Infertility is a medical condition and may be one of the most difficult things you face in your entire life. It takes a toll on many different aspects of your life including the way you view yourself and your body, relationships with your partner and others around you, as well as your outlook on life.

Stress is not foreign, rather taking over your daily life. It is normal to feel sad, overwhelmed and even angry when experiencing infertility. The key to coping with infertility is to realize that you are, in fact, going through a hardship, but that it is not everlasting.

Follow these steps to help you in this stressful time in order to reach that light at the end of that very dark tunnel much sooner:

  1. Manage stress

Although infertility is undoubtedly a stressful time, you’re more likely to have a harder time managing this stress if you’re a stressed out person by nature. Exercise, eating healthy and getting a good night’s rest are all significant aspects of stress management. Other great ways of dealing with stress include yoga, meditation and joining infertility support groups.

  1. Do not blame yourself

You are not to blame. In fact, no one is to blame for infertility. Many women express guilt, feeling that things may have turned out differently if they tried to conceive earlier. Most of the time this is not true, so don’t be so hard on yourself. Instead, focus your energy on your future together with your partner.

  1. Strengthen your relationship

Infertility tends to take a toll on relationships. The important thing to remember is that you are both in this together and not to blame one another. Approaching this obstacle as a team will make things so much easier on the both of you, so make sure you have a strong line of communication.

Most couples also find that their sex life is affected. Rather than a pleasurable experience, intercourse becomes a scheduled task. Make an effort to talk to your partner and try new things in order to spice up your sex life.

  1. Focus on yourself

Aside from maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner, you should be focusing on yourself. Your life is not put on hold just because you are going through this rough time.

At such a vulnerable time, it is important to apply yourself to anything and everything that is empowering to yourself. Switch up your hairstyle or get a manicure. Feeling physically beautiful will give you a boost of confidence. Engage in your favorite activities and hobbies, like playing your favorite sport or reading a book. Sometimes laughter is the best medicine. Watch a funny movie or hangout with your closest buddies to share a laugh.

  1. Seek counseling

Sometimes in a situation like this, you may find it hard to talk to friends, family and others around you. Counseling is a great way to cope with the strain. Talk to other couples who have been, or still are, in your position. Talking about the experience with someone who can relate can be helpful and reassuring that you’re not all alone.

Another counseling option is speaking with a mental health professional trained in infertility. Normally, counseling is offered to couples who are going through infertility treatment. Even if you’re not, this is a great way to explore those options or simply speak with a professional to help you cope.

  1. Know when it’s time to give up

Don’t look at “giving up” as a negative. Sometimes this is exactly what you need to push yourself forward, get your life back on track and to be happy again. In fact, the stress of IVF is a main reason why couples do not continue on with the entire recommended treatment. The psychological strain can get to a point where it is just too much, with stopping treatment being the best solution.

Aside from the relief, this is the perfect time to explore options such as adoption or surrogacy.