Kourtney Hall is a school counsellor at Jean-Baptiste Sewepagaham School. She works and lives on a remote northern Woodland Cree First Nations reserve with grade 7-12 students. Originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Kourtney completed her B.A. Honours in Psychology with a research focus on traumatic bonding and the cycle that maintains an abusive relationship. Kourtney also completed her B.Ed (Cum Laude) and has six years of primary/junior teaching experience. Most recently, Kourtney completed her M.C in Psychology through Athabasca University with her final manuscript research focusing on reproductive trauma and the social-emotional risk on one’s psychological and mental well-being. Kourtney’s work and research preferences are on trauma, attachment and the impact on one’s relationship with self and others.
Title: Suffering in Silence: The Effects of Women Struggling with Infertility
Abstract: Women experience infertility worldwide. Infertile women suffer from reproductive trauma that negatively impacts their psycho-social and emotional functioning, leaving them at risk for mental illness. The impacts on a woman’s psycho-social and emotional functioning can create maladaptive coping that may manifest into mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. This paper is a literature review of past research on women with infertility and the effects it may have on their psycho-social and emotional functioning. The literature review includes 27 articles from peer-reviewed journals, e-books and professional websites. The database used for the literature review was PsychInfo. The most frequently searched keywords were infertility, women, psycho-social, emotional, trauma, and reproductive. This paper provides a brief overview of protective factors for women with infertility. Research questions driving the literature review include what emotional trauma infertile women face, the effect it has on one’s psycho-social health, and the risk to one’s mental wellness. Finally, this paper will include cultural factors and explore the importance of visibility for women with infertility. Review findings suggest that women with infertility experience higher rates of perceived social isolation and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Future research could focus on promoting awareness of the negative psychological impact women with infertility experience.