Coping With Stress & Anxiety During Your Fertility Journey
Fertility treatment can be stressful, so embarking on a fertility journey means you will probably experience stress at some point. You may even already feel stressed and anxious about how your journey will play out and how you'll cope.
So, how do you begin to manage the ups and downs of the fertility journey?
There are many different ways to help yourself and ensure that you feel in control as much as you can, hopefully resulting in a more balanced journey. It's important to remember that we're all different and what helps one person may not work for another.
With this in mind, Fertility Counsellor, Dee Durham, has put together some advice on techniques that may help with your stress and anxiety:
Your support network
Choosing your support network can be difficult because the best person to support you on your fertility journey may not necessarily be the usual person that you turn to for support. This journey is very personal and you might want to tell all your friends or you may want to just confide in your closest friends. Be aware that you could end up managing other people’s expectations, constantly being asked if you are pregnant yet or if it’s going ok. All of this can be overwhelming if too frequent or at the wrong moment. Ask yourself, do you have a friend who is considerate, thoughtful of your feelings, asks relevant questions, and knows how to pick you up when you fall down? If so, this may be the best person to support you during treatment. The most important thing to remember is to think of yourself and balance the support you need against the stress of managing other people.
Using your support network
Talking to a trusted person in your support network will help take your worries and concerns, out of your head and air them. They may not disappear but talking helps you to make sense of them and put them in some sort of order. Just remember to prioritise yourself and choose who you talk to for your needs, not theirs.
Activities to help manage stress
There are so many different things that can help ease stress and anxiety so it's important that you really think about what helps you. We all know exercise can be helpful but if it makes you stressed to even think about exercising, then perhaps exercise isn't the right activity for you right now. Maybe consider some of the below?
- A hot scented bath
- Mindfulness meditation
- Mindfulness colouring
- A relaxed walk
- Watching your favourite TV show
Trying to factor a ‘you’ session in to each day gives you the space to process what’s happening, as well as time to think and just breathe.
Have a think about where you want to put your energy. We all wake up with a certain amount of energy for the day ahead. This can be put into physical exercise, emotional energy or thoughts - you can choose. If you put all your energy into someone else’s day, providing them with the support you should be having, then you will be left with very little for yourself. This journey will require you to have your full quota of energy each day. It’s only for a finite period of time, so it’s doable without you losing touch of your urge to rescue/help others.
Find some control
During fertility treatment, you're giving yourself and your long held dream to have a baby, over to the professionals. You are told what to do, eat, inject, when to attend appointments and the list goes on. On a logical level, you know you must follow medical advice to achieve your dream. But it's still hard when you feel you don't have control of something so important. This feeling can lead to higher stress levels and anxiety. There is no magic answer to this, but finding other things in your life you have control over can help to lessen those feelings. This could be anything from organising your social life and holidays to consciously looking at your daily routine to put in place regular times to exercise, relax and of course fit in some ‘you’ time. Perhaps you can look at how to get yourself in tip top condition for the road ahead. That could mean looking at including more fruit in your diet, moving more so you hit the 10,000 step target every day, or even using the stairs at work instead of the lift. All these little choices can give you back some control over your life.
Here at Complete Fertility, we believe that all patients should be offered emotional support during their journey with us. Encompassing a philosophy of kindness and empathy at all times, this includes being treated with dignity and respect by all staff. We offer a number of support mechanisms to help you on your journey, these include:
- An online patient support group, open to all Complete Fertility patients
- A separate online patient support group specifically for single women going through fertility treatment with us
- Patient Buddy System: upon a patient’s request, a nurse matches them with another patient who is having similar fertility treatment so they can get in touch if they wish to support each other.
In addition, we have a Fertility Counsellor, offering counselling to any patient affected by the fertility journey, even if this journey was years ago. Counselling offers a safe, non-judgmental space in which to talk, explore and be listened to in a comforting place.
If you'd like further support and guidance you may find these websites helpful:
If you'd like to learn more about our services, please feel free to get in touch with us.