Coping strategies to deal with fertility issues Anya Sizer 1-5-14 Notes from her webinar
Effects of infertility
Women (sometimes men) are always surprised just what a big effect emotionally the diagnosis of infertility has on themselves and the people around them. This depth of emotions is normal ” the desire to have a family is up there with desire to eat and sleep” (Lord Robert Winston), it is fundamental, it strikes at your very core.
How a person acknowledges and feels that emotion is individual, no on size fits all. It can affect all areas of your life e.g finance, physical, emotional, mental, sleep and friendships. The person may go through different stages , e.g. shock, denial, bargaining with God, anger and withdrawal . This is similar to go through grief, bereavement, and the loss of a dream.
What can you do to help yourself?
1. Stop, step back and realize that this is a big thing and that the way you are feeling is normal. Give yourself a breathing space, think of how you would treat a best friend if they were going through the same thing. Hopefully you would be supportive and compassionate, so do the same thing to yourself – some self-care.
2. Look at this on an individual basis, not what other people would do but what you need to do for yourself. For example keep a journal, write anything you want in it, reflect on how your feeling, what can you do to help yourself.
3. Do I need distraction therapy, a project to work on, to be out and about with friends or focus on work
4. Withdrawal, to you need time for yourself or withdrawing from friendships that are not supportive or helpful
5. Do you want to tell everybody about this issue or just a few key people or just one person, remember there is no right or wrong, whatever is right for you
6. Think about what you have done in the past when you have needed to deal with a big issue in your life. For example after the breakup of a relationship, did you call on friendships, did you do things that you enjoyed, were you around supportive people and what did you learn about yourself from this episode.
Support group- in times of crisis it is important to have a supportive people around “your team” your support group. Put this in your journal or on piece of paper, draw a circle with the word me in it, then draw interconnecting circle with the members of your team in it e.g. your family, friends, professionals;
Acupuncturist, nutritionist, coach, self help group, what ever works for you.
Be pro-active, put things and dates in your diary of appointments and things you have done or doing to help yourself, e.g 20 minute walk, yoga class, acupuncture appointment
Be prescriptive, you decide what you want and let your support group know what you want from them to help you. E.g regular phone call or you will phone them when you need to talk.
The low times and the set backs- It is perfectly normal to have highs and lows, when trying to conceive, though it may seem there are more lows than highs. Remember trying to conceive can take time.
Sometimes it can be help to chose a Mantra to use in the low times or everyday to get you through your journey e.g ” it will be all be ok in the end and if it is not ok, its not the end” or “some day , some how I will be a mother” or make your own.
There will be a conclusion to your journey, though this conclusion may not be what you expect: adoption, egg donation, IVF or enough is enough, deciding there other types of families.
Compassion fatigue- often people around may become worn out, not everyone will be able to be supportive continuously and sometimes you may have to make new friend, people that can help you through this journey
Sometimes you have to take it a day at time, or even a moment at time. What do I need to do to get through it at this moment, it could be something a simple as a 10 minute break with a cup of tea or for your parents to understand what your go through.
80/20 rule. Everyday you allow yourself 20% of your time to focus or invest in your journey, e.g meet a friend , juicing , a massage or journaling.
80% of the time you try to live an a normal life, think about the areas of your life you may be neglecting. Remember your not just a women trying to have a baby.
Sometimes you will spend more than 20% of you time thinking about your fertility issue, but that’s ok, this is normal.
If you would like more information on coping strategies please see below
Source Anya Sizer, fertility focus summit 1st May 2014
‘Fertile thinking’ book, www.fertilitycoaching.co.uk