A diagnosis of infertility can feel completely overwhelming. It is hard to think of anything beyond the immediate next steps of all the procedures and diagnostics. Here are some ways for you to care for yourself and cope through treatments.
1. Find Your Tribe! Support Groups, an online community, and good friends are all great resources. Having other women and men who have been through the struggle will help you know you are not alone. We have wonderful support groups across the state of Utah, you can find the one nearest you HERE.
2. Self Care. It is so easy to get caught up in all of the TIME and MONEY that goes into making a baby that we can often forget about our own needs. Take time to care for yourself. Do activities that fill your bucket, journal, exercise, go out with friends, meditate, take time alone, get a pedicure, see a therapist...whatever helps YOU.
3. Ask for help! Infertility can be just as traumatic as other life altering events such as a cancer diagnosis. There is nothing wrong with getting help from a therapist who specializes in infertility. If you live in Utah the UIRC therapists see clients on a sliding fee scale so that EVERYONE can afford to get the mental health care they need.
4. Take things one step at a time! Looking ahead to every option, IVF, egg donors, shots, adoption, home studies...etc. can feel completely overwhelming. Take a breath and remember that you are only fighting today’s battle today. One step at a time you WILL get through this. Setting up an educational consult can also help to bring down the anxiety by understanding your options.
5. Connect with your partner. Remember when sex used to be fun? Remember when you went on dates and didn’t talk about infertility? It is time to recapture some of those things with conscious effort. Take infertility off the table for discussion during date night one evening. Let physical connection, romance, and fun take center stage during intimacy. Focus on the things you love about one another, avoid getting caught in the blame game of infertility being someone’s “fault” and conquer your battle as a team.
6. Find your passion. It is easy to let every spare moment be filled with thoughts of making a baby, but that can be emotionally draining. What are you passionate about? What do you love to do? Do you love reading, art, music, dance, or food? Do you like rock climbing, biking, drawing, or swimming? Remember what you love or seek to develop new interests. Infertility does not define you and is just one aspect of your life, not the defining aspect.
7. Be healthy. A healthy diet and regular exercise will enhance your fertility, but, did you know that those things can also improve your mental health? Staying active and seeking to maintain a balanced diet can give you better tools to combat infertility both physically and mentally.
8. Look for a healthy outlet for your emotions. Many individuals find journaling, a social media account dedicated to documenting their journey, art therapy, yoga, meditation, or blogging a helpful way to release or cope with the negative emotions surrounding their infertility diagnosis.
9. Be honest about your feelings. There are times when it seems easier to say to ourselves that we are fine even though we are really not fine. Honestly acknowledging your pain can help you find healthy ways to move through it.
10. Be optimistic but realistic. It is a wonderful thing to maintain hope, but, it is important to be honest with ourselves and our partners about our diagnosis and treatment plans. Facing plans with honesty allows us to move forward in a healthy way.
Most importantly know you are not alone! One in eight individuals will struggle with infertility and all of the feelings that accompany that diagnosis. We hope that these suggestions help you as you move through your journey to grow your family.