In cultures that value family and children, the social pressure to conceive a baby within the first year of marriage can be rather overwhelming. This is especially true in India, where the pressure is most often on the woman to conceive a male child, for her to be accepted and integrated into the marital family. For some couples, getting pregnant may seem so natural and easy. But there are those who struggle to conceive and have to deal with the pressures of waiting and wanting to have a baby.
There are quite a number of factors which may affect conception, such as infertility, hormonal imbalance, ovulation problems, health complications, age, lifestyle, stress, poor diet and weight gain or loss. Experiencing any of these will definitely add to that pressure.
It’s not just physical health
However, coping with not being able to conceive goes beyond just the physical aspects. There is nothing more frustrating than having to deal with the emotional and social pressures of waiting to have a baby, and often, these affect women more than men, because while most women grow up thinking that they will become mothers someday, men don’t have the same pressure from society. Women go through a lot of emotional stress as they deal with their desire to have a baby, most especially if the waiting is taking longer than expected. Many women who struggle to get pregnant experience self-pity or guilt for not being able to conceive, envy, isolation, insecurity and anxiety.
Many women who struggle to get pregnant experience self-pity or guilt for not being able to conceive, envy, isolation, insecurity and anxiety.
All of this pressure can lead to other pressures as well. What if things don’t go exactly as planned? Or what if you don’t get pregnant right away, even at all? What if you need to seek some sort of fertility help? Should you be forced to share all of this very personal and emotional information with everyone you meet? Absolutely not.
Stress can affect fertility
Furthermore, the pressure and stress about whether and when to have children can actually place so much stress on a couple that conception can be hindered due to anxiety. It is proven medically that excess stress can trigger hormonal responses that make conception difficult.
Handling social pressure can be one of the most difficult experiences in this phase of your life and can also lead to distress, anxiety and depression. But it is important that you take control of the situation. There are numerous methods for decreasing stress, including learning relaxation techniques and stress management strategies, taking a good look at your eating and exercise habits, and remembering how to be good to yourself. Here are a few tips that could help you overcome social pressure.
Dealing with people
It is quite common in India to be confronted with all kinds of embarrassing questions. Remember, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to respond to the questions and comments – or you can discourage further discussion. Be firm and pleasant – and don’t let yourself be put on the defensive. Having to respond to these questions can be painful, especially at get-togethers and holiday gatherings when the family – and children – are often focal points. You might answer simply, “I’m working on it,” or “I’ll let you know when I have news”.
Related reading: When he found out his wife couldn’t get pregnant he…
Stay connected to family and friends
Another step in reducing stress is to build a bridge back to your family and close friends. Strong relationships with friends and family not only leave one with positive experiences but also give one a space to vent if needed. The comment by the office colleague will hurt less if you are busy and distracted by family and friends.
Communicate with your partner
Sharing your feelings with your partner helps lighten the emotional burden that one would otherwise have carried alone. It will also help your partner understand you better.
Related reading: Why having a baby is not the solution for every relationship problem
This requires focusing on a word or phrase as you breathe. And imagery can mean a variety of things, ranging from imagining a pleasant safe spot to focusing on your body. The power of the mind is limitless. Learning to channel one’s thoughts and energies can be beneficial when confronted with deeply hurtful or insensitive comments.
Seek professional help
All said and done, if you feel that you are being affected more than is comfortable for you, definitely seek professional help. Do not suffer distress for prolonged periods of time, as it might begin to affect the important facets of your life.