by Sharon N. Covington, MSW, LCSW-C
Director, Psychological Support Services
Springtime—and the month of May in particular—can be a difficult time for women experiencing infertility. Because Mother’s Day comes in the Spring when things are being born and growing all around us, women confronting this situation may feel like they are being bombarded with emotion.
Whether it’s Mother’s Day or any day, I encourage women to incorporate a few things in to their day to day to help cope with the unique set of challenges that infertility can bring. Holidays celebrating parenthood are often especially painful, and so it is important that you be proactive and think ahead about how you want to spend the day. In preparing, think about self-care as three different areas—physical, emotional, and spiritual—and then try and focus on each one as it pertains to you.
Although you’ve heard it a thousand times before, it is easy to forget about physical self-care when you are involved in fertility treatment. Regardless of your treatment, you still need to try to exercise every day, even if it’s just taking a 15-minute walk. Yoga is a particularly helpful exercise as it helps you take care of yourself on all three levels and is wonderful stress reducer.
In addition, make sure you are eating healthy. While it is not a good idea to be rigorously dieting when in treatment, it is a time to be making sure you are putting healthy food in your body. On Mother’s Day, consider going for a hike, bicycling, or a having a picnic in the park that takes you away from crowds at restaurants.
Surround yourself with relationships that help make you feel good and positive about yourself. Spend time with friends who are warm and caring. Find ways to have fun in your life.
Set aside 10 to 15 minutes each day to relax, unwind, meditate, and imagine positive things in your life. Allow yourself “indulgences.” What makes you feel good? Maybe it’s taking a bubble bath, or reading a favorite novel in a quiet room. It’s important to pamper yourself during stressful times in your life.
If religion is an important part of your life, consider finding some way to address what you’re going through in a spiritual way. Consider talking with clergy or other members of your church in order to find support.
Try to find a purpose for what you’re going through. Often times people going through infertility find ways to put meaning into this painful experience, which can be very helpful to them over time. In effect, it allows them a way to “make lemonade out of the lemons.”
Discovering ways to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually can be energizing and healing. Taking one or two actions in each of these areas will allow you to focus on you being good to yourself.
Our goal at Shady Grove Fertility is to provide resources and support to reduce the stress associated with infertility from a medical, emotional, and financial perspective. We encourage everyone to establish support networks by tapping into our resources or finding other avenues that work best for you. For more information about our support groups or to schedule an appointment, please contact our New Patient Center at 877-971-7755.