“Just Relax” the most heard, unhelpful advice to give someone who is TTC or undergoing IVF/IUI treatments. Infertility is stressful for many people, with thousands of dollars riding on cycle and months/years of preparation leading up to it IVF will be emotional and stressful.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, this post should not be taken as medical advice. Links in this post are affiliated if purchased, at no additional cost I may receive a small percentage.
There will be no way for someone to completely avoid stress and “relax”, but I do think it is very important to make choices to improve our state of mind as much as possible. Hopefully you have time to start practicing self-care and relaxation techniques well before IVF starts, but even if you only have a week or two that’s OK.
Stressing about stress is a major cause of stress during fertility treatments! Meditation helps deal with this natural stress. It is vital to be aware of your stressors, come to terms with the stress, and deal with it in a healthy manner. Since we know we cannot eliminate stress, meditation offers us a way to acknowledge the stress in our lives and also to release it and live in the present moment.
There is a lot of information out there about mediation, there are videos, books, apps, websites that all can give you pointers and directions on “how to” but I think the most important is to actually DO IT.
I came across a free app that focuses on IVF fertility meditations called Mindful IVF. I really like it. The guys voice is very soothing. The length of the meditations ranges from 5 – 20 minutes and it is broken down into sequences called “prep 10” “IVF start” after that there are paid sections for “mindful pre & post transfer, and “2 week wait”. I listen to a section after my herbal tea right before bed and it usually puts me to sleep.
Research has shown that sleep is very important to overall health. During fertility treatments it is recommended to get between 7-8 hours of sleep per night, less than 7 and more than 9 were shown to adversely affect fertility. I use my Fitbit to track my sleep. It seems to be very accurate. Since I’ve been tracking my sleep I’ve noticed that I spend a lot more time awake during the night than I had assumed. I thought if I went to bed 8 hours before I woke up, I’d be getting 8 hours of sleep. In my case that’s not true, I usually spend about 1- 1.5 hrs awake, either tossing and turning, or letting the dogs out or getting woken up by hubby. I had to start going to bed earlier in order to make up for the lost time. Fitbit is great because it sends me a reminder every evening when it’s time to start winding down, and I check every morning to see if I hit my goals.
I also use a Sleep mask and Ear plugs this helps me sleep more soundly since I am a very light sleeper, and since it is almost the longest day of the year, it makes it easier to fall asleep when it’s not quite dark out at 9 pm.
I am new to using affirmations. As with meditation there is information everywhere regarding how to use affirmations, there is no right or wrong way, doing it is the most important aspect. I am going to do affirmations three times per day, morning, midday and evening. It is suggested to do it out loud, for about 3 -5 minutes, or written over and over again as part of mindfulness journal. It’s important to create or use affirmations that speak to you on a personal level. Infertility brings a spectrum of fears and negative emotions associated with it. Some women may feel unworthy, inadequate, broken because of their prior lack of success getting (or staying) pregnant. Try to figure out what negative emotions you believe about yourself (even though they are probably untrue!) and utilize an affirmation that is opposite this negativity. The goal is to continuously remind yourself that the affirmation is true, reprogramming your mind. The goal is to improve your state of mind and change our self-talk/inner dialogue.
“I am already healing my body, everyday it heals more.”
“My body knows how to conceive a healthy baby”