Six Ways to Stay Positive Through Infertility
In our Resolve Infertility Support Group this month the topic of how to stay positive was raised. We had a great discussion where everyone was able to explain what they've done to stay positive. I was so inspired to hear from women and couples who are currently in the thick of it share their experience. Hopefully you'll get a chance to try a few of the choices described below.
1. Feel the Feelings
It may sound counterintuitive to "staying positive" but allowing yourself to cry when the urge rises versus continuing to squash it down can help to turn down the pressure valve on a regular basis. When people dis-charge their feelings regularly, they can have the patience and serenity to receive the next baby shower invitation, and the wisdom to know if they want to attend or not.
2. Live Your Life While You Wait
When you're trying to conceive everything else seems to take a back seat. It's easy to push vacations out because you're "saving up" PTO for maternity leave. But a year goes by and everyone else has been the beach except you, it's time to take a break.
3. Prioritize Doing Something For Yourself
As a child-free person in a friend group of parents, sometimes you can be expected to make the bigger sacrifice, such as meeting up at a time of day that is more conducive to their kid's naps, going to kid-friendly places, etc. Let this be permission to do something for yourself too. If you have to drive a significant distance to your RE or support group, try to pair the activity with something else you enjoy to reduce the "burden" of seeking help for infertility.
4. Try Volunteering to Stay Connected
One frustration I often hear is how much women loathe all the time they have to spend thinking about themselves, their needs, their appointments, their cycle, their symptoms. If you feel like you need a reason to turn off that part of your brain for a while, try a weekly or monthly volunteer slot. Doing something for someone else can help to shift your thoughts away from your own pain, and make some personal gains in the process.
5. Learn to Play an Instrument or Try a New Hobby
There is probably something you've always wanted to try but never had the time. Circus class? Fiddle lessons? Pottery, weaving, painting? You have the time now! And it can help to take your mind off of TTC, and feel positive about the time you spent waiting for your baby no matter the outcome.
Move your body. You may be angry with your body for not doing what it is "supposed" to. Treat it with kindness by moving it. Run, walk, bike, roller blade, mow the lawn, jump rope, dance. I recently found a youtube channel that shows videos of the game "Just Dance". If you're having trouble getting moving, turn it on and follow the dance moves, and you'll alter an unshakable mood for a while.
Allison Ramsey is a licensed professional counselor and fertility counseling specialist in the Asheville area. She’s a member of Resolve, The Infertility Association and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and completed their certificate training in mental health counseling for infertility. Contact her to start feeling better.