Infertility is a complex problem that rarely has a single cause. It can take time to unravel and can involve many medical procedures, schedules, and lifestyle changes that can add stress to an already stressful situation.
Be kind to yourself, even though the treatments are not. This is not only important for the success of the treatment (some evidence suggests that stress can affect fertility) but also for your own overall wellbeing. You are more than just a potential parent. You are a whole person. By loving your whole self and nurturing your whole self, you will be much more content and better able to face the treatments.
Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Partner
Many of my clients have shared with me how the focus on conception has taken its toll on their relationship. This is natural. Paying so much attention to conceiving can decrease intimacy and enjoyment. Blaming yourself (or your spouse) can cause partners to withdraw from one other.
Try not to let this happen. You love each other for more than just the chance to have children together. And if the treatments are successful, having a strong and loving relationship in which to raise your child is so important.
Instead of focusing on making babies, focus on what you love about each other. Plan extra time together to do things you both enjoy. Snuggle more. Snuggling releases endorphins which improve your mood.
Practice Positive Self-Talk
Negative self-talk is also natural but can be destructive. People struggling with infertility tend to blame themselves (or their spouse), blame their past decisions, hate their bodies, or feel like they are being punished or would not make a good parent. Stop! What would you say to your best friend if you heard him or her talk like that? You would, of course, try to soothe and encourage your friend. Do that to yourself. You need to be your own best friend.
When such thoughts come in to your mind, try several different tactics to find what works for you. You can respond to yourself with soothing words or you can choose to let the thoughts just float away and turn your thoughts toward something positive. You can distract yourself with a very mentally engaging activity like a mind puzzle or something work related. Or you may prefer to distract yourself with mindless fun, like a comedy. You can also channel the emotions positively by redirecting your energy to helping others. It is also important to set aside daily time to exercise and practice relaxation techniques, and to pamper yourself as often as you can.
Allow Time to Feel and to Talk
While negative self-talk is destructive, so is repressing your feelings. You need to allow yourself downtime to feel what you feel. Sometimes you need to just let yourself cry or yell. Try not to yell at others, though. Yell into a pillow or at a sporting event so people don’t think you’re in danger!
Talk to someone you trust about how you feel, a friend or counselor who will treat you gently and help you cope.
And while you need to have lots of positive time with your partner, chances are he or she is also on an emotional rollercoaster. Talking about your feelings can bring you closer together and enhance your love. But sometimes it can go in the wrong direction, so I recommend couples counseling to help steer your conversations in a loving, supportive direction. I have helped many couples and individuals work through the pain and stress of infertility, strengthening their relationship and helping them move forward together. I encourage you to find someone you trust who can help you, as an individual or as a couple, be kind to yourself and look to the future with hope.