You’ve decided to take the next step on your journey and pursue fertility treatment.
That’s a brave and complex decision.
However, the fertility treatment protocol can be taxing on both your body and spirit, creating stress.
More to the point, the process can actually feel dispiriting. There are so many questions, concerns, and worries connected to these procedures. For example, even though you have a great team working with you, how do you know the treatment will be successful?
Yes, the family building process can be stressful.
That’s why it’s helpful to consider applying the following stress management ideas.
Follow Your Fertility Treatment Protocol
The first thing you can do for stress management is to very carefully follow every step of your fertility treatment protocol. Some people find it helpful to be as well-informed as possible about the science of each step, while others wants very little scientific detail about the process. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall on, the specificity of the protocol can be a great handrail as you work through the process.
Also, the fertility protocol was designed with you in mind, so it can be reassuring to know that there is a step-by-step mechanism which you can work through. Consider taping the treatment schedule on the refrigerator and adding it into your calendar so you have ready access to the timetable.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
You will likely have many questions about the fertility treatment protocol, and that’s OK. This is not something to consider lightly.
If you have questions, make sure you get them answered to your satisfaction. You have a right to be as informed as possible so that you can make the best choices about your health. A good treatment team will recognize that and do their best to provide clear answers.
Also, if you have a partner with you in this journey, encourage them to ask questions as well or ask for resources where they might seek out their answers independently. Holding any important questions in might simply cause more anxiety.
Take Care of Your Body
Admittedly, you will go through a lot during the fertility treatment protocol. The hormone treatments certainly influence your body, your anxiety, and your stress levels. That’s why taking good care of your body during this time can help mitigate some of those problems.
This means, for example:
Endeavoring to get enough sleep each night
Eating a healthy diet and being on the lookout for “stress eating”
Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated
Participating in light exercise as approved by your physician
Spend Quality Time with Others
Because a fertility treatment protocol can be so stressful, you might be tempted to retreat and isolate yourself. After all, how can anyone think of socializing when there is all this stress to cope with?
"Socializing" doesn’t have to mean being with a large group of people, though. Rather, it's usually sufficient to spend quality time with some select family and friends whom you know are supportive and are affirming in your journey.
If you have a partner, be open with each other about the experience of going through fertility treatments. How is it affecting both of you? Also, resist the impulse to hunker down together to the exclusion of all others. Each of you needs the support (and fun) of your own separate people, too.
Practice Calming Exercises
Sometimes you need stress management tools in the actual moment when anxiety and stress become too much. A great place to start (that seems obvious but is far too easy to forget) is by taking a few deep breaths, allowing the air to fill your lungs and releasing it slowly.
Repeat this until you feel a little calmer. Then, remind yourself of the outcome you imagine making this all worthwhile. Hopefully, this simple exercise gives you some resolve and bolsters your spirit when you start to feel anxious.
Obviously, family building can be stressful in general. Yet, if you are following a fertility treatment protocol, that process alone can bring with it additional burdens. By following the aforementioned stress management ideas, you can keep stress in check so that you can focus on your health and the process at hand.
If you would like to know how I can help you with managing stress during the fertility treatment process, please learn more about my approach to counseling for fertility and family building, or simply contact me.