If there is one thing that all women struggling with infertility share in common it is the comorbidity of emotional distress that is an integral aspect of the reproduction challenge. Feelings of fear, inadequacy, shame, disappointment, sadness, hurt and injustice seek to rule the mind with increasing force as each progressive month of unsuccessfully “trying”, or failed IVF cycles passes us by. Worse yet, as many of us can attest, no amount of rational thinking, or factual information will ever remove the long-lasting anguish of a miscarriage or a stillbirth.
While it may be correct and well intentioned, advice telling you to “not stress out” is about as helpful as being told not to panic if a bear rushes at you in the woods!
The good news is that while we cannot avoid unpleasant thoughts and feelings as “part of the ride”, there are things we can do to manage them in a way that are better for us than tubs of ice-cream and monster sessions of Games of Thrones (unless it’s REALLY good ice-cream..).
Possibly one of the most valuable things I’ve learned on my own journey through infertility is the ability to accept what I cannot control, and to sooth my heart when my body seeks to break it. In this section, I will cover techniques such as mindfulness, cognitive behaviour therapy, acceptance commitment therapy and a lot of additional common sense solutions as they relate to the brutal emotions you may face on your journey of infertility.
My goal here is to show you that while you cannot stop bad things from happening you do have the power within you to regulate your response to these external forces.
And don’t fret, Grey’s Anatomy and Ben & Jerry’s sometimes are an appropriate part of the solution!