How to Cope with the Stress of Infertility Treatment

While infertility is a physical condition, there are mental and emotional health issues that are often linked to it. Sources of stress include the need for injections, the financial toll, negative pregnancy readings, and the social stresses of holidays and baby showers.

Because of all these various factors, handling the stress of infertility is certainly not easy, but the path is made a bit more manageable by advice on the topic provided by associations and experts. Here are 7 of the most common strategies that are recommended in order to cope with infertility and process related stresses in a healthy manner:

1.) Collect information.

It is good to learn about a healthy and normal infertility response. One way to stop feeling negative about your perspective while you are working with a fertility clinic is to see how other people have felt vulnerable in the same situation.

2.) Let yourself grieve.

While you want to end with a successful pregnancy, it is difficult not to start to go through grieving for a child that does not yet exist. When you have grief that is sustained and that cannot reach a resolution, you may start to feel anxious. Grieving the child that you have not had is all right. Parents Magazine calls this "grieving a dream." There are various ways to approach this mourning process. You can speak with a good friend or with your partner. You can write your responses. Whatever you do, you want to be recognizing the grief that you have and resolving it – which in turn will allow you to release it.

3.) Get physical.

Working out can help to release stress, as noted in the 6th item below. Exercise has manifold additional benefits, such as allowing the release of healthy endorphins, allowing us to cope with anything that comes our way so we can maintain better positivity.

Canadian registered psychologist Ronda Trumper advises to try low-impact options such as walking, especially if you can do it outside and get the additional benefits of spending time in a natural setting. Any exercise will help you to stay fit and keep you feeling positive as well. Some people will choose to go for runs instead. It is more common to feel energetic and want to exercise in between IVF cycles than during the cycles.

Trumper also mentions yoga as a possible exercise, as long as you do some form other than the hot variety. It is also a good idea to notify the teacher that you are trying to get pregnant – since they may have specific suggestions for how to perform poses differently or avoid some of them altogether. Be aware that your physician may tell you to stay away from certain types of workouts following transfer of the embryos and as you are waiting to learn if you are pregnant or not.

4.) Keep your loved ones in the loop.

The infertility nonprofit RESOLVE advises that you can help those around you better respond to the situation by informing them about the issue. You could suggest a reading for them to get a basic sense of the challenges surrounding infertility. Plus, you could benefit from letting those around you know specifically how you want them to treat you related to this part of your life.

5.) Practice your breathing.

You will naturally be able to bring down your stress level simply by learning to breathe deeply. You can go through a series of deep breaths either with your partner or by yourself. To start with deep breathing, sit in a comfortable position, and close your eyes. Start inhaling gradually and deeply. Inhale through your nostrils, and exhale through your mouth. You want your diaphragm and chest to both feel filled with air. This practice should be conducted slowly and mindfully. When you feel stress, simply use deep-breathing exercises for 5 minutes to get some relief.

6.) Allow yourself to feel emotional.

It is not always wrong or inappropriate to get angry or to feel terribly sad. Suppressing your true emotional response can be very unhealthy. Crying when you feel frustrated about not being able to achieve a pregnancy is something that you should feel comfortable doing. Taking out angry energy with a punching bag or other high-intensity workout can help in dealing with that emotion.

7.) Talk to your partner.

Your partner will not be able to figure out how to support you properly if you do not let them know what you need. If you are feeling down and want to stay home from an event, that should not be a problem but should be supported. It is up to you to say something. Let your partner know if you want to have additional alone time, or if you just could use a hug.

Compassionate help for infertility

Are you feeling high stress related to infertility? At California Center for Reproductive Health, we want you to feel calm and to ultimately be successful. Our patient Stacey B. said that Dr. Mor “was informative, compassionate and truly dove into my case keeping my wishes first.” See our testimonials and reviews.

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