Kate Brian
Kate Brian
Journalist & author

Parenting after fertility problems

People who have had fertility problems tend to be committed and dedicated parents. But how do you learn to become a parent, get to know the baby, or deal with high expectations for this huge life-changing event?

Becoming a parent is a huge life-changing event for anyone but it can feel overwhelming if you have experienced fertility problems on the way. For many people, the first hurdle after getting a positive outcome is actually believing you are going to have a baby. Couples often end up doing multiple pregnancy tests to convince themselves they really are expecting as they’ve become convinced their bodies can’t do what everyone else seems to find so easy. The usual anxieties of pregnancy can be heightened too, as the pregnancy often feels incredibly precious.

A couple with their baby after having experienced fertility problems

Being a parent is a case of learning

However much you have prepared and however long you have waited, the arrival of your first baby is always going to bring new challenges. When you have spent years imagining how wonderful parenthood will be, this can come as a shock, particularly if you have a baby who seems unsettled or tearful. Parents can worry that this is somehow their fault and that they are not doing things correctly, but being a parent is always a case of learning on the job as you go, no matter how long it took you to conceive. 

It takes time to get to know your baby

We often hear about the almost magical moment of parental bonding with a new baby as if this is an integral part of the birth experience, but for many parents, particularly if there has been a difficult birth, it takes time to get to know their baby rather than experiencing an immediate intimacy with their newborn child. This is perfectly normal, and doesn’t mean you won’t have a good relationship with your child in the future.

Dealing with high expectations

Parents who have waited to have a child often have very high expectations of themselves and imagine that they will relish every last nappy change and sleepless night, but the early days can be tough. It is important to acknowledge this and ask for help and support if you need it rather than trying to be the perfect joyful parent from dawn to dusk, and all through the night too!

People who have had fertility problems are committed and dedicated

Research suggests that any additional anxieties at the start for those who have had to wait to have children are soon dispelled, and people who have had fertility problems tend to be committed and dedicated parents. If there is anything that makes their challenges as parents more difficult, it is the very high standards they often set themselves. No one is going to be a super parent every moment of every day, and this is worth remembering. But perhaps the most important message for any parent who has experienced fertility problems along the way is that their children will grow up knowing how much they were wanted and are loved which can only be a blessing for any child.

A couple laying in the bed with their child