Unfortunately, infertility can lead to higher than average levels of anxiety for both men and women. This can put added stress on an already tense situation, and cause issues at home, work, and other areas of life. Studies show that while normal levels of stress may not affect the overall outcome of IVF, severe depression reduces the chance of pregnancy during assisted reproductive treatments.
To increase your chances of success during IVF, and to assure that you have a healthy happy experience before, during, and following pregnancy, consider these coping methods for managing stress and depression:
Don’t Tough it Out Alone
The most important method of coping with IVF depression and anxiety is seeking help. Many women dealing with infertility are too embarrassed to talk about their experiences, but you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it affects approximately 10% of women in the United States, that’s about 6.1 million women between the ages of 15 and 44.
Whether you choose to confide in an experienced psychologist, find a support group in your city, or simply discuss what’s bothering you with your partner or a close friend, finding support during this difficult time is crucial. It may not make all of your stress disappear, but it will help you to better understand that you’re not on your own in this journey.
Make Yourself a Priority
Whether you’ve already got children at home to care for, or this will be your first, taking care of yourself should be a priority. Depression can make it difficult to enjoy the things that once made you smile and can make it easy to forget about everyday things like hygiene and grooming. Take an extra five minutes standing under the hot spray of the shower, splurge and let yourself get those highlights at your next hair appointment or enjoy the dessert you’ve been eyeing at that cake shop downtown. Sometimes, something as simple as taking time out to read a book or rewarding yourself with a treat can go a long way toward improving the way you feel about yourself.
Physical activity such as walking, running, biking, swimming, and even dancing can also improve your mood. As a bonus, women who are healthy physically have a greater chance for success with IVF.
Find Ways to Relax Your Mind and Body
Meditation isn’t for everyone, but it has been proven to help reduce stress and improve relaxation. If you’re not up for meditating, find your own form of relaxation whether it’s a hard workout at the gym, a gentle massage at the spa, or putting your feet up with a glass of red wine in the evening. Relaxing your body and mind isn’t a miracle cure for anxiety, but it can reduce the symptoms and give you some time to breathe and make rational decisions about your infertility and how you want to deal with it.
Be Part of Something Bigger than Yourself
Depression can be crushingly lonely, because even those who experience it may not experience it the same way that you do. Sometimes, finding something larger than yourself to be part of can help shake this loneliness and give your life meaning. Volunteering or joining a group outside of your home life and family can be very rewarding. Look to your local community center, church, or food bank to find ways to give back in your community.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America depression affects more than 40-million adults in the United States annually. Signs of depression include fatigue, insomnia, listlessness, mood swings, feelings of uselessness or emptiness, and thoughts of suicide. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms seek help immediately.
Here at Generation Next Fertility, we know how difficult dealing with infertility can be, and you are always our top priority. We are here to help you. Let us earn your trust and be a part of your family.