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Popular Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston has made an emotional revelation about her past struggle to get pregnant, and dealing with infertility issues and going through In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The 53-year-old “Friends” star reveals how the battle was made tougher by tabloid headlines over her ‘bump’. Being called ‘selfish’ for remaining childless and prioritizing her career, didn’t make it any easier for the hugely successful star.
Jennifer Aniston broke her silence about these aspects of her life in an interview with Allure. She said that in her late 30s and 40s, she went through “really hard shit”.
“I was trying to get pregnant… All the years and years and years of speculation… It was really hard. I was going through IVF, drinking Chinese teas, you name it. I was throwing everything at it,” Aniston said.
“I would’ve given anything if someone had said to me, ‘Freeze your eggs. Do yourself a favour.’ You just don’t think it. So here I am today. The ship has sailed,” added the actress, who was first married to Brad Pitt and later to Justin Theroux.
She also recounted how during her separation from Theroux in 2018, there was media speculation that the breakup happened “because I wouldn’t give him a kid”.
“It was absolute lies,” asserted Aniston, who now has “zero regrets” and feels relieved that at least now she doesn’t anticipate a pregnancy.
Well, infertility is becoming a rampant problem across the world, and challenges of infertility are many. According to global estimates cited by the World Health Organization, 15 percent of reproductive-aged couples worldwide are affected by infertility.
Dealing with infertility is as emotionally exhaustive experience as it is physically.
At times, when a couples find they are unable to achieve their dream of parenthood easily, they may experience a mixed bag of emotions.
“These range from denial, anxiety, depression, anger, sexual dysfunction to strained marital relations. A feeling of helplessness could often lead to stress.
However, couples need to know that there are ways and means to deal with these feelings and overcome these emotions,” Dr Radhika Sheth, Consultant Fertility Specialist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Mumbai (Malad), tells Health Shots.
The expert says infertility impacts approximately 1 in 6 couples. Sadly, it is also shrouded in myths.
“It is probably one of the most misunderstood medical conditions. For example, fertility is often deemed as an age-related problem which affects women who delay childbearing, when the truth is that fertility issues can affect both men and women of all ages (causes of infertility). Also, there is often a common assumption that fertility is a female issue, when in fact, more than one-third of infertility cases are due to a male factor,” adds Dr Sheth.
These myths lead many couples to suffer in silent agony, not realizing that the problem is quite common. From diagnostics to treatment as well as robust support systems – there many options are available.
Here are some tips from Dr Sheth to cope up with infertility and its emotional impact:
Understanding the biology causing infertility can go a long way in grappling with the situation. Fertility units can offer couples the help of a counsellor, who can provide them the mental support that is needed to deal with the mind games and challenges that they may encounter along their infertility journey. Counsellors explain ways to decrease stress and prepare the mind and body for treatment and pregnancy ahead. Sessions like these are also aimed at optimizing health as well as laying off addictions and bad habits, therefore increasing the probability of conception.
Clinical psychologists can play a major role in couples battling depression and anxiety due to infertility. Moreover, a dietitian can provide a plan to eat healthy balanced diet to set the couple on the right track.
Online support groups help couples facing similar problems share their experiences and may go a long way in assisting couples in confronting adversities during their fertility journeys. It can be very helpful for couples in any fertility treatment program to hear from other couples who are already in the process, not only for motivation, but also for practical tips and information.
Having a support system is crucial for women going through fertility treatments, in which their partner has a big role to play. The medical team, family, and friends have an important support system for a couple to rely on. Though a couple may want to keep their fertility journey confidential, it is important to have close friends or family members to offer support and reduce the emotional stress of fertility treatment.
Couples need to remember that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations and surely, constant hope, a relaxed environment and a robust support system can make the wait less stressful.