During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, all “non-essential” activities and businesses were closed, and non-emergency medical services were suspended. While for some people this shut-down was nothing more than an inconvenience, for others it was devastating – including infertile couples in the middle of fertility treatment.
Fertility treatment is an emotional rollercoaster for most couples. It requires a lot of psychological preparation and support during a difficult time, trying to maintain hope in the midst of uncertainty and disappointment. When things end abruptly and unexpectedly, feelings of anxiety and helplessness can escalate. If your fertility treatments have been delayed because of the COVID-19 shutdown, it’s more important than ever that you protect your mental health.
Feelings of anger, fear, helplessness, and anxiety are natural when your plans to build your family are put on hold. You may also feel that your window of opportunity is closing. Overcome these negative thoughts and feelings through healthy behaviors and thought patterns, and if needed, additional help from a support group or a professional. Here are some important steps to take for your emotional well-being:
- Spend time with those you love. Surround yourself, either literally or virtually, with the people who understand you, love you, and can distract you from negative thought patterns. As the country begins to open up, take the time to visit with others while maintaining social distance.
- Read or watch funny stories. People who laugh daily are physically and emotionally healthier. Joke books can help.
- Take care of your physical health. Your physical and emotional health are closely intertwined. Eat a nutritious diet, exercise daily, and get plenty of sleep.
- Pray or meditate. According to a study in Psychology Today, prayer offsets the negative health effects of stress, increases trust, and makes us more forgiving, self-controlled, and all-around nicer. Meditation comes in a number of forms, but the goal of meditation is to find serenity and calm and a new perspective on one’s situation.
- Maintain strong communication lines. Don’t turn in on yourself. Talk with your spouse about your feelings. You are going through this together. Allow it to be a time in which you more deeply express your love for each other and work together to find coping mechanisms that make you both feel better.
Don’t forget to reach out for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Find a counselor near you who has expertise in helping people through the difficulties of fertility treatments. If you’re in the NYC area, reach out to me to see how I can help you.