Having a baby isn’t always easy, and for some couples trying to conceive (TTC) comes at a heavy emotional cost. If you’re getting nowhere fast or are facing the stress and anxiety of fertility treatment, check out these survival tips
Anger, sadness, envy, loneliness, fear... just a few of the emotions that women undertaking fertility treatment have to endure. But before you get on the phone to cancel the appointment with your clinic, remember there are ways to get through the fertility fear. Here M&B offers up some coping strategies to help deal with the stress and worry of the fertility journey. Stick the kettle on, get comfy and read on...
1. Accept your feelings are normal
Infertility is tough and the continuous grind of tests, hormone injections, stress and disappointment is bound to take its toll. Chances are you feel upset, angry, guilty, or even jealous that friends/family/teenagers on Jeremy Kyle seem to be able to conceive so easily. The key is not beating yourself up about it.
Accept that all these feelings are perfectly legitimate and perfectly normal – you’re allowed to feel sad. And remember you don’t need to put on a brave face all of the time. Oh and switch off Jeremy Kyle!
2. Just Say No…
…To things that make you feel uncomfortable. If you don’t think you can handle a baby shower/christening/kids’ party, then don’t force yourself to.
Children’s parties can be particularly hard for the babyless. All those rosy cheeked kids running round with cake smeared round their face highlighting your childless state. This is one time we give you an excuse to bunk off – heck we’ll even write you a note.
3. Distraction, Distraction, Distraction
If your old activities and hobbies are painful, for example, if they involve friends who are all parents now, look for new diversions. Always wanted to learn how to sew/bake/play the didgeridoo? Now’s your chance. You’ll be surprised how much occupying your mind with something completely different will help.
And though it’s tempting try not to put your life on hold while you're going through tests and treatment. Keeping up with the fun things in life (friends/food/frapuccinos) means you won’t be merely existing from one cycle to the next.
Accept that your feelings are perfectly legitimate and perfectly normal – you’re allowed to feel sad
4. And relax....
IVF can be stressful, so try to find something to help you chillax – massage, aromatherapy and exercise can all help relieve anxiety. And have you thought about trying acupuncture? Not only to help you unwind, but also as a way of potentially increasing fertility treatment success. We’re all about dual-purpose!
In a recent study researchers concluded that acupuncture around the time of embryo transfer achieves a higher live birth rate of 35 per cent compared to 22 per cent without active acupuncture. Gotta be worth a go!
5. Laugh your way to the fertility clinic
Killing yourself laughing might be the last thing you feel like doing, but cracking a smile can be a powerful mood-lifter. Stick on Bridesmaids, or a Jack Whitehall DVD (hey even if it doesn’t make you laugh at least he’ll make you swoon!) or get engrossed in Caitlin Moran’s Moranthology (Ebury Press £8.99).
You’ll be amazed how much laughing til you cry (or pee!) will help take your mind off your fertility woe. And enjoying the craic could help with conceiving, too. One Israeli study found that a dose of laughter can double the chance of IVF success!
6. Make Forum Friends
If you’re a chatroom/forum virgin now could be a good time to log on. Talking through your experiences with other women who are going through the same thing as you can be beyond helpful. Not only will it reassure you that you’re not on your own, you’ll get to read about success stories and gain access to a wealth of been-there-done-it IVF experiences. But be warned you might need a masterclass in the lingo – BD = Baby Dancing ie having sex to make a baby. You can have that one for free.
The charity Infertility Network UK offers free help and support for the 3.5 million sufferers and has launched a campaign – Talking about Trying – to raise awareness and bring infertility out of the closet. There’s no shame in struggling to conceive.