Having suffered from infertility for a decade now, I get the question “How do you cope” a lot. I wish there was a secret to dealing with infertility, but unfortunately the pain and loss you feel with this unfair disease never goes away completely. A lot of this depends on where you are in your infertility journey; whether you just saw your first RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist), are going through the IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination) or IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) process or are thinking about adoption. Even those that are making the choice to live child-free are still dealing with the sorrow of infertility.
I can however provide you with the methods I personally use to deal with infertility, as my husband and I continue our journey to parenthood. Some may seem obvious, and others a little far-fetched for you. But if you remember that I have been there, I still am there with you, you might want to try any or all of these.
I cannot begin to express the impact that Acupuncture has had on my life since I discovered it. By inserting several needles to certain points in your body, acupuncture can treat all sorts of illnesses, including the emotional of physical ramifications of infertility. You may notice that while you are seeing an acupuncturist to promote a healthy ovulatory cycle, your lifelong headache has gone away, and other aches and pains disappear. This is because acupuncture doesn’t work on a specific area or condition, but rather activates your body’s self-healing ability.
Chang Acupuncture in San Diego specializes in acupuncture for infertility and IVF patients, I highly recommend seeing them!
There is one vital reason why you should consider aromatherapy while struggling with infertility; to relax! You have just gone through at least a year (and probably more) of trying to conceive only to find out you are infertile and getting pregnant may be very difficult, or may never happen at all. You have had your dreams crushed and you might know how low the probability is for you. This is the ultimate high-stress situation where you can use every relaxation technique available to you.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils that have been distilled to put in a diffuser or drop in your bath to relax your mind, body and soul. There are specific oils perfect for aiding infertility and relaxation.
Clary Sage – Calm nerves and reduce stress.
Rose Essential Oil – Said to have aphrodisiac properties and will aid in male and female fertility.
Rosemary – Fertility enhancing properties, rubbed between the hip bones to sooth inflammation in the reproductive organs.
Lavender – Soothing scent to relax you, with slight aphrodisiac properties.
Occupy your Mind
This is an obvious, yet mandatory method of dealing with infertility. And much easier said than done! Not only do you need to relax your body, but your mind as well. It is a delicate thing and can be overwhelmed quite easily, especially if you are trying to deal with infertility. The stress of it all can make you feel at the verge of collapsing emotionally. What I recommend is to find something that will keep your mind away from infertility, at least for a bit. Here are some things to consider.
Start Reading More – Go to the library and find an area of interest. Check out several at a time and try to focus on what you’re reading. I know it’s hard at first, but soon you will get entranced in the world of fiction for at least a little while.
Find a Hobby – What do you like to do for fun? Do you draw? Collect things? Is there anything you have been wanting to try like sewing or beading? You can find a local craft store and tons of free tutorials and how-to’s online to keep your hands busy, and hopefully your minds too. I picked up jewelry making after taking a beginner’s beading class at my local Michael’s and fell in love with it!
Learn Something New – What better way to stimulate your mind than learn something brand new? Why not go to your local community college and take a night course in a subject you know nothing about? You might discover a passion for things you never thought about before, and find yourself absorbed in the class.
Find a Local Support Group
While my husband doesn’t like to talk about infertility, I very much do. I want to know the other people in my community who are dealing with the same issues I am. I like the feeling of knowing I’m not alone, and support groups are a wonderful way to do that. In San Diego, we have a peer-led support group through Resolve if you’re interested in meeting your fellow sufferers. You may find some comfort in the fact that you are not alone in this struggle, and find out what others are doing to deal with it.
About two years ago we discovered we have a 1% chance of conceiving on our own, and IVF is our only option. My insurance doesn’t cover fertility treatments, and we didn’t have enough money to pay for it out-of-pocket. This is how I became severely depressed. I didn’t want to get out bed, I almost lost my job because I called in so much, and I such felt hopeless and alone. One day I woke up and decided that if I couldn’t help myself, I could help others. I began researching local charities in my neighborhood and began volunteering. You can’t imagine what an impact giving back to your community has on your well-being. There is always someone more unfortunate than you, so if there is something you can give, whether it be reading to senior citizens or feeding dogs at your local animal shelter, do it! Not only will you be helping others, but in the end you are helping yourself.
I haven’t discovered the big secret to dealing with infertility, but I have learned to cope with it one day at a time. At the end of the day I am grateful for my husband and my dog and my family. If I remember the things I’m thankful to have, it helps not to focus so much on what I don’t.