By Dr Melissa Oxlad, Counsellor at City Fertility Centre Adelaide
Going through fertility treatment can be a challenging experience both physically and emotionally. All matter of scenarios might be running through your head, with so many questions, what ifs and more. You might be researching the topic to the nth degree or constantly wanting to think about it.
Some days you may feel completely overwhelmed with the process, so it is important to put some strategies in place early, to help you cope during these times.
Here are some top tips:
Be kind to Yourself:
Fertility treatment can be an emotional rollercoaster; it is normal to find you cope well some days and others your emotions are a little overwhelming. On those tougher days, consider taking time out for yourself to engage in whatever self-care works best for you – it may be having a good cry, time alone, time with friends or family, doing something you enjoy
Develop and Maintain Good Self-care Practices:
Make these part of your daily or weekly routine and use them regularly; prioritise these to assist with your well-being. Self-care is very personal but could include things such as reading, music, exercise, time with family or friends, soak in a bath, fresh flowers, meditation, engaging with spirituality etc.
Focus on the Things That you can Control:
By doing this you can be proactive and channel your energy into things you have the ability to influence which many people find empowering. Things you can control include diet, exercise, sleep, self-care etc. but be balanced in this and don’t be too restrictive.
Consider Limiting the Amount of Time Spent Focusing on Infertility:
You could set a daily time limit (e.g. 30 minutes) or a specific number of times per week. During this time give yourself permission to think about, talk about, research infertility and treatment as much as you like, but once the time is over try to set it aside until the same time the next day/occasion. Although difficult, it is important not to let fertility treatment consume you.
Try to Live in the Moment:
It is easy for your mind to wander too far ahead worrying about all the what ifs. Try to deal with each moment or difficulty as it arises. Mindfulness can be very helpful in allowing us to stay more in the present moment.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open:
It is important to talk with others, particularly your partner about your thoughts and feelings.
Prioritise Reconnecting With Your Partner and Rejuvenating Your Relationship:
Fertility treatment can take a toll on your relationship. Try to do things that help to put the fun and spontaneity back into your relationship. Reconnect with all the things about each other that drew you together in the first place.
Consider Keeping a Gratitude Journal:
Noting down three things a day that you are grateful/thankful for. These could be related to fertility or could be completely separate. Even in tough times, if we look hard enough there are often other little things in our life that give us hope and lead us to feel thankful.
Ask for Help if Needed:
If your feelings seem to be increasing in intensity or lasting more than a few days please seek professional support through your specialist.
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