5 Tools for Facing Infertility
From a psychosocial point of view, learning to manage emotions is one of the keys to facing infertility in a healthy way. Emotions build in intensity over the course of Assisted Reproduction Treatments (ART), especially when the desired outcome of getting pregnant takes longer than expected.
You will face losses such as the wish that has gone unfulfilled so far, the pregnancy which has not yet been achieved and the baby you haven’t yet been able to hold in your arms; and on occasion, you may not have the tools to deal with these emotions. It is more common than you think, and although it is true that there is no one solution that works for everyone, from Gesfera we will try to offer some guidelines:
1. Avoid dwelling on your thoughts
Rumination is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when the focus of our attention becomes “hooked” on a thought that causes us stress or discomfort like a broken record.
Writing our thoughts down on paper has a therapeutic effect and can help to “release” some of the negative emotional load that is hurting you. The other guidelines in this blog will also help you to break this cycle.
Meditation will help you to identify your emotions, reduce anxiety levels and disengage your attention from the source of stress. Being aware of and respecting one’s own emotions is a sign of Emotional Intelligence, though this generally requires some training. If you don’t know what you are feeling, then you have lost touch with your emotional world.
Many times when we experience an unpleasant emotion, rather than being aware of it and accepting it, we deny it, avoid it or overreact. This behaviour comes with consequences: instead of disappearing, the emotion will grow in intensity. It is common to “fight against” sadness, rather than embracing it, when the outcome of Assisted Reproduction Treatments (ART) is not what we had hoped for. Let it be! There is a reason you feel this way and it is a feeling that belongs to this part of your life.
It is also important that you have the ability to verbalize what you are feeling and, therefore, what your necessities are. On occasion you may feel bad because you think that other people are not responding to your emotional needs, but this sometimes happens because they don’t know what you need or you say “nothing is wrong, I’m fine,” instead of explaining what’s going on and what you need.
3. Live in addition to planning
While you’re trying to get pregnant you will set goals along the way; however, you cannot forget to enjoy the process. The present should have meaning in and of itself and should not “just” become a means to reaching the future.
Enjoy the little things like taking a stroll and live in the moment by participating with all your senses: what you hear, what you smell, what you see, what you touch and what you taste.
4. Activities to distract yourself
Distracting yourself means getting away from emotional stimuli without judgement. Carrying out activities that make you feel good helps to reduce stress, like talking to a friend, watching a movie, enjoying a warm bath, etc.
This is especially effective with activities that are new to you, such as making a change in your look, learning to play an instrument… Helping others can also help you to feel better!
Practicing sports is beneficial not only because it releases endorphins, but also because it requires you to focus on the present. If you don’t like sports you can take a walk through nature where the environment is pleasant and far away from noise.
Silvia Gil Rueda
Psychotherapist, Expert in Infertility and President of Gesfera