The label of infertility is a harsh one, but not uncommon with approximately 1 in 6 couples in Australia predicted to experience issues with their fertility. Despite being common, it is a largely unspoken topic with many women feeling the overwhelming burden of infertility resting on their shoulders and the sense of isolation that accompanies this.
More frustratingly, a large percentage of couples are given the diagnosis of infertility with the dreaded word ‘unexplained’ preceding it. So not only have they been told they have a big roadblock to growing their family, they are also told that there is no apparent reason why and treatment is often unclear and a case of trial and error. When there is no concrete reason why you are not falling pregnant or keeping a pregnancy, you are left with even more questions then you started with.
If there is one clear time in your life that you need to slow down and take care of yourself, this is it. Below I have listed 5 things you can do if you have received the diagnosis of infertility to support you through this uncertain time in life.
- Feel the feelings
As tempting as it is, this is not the time to close off. Stay open. Feel what you’re feeling. Are you feeling worry, anger, and frustration? Or all of the above? Where do you feel it in your body? We can only begin to process and move through emotions after we have acknowledged that they are there. What we resist, persists. If you feel like you want to cry, scream, or lay in bed under the covers for a few hours. Do these things! Don’t shut off, feel what is there and allow yourself to move through it.
- Seek help
Don’t be afraid to open up to people about what you’re going through. This isn’t something you need to do alone. Reach out to fertility specialists, counsellors, family and friends. There are so many resources available to you – use them.
While you are seeking professional help, keep in mind not all fertility specialists are the same, or treat the same. If you have been given a diagnosis or a treatment plan that doesn’t sit right with you, get a second opinion. Trust your instincts. If there is further testing you would like to do that your specialist deems uncessecary, it could very well be apart of another specialists standard routine testing. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to seek help through different avenues.
See a natural health practitioner that focuses on fertility whether it be Chinese medicine, acupuncture, naturopathy or functional medicine. See someone that has knowledge on natural fertility and nutrition. So much can be done to improve fertility with simple diet and lifestyle modifications. As western medicine fertility treatments are focused primarily on medications and procedures; some aspects of your health and fertility may be overlooked such as diet and lifestyle habits that can make the world of difference to the state of your fertility.
- Find your community
Seek out other women and couples in the same situation. I find many of my clients feel so much comfort in talking with other women also going through a difficult fertility journey. Knowing that you are most definitely not alone can be reassuring and give the extra push to keep going. There are many different community groups and online forums with thousands of women going through the exact same thing you are. While it is also important not to get wrapped up in the fertility forum online world, (sometimes too much information can be a bad thing!) it is good to know that there are so many others out there just like you. And whilst it may not feel like it, you’re not the only woman or couple that isn’t falling pregnant – despite seeing a pregnant belly or a pram on every street corner!
- Let go of guilt and protect yourself
The lesson of saying ‘no’ is one lesson I think every person learns and relearns their entire lives. However during this period of your life where emotional sensitivity is at it’s peak, you need to protect yourself and know it’s okay to say no to things that you feel like you really can’t handle right now.
Why is it that during this fertility journey you get more invitations for baby showers then at any other time?! Sometimes it feels like the universe has no sense of timing whatsoever. But remember if you feel like you can’t face another shower or buying baby clothes for someone else when all you really want to do is buy for your own baby, then simply don’t do it. If your friends are unaware of your situation, in time you may feel comfortable to share with them and you will feel an avalanche of support. And if you don’t receive that, you have been given a gift of knowing which people to gently distance yourself from during this period of your life.
- Move towards peace
Trying to fall pregnant can become a full time job. I have had clients that have quit their jobs to focus fully on themselves and their dream of growing their family. You are hyper aware of your body all the time, wondering if every symptom you feel could possibly be implantation or maybe your boobs are more sore then usual, what does this mean? Everything is under the microscope. Carve out time every single day and every week that is designated fertility free time. Indulge in the art of distraction every now and then to give you mind a break. You can still have fun, you can still be light hearted, and you can still pursue your passions and interests outside of growing a family. Do things that make you feel, you. Don’t wait to be happy, feel happiness now. It is always there, waiting and available to you.