Preparing for fertility treatment
If you’re considering fertility treatment, it’s important to consider your mental, emotional, and physical health too. Alannah Hunter of Fertility Associates (fertilityassociates.co.nz) has some tips to help you get ready.
Self-care is an important part of the puzzle when you’re facing fertility treatment.
Having difficulty conceiving can mean that getting pregnant becomes your most important goal in life. The intense desire to have a baby, and the depth of emotion experienced during fertility treatment, is often underestimated – it can be an isolating and emotional journey. Here are some tips for getting through.
- Get the information you need. Read, contact clinic staff, join the consumer organisation FertilityNZ (fertilitynz.org.nz), and talk to others with similar experiences.
- Take up a form of relaxation practice. Try meditation, massage, Tai Chi, yoga, walking, journalling, colouring, mindfulness practice, a creative activity, or listening to music.
- Keep a journal of how you feel. Often expressing it can help solidify your emotions or just get them out onto paper so they are not bottled up.
- Plan fun. Have enjoyable things to look forward to. A walk with a friend, decaf latte at your favourite café, or maybe a small holiday away.
- Find time for yourself and your partner. Often relationships feel the pressure of fertility treatments, so plan fun together.
- Talk about it to your partner, but understand their boundaries too. It helps to find out what works best for them, as they may also feel overwhelmed. Some couples choose a certain time of the day – they talk about it then, and then they move on to other topics.
- Look after yourself. Strengthen yourself with healthy eating, regular exercise, fresh air and sufficient sleep.
- Talk to someone you can trust. Sharing your experience with a few trusted people can make all the difference. If you are struggling with emotions right now, book a consultation with your clinic counselling team. They are there to support you, and often a free consultation is included with most IVF treatment options.
If you are feeling stressed or anxious, try the following:
- Reassure and remind yourself that these feelings will pass.
- Sit down, rest, and try to slow your breathing down. Breathe in for three seconds and out for three seconds, and say the word “relax” on each out breath. Repeat this until you feel more relaxed.
- Try to distract your mind from anxious thoughts – focus on your senses:
What can you see?
What can you smell?
What can you feel?
What can you hear?
What can you taste?
- Make an appointment to see a counsellor. Some people are resistant to seeing a counsellor, but one of the most common feedback comments we get after treatment is how valuable it was seeing a counsellor, along with the remark, “I wish we had seen the counsellor earlier!” Counsellors can help you to develop tools to cope with the emotions surrounding fertility treatment.
Advice for partners
Here are some ways to show support for a partner undergoing fertility treatment.
- Organise something indulgent for your partner, like a spa treatment or massage.
- Offer to help with injections and medication reminders.
- Come to as many appointments and scans as reasonably possible.
- Respect their privacy in regards to treatment – decide who you are going to tell and what you are going to share with them before treatment starts.
- Don’t pack the household calendar with too many social events.
- If you already have children, remember the fertility medications may make your partner extra tired and possibly not as even-tempered as normal.
- Organise extra help around the house.
- Most importantly, remember that you are doing this together and your relationship is the most important thing. Making time to do things together that you enjoyed before treatment can help immensely.
Yoga can be relaxing for people going through fertility treatment. Fertility yoga can reduce stress, improve alignment, support circulation, and improve strength and flexibility. The Saturday morning yoga class at Fertility Associates in Auckland is a wonderful way to unwind and de-stress.
Family and friends
If you are supporting a loved one who’s having fertility treatment, it’s a good idea to: Ask them what you can do to help. Respect their privacy – don’t tell everyone what your son, daughter or friend is going through. Learn a little bit about the process, so you can understand and empathise.