People often ask me how fertility coaching and reducing the stresses of fertility problems can actually make a difference to your fertility. This is one of my favourite subjects.
We live in a world of IUI, IVF, Egg donation, embryo adoption (I could go on but I know you know where I’m going here). The medical world of assisted reproduction is a multi million dollar/euro/pound industry.
Couples embark on fertility treatment with the vague (and sometimes downright incorrect) statistics of what percentage chance they might have on becoming pregnant. Maybe 20%? Perhaps 40%?
If you are heading for the wrong side of 35 you are considered to be preparing for a ‘geriatric pregnancy’ if you do succeed (thanks for that – helps the self-esteem no end). Chances of success? Hmm…maybe 15%?
It’s a huge gamble but of course one we are compelled to take to fulfill our dreams of becoming parents. Depending where you are in the world an average IVF cycle can cost anything from €3,000 to around $ 25,000. Wow. if you didn’t suffer emotional stress before entering this zone, then nothing like a bit of financial pressure to ramp that up a notch.
So we get on the hamster wheel because for some of us (diminished ovarian reserve in my case), it becomes inevitable we need medical help.
But what about help for our fragile, disappointed, guilty, feeling a failure, hopeless minds?
I am guilty as charged here. Although I had plenty of skills at my disposal I fell into the trap of ignoring my self-care during my 5 fertility treatments. Until before my 5th one I finally came to my senses. And it can be summed up in 3 words:
STRESS DAMAGES FERTILITY.
Take all the hormone injections you need to, turn up to every scan, be prodded and probed at every turn, tick off all the boxes.
If you do not address the stress you will keep activating cortisol in the brain which negatively impacts the workings of the reproductive system.
So what can be done to reduce stress?
Here’s a few tips:
- Meditation: 10 minutes morning and before sleep at night. Calming that busy mind down. It works!
- Nurture yourself: Spend some time with a friend or family member going for a massage or to the movies or just something that gets you away from the spin-cycle inside your head.
- Do something totally non-fertility related with your partner. Book a weekend away with some relaxing treatments (you can tell I am a fan of massage) and lots of down time so you can reconnect. No laptops. No google searching for answers etc. Just you two. Remembering why you are together in the first place. If you can’t do this, maybe arrange a date night.
- Take up some exercise. Some moderate exercise is great to blow out the cobwebs and engage your endorphins. Think about an activity you enjoy and do it 3 -4 times a week or even a lovely yoga class can really rejuvenate and engage your feel-good self.
- Take time out before making any major next steps. Take a step back. Are you in the right mindset to make an informed, level-headed decision? If not, stop and re-boot using steps one through four.