Getting pregnant after IVF treatment is an exciting time in any parent-to-be’s life, with all those desires and expectations about having a child about to come true. And, while the birth of a long-awaited child is truly special, it can also come with understandable levels of worry and anxiety.
The pressure to be the perfect IVF parent can be immense so to help put things into perspective, we look at five of the most common myths about parenting after infertility.
- All those infertility emotions will go away
Parenting after going through infertility will bring you joy, there’s no doubting that. And while a new baby will make you happy, like any new parents, it can also be an overwhelming experience. However, it’s important to recognise that not all those infertility emotions will immediately go away. And you could even find some of these emotions resurface when you least expect them, or if a situation suddenly takes you back to any difficult memories when you were trying for a child. Any residual feelings of loss and grief may take some time to go away. The key to managing your post-infertility emotions is to accept that it is perfectly normal and retain a positive attitude. But if you really are struggling to move past your infertility experience, please do seek professional help.
- You will be the ‘perfect’ parent
You have waited so long to have your much-loved baby, the least you can do is be the perfect parent, right? Well, parenting doesn’t always work like that and so setting unrealistic expectations can put you under even more pressure. However you became a parent, there are times when it will be a difficult or you fall short of what your idea of a perfect parent should be. And here you are no different to any other parent, and that’s ok.
- One child will be enough
Many parents who have conceived through IVF have been on a long journey will often believe that as long as they have one child, they will be more than satisfied. And in many cases, this turns out to be true. But it is also perfectly normal to desire another child and they shouldn’t be dismissed. In fact, you should be prepared to feel this way some day, and not feel guilty if you do.
- You will instantly bond with your baby
Having had such a wait to meet your baby, it’s understandable to expect to have an instant and deep connection with your new-born. And so, when this doesn’t automatically happen, it is easy to think you are a bad parent. However, developing a bond with your child can sometimes take a little time and it is no reflection on you or your parenting skills. Adjusting to your new role and the expectations that come with your little bundle may need time and space to happen so please do treat yourself kindly and just focus on being a kind and caring parent. The rest will come naturally.
- It isn’t always the magical solution
The final myth is that having a baby will always be a magical experience and that IVF parents are immune to post-natal depression. Also known as postpartum depression, it can affect all new mums and parents, including those who have conceived through IVF. But as an IVF parent, some feelings – such as feeling ungrateful or selfish – can be keenly felt if you find yourself suffering from the post-baby ‘blues’. Post-natal depression can be caused by many things, including fatigue, hormones, stress and anxiety, and you are not alone. If you do find yourself feeling down or depressed as a new parent, then don’t suffer in silence but speak to your GP or health care professional to get the support and help you need.