Stress and infertility, unfortunately, go hand in hand! You can’t have one without the other. However even though everyone recognizes it’s incredibly stressful, not many people take the extra step into doing something about it.
Written by Guest Blogger: Karenna Wood, international fertility coach and expert in emotional support for women during infertility.
Stress is something you can take action on!
The exciting thing is that you CAN do something about the level of stress you are feeling. You can’t change the situation, but you can change the way you approach it! Firstly well done you for taking that first step into changing your experience of infertility.
You are part of a growing group of women TTC who recognize the importance of being healthy in both mind and body and in my experience (and as the research shows), by working on both you are likely shortening your time to conceiving and are definitely improving the journey!
Will reducing stress get me pregnant?
In my role as a fertility coach, I don’t promise to get my clients pregnant nor can I promise I will take all their stress and pain away (even though I truly wish I could). Instead, I promise that they will feel stronger, more equipped and cope better riding the infertility rollercoaster.
The research on whether stress causes infertility is mixed, but there is a growing body of research that shows employing stress reduction and relaxation techniques (mind and body tools) has been effective in increasing both natural and IVF success rates.
Ways to reduce stress during infertility
Everyone is an individual when it comes to what techniques and tools work for them, however, there are some common themes and areas you can work on to lower your stress levels.
7 tips for reducing stress when trying to get pregnant
- Cut out unnecessaries – review your commitments and reduce your workload. Right now, you have so much going on trying to get pregnant it’s important you focus your energy on what you need to do and what brings you joy and comfort. Anything else can go! It’s not forever – this is a temporary crisis and this is a temporary measure
- Say ‘NO’ – I’m giving you permission right now to say ‘no’ to anything that increases your stress and brings you pain. If attending a baby shower right now is just too painful, please say no. If the thought of a family gathering brings you out in a cold sweat, bow out. Again remember this is temporary. Not everyone will understand and to those people, you will have to show compassion although you will likely feel hurt and anger at first. If they haven’t journeyed through infertility, they have no concept of the depths of despair and pain it can bring and don’t understand the nuances of treatments and sensitivities
- Assemble your support team – it’s vital you have your team behind you. A friend that makes you laugh, your boss on your side when you’ve got morning appointments at the clinic and your fertility coach or naturopath that is your source of calm and reason. This may also include any online groups you join but beware that you’re getting what you need from the interactions in the group. If at any time you feel it’s more of a hindrance than a help, it’s ok to pause your membership.
- Still be ‘YOU’ – What was the pre-infertility ‘you’ like? What did you used to do when you had some spare time? What lit you up? Ask yourself these questions, get journaling your answers and make sure you are still doing some things that bring you joy
- Problem solve – For some issues, the only way to deal with a problem is to face it head-on. Firstly identify the problem and brainstorm some possible approaches to solving it. Break down the steps to reaching that solution and start step-by-step to solve it.
- Distraction – Sometimes when your mind is very busy, distraction is the only way to stop the constant thoughts going round and round. This doesn’t necessarily mean just zoning out in front of the television (although sometimes that can be just what you need!) – sometimes more active distraction methods actually make you feel much better e.g. a creative project, decluttering, cleaning etc
- Use relaxation techniques – lastly and most importantly create regular relaxation time each and every day. Relaxation has a compound effect – the more you practice it, the better you feel and faster. The most simple technique is just breathing. I ask my clients to use 7:11 breathing – breathe in for 7 and out for 11. It’s the long out breath that initiates the relaxation response in your body. Another popular technique is meditation and if that seems scary – try a guided meditation. We have specific guided meditations for fertility and for each stage of IVF in our Toolbox. There are many great relaxation tools and techniques available and it really is about trying what works for you
Join our beautiful app – Your Fertility Toolbox – to learn more about stress relief, different relaxation techniques and the importance of your fertility mindset. Stress relief is one amazing step, but working on your thinking and mindset needs to follow for you to truly start experiencing infertility in a better way.
I know you think that might not be possible right now but in over a decade of coaching women and chatting to women in our private community in the Toolbox, I’ve seen firsthand how quickly you can feel stronger and cope better with the ups and downs of infertility when you’re prioritising your emotional wellbeing.
Learn more about how you can support yourself better emotionally during infertility by joining our innovative app – Your Fertility Toolbox. Come and meet our wonderful community of women finding a new way through and out of infertility!
Karenna Wood is an international fertility coach, founder of Your Fertility Hub.com, and a passionate advocate for more emotional support and information for women trying to get pregnant. She’s an expert in mind-body tools and has supported over 1200 women all over the world in learning relaxation and stress-reduction techniques, relationship tools, mindset techniques, and coping skills. She uses a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy, professional personal and relationship coaching, proven relaxation techniques, and visualization/mediation to transform the experience of infertility. The Your Fertility Hub website and popular podcast aim to help women reduce the negative impact of infertility and optimize their natural fertility through learning highly successful mind-body tools.