We all get stressed, yet not all of us battle to conceive. Interestingly, during times of war, and in poverty-stricken communities, the pregnancy rate is often inordinately high. Surely people battling to meet their basic needs on a daily basis are stressed? We keep hearing that if we are stressed, we won’t fall pregnant – can this be true? We also hear that many couples fall pregnant after adopting a baby, or once they’ve completely given up on their fertility treatment. So is there a link between fertility and stress, and if so what is it?
Whether you have tried to get pregnant without treatment or with drugs, IUI and/or IVF, the part of the cycle that involves waiting to hear the “news” about your cycle may be exhausting. Each day you may be monitoring your body for signs of early pregnancy or for signs that you feel may mean your menstrual bleeding will soon begin. It is like being on a rollercoaster of hope and fear. Consider the following survival tips:
“When I was going through treatment, I belonged to an online community of women in various stages of infertility treatment. None of us had kids at the time, but rather than ignore or boycott Mother’s Day, we decided to recognize each other’s shared wish and celebrate how strong we were as women. We organized an Angel Exchange, sending small figurines to our ‘angel buddy’ each with a unique symbol and note of support. To this day, my ‘angel buddy’ and I are still friends, though we have never met. We both have had our IVF successes. I will never forget her love and support on that lonely Mother’s Day!” — Kim
It can be particularly difficult to face the many emotional issues raised by infertility at a time when everyone is celebrating motherhood and fatherhood. Men, women and couples who are experiencing infertility should plan ahead for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, acknowledge their feelings and prepare themselves emotionally to handle questions and comments from family and friends.
Attending Holiday Parties
DO: Be selective about accepting invitations to parties and holiday celebrations, especially the ones at which you know there will be a lot of children or pregnant women. Remember: you don’t have to say yes.
DON’T: Feel guilty about not participating in all the traditional family events. You’re going through a difficult time, and you need to concentrate on helping yourself and your partner get through the holidays.
Holidays can be stressful, even in the best of circumstances. Expectations are at a peak. Pressure comes, both from the outside and within, to break out of the normal routine – to celebrate, and to enjoy! But for the person experiencing infertility, holidays can be the most difficult time of the year.
Learn about the normal responses to infertility.
Understand why it’s important to set realistic goals and develop an awareness of stressors and stress.