Why blaming women for infertility is wrong

Infertility is a major life event that brings about social and psychological problems for many couples. Infertility affects both men and women of reproductive age and has an impact on families. Unfortunately, women are often the ones blamed for infertility. Here’s why blaming women for infertility is wrong.

Increases stigma

Just like in other stigmatised conditions, infertility stigma may contribute to women hiding information about their diagnosis from friends or family and delaying or avoiding treatments. This stigma may also strain relationships and take a psychological toll on them.

Contributes to depression and anxiety

While infertility is not a disease, being diagnosed and going for treatment can be emotionally and physically draining. Often this leads to depression and anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness in life. Not getting pregnant after trying for a long time can be disappointing and frustrating, especially without support from loved ones. If you’re struggling with anxiety and depression, contact SADAG on their mental health line: 011 234 4837.

Self-worth and self-esteem

Being blamed for infertility can make women question their self-worth, making them feel like they’re not “women enough”. Women are often guilt-tripped by their families about not being able to conceive, and this can affect their self-esteem.

Shifting the blame

Although women are the ones often blamed for infertility, they might not always be the cause of the infertility in the relationship. In some cases, men might be the cause, but the blame is often shifted onto the woman, leading to a lot of unnecessary pain. It’s important for both people in a relationship to seek help together when infertility is suspected, so that they can find proper help and solutions.

These actions can reduce the negative impact of infertility on women’s lives and enable them to move from stigma to empowerment.

With the right guidance from a healthcare provider, infertility can sometimes be treated. Treatment can range from simple methods, from lifestyle changes to more advanced methods which you can discuss with your healthcare provider. There are also other options you can look into, if you can’t conceive naturally.

Infertility isn’t only a woman’s problem- many medical conditions and other factors can contribute to infertility in both women and men. If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for more than a year, and you haven’t succeeded, it’s advisable that you see a healthcare provider together to learn more about your options.

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