How To Cope with Stress in the Body During Fertility Treatment
The stress of fertility treatment is immense. There’s the unfamiliarity of treatment for those who are new to it, and the past memories for those on ongoing cycles. Coping with the highs and lows of hormones and the regime of medication and injections. Trying to fit appointments seamlessly into a busy work day and social obligations, often without people knowing. The pressure of time, when things can change from day to day and you have to stay vigilant. The ‘what if it works’ and the ‘what if it doesn’t’ questions that keep circling. The stress on finances, relationships, your body and mental health.
Stress can be like a steam-roller. Once it picks up momentum, it just keeps going. And that can mean that the stress of trying to get pregnant can roll into a stressful pregnancy and beyond.
During fertility treatment is a time when your usual stress-relievers might not be so suitable. You might be avoiding alcohol and high-impact sport. You might be in discomfort that restricts moving in certain ways. When stress is high, drop any tendency towards perfectionism. The simple things are often the best- not the complicated regimes.
Here are three ways that you can easily release stress from the body during fertility treatment
1- Shake it Out. This comes from the work of Peter Levine, who has written beautifully about trauma. He observed how animals in nature will shake and shiver to release after stressful encounters. You could do this quickly in the clinic bathroom after internal scans, or give yourself a long shaking session once you get home. The muscular response to stress is to clench or freeze, and this is not great for circulation and energy flow. So shake all the stress away.
2- Locate the Stress. Many women endure fertility treatment by training to focus and keep going. Whilst this is a great mental strategy, it can become detached from the body. To find where you are holding stress, drop your attention into your body. Notice any areas that feel like they are holding or tight. Place a hand on that area. Take some slow, gentle breathes there. Allow the area to feel lighter and more open.
3- Follow your bliss. Now I know that this is a time in life where you’re likely to feel anything but blissful. However, when your body is being poked and prodded with examinations and injections and blood tests, focus on soothing your body. Use organic oils to give yourself a relaxing hair or body massage. Wear fabrics that make you comfortable such as bamboo or cashmere. Do some restorative yoga postures such as legs up against the wall. It’s important to keep bringing yourself home to your body.
On 5th November, I’m starting a free 5 days version of the 'Intuitive Way to Wellness'. Over the 5 days I will share simple and easy ways to connect with your body and find wellness your way. There's a tonne of health info on the web, and I believe that the best options are individualised, kind and make us feel good. All of the tips are suitable if you are going through fertility treatment.