Health Column: Encouraging fertility
Free Press Health Columnist
There is a lot to manage when you are trying to get pregnant and dealing with infertility issues. Especially difficult can be the emotional ups and downs inherent in the process.
The emotional roller coaster is usually tied to things like hope — you want to have it. But when pregnancy doesn’t happen, hope turns to hurt.
People around you can be insensitive in their comments. Social situations, like a baby shower or seeing moms with babies, are acutely painful. Many women feel betrayed by their body and the unfairness of the whole thing.
Last but not least, is the common question: “What have I done to cause my infertility?”
There are no easy answers for the emotional crisis that occurs with infertility and though you may feel alone, or alone together, there is help and support available. Especially helpful are mind/body techniques that teach you to have a positive influence on your body and enhance the likelihood of pregnancy.
In the 2009 issue of the Journal of American Society of Reproductive Medicine, Fertility and Sterility, an article entitled “Letting-go coping is associated with successful IVF treatment,” reported that emotion-focused coping showed merit in uncontrollable situations like IVF treatments.
Letting-go coping is any activity that helps you disengage or distract from the difficult feelings that go with infertility. Some letting-go activities that are particularly powerful and highly recommended include progressive relaxation, guided imagery, meditation, and self-hypnosis. These skills have in common the ability to use the mind to have a direct influence on responses in the body and to create the healthy mental, emotional, and physical environment necessary for pregnancy.
Studies also show that women (and couples) who seek support of family and friends cope better than those who hide it, so share your story with people who care about you. Then give the following list of suggestions to these folks to help them be more sensitive to your emotional needs. Some of these suggestions are taken from the Healthy Woman website.
WHAT NOT TO SAY:
1. Pregnant Yet?
“I’ll tell you when I am.”
2. It could be worse.
“Not to me it couldn’t.”
3. Haven’t you done enough?
“I’ll decide when it’s enough.”
4. Think of all the fun things you can do without children.
“If I really didn’t want them, would I being doing all this?”
5. How much is this costing?
“That is really none of your business.”
6. You can always adopt.
“Of course, I know that.”
7. Just relax.
“It is a lot more complex than that.”
Finally, infertility is a challenge that requires personal change in order to meet the demands of the process. As many women have said, “The more I realized that infertility changed my life, the more it made me take steps to change my life.”
Paula King is a licensed psychologist, who also holds certifications as a health coach, a HeartMath® biofeedback practitioner, an interactive imagery guide, and a sport psychologist. King is facilitating a “Mind Matters in Fertility” group beginning on March 12, at 5:30 p.m., and continuing for a total of five weeks. For dates, cost, or information about the group, please call Healing Horizons at 907-256-8449.
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