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Infertility Stress Reduction Tips

For most, if not all, infertility is a time of enormous stress and struggle. During this time many of us put off taking a new job, going back to school or any of a myriad of other decisions that get relegated to the back burner while pursuing pregnancy. Making a life becomes our life.

In order to feel as good as possible during your infertility experience, you will need to develop some good coping skills. Below is a list that my colleague, Peggy Orlin, MFT, came up with. I’m sure you will find it useful.

Coping is "developing the ability to manage in a difficult situation."

DO: Give up any and all feelings of guilt for how you are feeling. There is no right or wrong way to experience infertility. Your feelings may run the gamut from indifference to intense anger and despair and everywhere in between.

DO: Chose the gatherings you attend carefully. If being around children or babies upsets you, gracefully decline invitations to events where they are likely to be present. Know your limits and stick with them.

DO: Continue to get moderate amounts of exercise. Eat healthily and get plenty of rest. You will feel better if you treat your body with care.

DO: Reach out to childfree friends. Their company will be adult-focused.

DO: Think of non-child centered rituals. Take a vacation. Eat at a fancy restaurant.

DO: Shop from catalogs. You will avoid mall madness.

DO: Attend religious services at the time when there will be the least number of children. Or attend on a university campus, as those services tend to be more adult-focused.

DO: Volunteer at a nursing home or homeless shelter. It may help to help others who are having a difficult time.

DO: Plan for how you will answer uninvited questions about when you're going to have children. Remember, you are not required to tell them your entire "story!"

DO: Communicate with your partner to let him/her know of your feelings. Even if you and your partner are feeling differently it may help to share. If you are single, call a friend with whom you feel safe to share your feelings.

DO: Meet and talk with others who are experiencing similar feelings. Finding that you are not alone helps.

DO: Learn stress reduction techniques. At the best, they may help you get pregnant, at the least they will help you to feel better while you are in the process.

DO: Seek out a professional counselor if you have symptoms of depression for more than two weeks.

DO: Join us at our Mind/Body@PFC Weekend Workshops. Call 415-834-3000 for more information regarding fees and registration.

Use whatever of these suggestions seems helpful to you. Do what feels right for you.
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About the Author

Dr. Herbert is a fertility expert and an innovator in the field.