Learn our 8 top tips for coping better during infertility, including just how important it is to be optimistic about beating infertility.
Infertility is a life crisis like no other. You’re travelling along and bam it hits like a slow train – derailing your life.
At the start you’re finding your feet, learning the language and complexities of the infertility world. But as time passes and each month, you’re still not pregnant it takes a massive toll on your emotional health.
Don’t push this aside or underestimate it. The struggle is real and you need ways to cope, help yourself feel better and to pick you up when you’re down.
Learn our top tips for coping better during infertility below and also listen to our in-depth podcast on the topic here.
1. Be optimistic
This is at the core of everything – it’s what you believe. After many setbacks along your journey, it’s easy to be pessimistic. In fact, sometimes you think you might be better to think negatively so it can protect you from the pain of another negative result.
Sadly it can’t. The pain is still the same.
Being pessimistic also affects your ability to function properly. Studies show that optimists are better able to cope and actually function better than their more negative counterparts.
How you feel affects your actions, choices and behaviour. When you’re feeling positive, you genuinely make different choices. We want you to be making the best choices for you and your future family so pull on those positive pants and nurture that hope inside you. One day you will beat infertility and until then you’re going to believe that one day you will become a mum.
2. Challenge your negative mind chatter
It’s hard to be positive when your thoughts are spiralling out of control. Become aware of some of the negative thoughts you are having – write them down in a journal or record them in audio files on your phone. Once you start becoming aware of your unhealthy thoughts, it’s really easy to start changing them.
In particular, be aware of these common ways of thinking:
- Permanence – always / never thinking. E.g. “I’m never going to get pregnant.” Instead try not to over generalise and change this to ‘Ok I’m not pregnant this month, but we’ll try again next month.”
- Pervasive – Universal / all / everybody / everything thinking. E.g. “Everything is going wrong.” or “Everyone else is getting pregnant.”. Instead, be specific – ‘My sister and best friend are pregnant, but there are plenty of women out there like me still trying to conceive.”
- Personal – Making something personal to you e.g. “It’s my fault.” or “I’m broken”. Instead, be kind and rational – ‘Infertility is not my fault, it’s a medical condition.”
3. Problem Solve
Get involved in your problem. When we’re feeling negative, it’s easy to hide our heads in the sand. However, actually engaging in the problem and finding solutions or alternatives can help you cope better and move forward in your journey.
This again comes back to optimism as you need to be feeling well to be thinking clearly so get your positive pants on and get in there and make that phone call, research that alternative or speak out to a relative that’s upsetting you.
4. Find the benefits of infertility
Yes, I did just say that!
Through adversity we grow. Even through the toughest times, there are positives and unexpected benefits. For example, many women report a strengthening of their relationship with their partner following infertility or of finding new support and friends.
Look for the silver lining on your infertility cloud!
5. Know your calming techniques
To cope better in those high stress and high emotion moments, it’s vital you have some calming techniques up your sleeve. Listen to our podcast for 3 quick calming techniques.
The best technique for those moments is breathing. This is something you can do calmly and quietly even with others around you. Take some deep breaths and elongate your out breath, repeating this until you feel calm. Deep breathing initiates the relaxation response in your body. You could also have some music or a guided meditation on your phone that could help you stay calm in the moment.
Often this is just a short-term measure until you can release privately later. But it’s important you have your tools at the ready. Join our free Toolbox for access to guided meditations and other helpful tools.
Laughter is the best medicine. Lighten the mood by actively searching out for things that make you laugh.
There are some great infertility cartoons, graphics, blogs and social media accounts that can help you laugh about the craziness of infertility.
Alternatively, seek out clips from your favourite comedian or arrange a catch up with that friend that can always make you laugh. You may not always feel like it or initially need a push – but once you try it – it can be very effective as a coping mechanism.
Immersing yourself in something non-fertility related is a great way to take your mind off things but also helps you cope better.
Dust off your sketch pad or get out your guitar. Re-engaging in a creative activity or even learning a new skill is a great way to divert your attention and give back to yourself during infertility.
One of my clients dances around her living room with her music up loud, another goes for a daily run and another took up pottery classes. The impact was huge – not only did they have something outside of infertility that was positive and especially for them – that positive impact spread across the rest of their lives.
Choose something that resonates with you and set aside some regular time each week for this activity.
Giving time to support others brings huge benefits to you and the people you are helping. Give yourself the warm, fuzzy feeling you get from selflessly giving to others and again this impact extends well beyond that time and radiates positively on the rest of your life.
This is an incredibly powerful coping mechanism. Even when you feel you haven’t got much to give during infertility, start small with acts of kindness. This doesn’t have to be a large, regular volunteering role – even just the smallest of gifts to others brings you the greatest gift of all – warmth and positivity.
For more information and support in coping with infertility, join our FREE Toolbox where you can access free downloads, support and exclusive access to guest experts and regular tips and inspiration for your fertility journey.
Fertility Coach, Founder of Your Fertility Hub
Karenna Wood is an international fertility coach, founder of Your Fertility Hub and passionate advocate for more emotional support and information for women trying to get pregnant. She’s an expert in mind-body tools and when not blogging, podcasting, coaching or speaking is…fast asleep!