Stress and Infertility

Resolution #3: Relaxation

Anyone who has had difficulty getting pregnant has probably heard some variation of “Just relax, don’t think about it and it will happen”.

While well intended and decently good advice, all this chant from everyone we know does is bring us frustration and guilt. I can’t speak for everyone but I for one have researched every possible reason for not getting pregnant yet and discussed them all with my doctor. I have found many studies that believe stress can lower your chance of having a baby and my doctor also feels I would have an easier time getting pregnant if I had less stress. This is easier said than done. When you have been trying to have a baby for a while with no luck, it seems everyone you know suddenly gets pregnant on the first try or (worst of all) accidently. It’s everywhere! Pregnant women everywhere you go, ultrasound and belly photos consume your Facebook feed. Ok, so my personal struggle with fertility probably isn’t the cause for sudden over population. But it feels that way when the one thing I want so desperately, its crushing, seems to elude only me. How am I supposed to not think about it when it has not only taken over my every thought but has me surrounded on a daily basis. Oh and the guilt! I try and try to “just relax and not think abut it” but the harder I try the more I think about it (it’s a vicious cycle really). The longer I go without getting pregnant (and the more infertility tests that come back normal) the more I start to feel as if the stress and overwhelming desire for a child is the only thing preventing me from having one. I start to blame myself, “if you just stopped stressing about it you would have a baby by now”…

I personally need to relax for more than just infertility reasons. I have an anxiety and panic attack condition that I have struggled with my entire life. I could say I’ve gotten a lot better at keeping my anxiety in check and most people would believe me, but that’s not exactly honest. I have simply gotten a lot better at hiding my anxiety. I still struggle with it inside every day and it’s not good for my health or my pregnancy dreams. Everyone deals with stress but for most people the kind of stress I’m talking about is a short lived event in response to a major event in your life, after which your stress level goes back down to mild. I operate at a moderate to high stress level as a baseline. So a small change in plans or simple uncertainty that would usually inspire a person to action sends me into a panic internally as if the world is ending. I have spent years trying to prevent it and control it and it doesn’t work. I now believe the only way I’m going to be able to deal with this is to release this stress often and stop pushing it down.

This is my plan:

  1. Exercise more
  2. Take a relaxing soak once a week
  3. Create and repeat a Mantra for myself
  4. When I feel negative or panicky thoughts coming on focus on something positive
  5. Face my fears and triggers rather than avoiding them (e.g. giving up control, accept uncertainty)
  6. Deep breathing exercises & meditation once a week
  7. Find a calming aromatherapy essential oil

What types of things do you do to distress?

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