Take Care of Yourself while You're Trying to Conceive
Having healthy boundaries not only means effectively responding to others, it’s also about choosing to be involved with people and activities that are supportive, and avoiding those are not. This will be different for each person, so it’s important that you discover what’s right for you.
For instance, child-centered events such as baby showers, or socializing with pregnant friends or new moms, may be tolerable or even pleasant for some women struggling to get pregnant. But if these times are painful for you, practice turning down invitations or decide to arrive late and leave early. And remember, if you decline an invitation, or if you need to take some space from a relationship, let the other know, either in person or in a note. In doing so, you’re not only showing respect for the other person, you’re also validating your own needs.
Taking healthy responsibility for yourself also extends to your relationships with friends and family. Decide with your husband who will share information with family members, and when and how much you plan to share. If you want certain people to have information about your infertility experience, it’s up to you to teach them. Give them helpful magazine articles, or direct them to fertility websites. If you want someone to call and check on you after a doctor’s appointment, tell them. If your best friend calls too much, let her know that, too.
Caring for yourself also means making conscious choices to nurture your body, mind and spirit. Massage and yoga not only feel wonderful, they reduce anxiety and stress, factors that are known to raise the likelihood of infertility. Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, can similarly help restore a sense of balance.
Finally, be sure to regularly schedule a vacation from your fertility issues. Whether it’s a weekend or a longer time away, take time with your husband to just enjoy being together. And be sure to keep the momentum going by planning a weekly date night where the talking agenda can include anything but work, finances and trying to get pregnant. You were a couple first; make it a priority not to lose that.
Reach Out for Fertility Support
Communicating, advocating for yourself, connecting with others…these steps are essential to leaving the shameful stigma of infertility behind. But every journey needs the company of fellow travelers, and virtually every woman that has reached out for fertility support has discovered an amazing community. A sense of belonging, tips on how to cope with the diagnosis of infertility, the latest in fertility information and resources, all this can help you build on the positive changes you're making.
For live fertility support groups, check your local hospital, doctor’s office, fertility clinic, or local chapter of organizations like RESOLVE (www.resolve.org). Online support and information is also available through conceiveonline.com, through the MyConceive community forums and chat groups.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Spring 2005 issue of Conceive Magazine.