of it but I understand it.

    One thing that really ticks me off mentioned everytime there is a crisis is that God has a “reason” for this tragedy. Infertility doesn’t come from God. Even more he commanded us to be fruitful and multiply. Why would he force us to break his own command? There is not a reason for it but he’ll provide something good for it. This is a bad misconception about God that I feel creates a lot of hostility and is why I almost became an atheist from this whole process.

    The other thing is the “pity party” statement. I understand what you’re saying but infertility is related to losing a baby….it’s losing your dream baby. You’ll never get totally over it like a mother who lost her child won’t. Grieving is normal…but unpleasant of course.

    I don’t know, I give you props for giving advice though and hope it worked for you. I just know in my case it’s not a simple fix like that. It’s a deep empty pain. I will say I don’t believe it’s our “purpose” to have babies. Are we only baby breeders? It took me a long time to accept this aspect of it that I’m no less of a woman for being infertile. It’s just a deep rooted want that was never fulfilled. Looking at it in this light is helpful though. We are still worthy of love and acceptance.

  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Lindsey. I appreciate what you’re saying.

    It’s weird, because I wrote this article in 2009…and I wouldn’t necessarily share the same tips for overcoming infertility depression when you can’t get pregnant today. However, I don’t want to delete this post because it was what I thought at the time. It helped me cope with infertility — and we never did have kids.

    If you have better advice on how to overcome infertility depression, I’d love it if you shared it here!

    May you find peace and joy in all aspects of your life.


  9. Dear Jemima,

    Thank you for your comments; I really appreciate your insights and the time it took to share them.


  10. I have to agree with all those who said this article is utterly unhelpful and clearly written by someone with absolutely no idea how infertility and depression are related. I mean to even suggest that buying OPKs, pregnancy tests or taking your temperature is one of the significant issues for you just says it all.

    I actually cringe at this sentence ‘Getting pregnant isn’t always something you can control.’ really? seriously? do you think we are reading this and didn’t know that???
    And as for this one ‘You’re not feeling feelings that are all that different from everybody else, my friend’ Oh come on- i do believe the large majority of couples do not have problems with procreation. In fact statistically those with problems conceiving are 1 in 6 so that’s a whole 83% with no problems at all… so that piece of patronizing advice really isn’t helpful or accurate. As an infertile woman what you feel is alone and isolated from the majority – actually a whole 83% of people coming up with some of the most insensitive, frankly pointless advice which just makes you want to talk to people less about your issues as you feel so utterly misunderstood.

    Why do people always assume the only way to recover from the pain of infertility is to keep on hoping and praying for something which we basically have no control over getting? this is especially true for me with unexplained infertility. Where is the suggestion that you need to come to terms never having a baby? I hate the don’t give up- don’t stop trying camp of advice. There comes a point where continuing to believe that you will overcome the non-overcomable is causing the depression.

  11. Dear Shannon,

    I’m sorry for what you’re going through. Infertility pain is crushing, and though I’ve been dealing with it for five years, I still experience waves of sadness and despair.

    I like your idea of connecting with others who are struggling with infertility depression, and started a thread here:

    I hope people share their tips for coping and their stories of infertility. Just talking about it and connecting with each other will help, I think. I hope to see you there — and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


  12. I would love to connect with others who are sharing my infertility pain and share our stories that we’re all going through. The sad part is that I haven’t even had the chance to start the IVF process yet, since I don’t have Fallopian Tubes, that is the only way it will possible for me to concieve. It makes me terribly sad, and just empty inside to say the least.

  13. I look back on this article, and I see the “stop the pity party” comment, and I cringe. Part of me thinks it’s too harsh and cruel to say something like that to couples who can’t get pregnant…and part of me thinks there’s some truth to it.

    All God’s children got their burdens.

  14. Hi Kate,

    I can’t give out email addresses, but I sent Kimberley a note saying that someone saw her comment on this article on overcoming infertility depression, and would like to connect with her. I’ll email you if I hear from her.


  15. How can readers connect to one another?
    I would like to get in touch with Kimberly who commented on July 19,2012, as I had a very similar experience and would like to connect with other women dealing with similar grief.

  16. i’m little over 40,my partner & i were trying to have a child since 2009 but no success.i am happy for friends who got pregnant but it also really hurts me for it reminds me of being barren.i got multiple fibroids and my ob-gyne advised me that i would have difficulty getting pregnant and if i may, it would be too risky, which can compromise my health & even my partner has children from his ex wife. he could visit his children but his ex doesn’t allow the children to come with him alone, she’s always with them & confessed that she is still in love with him, he could not live with them because of our present situation, we are very much together and we both love each other except we have no child. he was not legally separated from his ex wife .its not an issue that he should prove his manhood but i worry that he would be bored with our relationship because of being childless, and i know overtime he would love to be with his children. nobody knows how i feel about my infertility even my partner. he would always tell me that its not that important to him but i could feel his longing for his children & it makes me feel worthless for being barren i think i’m suffering depression, i would always cry every night because i could not bear a child.i get frustrated every time my period comes.i hope i’ll overcome this ill feeling that i have for few years now.i need your prayers, thanks…

  17. It is very unfortunate to find these types articles where someone who hasn’t even begun to practice yet is already giving advice in attempts to sound like a professional. I’m sorry but “azoospermia” is a man’s inability to produce sperm and NOT a woman’s problem! It is completely different when the woman in the relationship has issues either diagnosed or unknown. “Choosing” to not go forward with other options does not give you the right to speak on behalf of us “pity” party-goers.

    You still have an intact working reproductive system producing eggs every month and don’t have to stab your belly with a laundry list of medications resulting in endless physical and emotion altering side effects. YOU CHOSE NOT TO HAVE KIDS! I don’t have that option! As a woman, we are wired to be nurturing mothers, men are NOT! The impact is greater when it’s beyond one’s control and not because we choose not to pursue other options even though you are 100% fine.

    Please stay out of this topic as your experience is COMPLETELY different from what an infertile woman’s journey is. It is okay to be depressed sometimes. It is okay to cry when triggers seem unbearable. It is okay to stay away from people who constantly remind you that a vacation will get you pregnant, not thinking about it gets you pregnant, or that drinking a Coca-Cola while holding your breathe and tickling a horse’s ass during a full moon will get you pregnant!

    Sounds silly huh? That’s how you sound…Just plain silly.

  18. We’ve been trying to get pregnant for 2 years with unexplained infertility. Like probably many people on here… I was looking for some help in dealing with the incredible sadness and depression that comes along with this struggle. After reading this article I only felt worse. I have to say a big thank you to everyone who commented about the unrealistic nature of the advice in the article. It instantly made me feel better to know that sometimes it’s ok to just let yourself be sad and that there are others who also believe that “bottling” this sadness is not a healthy approach. Thank you for making me feel just a little less alone tonight.

  19. I know this article is old now, but Ive just stumbled across it. I appreciate the advice youve tried to give, but the whole tone of this feels like, “dont think about it too much and you`ll be fiiine!” My husband and I have been trying to conceive for over 3 years now with no success other than a PCOS diagnosis.
    It is impossible to try and forget about infertility when your being tested over and over again,have appointments left right and centre and some days,dont know which way is up.
    Sometimes,the ache and longing you have for wanting a child is unbearable. So cry when you feel sad, vent and rant when your angry at the world, write things down, talk for hours to you partner about how you feel, and be honest with yourself. Dont bottle things up.

  20. My husband and I have been TTC for a little over a year now. We had all the tests done and the doctor said nothing was wrong. I am open to adoption, in fact my sister is adopted. My husband, however, is not. He wants his own biological children. He has wanted children for years, so I am struggling with feeling like I am letting him down. He is very sweet and assures me that he is in it for the long haul, but I can’t get over the feelings of disappointment. I have struggled with depression for years and am on medication for it, but this is really taking a toll on me. Any encouragement about infertility or advice on how to talk to my hubby about other parenting options is appreciated. Thanks.

  21. My wife is struggling with infertility depression. We’ve been trying for 5yrs now and she finally reached her breaking point in april with another miscarriage. In the past months it has really taken a toll on our marriage! She feels broken and thinks I should move on. She thinks she’s too “reactive” to talk to someone about it. I love her and feel for her so much but how can I help?….if at all? Any advice or ideas would be great!!

  22. Im 25 last year i had to have my right tube and ovary took out but after surgery i relized i had a full hysterectomy it hurt me so bad i still find myself crying everyday im trying to get over it but its hard i got married last year and we had plans to have a child together i dont know where to turn it seems like its taking over me everytime i see someone pregnant it hurts so bad im down and out and i know im 2 young to be stressed but i just cant take it anymore i pray and ask god to take the pain awy but as my days go by im still hurting i need someone to talk to about it cause its getting the best of me.

  23. I’m one of the people who feels that this article is not helpful at all. I’m not sure how it got on the first page of google, but maybe it’s the plethora of ads on the page. I’m glad I’m not the only one baffled by the mention of ovulation predictor kits in relation to the cost of being infertile. Oh my goodness, that is a joke to me. If you’re truly depressed about your infertility, then you’re so far past OPKs that you quit buying them years ago! My husband doesn’t work days and nights to pay for OPKs. LOL Most of your tips start with “Stop” or “Let Go” — women and men with infertility related depression understand we need to stop doing and thinking things like this, but without help we cannot. That’s like telling an alcoholic “Stop that!” It’s just not going to work. But hey, thanks NASA for this utterly useless advice.

  24. I have struggled with infertility for 19 years now and it still hurts very much. Neither one of us have children. We tried looking at adoption but the agencies seem to focus on younger clients and it costs so much. I don’t think the pain will ever go away, so many hopes and dreams and now all unfulfilled,

  25. Im sorry but the tone of this is very very harsh. Way to make me feel like a complete a-hole because I am having a personal tragedy. ‘Stop with the pity party’? Really? This is a life changing thing! It isn’t something stupid and petty! This is miscarriages, stilborns, and empty wombs of women who feel their dreams falling apart!

    Clearly, you never went through this otherwise you would be much kinder about this.

    You don’t know how depression really works about how it grabs you and it’s irrational in a lot of ways.

    Maybe you should try to put yourself in our shoes, of being an infertile as you sit through your 16 year old sister baby shower, as I will have to do later this year. Or as you get shot after shot and drug after drug while you watch your hopes and your spouses hope disappear.

    Don’t tell me to get off my pity party wagon. I have been through a lot and I sure as deserve to grieve for my lost dreams. And I am not a alone. 1 in 6 couples experience this. So perhaps you get off your high horse and sympathize with people.

    1. Tiffany,

      I hope you get this, it being 4 years after you wrote it. I am infertile too. Around age 24 I had a partial hysterectomy and was told to forget about having kids. After a period of deep depression, I gradually accepted things the way they are. I’m 39 now, I’ve been married for 12 years to a great guy. I began looking at sites like this for answers because I was wondering if I’m weird because being infertile and not having kids does not bother me.

      Maybe I never had the desire to be a mom.

      But the comments I read on sites like this are very useful. Why? Because they help me gain empathy for others. I might not be struggling with infertility issues but other people are.

  26. My wife and I have been TTc for 1.5 years. I took a semen analysis 6 months ago and had 5% rapid motility. I was put on a daily vitamin and now my sperm are great. Since then we have had three months of the big negative sign. How can I keep my wife positive. She is in depression and mentions divorce and no will to live. I love my wife more than anything and still believe we can get a positive. Thanks.

  27. I have to agree with heather about the tone of this article. It really rubbed me the wrong way. I would love to stop being depressed/sad over infertility. I work full time, volunteer, run, have hobbies yet I’m still sad over infertility. It’s still something that carries a stigma so like many I don’t feel as if I can talk about it. So I silently suffer along with my partner.

    Even if you are positive or have the ability to block those negative feelings out sometimes they come rushing back and youcant control them. How am I suppose to feel? I’m genuinely happy for my friends and coworkers who are pregnant and mothers already but I can’t help but have a small pity party when my pregnant coworker complains non stop about her pregnancy and ends every conversation with when you are pregnant then you’ll see. The reality is despite all these tests & treatments & IVF it still might not happen. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ok with that. I under stand what you were trying to convey with this article, but the tone is just wrong. It reminds me of my friend who told me not to worry I’d get pregnant eventually. Just be patient. Ummmm no it’s only going to happen if IVF actually works one time. Her attitude was so flippant and ignorant . Not helpful at all.

    Trust me, I’d love to think myself out of this saddness.

  28. Hi, I just felt the need to share.

    My husband and I have been TTC for almost 4 years now. We eventually got tested mid-2011 and the verdict was male factor infertility.

    It was difficult to digest because from thinking it was something that could be easily corrected, our only option jumped to being IVF/ICSI with TESE sperm. By the end of October 2011 our first try was negative. Needless to say it was devastating for both of us and we don’t have the cash to back another cycle just yet.

    My husband didn’t want to share our infertility with anyone and because it’s MFI, I respect his decision. The last few months however, have been very tough for me and I’ve started to feel very isolated emotionally, from everyone and even from my husband.

    On the surface it seems that if were able to just try again, things would be easier to cope with but I honestly know the infertility has deeply affected us each individually and has rippled into our relationship.

    I think we’ve reached our breaking point of not knowing how to move past this.

  29. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for almost two years. It seems like five. He is strong and tries to help me stay sane. when he goes to sleep, I stay up and cry. I know there are worst things that can happen to us, but this feels like the worst. I’ve never felt so heart broken in my life. I have many nieces and nephews and love them dearly. The thought of being the one without kids hurts. I always thought I would have a big family. When I got married, I thought two would be good. Now one may not even happen. My tubes are both blocked, so our only option is IVF. I’m willing to go into debt trying. the alternative is not an option. Every time we get more tests done, my heart breaks more. I just found out that my husband and I are both sickle cell carriers. We can possible have a baby with the disease. One more hurdle in a road that has resulted in the rapid decline of our marriage. He loves me, but it’s like loving an wounded an emotionally numb person. I worry about him and wonder how long he’ll do this. I wonder when I’ll feel normal again. I don’t talk about it with anyone. I’ve told my best friend that she would not understand, so why bother talking to her. My parents would not agree and I don’t need that either. We maybe starting IVF soon, if the genetic counseling goes well. He’s worried that I’m not strong enough. At 39, I don’t have to waste. He’s worried that the meds will make me sick. Yes, this day will one day be the past, but today really sucks.

    One day we will be mothers and much like given birth, we will forget the pain. we may never be mothers and be forced to remember, but the pain will slowly fade.

    I pray for a baby every day. I will add all who feel the same heartbreak I feel to my prayers.

  30. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Leah,

    Thank you for sharing your experience here; I’m so sorry to hear about your difficulty getting pregnant. I find that infertility depression can seem overwhelming at times, and isn’t too bad at other times. Sometimes I’m so sad when I see babies, and other times I’m glad I’m not a mother because the baby seems like more than I can handle!

    Stay positive, my friend. Many thousands of women get pregnant against all odds — and a big part of it is staying faithful and hopeful! Don’t let infertility depression overwhelm you.

    I also think it’s important to create a fulfilling life outside of your desire to have children. For me, it’s writing and blogging – I love my Quips and Tips blogs, and I want to be a published author one day. Those goals make my sadness that I may never get pregnant easier to bear, because my life isn’t wrapped up in having children.

    Keep me posted; I’ll keep you in my prayers.


    PS I always wished my name was Leah! And Rosie 🙂

  31. My husband and I have been trying to have a baby for a year and a half. We had my husband tested first, and everything came back fine for him. I had a teratoma 2 years ago, and I ended up having to lose an ovary due to that. I tried to stay positive and believe I would still become pregnant. I finally went and had my hormone levels checked and it turns out I do not ovulate, even though I am regular and get a period every month. I have a lot of close friends and family that have given birth this year and it honestly has left me heartbroken. I feel so alone, and I cry when I hear my friends talking about all their baby experiences. I dream of the day when it will be my turn. I know I have a pity party sometimes, but it honestly hurts to hear about babies. I feel like such a bitter, angry person. My doctor wants to start me on Clomid, so I pray that this will be what I need and will help me. I never realized how bad I wanted something until it seemed unlikely to get it. I hope someday the sadness will go away. Thanks for letting me vent!! No one around here understands my pain, thats why I am happy I found this site.

  32. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Katie,

    I’m so sorry to hear about how you can’t get pregnant, and your struggles with infertility depression. That’s such a long time to keep being disappointed, year after year…heartbreaking.

    I wish you all the best with your new tests, and hope you find some answers!


  33. I am 27 and have been trying for a baby for roughly 8 years to no avail. I’ve been to 3 different doctors who can’t find anything wrong with me. I thought I coped with this until very recently were the yearning for a baby has got very strong indeed. I have had doctors doors closed on me so many times. Me and my husband are just about to start new tests again and hopefully will get to know what’s wrong. I cry most days at the minute and try and talk to people but its like if you’ve had that yearning you don’t fully understand what i’m feeling its very hard to explain how inadequate it makes you feel not being able to produce the 1 thing it should be easy to do.

  34. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Helen,

    I am SO sorry I missed your comment and question! I went on vacation for almost 3 weeks, and have alot to catch up on.

    It sounds like you’re struggling with infertility depression — but it’s so difficult to just “get over it” because it’s all around us. Like you said, our friends are having babies, we see children everywhere, and our own hormones make us want to conceive and give birth.

    I think the most important thing you can do is to get active. You mentioned you don’t have a job — and I think the simple act of having to get up in the morning and go somewhere can help fight infertility depression. Work can bring meaning and purpose to our lives — and not having a job can increase depression.

    If your job search is taking a long time, I encourage you to find volunteer work. Find ways to be needed, to help other people…I really believe that will help you overcome infertility depression.

    I also think it’s important to remember that you may never be okay with the fact that you can’t get pregnant. It may always be a source of sadness for you. Maybe you’ll never overcome your feelings…and maybe that’s just part of being human, of being a woman who wanted children but couldn’t have them.

    Helen, I hope you’re doing well — I’d love to hear from you again!


  35. Hi Laurie,

    I wanted children since I was 18, now I am 40 and I still do not have children.
    I was able to bury the negative thoughts about infertility for a few years now, as I had a very demanding job.

    Now I am in between jobs, and I believe I have developed depression caused by infertility.

    Seeing that other couples succeeded where we did not, it is so painful. I love to play and look at other people children; but, when I leave them my heart is broken. .

    The next day I feel like doing nothing, roaming around the house like a zombie.
    I feel like this 2-3 days a week.

    Recently I heard that the friends I had in school have children now, that hurt so much, and I do not feel like talking to them again.

    What steps I need to follow to overcome these feelings? What do I need to do?


  36. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Also, Lisa — maybe your husband just needs to take a break.

    Maybe you and he could agree to leave the pregnancy thing alone for six months or even a year, and then talk about it again?

    I needed to take a break after six months of infertility treatments. It wasn’t that I was done trying to get pregnant forever; I just needed a break!

  37. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Lisa,

    I’m sorry to hear that your husband doesn’t want to try to get pregnant anymore…that really leaves you out in the cold, doesn’t it? It’s hard enough to be struggling with infertility, and even worse when you feel all alone. And with a baby boom at work, too! My heart goes out to you.

    I think it’s important to find people who understand, women you can talk to in person. Is there an infertility support group in your area? That’s a great way to start coping with your feelings of isolation and loneliness.

    Infertility forums and message boards online are okay, but I really think in-person support is vital. You need someone you can hug, who understands what you’re going through, and who you can talk to! A support group offers support and guidance and counseling, which will help you figure out the next stage of your life.

    Even if there isn’t a “formal” infertility support group in your area, can you find other women who can’t have kids? It may SEEM like you’re all alone, but trust me…you’re not. My husband and I can’t have kids, and I find that the more people I talk to about it, the more people I discover who also can’t have kids!It just takes me opening up, and suddenly I feel like I’m surrounded by women who are going through the same thing.

    I hope this helps….what do you think? Can you reach out to an infertility support group, church, or even a depression support group? Is there anything like that in your area?


  38. What’s even worse is that, after 3+ years of trying my husband
    has decided that he’s “over it” and doesn’t want to try anymore.
    We aren’t using birth control, so to speak, but he is making
    Sure that it can’t happen. So now I am left devastated
    And heartbroken. I have no one to talk to that understands.
    To make matters worse, we are having our own baby boom at work
    (Like 10 people) and I have to deal with this every day! I am
    So stressed out that I’ve been having chest pains and crying
    Daily. I’m in my early 30’s (hubby in his late 30’s) and
    I wasn’t ready to give up yet. Where do I go from here?

  39. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen


    Thanks for your comment, for sharing your grief here. My husband is also one of six children, and family is very, very important to him. We can’t have children.

    I agree that infertility depression comes and goes. Sometimes we’re quite sad about it; other times we’re fine just focusing on our dog and life outside of kids.

    Reaching out to other individuals and couples who can’t have kids is one of the best ways to deal with infertility depression…and I hope you don’t feel so alone. There are many of us out there who feel the same way, and are grieving the same sadness.

    Best wishes,

  40. Hello folks,

    Men get depressed about infertility, too. My wife and I have not used artificial birth control for our nearly five years of marriage. We’re having a devil of a time getting pregnant, and we’re not getting any younger. Both of us were in our 30’s when we married. So, the clock is ticking.

    My depression comes and goes in waves. Presently, this evening I’m having a difficult time. I needed to reach out, hence why I’m reading the internet and responding to this article.

    I’m grieving the loss of never being able to participate in the creation of life that birthing a newborn would allow. I’m grieving the loss passing on the family name…I am the only son of six children. I’m grieving the loss of many, many things that comes with bringing your own biological children into this world.

    Thank you for your kind attention.
    Sincerely yours, John

  41. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Alexandra,

    I’m so sorry that I missed your comment — I don’t know how I lost track of you!

    If you’re still around, please let me know how you’re doing these days.

    And Liz, thank you for being here! Your input is deeply appreciated.


  42. Hi Alexandria,

    Sorry to hear about your situation- it can be incredibly sad/frustrating/isolating but you’re right it starts to help when you realise it is a common thing felt by people experiencing infertility. For many women with PCOS, diabetic drugs such as metmorphin can regulate periods & bring a pregnancy without IVF. You could speak to a GP about this when ready & you maybe pointed to an endocrinologist. You should also have a low gi diet- which is something you could start now 🙂
    It can get quite depressing thinking of the possibility of never being able to have children or even thinking of the process of IVF. I have been getting those feelings for the last few years, although I’ve been starting to deal with them better lately. Our infertility is unexplained, almost 2.5yrs.
    Like you, I love babysitting & also love teaching sunday school for little kids. Perhaps one thing you can do is (avoiding newborns!) keep being a positive role model for the young ones in your life & use it as a time to become the best parent you can be for any future children.
    If you would like to talk more, how about email me on I’d be happy to listen to you spill your feelings/frustration/despair as you hang on.

  43. Hi…

    Umm I’m not exactly sure where to go about this issue but, I thought that this article was helpful. It struck a chord with me.

    I’m 20 years old and suffering from PCOD/PCOS… I know I’m young and it may seem irrational but, ever since I was young I’ve always seen myself as a mother. I’ve babysat and become a mother figure to many children/ young people I’ve met. I have never experienced a menstrual cycle in my life without it being brought on with pills and staying on daily BC pills.

    When I was younger it was enough to have fanciful daydreams and be content with babysitting. However, at the age of 17 and still never had so much as a spotting episode. At first my doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

    I had many ultrasounds all of which were there to prove that I actually had a uterus and ovaries. All of which I was happy to hear were there. They just couldn’t explain why I wasn’t ovulating. I went undiagnosed (well, under the radar of my insurance) after many blood tests, revealing that I had a testosterone levels being that of a man, that I most likely had PCOS.

    Well having never gone through puberty, I’m not as attractive/ curvy as normal women which never helped my self-esteem. However, I was disappointed that since the only way I had a menstrual cycle and BC pills are a contraceptive it came to my mind that I might never have children naturally.

    I don’t think the depression truly hit home until my boyfriend of about a year and a half now came into my life and subsequently a few weeks later three very important women in my life thought they were pregnant. One suffers from Endomitriosis (sp?), so I was happy for her. Unfortunately my mother figure was not.

    Ever since that day I’ve had a huge urge to have a child of my own. It’s not financially possible or physically at this point since I’m in a long distance relationship. I was fine with my boyfriend’s decision not to want to have children yet. He’s 25 and I know that since I’m in college and want my child to have a good life that I need to get my degree.

    I try to hide my bouts of severe depression from my boyfriend. He knows my infertility issue and luckily he accepts it. It is just very hard for me to deal with crying most of the time and ending up hating people who get pregnant so easily.

    I just found out about infertility depression and it fits why I’m depressed so often. I know that I’m young, like I said and know there are options like IVF. I just get so depressed at the silliest of times for seemingly no reason. Being around the newborns just makes me teary and jealous.

    I know I also probably shouldn’t have spilled my guts like I have here but, I’m looking for help on how I can handle this. (My therapist won’t even breach this issue with me when I talk about children). So I’m reaching out on the internet to see if anyone can help. If not, that’s alright. I’m really just looking for support and any form of help.

    Thanks so much.

  44. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your comment, Minni…infertility depression is different for every woman, and it seems like every woman has a different way of overcoming it.

    Sadness that we can’t have kids comes and goes for me, too. Some days I’m okay with it, and others I’m quite depressed.
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog ..7 Cheap Ways to Lose Weight and Save Money on Your Workouts =-.

  45. I know that it has been proven that when a women is more positive and doesn’t let the “needing to get pregnant” urge become your only focus that in fact thats when a women becomes pregnant ….

    Ive heard so many positive outcomes after the storms and disasters of being infertile for months or years. And yes i do admit that i throw pity party at times . But what does that say of me, that im human, that im a women yearning to be a mother, that im persistent and a survivor because yet after a negative HPT i cry and get the baby blues then i pick myself up and look forward to the following month with even more excitement. God says that he gives us the desires of our hearts

    “What does a survivor look like to you? Figure out who she is, and be her.” I am the survivor

    Good luck to the rest of you ladies !!

  46. I am infertile and have been trying to conceive for 5 years. generally I am not depressed about it however there are moments when the stress, expense and disappointment of failed treatments is overwhelming.

    Stop the pity parties is your first recommendation ? Pulease. So the message is if we just stopped feeling sorry for ourselves then everything would be honkey dorey? There is nothing in this article which is remotely useful and the whole tone is that infertility related depression is essentially our fault for not being more positive.

    I would recommend an infertility support group or therapist, believe me they would be much more helpful and positive.

    THe reality is, the pain of infertility will take you by surprise even if you do not have a negative outlook. It has been shown that an infertility diagnosis is as hard as having cancer – would you recommend a cancer victim just stop the pity party?

  47. Thanks for your comments, Carrie and Kat!

    Carrie, I’m glad you’re okay with being childfree…whether people believe you is less important than what you believe, and how you feel.

    Kat, my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for four years. We’re looking at “true” infertility and thinking we may never have kids — and that doesn’t always bring devastating emotions beyond description. For some couples coping with infertility, there’s more to life than having kids. Some people can roll with it better, I think. It depends on personality, environment, lifestyle, family — lots of factors affect whether or not a couple is overwhelmed with infertility depression.

    You’re right; no woman should be made to feel guilty or weak for experiencing painful, devastating emotions.


  48. While this may be helpful information for people early on in the process, for couples suffering from real infertility, much of this insulting. Sometimes “never” is the truth. We’re not worried about paying $20 for OPKs, we’re looking at $25,000 for an IVF donor egg cycle that may or may not work. And I urge you to try to find one truly infertile woman who is concerned with which month she gives birth.

    These sound like complaints that come from someone who has been trying to get pregnant for three or four months and has been unsuccessful. True infertility brings devastating emotions beyond description, and no woman should be made to feel guilty or weak for experiencing them.

  49. Thanks for this article. I don’t have children, and I’m not suffering from infertility depression. But my sister won’t leave me alone about it! She thinks that having kids is the most important part of a woman’s life, and doesn’t believe me when I say that I’m okay with being childfree.