Signs of Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant

Written by on November 15, 2008 in Infertility Depression & Anxiety with 28 Comments
feel depressed because I can't get pregnant

The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness

Numbness, fatigue, sadness, anxiety, and inability to focus are a few signs of depression when you can’t get pregnant.

It’s normal to feel depressed; not conceiving a baby after months or years of trying is a major life stress.

Not everyone recognizes the signs of depression right away. The following signs of depression include behavioral, emotional, and physical symptoms, and will help you figure out if you need to get help.

The sooner you recognize the signs of depression, the sooner you’ll be able to deal with depressed feelings due to not getting pregnant. If you haven’t heard of The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness, I encourage you to borrow it from the library or buy your own copy.

And remember that getting pregnant and delivering a baby doesn’t necessarily erase every drop of depression! Here’s what Brooke Shields said about dealing with post-partum depression: ”I just felt as though I would never be happy again, and as if I had fallen into a big black hole.”

Actress Linda Hamilton agrees, saying, “The lows were absolutely horrible. It was like falling into a manhole and not being able to lift the lid and climb out.”

Signs of Depression When You Can’t Get Pregnant

These lists include a wide range of behaviors that could be signs of depression. If you exhibit more than one or two in each category, then you may be dealing with depression. If you exhibit just one or two signs of depression overall, then you may simply be sad that you’re having trouble getting pregnant (which is normal).

If you’re not sure if you’re depressed, talk to a doctor, counselor, or fertility specialist for help figuring it out. You need to stay positive if you’re trying to conceive.

Physical Signs

  • Fatigue, low energy, exhaustion are often signs of depression
  • Poor sleeping patterns – waking early, not sleeping even when exhausted
  • Loss of appetite or, occasionally, increased appetite
  • Loss of sexual interest

Behavioral Signs

  • Withdrawal from people, work, pleasures, activities is one of the first signs of depression
  • Spurts of restlessness can be signs of depression
  • Sighing, crying, moaning
  • Difficulty getting out of bed is a sign of depression
  • Lower activity and energy levels
  • Lack of motivation – it’s a physical sign of depression when everything feels like an effort

Emotional Signs

  • Consistent sadness, misery, and gloominess  are clear signs of depression
  • Overwhelmed by everyday tasks (eg, cooking dinner)
  • Numbness or apathy
  • Anxiety, tension, irritability
  • Helplessness is a sign of depression
  • Low confidence and poor self-esteem
  • Disappointment, discouragement, hopelessness
  • Feelings of unattractiveness or ugliness
  • Loss of pleasure and enjoyment

Cognitive Signs

  • Inability to make decisions
  • Lack of concentration or focus
  • Loss of interest in activities, people, and life
  • Self-criticism, self-blame, self-loathing
  • Pessimism can be a sign of depression
  • Preoccupation with problems and failures
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Help Coping With Depression or Infertility Sadness

Different reasons for depression can trigger different signs of depression. And, different signs or symptoms require different treatments. The first step is to talk to your family doctor or a counselor. Reaching out to people and being as honest as you can is the primary way to get help with depression – and start enjoying life again.

Do you know why you can’t get pregnant? Read Signs of Fertility Problems in Women.


laurie blowing kiss

I'm glad you're here and welcome all your comments, but I can't give advice.
Peace and blessings,
Laurie

If you have any comments on depression when you can’t get pregnant, I welcome your thoughts below…

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  1. Laurie says:

    Dear Mark,

    I’m sorry to hear your wife is experiencing such sadness and depression about not getting pregnant. It’s a very difficult disappointment to overcome, and some women need support and help coping with the signs of depression.

    I think it’s important for you to talk to someone professional, such as a counsellor, to get a firm foundation for yourself. If you can learn ways to walk alongside your wife, you’ll be able to help her — even if she won’t do anything to work on her depression. You can’t force her to cope with her infertility sadness, but you can get information and support for yourself. The more solid you are, the better able you’ll be to help her.

    I wish you all the best – I wish I could be more helpful!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  2. Mark says:

    My wife and I are trying to have a baby for four years now. We’re on the second round of IVF (2 retrievals and 3 implants.) It’s been hard but I feel the relationship between us is really falling apart. I believe she’s extremely depressed, not really showing any of the physical signs, but rather emotional and social.
    I am a very outgoing person and I like to have people around me all the time. We’re at that time in our age where most of our friends are having kids and it’s an absolute disaster at home when we find out that one of them is pregnant. My wife is entirely isolating us from all of our friends and family (at least for the time of pregnancy and sometimes beyond)
    I’m at the point that I cannot deal with this anymore, we talk a lot about her behavior, but she seems very stubborn and shows no signs of intent to work on her depression and what’s worse, is denying to seek any help.

  3. Frank says:

    have been trying 7 years now…and had so much hope until this morning when once again i was smashed to the ground…i am so over this.

  4. Laurie says:

    Thank you Ashley! My friend recently became pregnant, too, and it does hurt. I’m happy for her, but it makes our infertility a bit harder to bear.

    I’m glad you’re adopting. One of my other friends adopted two boys who are biological brothers, and my friend couldn’t love them more. She was depressed that she couldn’t get pregnant, but she decided to open her home and heart to kids who don’t have parents.

    I wish you all the best in your journey to having your family — of the heart!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  5. ashley says:

    I am glad i stumbled across this site, i wish the best for all of us. I had medical issues which caused me to have to have my tubes tied just before my 18th birthday, today my husband and i are 27 and have been struggling with my infertility for almost ten years. The self doubt and jealousness expressed by everyone else are absolutely the same things i struggle with daily. All my friends also have babies, my best friend is currently pregnant with her second, another with her third and so on. All the baby showers and birthdays are more painful than i can explain, but you all know that so well. It is nice to not feel alone. As we get older i also feel so sorry for my husband, if he chose someone other than me, someone that was not broken he could easily have a family and i feel like by loving me he has to make the highest sacrifice and it’s just not fair. To know for sure it will never work is so hard, i wish i could hope and try at least that would be something. But i did not come on here to complain i wanted to offer some hope…. we have recently decided that adoption is how we are going to have the family we so desperately want. For years i thought about all the negative aspects of adoption but as i now go through the process my life has the meaning i so desire. It is honestly an incredible and fulfilling journey and my children will be loved so very much. I would encourage everyone to at least consider adoption and even if it does not seem right now it may in the future. It is not settling, it is choosing to give up on the hopelessness and embrace something different. There are so many children out there that so badly need parents and we are all parents without children. I read this quote on an adoption website and it made me cry, i would like to share it with you….. “adopted children were not grown in our tummy, they were grown in our hearts”
    Best of luck to all of us :-)

  6. Lala says:

    I am so glad and sad at the same time to see that there are other women going through the same thing and feelings as me. My hubby and I have been married for nearly 8 years and together nearly 10. We have been trying since we got married and nothing. I was always taught to do the right things, be good to others and help every person in need that crosses your path. I feel I have done that and yet feel I still haven’t been blessed with the one thing I want. A child. I see my sisters, cousins, sister in laws, and even my 15 year old niece all have children around me, and some of them under some horrible circumstances, yet I still can’t give my husband a child. I cry a lot. I have always been very career driven, but early this year it just all got too much for me and I had to stop working. I feel bad that I can’t help my husband financially, but I find it a huge struggle to get out of bed. Im really not doing too well right now.

  7. Tay says:

    Me and my husband have been trying to get conceive for 3 years now. I am now 22 and all my friends have kids and my parents are ready for me to have a baby. I always avoid the question because truth is I have been trying for over 3 years. It is very depressing for me to go through this. My ultimate goal in life was to become married and have kids. I love kids and I want kids of my own. I cry ALOT! I keep my feeling on the inside and I feel like I’m losing my mind. I have one friend who has 3 kids and is expecting again and I try best to feel happy for her but deep down I wish I was in her shoes. This is the worst pain I ever felt. I pray and ask God to give me strength and help me to find happiness in this sad time in my life. I sit in my room and imagine what life would be if me and my husband had a children. Please pray for my strength as I will pray for yours!

  8. Kahlie W says:

    My husband and I have been married for 2 years and have been trying since we got married. Im not sure why we havent been able to but its the worst feeling in the world that we cant all I want is to be a mommy. Im a really happy person so its very hard for me to be in this place I hate myself for it. I see all these pregnant women and new babies and it takes me everything not to cry. All my friends who have kids all say it will happen when its suppose to but thats really easy to say when you have kids its something different when you want them and cant have them. I pray all the time and ask God to bless us with a baby and I feel like my prayers are going unanswered. My husband tries to understand but its diffrent for him hes at the point where he gets upset with me for being upset and sad and I know he doesnt mean anything by it but it hurts so bad. Im so mad at my body for not working the way its built to I HATE IT!!!! for not working like its suppose to my body is built to carry children and to give birth and it doesnt work. Im so tired of people telling me to wait and to stop trying and then it will happen I honestly want to hit them when they say stuff like that. Im so tired of being asked when im going to have a baby and not being able to answer. Im glad I found this site it was nice to know that im not the only women that is going this right now I dont feel so alnoe now. I just wish the pain would go away so I can go back to being happy please keep me in all of your prayers!!!!

  9. las says:

    I feel for everyone who has commented on this subject..I too am ttc with no luck..I have been with my hubby for 13 yrs..at 26 I had our beautiful son..who means the world to us..a year ago we found out we were expecting again…a suprise to us..as we were not trying..but I was sooo excited..we went to our first ultrasound and found out the baby had passed..I was devistated..and had to go through a d and c..i remember being at the hospital and thinking why me..but with support of others who went through it I thought ok I will be fine..we will wait our 3 months and try again..so we did..with no luck month after month..I tried the don’t worry it will happen when its supposed to happen..but now 9 months later..and month after month of ovulation tests and making sure I eat right..nothing but period after period..I am so depressed and can barely function..I cry everyday because all I see are pregnant women and newborn babies..all my friends are preggo so I have pulled away and even hiden their posts on fb because I just can’t stand reading their daily updates about how they hate being preggo and how miserable they are..it sucks so bad to know you are jealous..it is such an ugly trait but its a human trait..I hope and pray every day..at the end of this month I have to attend the memorial for the baby I lost and was hoping so bad that I would have something to look forward to..so the tradgedy of losing that baby wouldn’t be so bad..all I want is to be whole again..thank god for my hubby who supports me so much..he holds my hand through every tough moment..even though I know he is hurting as much as I am :(

  10. Tei says:

    I’m glad i found this site and read about every one of you it was healing in a way for me. We have been married for 16 years and we were not interested in have kids at all our focus was our studies and career, vacations and free lifestyle as a childless couple. But we dont expected that at our 38 birthday we start talking about our future and how we will be alone for the rest of our lifes. Something in our head just click and our perfectly planed life start feeling to be wrong. Now we cant get pregnant and we are so upset and frustarted that we didnt wanted early and now we cant and there are so little probabilities to get because of our age…i feel so guilty!!! What were we thinking. Now we need to start all over again and accept the fact that maybe we cant and it is hard….

  11. Diana says:

    My husband and I have been married for 2 years and unable to get pregnant. I get so depressed that I go off on him as soon as he does or says something that I don’t like. Idk why I do it I sometimes think its because I want him to leave me. His sister is now pregnant and having her baby this month I’ve never liked her and now even less I feel anger and hatred towards her because she’s always been an alcoholic a trouble maker and a big pot head and I that am healthy very successful have my own children’s charity and can afford a baby and want one so bad can’t and feel miserable nobody understands the feeling or what I’m going through. My cousin just had a baby and I feel extremely jelouse.my family keeps asking why we don’t have kids and I tell them BC I’m too busy when they don’t know that I can’t :( brings so much sadness and tears. Also my coworker gave me the news a couple of days ago that she is pregnant I smiled and congratulated her and I tried to fight back the tears and to be honest I sometimes think of suicide cause I feel less of a woman. This is driving me crazy I see people not caring about their children where if I had one noone would love their kids more then myself.

  12. Sam says:

    Hey me and my hubby have been trying for a baby for two years now but nothing people say its because I’m 19 years old but I don’t think so but I have went to the doctor nothing’s wrong with me and people say if you try for a baby u won’t get it but if u don’t you will is that true but also I’m do damn depressed that all my friends are pregnent and having there babies when they can’t handle it or pay for it but I can I just want to not be a live it hurts so much and can u still get pregnent if ur really depressed

  13. Elizabeth says:

    I just turned 26. My husband and i have been married for 6 years and we have been together for 9 years. We have been trying to conceive with no luck. Im the only one in my family who hasn’t had a baby. My friend have all had babies and I am so depressed about it. I am jealous and heart broken because of this. I keep telling myself I don’t want kids because I think that would be easier instead of getting dissappointed every month when I have my period which i may add is not always monthly so that makes it hard too when you think you might be pregnant. Couple years ago we got custody of my neice and so we have her but its just not the same I have no bond with her you know the kind of bond women get when they are pregnant. Sometimes I am mean to her which make me even more sad. I feel the most bad for my husband. I knwo he wants a baby and im afraid he will leave if we dont ever get pregnant. I have gasined alot of weight because i just dont want to do anything. Please any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  14. lisa says:

    Hi im not really good on saying how I feel but here I go. I have one little girl the light of my life I love her so much:)… I got pregnet again with twins lost them at 24weaks I almost died and they did not make it. my sister was pregnet at the same time as me so when I got out of the hospital I hated her so much I didnt tell her that but I was mad cuz she got to keep her baby that she didnt even want. so what im geting at is its been its been 3years now and I have been trying for 2years no luck :( all my sisters and friends are having kids and dont even want to be pregnet I do omg its killing me I want a baby so bad now I just dont even want to be with my husben or around im he does not understand how much this hurts I dont want to do anything anymore but cry. I should be happy that I have one kid but im not I feel like I should be a mom to more then one kid I dont know sorry im all over the place with my writing but what should I do.

  15. Sven Cooke says:

    Depression can be brought on by not being able to conceive. My wife suffered from it. The feeling of not getting pregnant seemed to spread to all other aspects of her life, in a part taking it over.

    In time with self help processes she was able to conpartmentise the feelings and eventually we succeeded. It was painful experience at the time.

  16. Aimee says:

    My husband and I have struggled to have a baby for 15 years. Mothers Day is coming up and I dread that day. All my friends and family will be celebrating with their kids. Found out a friend of mine is prego and my heart just sank ! I see so many people having kids for all the wrong reasons. Why does it have to be me ! Nobody knows what I am going threw !

  17. Beatrice says:

    I’m extremely depressed for having tried for a baby for 7 years with no results. I know my husband cant give me a child & I’m afraid of disappointing him, yet his mother keeps abusing me for not having beared his son a child. My husband tells me if I leave him for another man, he will commit suicide, kindly help me I’m Kenyan Lady aged 33

  18. Coco says:

    We have been trying to get pregnant for years and no signs of baby on the way. I feel depressed most of the times. Among all of my friends, i am the only one without kids. I really don’t know what I should do anymore. I feel sad, frustrated when hearing other people conceiving

  19. Yuri says:

    I had a miscarriage 5 months ago. It was hard and heart breaking. But I thought I was ok, and now I think I’m losing my mind. I count the days, I see symptoms, I lie to myself. Im unhappy.
    My BFF is pregnant, and I’m beyond happy for her, but can’t help to think that I’m less lucky, or that I don’t deserve as much as her. I’m miserable.

  20. Marina says:

    Im 30 years old yet to have a child. Out of all my friends and family Im the only one without a child. Weve been trying for some time now and nothing. This past couple of years I shared this pain with couple friends who had the same issue. Now they are pregnent and having babies of their own. I do my best to smile and be happy for them. The biggest disappointment came with the news of my husbands youngest brother expecting. They were never trying nor wanted a child. I grew so jealous and despressed watching her belly grow. Then having my husband rub her belly and feel a kick. Just broke my heart. Having to shop for baby clothing and taking about baby showers. I couldnt understand why not me ? I went to baby shower in support for my partner only. It was the worst holding tears trying to be happy. The birth of the baby was just as bad. Seeing my husband hold the baby so happy. I smiled and took pictures just thinking I need to pull it together. I didnt want to hold the baby nor wanted too. As soon as we walked out the hospital doors I begin to cry like Im crying from my soul. All my husband could do is hold me to try to confort me. I feel so bad for him because I know he feels so helpless. Hes caught between my pain and the joy he should for his brother. Now theres word of him being the godfather to their baby. I was at a loss for words. I dont know how to get over how I feel.

  21. Dear Nicole,

    Thanks for sharing your feelings about not getting pregnant. I totally know how you feel – it’s so disheartening, frustrating, and sad to want a baby but not be able to conceive. And it’s even more painful when your best friend is pregnant – it must be a bittersweet feeling that you have for her.

    I don’t know how long you’ve been trying, but remember that it takes most couples a year on average to get pregnant! So, you’re normal if it’s been about a year…and your best friend is extremely lucky to get pregnant after only a month. No wonder you’re depressed – I would be too!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  22. Nicole says:

    I am so depressed over not getting pregnant, I’m besides myself. Whenever I see a pregnant woman or a baby I can’t even bear to look at them I’m so jealous. Worst of all my best friend is pregnant after trying for 1 month !! She thought she was pregnant and called me asking to come over to her house as she’s nervous to take the test alone. I went to her home she went to the bathroom and in less than a minute she was shrieking with happiness that there’s two lines on the test, she’s pregnant. I’m happy for her but I felt like my heart was being ripped out. I fought back the tears and jumped around the room with her celebrating. My best friend being pregnant really hit close to home I’m filled with jealousy and sadness, thinking of myself as damage goods, I was even jealous of her morning sickness, its pathetic I know. I’ve been trying to get pregnant way before she even knew she wanted to have a child and everything goes perfect for her and not me. She’s even having her baby in October around her birthday and her other half’s birthday she has all the luck. Don’t get me wrong I love my friend very much but I’m jealous of her she doesn’t even know it, I could never tell her how I feel as I fear I would damage the friendship I hold so dearly. She’s having her baby shower next month and I’m gonna have to shop for the baby that’s going to be so hard on the day of actual shower will even be harder but I will grin and bear it. We’ve always done everything together I feel so left out, I hate myself for feeling this way. My other half knows how I feel and he’s advised me to distance myself from my pregnant friend just a little to spare myself the pain, I know he’s hurting too but he remains strong emotionally just for me. I pray daily and ask God to bless us with a child, I’ve always done everything right throughout my life I eat right, I’m at a perfect weight for my height, I’m in my 20s, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I take vitamins, have a beautiful home and other half is an extremely successful business man. I don’t know what else to do, I’m desperate for a baby my other half jokingly says “maybe we’ll get a positive pregnancy test for christmas” I hope so too.

  23. Dear SR,

    I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through. Secondary infertility is just as disheartening and depressing as primary infertility, and yet it’s often not taken as seriously. After all, you already have one child, right? You should be satisfied and happy, right? Wrong.

    I wrote this article for you:

    What to Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant With Your Second Child

    I hope it helps, and welcome your thoughts here or there.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  24. SR says:

    I was SO happy a couple years a the birth of my son. Then I wanted another and it hasn’t happened…he is now 4 going on 5. I gained a bunch of weight, started drinking, and had CPS called me. I’m so low and don’t know what to do now. We don’t have the money for therapy and am so lost. God, I hate everything and the only thing keeping my nose above water is my son. I had felt bad and just attributed it working long hours and/or school. Now that I’ve been out of work and not longer have a job and now I know it is much, much more than that. I am empty and don’t have a clue how to get my motivation back ad return to being a real person. I’ve tried the “pull yourself up from your boot straps and it worked for maybe 2 days. What do I do now? I used to be a strong woman and lost her some where along the way.

  25. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Kelly, thanks for your advice on coping with depression when you can’t get pregnant. You’re right: depression needs to be taken very seriously! And, the very act of taking any type of action can help with depressed feelings.

  26. Kelly D says:

    When we were in the middle of our infertility journey I knew I was depressed and could admit it. However, when I had those babies in my arms I wouldn’t admit I was depressed and didn’t believe I was – how could I be? I finally had my babies.

    My advice, take it seriously and get help quickly.

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