All fertility treatments, especially IVF, are physically, emotionally and financially draining on you and your partner, and can take their toll. Each stage of a fertility journey can bring extreme highs and low of emotions, and each person will cope with these emotions differently.It’s important to learn how to take care of yourself and your emotional wellbeing during this time.
Studies show that women and men with fertility issues are more than twice as likely to suffer from depression. According to Dr Alice Domar at the Domar Centre for Mind/Body Health “Women undergoing infertility treatments exhibit high anxiety and/or high depressive scores at the start of treatment as well as over the course of treatment.”
Whether you are sharing your journey with family and friends, or keeping it very private affair, how do you cope with these emotions of feeling anxious, depressed, helpless and maybe isolated?
Whilst your fertility specialist can help with the practical side of fertility treatment, they are not able to provide the emotional support you may need. So, it’s a good idea to talk to people who have been through the process of treatment to ask questions. It can be difficult to express your emotions to those who don’t understand the distress you may be going through. Get a counsellor that specialises in helping with infertility, as they can be an invaluable support for you personally.
There are also many charities, communities and social media fertility support groups out there to help you on your fertility journey, who really understand what you are going through and can help you realise you are not alone.
Looking after your health and wellbeing is paramount on this long road to conception, and getting healthy is important for expectant mothers for both their health and for the baby. Try to find ways to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and minimise stress.
- Plenty of rest – Going through fertility treatment can be really tough emotional and physically so make time to rest and reduce the number of social engagements there is always time for them, but there maybe be the only chance for fertility treatment so give it your best opportunity, so an least you can reflect that you have no regrets because you tried your best rather than over exerted yourself with work and social engagements, leaving you exhausted.
- Acknowledge your emotions – Try to understand its ok to feel like this, it will past try to let go of any negative feelings of frustration, resentment and anger. Try to find ways to lift your mood and stay level headed. Balance being optimistic with realism
- Get fertility fit – Get in shape with a healthy BMI and make sure you enjoy your exercise plan. Exercise to not only get into shape but to help release endorphins, chemicals in your brain that make you feel good and reduce stress
- Give yourself head space – Learn skills to recognise your emotions and behaviours and find coping strategies meditations, breathing exercises
- Keep talking – Communication is important especially with those close to you, explain how you feel.
- Digital detox – Reduce your time on smart phone and tablets to calm your mind, learn to switch off and relax
- Diet – A nutritional diet plan is essential for both you and your partner. It’s important to have a balanced intake of all the nutrients and supplements you need for fertility treatment, to nourish the body and boost fertility a nutritional diet plan is essential for both you and your partner.
- Get enough sleep – Sleep helps to rejuvenate the mind and body, try to get between seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
Infertility is one of the biggest challenges that life can throw at you. No matter how long your fertility journey may be, try to be resilient and manage the agonising waiting and anticipation through mindfulness practices and coping strategies. Try to learn to observe your feelings, thoughts, and how your body is coping.
From personal experience having cycles of IVF treatment, you need to find coping strategies that work for you and your partner. I found writing a journal helped me face my emotions and develop coping strategies to deal with them. The journal was a support in the next cycle of IVF, as it’s hard to remember when you are going through it at the time. With so much hormonal change and sometimes the experiences that you go through, you may want to block them out and not remember. But you need to stay focused on the current course of treatment and hope for a more positive outcome this time around.
It’s an intense time, so you need to minimise your stress and stay calm and positive to enhance your chances of conceiving and surviving the emotional rollercoaster of IVF. You need to look back and know that you tried your best, whatever the outcome may be.
My fertility yoga DVD can help you to relax and give you the strength and confidence to trust your body on your fertility journey. Watch the taster video here: http://www.fertilityyoga.co.uk/infertility-yoga/